Senators Josh Hawley (R., Mo.) and Mike Lee (R., Utah) on Tuesday pressed FBI Director Christopher Wray on the procedures federal law enforcement officials have used to track down those who participated in the January 6 siege on the U.S. Capitol. “I’m anxious to see those who committed unlawful, violent acts on January 6 brought to justice,” Lee said during a Senate Judiciary Hearing on Tuesday. “I also believe that … with this circumstance, like every other circumstance, we have to make sure that the civil liberties of the American people are protected.” The Utah Republican explained that he had “heard a number of accounts” of people who were in Washington, D.C. on January 6 who never went near the Capitol but were “inexplicably” contacted by FBI agents who knew of their presence in the district that day “with no other explanation, perhaps, other than the use of geolocation data.” “Are you geolocating people, through the FBI, based on where they were on January 6?” Lee asked Wray. “I think there may be some instances in which geolocation has been an investigative tool, but I can’t speak to any specific situation,” Wray responded. “But what are you using to do that?” Lee asked. “What’s your basis for authority? Are you using national security letters?” Wray said, “I don’t believe in any instance we’re using national security letters for investigation of the Capitol—” Lee interrupted to ask the FBI director if he had gone to the FISA court, to which Wray responded he did not “remotely believe FISA is remotely implicated in our investigation.” The senator continued pressing Wray, asking if the FBI is “using warrants predicated on probable cause.” “We certainly have executed a number of warrants in the course of the investigation of January 6,” Wray said. “All of our investigative work in response to the Capitol [riot] has been under the legal authorities that we have in consultation with the [Department of Justice] and the prosecutors.” Later, Hawley continued Lee’s line of questioning regarding geolocation data, asking Wray if his position is that he doesn’t know “whether the bureau has scooped up geolocation data, metadata cell phone records from cell phone towers.” “Do you not know, or are you saying maybe it has or maybe it hasn’t? Tell me what you know about this,” Hawley said. “So when it comes to geolocation data specifically—again, not in a specific instance, but just even the use of geolocation data—I would not be surprised to learn—but I do not know for a fact—that we were using geolocation data under any situation with connection with the investigation of [January 6],” Wray said. “But again, we do use geolocation data under different authorities and specific instances.” The FBI, Department of Justice and local police in Washington, D.C. are investigating the origins and execution of the January rioting at the Capitol, with the probe resulting in hundreds of arrests so far. Republicans have expressed concern that the methods law enforcement has used to track down rioters could infringe upon personal liberty. Last month Bank of America sparked outcry after it said it would hand over banking information to the federal authorities for people suspected of having involvement in the riots. In the days after the riot, Bank of America handed over data to the FBI on thousands of customers who traveled to Washington, D.C. around January 6, Fox News reported.
A hunter from Colorado Springs has been permanently banned from hunting in 48 states, including Colorado, after he pleaded guilty to several poaching charges across the state. Colorado Parks and Wildlife said hearing examiner Steven Cooley decided last week to permanently suspend hunting privileges for Iniki Vike Kapu, 28, after he pleaded guilty, KMGH-TV reported. Colorado is a member of the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact, meaning the lifetime hunting ban also extends to the other 47 member states, not including Hawaii and Massachusetts.
The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday appeared to favor Republican-backed voting restrictions in Arizona that Democrats argue violate the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the Washington Post reports.Why it matters: The Justices' decision in the case could weaken Section 2 of the VRA, which prohibits voting practices or procedures that discriminate on the basis of race.Stay on top of the latest market trends and economic insights with Axios Markets. Subscribe for freeContext: The case, Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee, questions whether two Arizona voting laws violate that section of the VRA.One allows ballots that were cast in the wrong precinct to be thrown out, and the other prohibits anyone other than a family member from delivering a voter's absentee ballot.The big picture: The state of Arizona and Republicans support the laws, arguing they are meant to prevent fraud, according to NBC News.Democrats on the other hand believe the laws should be overturn because they believe they prevent voters, particularly minorities, from voting.Like this article? Get more from Axios and subscribe to Axios Markets for free.
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China appears to be moving faster toward a capability to launch its newer nuclear missiles from underground silos, according to an American expert who analyzed satellite images of recent construction at a missile training area. (March 1)
Turkey is not necessarily aiming to return to the U.S. F-35 fighter jet programme from which it was removed over its purchase of Russian defence systems, the Turkish defence industry chief said on Wednesday. He said the primary goal was for Turkey to get compensated for its losses. Ankara had ordered more than 100 F-35s and has been making parts for it but was removed from the programme in 2019 after it acquired Russian S-400 missile defence systems, which Washington says threaten the jets.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Monday supported an investigation into sexual harassment allegations against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. “These stories are difficult to read, and the allegations brought forth raise serious questions that the women who have come forward and all New Yorkers deserve answers to,” she said in a statement. “I’m glad to see that there will be a full, independent, and thorough investigation,” the former senator from New York added. New York attorney general Letitia James announced on Monday that her office has received a referral from the Cuomo administration, allowing for an independent investigation of harassment claims by two former staffers. Lindsey Boylan, the former deputy secretary for economic development and special adviser to Cuomo, on Wednesday published an essay detailing alleged sexual harassment she endured while working for the governor, including unwanted kissing and touching. She wrote in the essay that Cuomo, with the help of top female aides, “created a culture within his administration where sexual harassment and bullying is so pervasive that it is not only condoned but expected.” She also detailed an increasingly uncomfortable relationship she developed with the governor, in which he sought her out and set up one-on-one meetings with her. Boylan recounted a flight she shared with the governor from an event in October 2017 in which Cuomo allegedly said, “Let’s play strip poker.” On another occasion, Boylan says the pair met one-on-one for a briefing when Cuomo allegedly kissed her. Days later, former health policy adviser Charlotte Bennett alleged that the governor harassed her in spring 2020, according to the New York Times. Bennett, 25, said Cuomo asked intrusive questions about her sex life, including an incident on June 5 during which the governor asked whether she was monogamous and if she had sex with older men. Cuomo said that he “never made advances toward Ms. Bennett, nor did I ever intend to act in any way that was inappropriate.” However, the governor did not deny making the statements in question. He has also denied Boylan’s claims.
A recent piece by NBC Asian America reporter Kimmy Yam has readers divided for how it framed the recent attacks Asians are facing in the U.S. According to Yam, the 2,800 hate incidents collected by watchdog Stop AAPI Hate over five months last year “weren't necessarily hate crimes” as they included “less severe, yet insidious, forms of discrimination.”
Progressive Democrats, including two who are Black, are lining up to challenge House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer even before Maryland sets the date for its 2022 primaries.Why it matters: Recent progressive victories for Reps. Cori Bush in Missouri and Jamaal Bowman in New York, plus the country's changing demographics and post-#MeToo and George Floyd eras, are giving organizers and candidates new hope that the political landscape is changing and rewarding diversity.Stay on top of the latest market trends and economic insights with Axios Markets. Subscribe for free"After the pandemic, all bets are off," Kelley Jackson, communications director for the progressive PAC Democracy for America, told Axios. "We need Medicare for All. We need a Green New Deal — we saw what happened in Texas."Progressives feel a special urgency to get their policies passed into law, given Democrats control the U.S. House, Senate and White House.That's propelling their unity against those party leaders and members they believe aren't fighting for the policies like activists.The big picture: Hoyer is just one member of the Democratic old guard who's being targeted early by the left flank, with a renewed focus on race and gender.Even before the recent allegations of sexual harassment against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, progressives were quietly looking to Attorney General Letitia James as a formidable primary challenger.Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) is up for reelection in 2022 and faces constant speculation about whether a progressive like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will mount a primary challenge against him.In Virginia, Gov. Ralph Northam is term-limited from seeking reelection, but his seat is being eyed by Jennifer Carroll Foy, a Black mother of twins and public defender. She said her own experience without health care and growing up poor in rural Virginia has inspired her to run.“When people say identity politics don’t matter, what they’re also saying is that other people’s lived experiences don’t matter,” she told Elle.com.In Maryland, Colin Byrd, a Black mayor from Greenbelt, announced in December that he planned to challenge Hoyer in the 2022 Democratic primary.Byrd wrote on his fundraising page: "I'm rooted in civil rights activism, progressive activism and progressive politics. I'm about 'Good Trouble.' Steny is about Good Ol' Boys Politics."Mckayla Wilkes, who unsuccessfully challenged Hoyer last cycle, is also mounting a challenge to the 20-term congressman."We have the trifecta," Wilkes said of Democrats' control of the White House, Senate and House, "yet we (Democrats) are still fighting for change. To me, that says that any Democrat won’t do, so we need to elect more progressives."Wilkes is a Black woman who's openly bisexual and doesn't shy away from that in her campaigning, she said, even though "our district has never been represented by a Black woman and certainly never by a Black, queer woman."Wilkes told Axios she and Byrd made an agreement "that only one of us will be on the ballot heading into 2022." She declared: "We don't want to split the anti-Hoyer vote." Reality check: Hoyer is still popular in his district, based on polling and the 64% vote he earned in last year's Democratic primary. Wilkes received 27%.A Hoyer spokesperson said: “Leader Hoyer is focused on delivering a progressive agenda to rebuild the economy and deliver on racial justice. He has strong and deep relationships in the 5th District and will continue to build consensus within our diverse caucus to bring about the bold change the American people have called for.”More from Axios: Sign up to get the latest market trends with Axios Markets. Subscribe for free
Nestled in a steep rocky hillside among the remote mountains of northern Iraq, the Rabban Hormizd Monastery has watched invaders come and go through Christianity's tumultuous history in this corner of ancient Mesopotamia. Mongols, Persians, Arabs, Kurds and Ottomans have sacked, surrounded or occupied the seventh century monastery and the Christian town of Alqosh, above which it perches, near the borders with Turkey, Syria and Iran. But Christians there survived the latest onslaught, this time by Islamic State militants who took over one third of Iraq between 2014 and 2017, including the city of Mosul just 20 miles (32 km) to the south.
Barely a mile from where an SUV packed with 25 people struck a tractor-trailer — killing 13 inside — a cemetery with unmarked bricks is a burial ground for migrants who died crossing the border from Mexico to remote California desert. Authorities are investigating whether human smuggling was involved in Tuesday's early-morning collision that killed the 22-year-old male driver of the SUV and 12 passengers. Seats of the 1997 Ford Expedition were removed except for the driver and right front passenger's, said Omar Watson, chief of the California Highway Patrol's border division.
Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Rep. Darren Soto (D-Fla.) announced Tuesday they would introduce legislation to start the motions for Puerto Rico statehood.Why it matters: More than 52% of Puerto Ricans voted last November in favor of statehood, three years after Hurricane Maria struck and caused one of the worst natural disasters in the island's recorded history. It exposed Puerto Rico's vulnerable position as a U.S. territory and its lack of resources to battle poverty.Stay on top of the latest market trends and economic insights with Axios Markets. Subscribe for free The 3.2 million Americans in Puerto Rico lack full voting representation in Congress and cannot vote for president.Statehood proponents say the federal government treats Puerto Rico unequally and doesn't adequately fund programs to combat poverty and promote economic development.The details: Under the proposal, also supported by Puerto Rico's nonvoting member in the U.S. House, Jenniffer González-Colón (R-Puerto Rico), Congress would provide Puerto Rico a formal offer to become the 51st state. The legislation outlines the process for Puerto Rico's admission into the U.S, should it be ratified by Puerto Rico voters in a federally-sponsored, yes-or-no referendum.The plan sets a timeline for the future referendum vote, declaration of Puerto Rican statehood, and an election for the Puerto Rican congressional delegation.The outline is similar to the one set for Alaska and Hawaii in their quests for statehood.What they're saying: "My home state of New Mexico had a similar struggle to achieve statehood. It took 50 New Mexico statehood bills and 64 years before we were finally admitted to the United States," Heinrich said. Heinrich is the senior senator in the nation's most Hispanic state and, in recent years, has been aligning himself with issues supported by many Latinos.Puerto Rico Gov. Pedro Pierluisi told Axios' Alexi McCammond that he had been in contact with Heinrich on a Puerto Rican statehood proposal.New Mexico is home to 2 million people, two senators, and three representatives. Puerto Rico's population is 63% larger.Yes, but: GOP leaders have resisted moves to allow Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia to become states.Some Republicans claim the move would give Democrats four assured seats in the Senate — a charge pro-statehood champions in Puerto Rico say is not true since the island has a history of voting for conservative leaders. What they're saying: "After they change the filibuster, they're going to admit the District as a state," then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said last September. "They're going to admit Puerto Rico as a state. That's four new Democratic senators in perpetuity."The big question: Puerto Rico statehood proponents need to convince some Republicans in the Senate to support a statehood plan to get a proposal through the divided chamber.Should Puerto Rico become a state, the Puerto Rican non-commonwealth population would surge in the U.S. to 9 million. They would be the second-largest U.S. Latino group behind Mexican Americans, who are nearly at 37 million. Like this article? Get more from Axios and subscribe to Axios Markets for free.
Turkey has stopped insulting France and the European Union, providing some reassurance, but ties will remain fragile until it takes concrete action, France's foreign minister said. Ankara has repeatedly traded barbs with Paris over its policies on Syria, Libya, the eastern Mediterranean and other issues, but the NATO members said in February they were working on a road map to normalise relations.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) announced Tuesday that effective next Wednesday, "all businesses of any type" in the Lone Star state will be allowed to fully reopen. Additionally, he's ending the statewide mask mandate. Those in the room where Abbott broke the news applauded the decision, but plenty of skeptics took note, as well. Coronavirus cases have receded greatly across the country over the last several weeks, but it's unclear if that decline is now plateauing. On a related note, Houston, Texas' largest city, is the one city in the United States to have reported finding at least one case of every known variant of the coronavirus, which are believed to be more transmissible and have experts on the alert for another uptick in cases as they become the dominant sources of infection. It's unlikely Houston is actually alone in this regard, but it's still cause for concern. Texas is also lagging behind in vaccinating its population, which is the second largest in the nation. Only Utah and Georgia have slower per capita vaccination rates. Texas is bottom 5 in per capita vaccination rates, yet the governor seems to believe the pandemic is over. Wild. https://t.co/XptNvbu24U — Keya Vakil (@keyavakil) March 2, 2021 Abbott, it turns out, wasn't the only governor to ease restrictions Tuesday — Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) actually beat him to the punch, announcing that businesses can operate at full capacity and county mask mandates will be lifted starting Wednesday. More stories from theweek.com7 scathingly funny cartoons about Trump's CPAC appearanceReport: Some Fox News staffers are furious over Kayleigh McEnany joining the networkThe biggest jazz star you've never heard of
While the U.S. and Europe focus on vaccinating their own populations, China and Russia are sending millions of COVID-19 vaccine doses to countries around the world.Why it matters: China's double success in controlling its domestic outbreak and producing several viable vaccines has allowed it to focus on providing doses abroad — an effort that could help to save lives across several continents.Stay on top of the latest market trends and economic insights with Axios Markets. Subscribe for freeThe vaccines from China and Russia are the first to reach low-income countries that likely won't have broad access to vaccines until 2023, according to some projections. By the numbers: China has provided vaccines to 20 countries, including across South America and Africa, and has plans to send doses to at least 40 more, according to a Chinese foreign ministry statement sent to the Wall Street Journal.Poland is the latest European country to consider Chinese-made vaccines.Chinese companies and government officials have worked with local partners to create cold-chain infrastructure in Ethiopia to help transport and distribute vaccines.More than two dozen countries have authorized the use of Russia's Sputnik vaccine. Ten countries in Latin and South America have already received or will soon receive shipments, as have Slovakia, Hungary, and several other nations.Details: China's vaccines weren't as effective in clinical trials as some of those made in the U.S. and Europe, but they don't require ultra-cold storage, making them easier to transport and distribute.Last week, China approved two more vaccines, bringing the total number of Chinese-made vaccines to four. One of the newly approved vaccines only requires a single shot.Between the lines: With reported daily COVID cases often in the single digits, China's leaders face less pressure to quickly vaccinate Chinese citizens. Only about 40 million doses had been administered domestically as of Feb. 9, falling short of the 100 million doses Chinese authorities had promised by that time.On March 1, top Chinese disease expert Zhong Nanshan said authorities are now aiming to vaccinate 40% of the population by June.Meanwhile, the U.S. and Europe are focusing on vaccinating their own citizens first.The Biden administration has promised $4 billion in funding for COVAX, half of it available immediately — but has also said the U.S. will vaccinate Americans before sending doses abroad.The European Union implemented limited vaccine export controls in late January, drawing criticism from the World Health Organization for "vaccine nationalism."What to watch: The early dominance of China and Russia in the global vaccine roll-out is likely to be relatively short-lived.As more U.S. and European-made vaccines are approved for manufacture, extra doses of western vaccines may soon greatly expand the global supply. Like this article? Get more from Axios and subscribe to Axios Markets for free.
CNN: Pentagon watchdog says Ronny Jackson drank on duty and harassed staff
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Summary: Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-Texas) allegedly made "sexual and denigrating" comments about a female staffer, drank alcohol and took sleeping medication while...Sentiment: negative
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