Sarah Toce

Tesla is recalling nearly 475,000 vehicles for safety issues

Tesla has now recalled about 475,000 cars in the U.S. due to defects that may increase the safety risk of its passengers, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) revealed in its findings Thursday.

The Model 3 sedans made between 2017 and 2020 appear to have wiring in the rearview camera that may be damaged by opening and closing the trunk. There are an estimated 356,309 Model 3 sedans being recalled.

Model S cars from the 2014 and 2021 model years are also being pulled with reference to the front trunk latch misalignment, causing the hood to unexpectedly open and “increase the risk of a crash.”

According to the NHTSA, Tesla received 2,305 warranty claims regarding the defects, adding that it is not aware of any related “crashes, injuries, or deaths.”

READ: Bill Barr got served in lawsuit — and did 'not appear happy': Michael Cohen's lawyer

A formal investigation was opened in August to review Tesla’s Autopilot function after crashes involving emergency vehicles were found. One crash was fatal.

BBC apologizes for booking Epstein pal Alan Dershowitz following Maxwell verdict

BBC News invited Alan Dershowitz to comment on the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell Wednesday after she was found guilty of five sex trafficking counts related to her former serial sex offender boyfriend, Jeffrey Epstein. The network is now issuing an apology for the lack of transparency and noticeable conflict of interest.

Epstein accuser Virginia Giuffre directly named Dershowitz as one of the men (Giuffre also named Prince Andrew in the case) Epstein and Maxwell allegedly forced her to have sex with repeatedly when she was underage. Dershowitz has denied the allegations, Rolling Stone reported.

“I think the most important thing, particularly for British viewers, is that the government was very careful who it used as witnesses,” Dershowitz said. “It did not use as a witness the woman who accused Prince Andrew, accused me, accused many other people because the government didn’t believe she was telling the truth.”

Dershowitz was Introduced only as a “constitutional lawyer” when he appeared in the segment to defend Maxwell and used the opportunity to defend his defamation countersuit. He also called into question Giuffre’s credibility. Now, the network is apologizing for booking Dershowitz.

"Last night's interview with Alan Dershowitz after the Ghislaine Maxwell verdict did not meet the BBC's editorial standards, as Mr. Dershowitz was not a suitable person to interview as an impartial analyst, and we did not make the relevant background clear to our audience," the news release read. "We will look into how this happened."

Biden and Putin to hold second call ahead of US-Russia security talks: report

On Wednesday the White House announced that U.S. President Joe Biden will speak with Russian President Vladimir Putin ahead of expected diplomatic talks in January involving Ukraine. Their second call on this topic will occur on Thursday.

“The U.S. and Russia agreed this week to hold talks on Jan. 10, followed by meetings of the Russia-NATO Council on Jan. 12 and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) on Jan. 13,” Axios reported. “The U.S. and its European allies have threatened Russia with unprecedented sanctions and an increased troop presence on NATO’s eastern flank if Putin moves forward with an invasion of Ukraine.”

Putin has demanded that NATO rule out eastward expansion and all military activity in former Soviet republics. The U.S. has said it will consider Russia’s proposals, but called some of them “unacceptable.”

“The Biden administration has been deliberate about coordinating with its European allies, insisting that any conversations about Europe and Ukraine’s security should not take place without them at the table,” Axios reported. “Secretary of State Antony Blinken held a phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky earlier on Wednesday.”

READ: Trump’s voter fraud lies enabled a surprising benefit

Father of 14-year-old shooting victim: 'My daughter is dead at the hands of the state'

The father of 14-year-old Valentina Orellana-Peralta expressed his sorrow at a press conference Tuesday morning outside of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Headquarters after his daughter was shot dead in a dressing room. The fatal event occurred on Dec. 23 at a North Hollywood Burlington store.

Coroner records show that Orellana-Peralta was killed by a gunshot wound to the chest. The suspect is 24-year-old Daniel Elena-Lopez.

"I have no words to describe what I'm going through, especially during this holiday season," Juan Pablo Orellana Larenas said. "I cannot sleep... All she wanted was to become [an] American citizen. I once told her, 'Let's leave this country.' 'No, papa,' she said. 'This is the safest country in the world, a country of opportunity.' Now my daughter is dead at the hands of the state."

"The girl's American dream has been taken from her," the victim's uncle, Rodrigo Orellana, told CNN affiliate Chilevision from their native Chile this week.

"LAPD believes the 14-year-old girl was killed by an officer's bullet that passed through the wall of a dressing room, where she was found," ABC7 reported.

"This chaotic incident resulting in the death of an innocent child is tragic and devastating for everyone involved," LAPD Chief Michel Moore said in a statement. "I am profoundly sorry for the loss of this young girl's life and I know there are no words that can relieve the unimaginable pain for the family."

Moore said a "thorough, complete and transparent investigation" into the shooting will be conducted and added that a critical incident video including 911 calls, radio transmissions, and body camera footage.

North Hollywood Area OIS 12/23/21 (NRF065-21) www.youtube.com

Father of 14-year-old shooting victim: ‘My daughter is dead at the hands of the state’

The father of 14-year-old Valentina Orellana-Peralta expressed his sorrow at a press conference Tuesday morning outside of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Headquarters after his daughter was shot dead in a dressing room. The fatal event occurred on Dec. 23 at a North Hollywood Burlington store.

Coroner records show that Orellana-Peralta was killed by a gunshot wound to the chest. The suspect is 24-year-old Daniel Elena-Lopez.

“I have no words to describe what I’m going through, especially during this holiday season,” Juan Pablo Orellana Larenas said. “I cannot sleep… All she wanted was to become [an] American citizen. I once told her, ‘Let’s leave this country.’ ‘No, papa,’ she said. ‘This is the safest country in the world, a country of opportunity.’ Now my daughter is dead at the hands of the state.”

“The girl’s American dream has been taken from her,” the victim’s uncle, Rodrigo Orellana, told CNN affiliate Chilevision from their native Chile this week.

READ: Peter Navarro reveals new shocking detail about his and Steve Bannon's role in Trump 2020 election plot

“LAPD believes the 14-year-old girl was killed by an officer’s bullet that passed through the wall of a dressing room, where she was found,” ABC7 reported.

“This chaotic incident resulting in the death of an innocent child is tragic and devastating for everyone involved,” LAPD Chief Michel Moore said in a statement. “I am profoundly sorry for the loss of this young girl’s life and I know there are no words that can relieve the unimaginable pain for the family.”

Moore said a “thorough, complete and transparent investigation” into the shooting will be conducted and added that a critical incident video including 911 calls, radio transmissions, and body camera footage.

READ: Red state Republicans rail against Biden’s economic programs — while taking full advantage of them

North Hollywood Area OIS 12/23/21 (NRF065-21) www.youtube.com

Nearly 100 NFL players test positive for COVID on the same day

According to the National Football League (NFL), 96 of its players tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday. There were an additional 10 positive tests among players over the weekend, bringing the total to 106 players on the league’s Reserve/Covid-19 list since Christmas.

“We’re entering a new phase of the pandemic, different than we’ve seen before,” said the NFL’s chief medical officer, Dr. Allen Sills. “We can’t apply 2020 solutions to the 2021 problems we’re having.”

“What testing doesn’t do is prevent transmission, and we’ve known that always,” Sills said. “That was true last year and it’s still true today. As we look at how to respond, what we’re trying to do is prevent spread within the facility and keep people from testing positive.”

Sills added, “Keeping people from testing positive takes us back to their immunity: getting the booster, getting their antibody levels up. Spread within the facility is more about these other measures. You have to rely on those other measures to make sure that we’re not creating spread within our facilities.”

READ: West Virginia native explains why history 'will not be kind' to Joe Manchin

“At some point, you feel like you’re fighting a ghost,” Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank said. “You don’t know where to swing.”

League officials are resistant to the idea of daily testing.

The NFL postponed three games last week, but has yet to cancel a game so far this season.

Greta Thunberg: ‘It’s strange’ to consider Biden a climate ‘leader’

In an interview with the Washington Post Monday, climate activist Greta Thunberg slammed the Biden administration, saying that it’s “strange” to consider Biden a leader in the arena “when you see what his administration is doing.”

“The U.S. is actually expanding fossil fuel infrastructure,” Thunberg said. “Why is the U.S. doing that? It should not fall on us activists and teenagers who just want to go to school to raise this awareness and to inform people that we are actually facing an emergency.”

In November, Thunberg dismissed this year’s COP26 as “a PR event” and she accused world leaders of “greenwashing.”

“In such an emergency as we are in right now, everyone needs to take their moral responsibility, at least I think so, and use whatever power they have, whatever platform they have, to try to influence and push in the right direction, to make a change,” she told The Guardian in October. “I think that’s our duty as human beings.”

READ: There are encouraging signs Trump may finally be headed for his day of legal reckoning

Axios’ Andrew Freedman reflected, “The Biden administration set out ambitious goals for reducing planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions, including reaching 100 percent clean electricity by 2035 and net-zero emissions by 2050.”

Freedman added, “However, Biden’s main tool for meeting these goals is bogged down in Congress, putting them in doubt. He also has been combatting an increase in gas prices related to the economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and other factors. This has led Biden to call for a temporary increase in global oil production.”

The Biden administration “also has not followed through on a campaign promise to crack down on new oil and gas leasing on federal lands, instead aiming for reforming the process. Yet, it is also greatly expanding the areas open to renewables, such as offshore wind energy,” Freedman wrote.

The View is struggling to find a conservative replacement for Meghan McCain — here’s why

The View co-host Meghan McCain departed the controversial show in August 2021 after four seasons and a replacement has still not been found – but it hasn’t been for lack of trying. The question is quickly becoming: why?

Conservative guest co-hosts in the months following McCain’s exit have included former Utah Congresswoman Mia Love, Condoleezza Rice, S.E. Cupp, Gretchen Carlson, Carly Fiorina, Eboni K. Williams, Mary Katharine Ham, Alyssa Farah, and Cameran Eubanks.

A former show staffer told Politico, “They are really looking for a unicorn. They want someone who is going to fight — but not too hard, because they don’t want it to be ugly and bickering.”

“Right now, we still do need a really conservative voice,” The View co-host Sunny Hostin told New York Magazine in August. “I also believe it’s really important to not have someone on the panel who spreads misinformation, who adheres to the big lies, who is an anti-vaxxer, because I think that’s dangerous.”

In the article, Hostin described Joy Behar as “very progressive,” Whoopi Goldberg as less so (“her big issue is economic and taxes”), and herself as somewhere in between “progressive values and conservative values.”

“Sara [Haines] says she’s an independent, but statistically there have been studies that show that independent people are just people that don’t want to be stigmatized by their own choices,” Hostin said. “Is she really an independent or just somebody that won’t commit? We need someone that will commit and we don’t have that voice. And we need someone that’s not duplicative of anyone else on the panel.”

Politico reported that the show, “…will continue to audition potential hosts in the new year, bringing some women back for a second turn. Farah will return in January, and the show will bring in other big names, like Bari Weiss and Lisa Ling – BARI WEISS and LISA Ling – neither of whom exactly fit the ‘conservative’ label — while the network continues to conduct focus groups on the audience’s reaction.”

Execs are attempting to send a unified message on McCain’s replacement search.

“Our plans are on track as we continue to look for the right person to join our panel of smart, dynamic women,” said a spokesperson for The View. “We look forward to welcoming guest co-hosts for return appearances and introducing new names into the mix in the new year.”

'Election denialists' paid $200k to help Trump with ballot steal: report

A former police captain was reportedly paid more than $200,000 to “hunt ballots” for a far-right group to help aid former president Donald J. Trump in securing the 2020 election.

New documents reveal that the pro-Trump fringe group Liberty Center for God and Country (LCGC), “led a lucrative fundraising blitz in the run-up to the election and quietly networked with now-notorious election denialists. Their work came to light in October of that year when former Houston Police captain Mark Aguirre, 63, allegedly rammed his SUV into a man’s truck, forced the man onto the ground at gunpoint, and accused him of transporting 750,000 fraudulent ballots,” The Daily Beast reported. The driver of the truck was “an innocent air conditioner technician” named David Lopez-Zuniga.

Aguirre was indicted this week for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

“[Aguirre] crossed the line from dirty politics to commission of a violent crime and we are lucky no one was killed. His alleged investigation was backward from the start, first alleging a crime had occurred and then trying to prove it happened,” Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said in a statement.

Aguirre never told police that he had been paid a total of $266,400 by the Houston-based Liberty Center for God and Country, with $211,400 of that amount being deposited into his account the day after the incident.

The case was investigated by the Houston Police and is being prosecuted by the Public Corruption Division of the Harris County District Attorney’s Office.

Aguirre’s claims of election fraud were found to be baseless after thorough investigation by Houston Police and by the Office Constable Precinct 1 Alan Rosen, as part of the Harris County Election Security Task Force.

Nassau County won’t charge Andrew Cuomo for sexual misconduct

The Nassau County District Attorney’s office will not charge former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo for an incident involving alleged sexual misconduct, the acting district attorney confirmed to CNN.

“Our exhaustive investigation found the allegations credible, deeply troubling, but not criminal under New York law,” outgoing Acting Nassau County District Attorney Joyce Smith said. “It is important to note that our investigation was limited to alleged conduct at Belmont Racetrack, and prosecutors in other jurisdictions continue to review other allegations of misconduct by Mr. Cuomo.”

The incident allegedly took place in 2019 at the Belmont Racetrack in Long Island.

Independent investigators hired by New York Attorney General Letitia James’ office released a lengthy report on August 3 that detailed the allegations of 11 women, current and former state employees, and found that Cuomo engaged in “unwelcome and nonconsensual touching,” among other allegations.

Nassau County investigators focused on one allegation detailed in the report by an unnamed female state trooper, who was part of the then-governor’s protective detail and alleged that at an event in Long Island in September 2019, Cuomo “ran the palm of his left hand across her stomach” from her belly button toward her right hip where she kept her gun.

Nassau County won’t charge Andrew Cuomo for sexual misconduct

The Nassau County District Attorney’s office will not charge former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo for an incident involving alleged sexual misconduct, the acting district attorney confirmed to CNN.

“Our exhaustive investigation found the allegations credible, deeply troubling, but not criminal under New York law,” outgoing Acting Nassau County District Attorney Joyce Smith said. “It is important to note that our investigation was limited to alleged conduct at Belmont Racetrack, and prosecutors in other jurisdictions continue to review other allegations of misconduct by Mr. Cuomo.”

The incident allegedly took place in 2019 at the Belmont Racetrack in Long Island.

Independent investigators hired by New York Attorney General Letitia James’ office released a lengthy report on August 3 that detailed the allegations of 11 women, current and former state employees, and found that Cuomo engaged in “unwelcome and nonconsensual touching,” among other allegations.

READ: Indiana’s Republican attorney general says he doesn’t believe his own state’s COVID-19 figures

Nassau County investigators focused on one allegation detailed in the report by an unnamed female state trooper, who was part of the then-governor’s protective detail and alleged that at an event in Long Island in September 2019, Cuomo “ran the palm of his left hand across her stomach” from her belly button toward her right hip where she kept her gun.

'A major milestone': Pfizer's COVID pill is a huge step forward — but it will be 'scarce' at first

The United States on Wednesday authorized Pfizer Inc’s antiviral COVID-19 pill for at-risk people aged 12 and above, making it the first oral treatment and which can be taken at home, providing a potentially important tool in the fight against the fast-spreading Omicron variant.

Pfizer’s antiviral regimen, Paxlovid, was nearly 90 percent effective in preventing hospitalizations and deaths in patients at high risk of severe illness, according to data from the company’s clinical trial. Recent lab data suggests the drug retains its effectiveness against Omicron, Pfizer said.

“We’re talking about a staggering number of lives saved and hospitalizations prevented. And of course, if you deploy this quickly after infection, we are likely to reduce transmission dramatically,” Pfizer Chief Scientific Officer Mikael Dolsten said, calling it “a stunning outcome.”

Pfizer raised its 2022 production projections to 120 million courses of treatment from 80 million and said it was ready to start immediate delivery in the United States. The treatment’s two-drug regimen includes a new medicine and a second older antiviral called ritonavir.

READ: Trump is rapidly moving toward a confession about his high crimes against America

“Paxlovid’s approval is a major milestone that marks another step towards making COVID-19 a much more manageable infection,” said Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Institute for Health Security.

“There are two key issues, however, that remain: It will be scarce in the coming weeks and its optimal use requires prompt diagnosis, which can be difficult with the continual testing problems that plague us,” Adalja added.

Pfizer has said it has 180,000 treatment courses ready to ship this year. The U.S. government’s contract for 10 million courses of the drug is priced at $530 per course.

The Food and Drug Administration’s decision to issue emergency authorization for the treatment comes as the U.S. combats a surge in COVID-19 cases driven by the Omicron variant, with President Joe Biden announcing plans for more federal vaccination and testing sites.

READ: This 232-year-old power has never been used by Congress — but it could save the republic

The pills can fill a treatment gap opened by the Omicron variant, said William Schaffner, a leading infectious disease expert from the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. The most widely used monoclonal antibody treatments for COVID-19 have proven to be less effective at fighting the variant and there is limited supply of the one remaining treatment that works, he said.

Monoclonal antibodies are typically given intravenously in hospitals, are not widely available and are more than twice the cost of the Pfizer pill.

Bette Midler apologizes for calling West Virginians 'poor, illiterate and strung out'

The Divine Miss Bette Midler apologized to West Virginia residents for what she called a “poor, illiterate, strung out” tweet about Sen. Joe Manchin.

Midler shared her frustration with Manchin after the Democratic senator announced he would not support President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better Act.

Midler originally tweeted “What #JoeManchin, who represents a population smaller than Brooklyn, has done to the rest of America, who wants to move forward, not backward, like his state, is horrible.”

“He sold us out,” Midler wrote. “He wants us all to be just like his state, West Virginia. Poor, illiterate and strung out.”

“I apologize to the good people of WVA for my last outburst,” she tweeted in part. “I’m just seeing red.”

Thousands of LGBTQ+ Israelis received text messages to ‘repent’ or face ‘death’: report

The Jerusalem Post has reported that thousands of LGBTQ+ Israelis received text messages saying they “deserve severe punishment, death and deportation” and calling on them to “repent.” The Association for LGBTQ Equality in Israel confirmed the news Monday.

“You are LGBT and an apostate. You deserve severe punishment, death and deportation from Israel,” the message read. “Come to Yeshiva Ohr Elhanan in order to repent. We would be glad if you undergo conversion to faith.”

According to The Jerusalem Post, “The message included a phone number and a Telegram account to contact and stated that it was sent by Rabbi Chaim Aryeh Hadash, the rosh yeshiva of Yeshiva Ohr Elhanan. The rabbi has denied that he has any connection to the message, saying he has never talked about the issue and the issue is not addressed in his yeshiva.”

The Agudah and the Havruta organization for LGBTQ+ religious Jewish men invited Hadash to a dialogue with the LGBTQ+ religious Jewish community. They also called in a letter for Hadash to publish a public condemnation of the messages sent in his name and to “prevent the further great desecration of God that has already been done.”

READ: House investigation into the Jan. 6 insurrection just took an unexpected turn: report

The director-general of the Israel Internet Association, Yoram Hacohen, called for police to investigate whether the person who sent the text used data from the Black Shadow attack, adding that “Since these are text messages, it is possible to find out their source and take criminal action against the perpetrators…These are, on the face of it, elements who have grossly violated the Privacy Protection Law – I call on Israel Police to act immediately to locate the perpetrators. They have the tools to do that.”

This latest incident comes just days after a seminar hosted by the 105 hotline for the protection of children online concerning harm against LGBTQ+ youth online.

Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker test positive for COVID

As new COVID-19 variant Omicron spreads like wildfire across the world, two top Democrats – Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) – have announced they’ve contracted the virus.

“I regularly test for COVID & while I tested negative earlier this week, today I tested positive with a breakthrough case,” Warren tweeted. She said she is feeling only mild symptoms and is “grateful for the protection provided against serious illness that comes from being vaccinated & boosted.”

Warren added, “As cases increase across the country, I urge everyone who has not already done so to get the vaccine and the booster as soon as possible – together, we can save lives.”

Booker tweeted that he had mild symptoms Saturday and tested positive as well.

“I’m beyond grateful to have received two doses of vaccine and, more recently, a booster — I’m certain that without them I would be doing much worse,” he said.

Congressional Democrat, Rep. Jason Crow (D-CO) tweeted that he has tested positive upon return from an official visit to Ukraine. His was also a breakthrough case.

“I’m thankful to be fully vaccinated and boosted and experiencing only mild symptoms (the vaccine is safe and effective),” Crow said.


'Fox News Christmas tree' goes up in flames as man is arrested for torching it

A 49-year-old man is in custody after allegedly setting a Christmas tree on fire outside of the Fox News building in New York City.

Witnesses posted videos to the Citizen App of the perpetrator lighting the tree on West 48th Street and 6th Avenue on fire. A News 4 employee was witness to NYPD officers apprehending a suspect near the tree after midnight.

“A police department spokesperson confirmed a 49-year-old man was in custody but investigators couldn’t confirm an incendiary device was used. A light was removed from the suspect, though it’s also unclear whether it was used,” NBC New York reported.

“The News Corp. building on Avenue of the Americas just celebrated the Christmas tree on Sunday. It’s filled with 10,000 glass ornaments, 100,000 lights and it took over 21 hours to put together. Crews were later seen taking down what was left of the tree,” Nadeau shared.

Watch the video below.

NYPD: Christmas tree set on fire outside Fox News; man in custody youtu.be

MSNBC's Nicolle Wallace skewers Chris Christie for trying to 'save' the GOP

MSNBC news host Nicolle Wallace skewered former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie while he was promoting his book, "Republican Rescue: Saving the Party from Truth Deniers, Conspiracy Theorists and the Dangerous Policies of Joe Biden.”

“Is bias more dangerous to the country than conspiracy theorists?” Wallace asked.

“No, but that’s the third section of the book where I talk about the movement forward. In the second portion of the book, we talk about the conspiracy theories and the truth-denying that went on with things like Qanon, Pizzagate, the election situation, John Birch Society… that’s what I talk about. There’s two sections of the book and I’m sure you’re conflating them,” Christie answered.

“I’m not conflating them,” Wallace said. “I don’t think it’s an intellectually honest case to make against conspiracy theories without taking on Fox News.”

READ: Chris Christie torched for his latest attempt at redemption after repeatedly cowering to Trump over the last decade

During the interview, Wallace also asked Christie if he thought former President Donald J. Trump gave him COVID-19. He denied naming Trump specifically in the contraction, but ultimately said he didn't know who gave it to him.

See below for how Twitter has responded to the interview, which originally aired Tuesday night, and also to the news of Christie's potential run for president in 2024.

Trump swipes at Mark Zuckerberg asking for White House goodies: 'He didn't do too well'

Former President Donald J. Trump mocked Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and "big tech" during an interview on Tuesday when he appeared on Fox News with Sean Hannity.

Trump meandered throughout the interview and went off on a tangent claiming he did "big things" when discussing the 2020 election. Trump said Zuckerberg visited the White House "trying to get goodies," but that "he didn't do too well."

Trump added, "So I thought that he was concerned we were doing things. We were doing things. Had we had a second term, we would have had that much, really, pretty much under control. We had some incredible things planned for big tech."

Watch the video below.

- YouTube youtu.be


Trump swipes at Mark Zuckerberg asking for White House goodies: ‘He didn’t do too well’

Former President Donald J. Trump mocked Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and "big tech" during an interview on Tuesday when he appeared on Fox News with Sean Hannity.

Trump meandered throughout the interview and went off on a tangent claiming he did "big things" when discussing the 2020 election. Trump said Zuckerberg visited the White House "trying to get goodies," but that "he didn't do too well."

Trump added, "So I thought that he was concerned we were doing things. We were doing things. Had we had a second term, we would have had that much, really, pretty much under control. We had some incredible things planned for big tech."

Watch the video below.

Sean Hannity 11/23/21 | FOX BREAKING NEWS TRUMP November 23, 2021 www.youtube.com

Biden considers a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Olympics in Beijing

A decision is expected soon that could impose a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics in protest of human rights violations in China's Xinjiang province. If the U.S. boycott occurs, no government officials would attend the games, however, qualified U.S. athletes are still expected to be allowed participate.

"President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. met virtually on Nov. 15 with President Xi Jinping of the People's Republic of China (PRC). The two leaders discussed the complex nature of relations between our two countries and the importance of managing competition responsibly," a White House readout stated.

The readout further examined, "President Biden raised concerns about the PRC's practices in Xinjiang, Tibet, and Hong Kong, as well as human rights more broadly. He was clear about the need to protect American workers and industries from the PRC's unfair trade and economic practices."

During the meeting, Biden also discussed the importance of a free and open Indo-Pacific, and communicated the continued determination of the United States to uphold our commitments in the region.

READ: Rep. Ilhan Omar torches Lauren Boebert for calling her a member of 'The Jihad Squad' during bizarre rant on House floor

When asked on Tuesday whether he thought there would be a U.S. delegation at the Beijing Olympics, Biden replied, "I'm the delegation and I dealt with it."

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said during an appearance at the virtual New York Times DealBook Summit, "We are talking to, to allies, to partners, to countries around the world about how they're thinking about the games, how they're thinking about participation."

Two men convicted of assassinating Malcolm X exonerated after 55 years

The two men convicted of assassinating Malcolm X in 1965 were exonerated Thursday after a 22-month investigation found that evidence of their innocence, including FBI documents, was withheld at trial.

Muhammad A. Aziz and the late Khalil Islam spent the last half-century fighting for their freedom before New York County Supreme Court Administrative Judge Ellen Biben granted the motion to vacate their convictions Thursday.

Islam died in 2009. Aziz, now 83 years old, addressed the court Thursday.

"The events that brought us to court today should never have occurred. Those events were and are the result of a process that was corrupt to its core, one that is all too familiar to black people in 2021," Aziz said. "I hope the same system that was responsible for this travesty of justice also takes responsibility for the immeasurable harm caused to me during the last 55 or 56 years."

READ: Trump used mass death as a political weapon — and it's the country's reaction that is truly shocking

"I regret that this court cannot fully undo the serious miscarriages of justice in this case and give you back the many years that were lost," Biben said in her ruling before the court erupted in applause.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, who handled the investigation, spoke following the ruling.

"I apologize for what were serious, unacceptable violations of law and the public trust," Vance said. "I apologize on behalf of our nation's law enforcement for this decades-long injustice which has eroded public faith in institutions that are designed to guarantee equal protection under law."

Vance continued, "Your honor, we can't restore what was taken away from these men and their families, but by correcting the records, perhaps we can begin to restore that faith."

READ: Evangelical warns Christians have 'erected a graven image' of Trump and let it corrupt the faith

Attorney David B. Shanies said Aziz and Islam "experienced the agony of decades in prison for a crime they did not commit. They were robbed of their freedom in the prime of their lives and branded the killers of a towering civil rights leader."

Watch the reactions below.





Bill Maher: ‘How do you negotiate with people who think Democrats eat babies?’

Comedian Bill Maher was interviewed Wednesday by CNN's Chris Cuomo and the soundbites were ferocious. One that immediately comes to mind: Maher asked the host, "How do you negotiate with people who think Democrats eat babies?"

Maher added that not only did he think former President Donald Trump would run again in 2024, but that whether or not he won the election – he would say that he did.

On the topic of the U.S. Capitol Building attack on Jan. 6, Maher asked, "What do you do when there are people in our government who don't believe in our form of government? It's a pretty sobering thought that the Republican with the most backbone [on Nov. 6] was Mike Pence."

Maher also shared, "When I mention Liz Cheney [on the show] now, the audience claps."

READ: Ilhan Omar rips Lauren Boebert for calling her a member of 'The Jihad Squad' during bizarre House floor rant

Watch the video below.

Bill Maher makes prediction about Trump's 2024 plans www.youtube.com

'Fallen nation': GOP Rep. Gonzales warns that Trump will try to steal the election again if he loses in 2024

A stern warning was issued to Republicans Friday by Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH): don't rest on your laurels – former President Donald Trump will try to steal the next election.

"January 6 was an unconstitutional attempt led by the President of the United States to overturn an American election and reinstall himself in power illegitimately," Gonzalez said. "That's fallen nation territory, that's third world country territory. My family left Cuba to avoid that fate. I will not let it happen here."

Gonzalez said he could see one of two outcomes: "He either wins legitimately, which he may do, or if he loses again, you just try to steal it."

Gonzalez was one of only 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump following the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Gonzalez and his family were the target of attacks and threats following the impeachment hearing. He has chosen to retire from Congress at the end of his term and avoid facing off with a Trump-backed primary challenger.

Gonzalez told CNN he will try to stop Trump from running the same 2020 playbook to overturn another election.

"The institutions don't hold themselves," Gonzalez said. "In the moments of truth, you need the right people to pass the most difficult tests. We had just enough people on January 6 pass the test. We have to make sure we have equal number of people to continue to pass the test going forward."

"I'm afraid that the kind of political violence, the kind of abandonment of the rule of law, the kind of abandonment of the constitution that we watched, does threaten the foundations of democracy, the foundations of our system," said Rep. Liz Cheney, the Wyoming Republican who was kicked out of House GOP leadership over her criticism of Trump.

"And the fact that so many in my party are willing to be silent, are complicit, are enabling it, adds very much to the peril," added Cheney, one of two Republicans serving on the House select committee investigating January 6.

"I have real concerns about the future of this democracy," said Bill Gates, a Republican supervisor in Arizona's Maricopa County who pushed back on claims that there was fraud in the 2020 election result. "I didn't think we had this sort of pull towards authoritarianism in our in our democracy."

New video of depositions reveals Rudy Giuliani made a damning admission about his 2020 conspiracy claims

Former mayor of New York Rudy Giuliani is in the hot seat after insisting he "didn't have the time" to investigate election fraud claims pertaining to his client and friend Donald J. Trump before making baseless public statements.

In a new video obtained by CNN, the 77-year-old further deflected his involvement with election interference, saying that "sometimes I go and look myself when stuff comes up. This time I didn't have the time to do it."

He added, "It's not my job, in a fast-moving case, to go out and investigate every piece of evidence that was given to me. Otherwise, you're never going to write a story. You'll never come to a conclusion."

The video is from Giuliani's deposition in a defamation lawsuit filed by former Dominion Voting Systems executive Eric Coomer.

Giuliani continued in the damning deposition, "We had a report that the heads of Dominion and Smartmatic, somewhere in the mid-tweens, you know 2013, 2014, whatever, went down to Venezuela for a get-to-know meeting with [President Nicolás] Maduro so they could demonstrate to Maduro the kind of vote fixing they did for [former President Hugo] Chavez."

According to court records reviewed by CNN last month, Giuliani spent less than an hour reviewing allegations that Coomer was part of a plot to rig the election before publicly making those claims at a November news conference.

"Rudy's justification for spreading sputum is that everybody does it," CNN anchor Chris Cuomo shared on his show Thursday night. "So what we have here is a battle to the bottom. What does that mean for where we're all headed?"

Watch the video below.

Steve Mnuchin on stimulus checks: 'May arrive as early as tonight'

Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin released a statement Tuesday afternoon regarding the status of stimulus checks and, get this: they could be delivered electronically as early as tonight.

"Today, the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service will begin delivering a second round of Economic Impact Payments to millions of Americans as part of the implementation of the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021," the statement began. "The initial direct deposit payments may begin arriving as early as tonight for some and will continue into next week."

The statement continued, "Paper checks will begin to be mailed tomorrow, Wednesday, December 30. This second round of payments will provide critical economic support to those who, through no fault of their own, have been adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic."

"Treasury and the IRS are working with unprecedented speed to issue a second round of Economic Impact Payments to eligible Americans and their families," Mnuchin said. "These payments are an integral part of our commitment to providing vital additional economic relief to the American people during this unprecedented time."

According to the statement, eligible individuals will receive an Economic Impact Payment of up to $600 for individuals or $1200 for married couples and up to $600 for each qualifying child. Generally, if you have adjusted gross income for 2019 up to $75,000 for individuals and up to $150,000 for married couples filing joint returns and surviving spouses, you will receive the full amount of the second payment. For filers with income above those amounts, the payment amount is reduced.


Vice President-elect Kamala Harris gets vaccinated: 'I trust the scientists'

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris received her first dose of the Moderna coronavirus vaccine on Tuesday. Her husband, Doug Emhoff, received his vaccination on the same day.

"That was easy! Thank you. I just barely felt it. I barely felt it," Harris said after receiving the vaccine.

"I look forward to getting the second vaccine. Literally this is about saving lives," she said. "I trust the scientists, and it is the scientists who created and approved the vaccine. So I urge everyone when it is your turn, get vaccinated. It's about saving your life, the life of your family members and the life of your community."

Harris followed President-elect Joe Biden in becoming vaccinated on live TV on Dec. 21. His wife, Dr. Jill Biden, received her first dose that day, too.

Vice President Mike Pence and his wife received their vaccinations on Dec. 18.

President Trump and his wife Melania have not yet received their vaccinations.

"From a scientific point of view, I will remind people that the president has had COVID within the last 90 days," U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams told Face the Nation. "He received monoclonal antibodies and that is actually one scenario where we tell people, 'Maybe you should hold off on getting the vaccine, talk to your health provider to find out the right time.' Politics aside, there is a medical reason."

Harris' vaccination comes at a critical time in the pandemic timeline. It's been proven that Black Americans are more likely to be at risk of contracting and dying from the virus.

Watch the video below.

Biden: Trump's mishandling of transition is 'nothing short' of 'irresponsibility'

President-elect Joe Biden made it clear Monday that his incoming administration will be operating from a disadvantage on day one if the Trump administration didn't start cooperating immediately.

"From some agencies, our team received exemplary cooperation … from others, most notable, the Department of Defense, we encountered obstruction from the political leadership of that department," Biden said in remarks delivered after a briefing with his national security and foreign policy advisers.

"Right now, as our nation is in a period of transition, we need to make sure that nothing is lost in the hand-off between administrations," Biden said. "My team needs a clear picture of our force posture around the world and our operations to deter our enemies."

He then added, "We need full visibility into the budget planning underway at the Defense Department and other agencies in order to avoid any window of confusion or catch up that our adversaries may try to exploit."

Biden then called out the current administration for their "irresponsibility" in protecting the nation.

"Right now, we just aren't getting all the information that we need from the outgoing administration in key national security areas," he said. "It's nothing short, in my view, of irresponsibility. Rebuilding the full set of our instruments of foreign policy and national security is a key challenge that the Vice President-elect Harris and I will face upon taking office, starting with our diplomacy."

Watch the video below.


Biden to invoke Defense Protection Act to vaccinate Americans after Trump team fails to meet goal

President-elect Joe Biden is expected to invoke the Defense Production Act to ensure that Americans are protected against COVID-19 at the earliest date possible.

The wartime measure will boost the pandemic timeline to ensure "adequate supply" of "personal protective equipment, the test capacity and the raw materials for the vaccines," Biden adviser Dr. Celine Gounder told CNBC's "Squawk Box" on Monday. According to the report, the Defense Protection Act "could help U.S. secure components and specialized products that manufacturers need to produce the vaccines."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that fewer than 2 million people have received the vaccine as of Saturday.

"That's far below the administration's previously stated goal of vaccinating 20 million people before the end of the month, though Adm. Brett Giroir, assistant secretary of health, has said there are delays between the states and the CDC data," CNBC reported.

Gounder added that under the Biden administration, the U.S. will see "a major increase" in testing to track mild and asymptomatic cases of the virus, as well as in genomic surveillance, which tracks mutations of the virus to pick up on new variants.

"We did not do that routinely," Gounder said, referring to genomic surveillance under the Trump administration. "We have the technology. We just chose not to spend the money on that kind of public health surveillance."

Trump's coronavirus vaccine czar, Moncef Slaoui, said during a press briefing on Wednesday that their original goal of 20 million vaccinations was "unlikely to be met" by the end of 2020.

Trump suffers bipartisan rebuke as the House votes by large margin to override his veto

The Democratic-controlled House of Representatives voted 322-87 on Monday to override President Trump's veto of the $740 billion National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). If approved by two-thirds of the Senate, the override would be the first of Trump's presidency in an increasingly split Congress with just three weeks until President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration.

Prior to Trump's denouncement and veto of the critical defense bill, it had been passed by Congress every year since 1967. He said he would veto the bill "if lawmakers did not repeal liability protections for social media companies outlined in Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act," Axios reported Monday.

The 74-year-old president also opposed legislation in the defense bill that proposed renaming 10 military installations currently named after Confederate leaders.

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-WA) said Monday, "It is enormously important we pass this bill. We did it once. Let's just do it one more time and then we can all go home for the year."

During his remarks, Smith referred to the Armed Services Committee as "the most bipartisan committee in Congress."

He continued, "That's not an easy thing to achieve. We have a lot of things we passionately disagree about in this body, and we should. But on the armed services bill, we manage to come together. It's not always easy, but we get it done. I think it is enormously important we let the country know that that process hasn't died."

A Senate vote is expected to occur this week on the bill.

Military on 'red alert' that Trump may invoke martial law to stay in power: report

A series of pardons, post-election protests claiming voter fraud that has never been proven, and one man's probable mental illness at the head of the nation are adding up to a "red alert" in what has normally been a quiet time of the year for many: the holidays. But not this year.

"Pentagon and Washington-area military leaders are on red alert, wary of what President Donald Trump might do in his remaining days in office," Newsweek reported on Thursday.

One officer who spoke with Newsweek on the condition of anonymity said the inaugural and transitional planning is being kept out of sight of the White House and Trump loyalists in the Pentagon for fear that it would be shut down.

"I've been associated with the military for over 40 years and I've never seen the discussions that are being had right now, the need for such discussions," said the retired flag officer, who is currently a defense contractor. He was granted anonymity in order to speak without fear of reprisal.

"Right now, because of coronavirus," one retired judge advocate general said, "the president actually has unprecedented emergency powers, ones that might convince him—particularly if he listens to certain of his supporters—that he has unlimited powers and is above the law."

He continued, "But martial law is the wrong paradigm to think about the dangers ahead."

"There is no role for the U.S. military in determining the outcome of an American election," Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy and Army Chief of Staff General James McConville said in a joint statement last Friday.

"At this point there's no telling what the president might do in the next month," a former Northern Command (NORTHCOM) commander told Newsweek. "Though I'm confident that the uniformed military leadership has their heads screwed on right, the craziness is unprecedented and the possibilities are endless."

The retired flag officer also requested anonymity because he is actively advising senior officers and is not authorized to speak on the record.

Retired Lt. General Michael Flynn, President Trump's first national security advisor and a recently pardoned felon, publicly broached the subject of martial law on the conservative channel Newsmax last week, saying that the president should use the military to seize voting boxes and "rerun" the election in certain states.

"He could take military capabilities and he could … basically rerun an election," Flynn said. "The president has to plan for every eventuality because we cannot allow this election and the integrity of our election to go the way it is."

Flynn's statement has been condemned by numerous retired officers who referred to Flynn as a "disgrace to his uniform."

Trump has so far denied the martial law suggestion publicly.


Trump breaks with the GOP and vetoes $740 billion defense bill

President Donald J. Trump vetoed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) Wednesday in a move that defied Congress. The bill had previously been passed by Congress every year since 1967.

The $740 billion defense spending bill had been passed by the House and Senate with veto-proof majorities, which could set up a potential fight to override the outgoing president's veto power.

"The Act fails even to make any meaningful changes to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, despite bipartisan calls for repealing that provision," Trump said in a message to the House Wednesday.

He continued, "My Administration recognizes the importance of the Act to our national security. Unfortunately, the Act fails to include critical national security measures, includes provisions that fail to respect our veterans and our military's history, and contradicts efforts by my Administration to put America first in our national security and foreign policy actions."

He then said it was a "gift to China and Russia."

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