[mitch mcconnell daughter]Biden announces door-to-door outreach, outlines other strategies to boost vaccinations
“It’s a year of hard-fought progress. We can’t get complacent now. The best thing you can do to protect yourself and your family and the people you care about the most is get vaccinated,” Biden said in remarks at the White House complex on the federal government’s coronavirus response, after falling shy of his self-imposed July 4 deadline for 70 percent of U.S. adults to have received at least one vaccination shot.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Tuesday that by the end of the week, nearly 160 million people in the United States will be fully vaccinated.
Here’s what to know:
Democrats have a chance to pass sweeping infrastructure, tax, climate and social policy measures that would transform American life — but doing so will require them to pull off an incredibly difficult legislative high-wire act over the next few weeks.The House Problem Solvers Caucus announced its support for an infrastructure deal crafted by a bipartisan group of senators, giving a boost to a package that Biden is heavily promoting and signaling that it could attract some Republican support in the House.A sprawling bipartisan Senate proposal that passed last month and would spread $250 billion across several key industries to counter China’s growing technological and economical prowess is being viewed warily in the House.By Colby Itkowitz8:06 p.m.Link copiedlink
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams was projected the winner in the New York City Democratic mayoral primary on Tuesday, bringing to a close a chaotic and drawn-out election complicated by a debacle in initially tallying the results under a new voting process.
Adams has held first place since the June 22 primary, but his lead narrowed considerably as ranked-choice ballots were analyzed, eliminating less-popular candidates and distributing their votes to a voter’s second, third or fourth pick. The projection by the Associated Press came after more absentee ballots were counted and updated results released on Tuesday.
“While there are still some very small amounts of votes to be counted, the results are clear: an historic, diverse, five-borough coalition led by working-class New Yorkers has led us to victory in the Democratic primary for Mayor of New York City,” Adams said in a statement.
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In a statement Tuesday, Biden marked the six months since the attack on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob, calling it “a violent and deadly assault on the people’s house, on the people’s representatives, and on the Capitol police sworn to protect them.”
“This was not dissent,” Biden said. “It was disorder. It posed an existential crisis and a test of whether our democracy could survive — a sad reminder that there is nothing guaranteed about our democracy.”
About 10,000 people gathered at the Capitol on Jan. 6, and nearly 800 of them broke into the Capitol building. The events of the day resulted in five deaths, and nearly 140 officers were assaulted during the attack, as they faced rioters armed with ax handles, bats, metal batons, wooden poles, hockey sticks and other weapons, authorities said.
While the events of Jan. 6 were shocking, Biden said, six months after the attack, “we can say unequivocally that democracy did prevail — and that we must all continue the work to protect and preserve it.”
He called on Americans to “stand up to the hate, the lies, and the extremism that led to this vicious attack, including determining what happened so that we can remember it and not bury it hoping we forget.”
An effort to establish a bipartisan, independent commission to investigate the events surrounding Jan. 6 was blocked by Senate Republicans. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) later introduced legislation to form a select committee to investigate the attack; last week, she named her appointees to the panel. House Republicans have yet to announce whether they will appoint members of their own.
“On this day, Jill and I send our condolences again to the families of the U.S. Capitol Police officers who lost their lives or suffered severely in defense of our democracy,” Biden said. “We pray for them and for our nation. Together, let us demonstrate to ourselves, and to the world, the enduring strength and the limitless capacity and goodness of who we are as Americans.”
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Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) has asked to be dismissed from a federal lawsuit alleging that he incited the Jan. 6 mob assault on the U.S. Capitol, claiming that he can’t be held liable because he was acting as a federal employee while challenging the 2020 election results in a fiery speech just before the riots began.
Brooks said in a motion Friday that he should be dropped as a defendant or represented by the Justice Department in the case, filed March 5 by colleague Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.). The lawsuit names former president Donald Trump, Brooks, Donald Trump Jr. and Rudolph W. Giuliani and seeks damages in connection with their statements to a crowd near the White House that the former president told to march to the Capitol.
“Today is the day American patriots start taking down names,” Brooks said, echoing Trump’s unfounded claims that the election was rigged. Brooks told the crowd they were victims of a historic theft and asked whether they were ready to sacrifice their lives for their country.
U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta in Washington on Monday directed the Justice Department and Swalwell to respond to Brooks’s claims. The judge also dismissed without prejudice Swalwell’s request that the court enter a default judgment against Brooks, who had previously failed to meet a deadline to respond to the suit.
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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday acknowledged that Kentucky will receive $4 billion from a bill he opposed — and Biden administration officials were quick to highlight the Republican leader’s words.
“What he said,” deputy White House press secretary Andrew Bates said in a tweet in which he also shared a clip of McConnell’s remarks.
At an event in Murray, Ky., on Tuesday afternoon, McConnell had noted that the sweeping coronavirus relief package known as the American Rescue Plan was approved by Congress “on a straight party-line vote.”
“Not a single member of my party voted for it,” McConnell said. “So, you’re going to get a lot more money. I didn’t vote for it. But you’re going to get a lot more money. Cities and counties in Kentucky will get close to [$700] or $800 million. If you add up the total amount that will come into our state, $4 billion. That’s twice what we sent in last year.”
McConnell added that his advice to local officials and members of the state legislature is to “spend it wisely, because hopefully this windfall doesn’t come along again.” He argued that the federal spending will probably drive inflation and that it contributes to “the difficulty of getting people back to work.”
Across the country, businesses in sectors such as food service and manufacturing that are trying to staff up have been reporting an obstacle to their success: a scarcity of workers interested in applying for low-wage positions.
Republicans have blamed enhanced unemployment benefits for the shortage. Democrats and most labor economists say the issue is the result of a complicated mix of factors, including many schools having yet to fully reopen, lingering concerns about workplace safety and other ways the workforce has shifted during the pandemic.
As lawmakers debate an additional round of coronavirus relief, McConnell argued Tuesday that such a move would be “wildly inappropriate.”
“And that’s why the era of bipartisanship on this stuff is over,” he said.
Eli Rosenberg contributed to this report.
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After storming the Capitol on Jan. 6, a Northern Virginia man began forming his own militia-like group in the D.C. suburbs and building up a supply of explosives under the guise of a Bible study group, according to federal prosecutors.
Fi Duong, 27, appeared in court Friday and was released to home confinement pending trial, over the objections of prosecutors who sought stricter terms. According to the court record, at the time of his arrest he had several guns, including an AK-47, and the material to make 50 molotov cocktails. Details of the case were made public Tuesday.
An attorney for Duong declined to comment.
Duong entered the Capitol on Jan. 6, according to prosecutors, telling an undercover federal agent that he climbed the building wall, delivered a letter to lawmakers and filmed others opening a door to the building with a crowbar.
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Biden said Tuesday that the latest ransomware attack appears to have caused minimal damage to U.S. businesses despite it possibly being the largest ransomware attack ever.
The president said his national security team updated him Tuesday morning on the attack.
“It appears to have caused minimal damage to U.S. businesses, but we’re still gathering information to the full extent of the attack,” the president told reporters in a brief exchange following his remarks on the coronavirus pandemic and vaccines.
Attackers broke into the system of Kaseya, a Miami-based company that sells software helping other businesses manage their computer networks, by taking advantage of a software vulnerability in its code. Ransomware attacks burrow into computer networks before blocking the owners of each network from having access.
Between 800 and 1,500 small businesses were affected in the ongoing attack. REvil, the ransomware gang believed to be behind it, initially told each of the small businesses harmed that they must pay around $50,000 to get access back to their computers. Then on Sunday, it said it would accept $70 million in cryptocurrency to unlock all the businesses at once.
Experts believe that REvil is based in Russia. Biden said Saturday that the Russian government was not initially believed to be involved in the attack, but that the White House was still investigating the incident. When Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin met last month, they discussed starting consultations on addressing cyberattacks.
Kaseya chief executive Fred Voccola said Tuesday that the company shut down the compromised program within an hour of noticing the attack to prevent hackers from causing harm to additional businesses.
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As the Biden administration winds down mass-vaccination sites, President Biden explained the plan to shift to community-based vaccination on July 6. (The Washington Post)
In remarks at the White House Tuesday afternoon, Biden hailed “a year of hard-fought progress” against the coronavirus but warned Americans that the pandemic remains a threat.
“We can’t get complacent now,” Biden said. “The best thing you can do to protect yourself and your family and the people you care about the most is get vaccinated. … It’s the patriotic thing to do.”
Biden also pointed to the delta coronavirus variant, noting that it is “already responsible for half of all cases” in many parts of the country.
“It’s more easily transmissible and potentially more dangerous,” Biden said, adding, “It seems to me it should cause everybody to think twice.”
The Biden administration recently announced the formation of “surge response” teams intended to combat the fast-moving delta variant by deploying additional expertise and supplies to hot spots.
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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Tuesday urged more Americans to get vaccinated against the coronavirus, arguing that doing so is “the only way to finally finish this thing off.”
“There’s no good reason not to get vaccinated,” McConnell said at a stop in Murray, Ky. “We need to finish the job.”
McConnell has long been vocal in pressing Americans to get the vaccine. His remarks Tuesday come shortly before Biden is expected to deliver remarks on the issue.
A Washington Post-ABC News poll released over the weekend shows the Biden administration’s effort to vaccinate as many Americans as possible continues to face hurdles, including resistance among people who identify as Republicans.
The survey found that 86 percent of Democrats have received at least one shot of a vaccine, compared with 45 percent of Republicans. But while 6 percent of Democrats say they aren’t likely to get vaccinated, 47 percent of Republicans fall into that camp, with 38 percent of Republicans overall saying they definitely will not get shots against the coronavirus.
McConnell on Tuesday addressed vaccine skeptics, telling them: “It may not guarantee you don’t get [the virus], but it almost guarantees you don’t die from it if you get it.”
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In October 2016, there seemed to be a viable niche for Republicans skeptical of Donald Trump. The “Access Hollywood” tape dropped on Oct. 7, spurring a rush away from the Republican nominee. He was trailing Hillary Clinton by enough of a margin in polling that it seemed reasonable to assume that he would lose the election and that, by extension, his unique political approach would be to some extent repudiated.
Consider J.D. Vance, the author whose book “Hillbilly Elegy” focused on the same White working-class frustration that Trump was hoping to leverage. When Trump’s comments about groping women were published by The Washington Post that month, Vance despaired on Twitter: “Fellow Christians, everyone is watching us when we apologize for this man. Lord help us.” Two days later, he said he found Trump “reprehensible” specifically because of how Trump “makes people I care about afraid,” like immigrants and Muslims. By the end of the month, Vance endorsed third-party candidate Evan McMullin, a candidate injected into the race specifically to appeal to Trump-skeptical Republicans.
“In 4 years,” Vance wrote in March 2016, “I hope people remember that it was those of us who empathized with Trump’s voters who fought him most aggressively.”
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By Eugene Scott1:44 p.m.Link copiedlink
Saudi Arabia’s deputy defense minister, Prince Khalid bin Salman, will meet with Biden administration officials in Washington on Tuesday. National security adviser Jake Sullivan, along with officials from the State and Defense departments, are scheduled to attend.
During the meeting, they’ll discuss “the long-standing partnership between the United States and Saudi Arabia, regional security and the U.S. commitment to help Saudi Arabia defend its territory as it faces attacks from Iranian-aligned groups,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said during the daily briefing.
The murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post contributing columnist, could also be a topic, Psaki said, but she would not discuss additional details. Khashoggi was a U.S.-based Saudi Arabian journalist who was often critical of the government in his writings. He was killed in October 2018 while picking up documentation at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul for his upcoming marriage.
The CIA concluded in November 2018 that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had ordered the assassination, contradicting the Saudi government’s claims that the leader was not involved in the killing. The research revealed that a group of 15 Saudi agents traveled to Istanbul in October 2018 on government aircraft and killed Khashoggi inside the consulate.
The Biden administration worked to declassify a report naming specific officials who the intelligence community believed were involved in Khasoggi’s killing. The president declined to punish Salman for his role in the murder, arguing that the decision would have been diplomatically unprecedented for the United States.
“We held accountable all the people in that organization — but not the crown prince, because we have never, that I’m aware of … when we have an alliance with a country, gone to the acting head of state and punished that person and ostracized him,” he said on ABC News in March.
By John Wagner1:39 p.m.Link copiedlink
Biden on Wednesday will convene leaders from the State Department, Justice Department and other agencies to discuss ransomware and the government’s overall efforts to counter it, Psaki said Tuesday.
“This is a priority,” Psaki said during a White House briefing. “He’s meeting with a range of officials tomorrow.”
Psaki said the meeting is intended to follow up on a directive from Biden several weeks ago asking officials to “assess what our options are and how we can better put in place partnerships with the private sector.”
The issue has taken on additional urgency with the attack in recent days on Kaseya, a software firm that helps other companies manage their computer networks.
The company said Tuesday that the hack affected between 800 and 1,500 small businesses, potentially making it the largest ransomware attack ever.
By Dan Balz12:37 p.m.Link copiedlink
The 2020 election produced a record number of people voting and the highest-percentage turnout in more than a century. It was an election that cost Donald Trump a second term in the White House and handed the Oval Office to Joe Biden. What changed from 2016 to 2020?
The Pew Research Center has provided multiple answers to that question, based on a survey of more than 11,000 Americans who said they had cast ballots and who were subsequently verified through other records as having voted.
More than 158 million Americans voted in the presidential election, which translated to 66 percent of those eligible. Despite the coronavirus pandemic, turnout increased over 2016, in part because of what was at stake in the competition between Biden and Trump, and because many states made it easier for people to cast ballots by mail or to vote in person before Election Day.
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By Eugene Scott12:10 p.m.Link copiedlink
Former Maine governor Paul LePage announced on Monday his desire to return to the job after previously saying that he was “done with politics.”
The divisive Republican served two terms as governor before leaving office in 2019 because of term limits. Since then, LePage has constantly criticized Janet Mills (D) — Maine’s current governor — particularly for how she has handled the coronavirus pandemic. Maine’s constitution allows LePage to seek a third, nonconsecutive term.
LePage, 72, a frequent critic of political correctness, was first elected in 2010 and attracted national attention for a political style that has since become more mainstream in the GOP. In 2020, he was a vocal supporter of Donald Trump — whose leadership style often mirrored LePage’s. The governor’s comments and approach led to accusations of racial insensitivity and drawn-out battles with the media, Democrats and even other Republicans.
LePage’s success implementing mainstream conservative wins — decreasing the size of Maine’s government, tightening eligibility for welfare and thus slashing the number of people receiving assistance, and reducing income taxes despite a Democratic legislature — won him points with fellow Republicans.
LePage moved to Florida to take advantage of the state’s lower income taxes shortly after Mills took office. He moved back to Maine last year. LePage first suggested that he’d run against Mills, who was attorney general during his tenure, shortly after she won in 2018. He filed candidacy paperwork last week.
“Maine faces several challenges and we must work toward building a better future based on individual liberty, fiscal responsibility, and an economy which empowers everyone including our rural communities,” LePage said in a statement Monday.
By Olivier Knox11:40 a.m.Link copiedlink
Republican leaders have repeatedly declared they have no interest in relitigating the 2020 election. But GOP candidates and elected officials at every level have done so throughout 2021 — and reliving their version of 2020 is central to their plans for success in 2022 and beyond.
The GOP’s outward-facing message is opposition to President Biden, blaming him for virtually every ill — rising gas and food prices, gun violence, the situation at the border — and attacking his ambitious (and expensive) plans to remake America.
Inwardly, however, Republicans just can’t get enough of 2020 — as a way to keep their voters energized, a way to recruit and screen candidates, and a way to justify a coast-to-coast drive to rewrite election laws to end practices they blame for former president Donald Trump’s resounding defeat.
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