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News & Politics Thread (Part 5)

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    Parler has now been booted by Amazon, Apple, and Google

    by Brian Fung, CNN Business
    Updated 6:54 AM ET, Mon January 11, 2021

    (CNN Business) Parler, the alternative social media platform favored by conservatives, now finds itself virtually homeless on the internet as Amazon (AMZN), Apple (AAPL), and Google (GOOGL) have all booted it from their platforms in a span of a little more than 24 hours.

    Amazon said it would remove Parler from its cloud hosting service, Amazon Web Services, Sunday evening, effectively kicking it off of the public internet after mounting pressure from the public and Amazon employees.

    The decision, which went into force on Sunday at 11:59 p.m. Pacific time, will shut down Parler’s website and app until it can find a new hosting provider. The Parler website was not accessible early on Monday.
    BuzzFeed News was first to report the move. Parler is an alternative social network popular with conservatives and has been heavily used by supporters of President Donald Trump, including some who participated in Wednesday’s US Capitol unrest.

    In a letter obtained by CNN Business that was sent to Parler Chief Policy Officer Amy Peikoff on Saturday, Amazon Web Services said that in recent weeks it has reported 98 examples to Parler of “posts that clearly encourage and incite violence.” The letter includes screenshots of several examples.

    “We’ve seen a steady increase in this violent content on your website, all of which violates our terms,” AWS wrote. “It’s clear that Parler does not have an effective process to comply with the AWS terms of service.”

    The letter continued: “AWS provides technology and services to customers across the political spectrum, and we continue to respect Parler’s right to determine for itself what content it will allow on its site. However, we cannot provide services to a customer that is unable to effectively identify and remove content that encourages or incites violence against others. Because Parler cannot comply with our terms of service and poses a very real risk to public safety, we plan to suspend Parler’s account.”

    The sweep threatens to cut Parler off from its entire audience. Not only will new users be unable to find Parler on the internet’s two largest app stores, even those who’ve already downloaded the app will be unable to use it because it will be unable to communicate with Parler’s servers on AWS.

    Indeed, Parler CEO John Matze warned that the deplatforming could lead to service interruptions.

    After Amazon boots the company from its web hosting service, Parler’s website could be offline for as long as a week while “we rebuild from scratch,” Matze said in a post on his platform.

    “We will try our best to move to a new provider right now as we have many competing for our business,” Matze continued.
    Matze accused Amazon of trying to “completely remove free speech off the internet.”

    The revelation of Amazon’s decision came soon after Apple removed Parler from its app store.

    “[T]here is no place on our platform for threats of violence and illegal activity,” the iPhone maker said of its move.
    Apple notified Parler of its decision in a message that said it had violated the company’s app store terms.

    “The processes Parler has put in place to moderate or prevent the spread of dangerous and illegal content have proved insufficient,” Apple told Parler. “Specifically, we have continued to find direct threats of violence and calls to incite lawless action in violation of Guideline 1.1 – Safety – Objectionable Content.”

    Apple’s notice said Parler’s responses to an earlier warning were inadequate, including Parler’s defense that it had been taking violent rhetoric on its platform “very seriously for weeks” and that it had a moderation plan “for the time being,” according to Apple.

    “Parler has not taken adequate measures to address the proliferation of these threats to people’s safety,” Apple said in a statement to CNN Business. “We have suspended Parler from the App Store until they
    resolve these issues.”

    Apple’s decision followed a similar move by Google on Friday to drop Parler from the Google Play Store.

    Matze wrote in a message on his platform that Apple “will be banning Parler until we give up free speech, institute broad and invasive policies like Twitter and Facebook and we become a surveillance platform by pursuing guilt of those who use Parler before innocence.”

    “They claim it is due to violence on the platform,” Matze wrote of Apple, whom he also accused of being a “software monopoly,” a particularly relevant attack right now given an ongoing antitrust suit against Apple from Fortnite maker Epic Games. “The community disagrees as we hit number 1 on their store today.”

    Matze promised to share “more details about our next plans coming soon as we have many options.”

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    Biden to nominate William Burns as CIA director, turning to a longtime diplomat to lead agency in post-Trump era

    by Jeff Zeleny, Senior Washington Correspondent
    Updated 7:03 AM ET, Mon January 11, 2021

    (CNN) President-elect Joe Biden on Monday will nominate William Burns as director of the Central Intelligence Agency, CNN has learned, tapping a respected veteran American diplomat who has served in posts around the world from the Reagan to the Obama administrations.

    “The American people will sleep soundly with him as our next CIA Director,” Biden said in a statement.

    If confirmed, Burns would become the first leader in the CIA’s history whose lifelong experience comes from the State Department.

    “Bill Burns is an exemplary diplomat with decades of experience on the world stage keeping our people and our country safe and secure,” Biden said. “He shares my profound belief that intelligence must be apolitical and that the dedicated intelligence professionals serving our nation deserve our gratitude and respect.”

    Biden was drawn to Burns because of his diplomatic experience and his perceived ability to restore credibility to the intelligence agency in the post-Trump era, people familiar with the matter said, along with his expertise on Russia. His selection would bypass other contenders with more formal experience in the intelligence field.

    Burns, who is known as Bill, is president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a respected international affairs think tank in Washington. He served as deputy secretary of State in the Obama administration after working for more than three decades in positions across the foreign service, which he joined in 1982.

    He also served under five American presidents, both Democrats and Republicans, and 10 secretaries of state in a variety of posts, including as ambassador to Jordan in the Clinton administration and to Russia under George W. Bush.

    Burns has talked extensively about the damage he believes the Trump administration has inflicted on the United States’ foreign policy. He warned of the dangerous consequences of President Donald Trump not accepting election defeat in a prescient essay last August in the Atlantic.

    “If he loses, I doubt that he will suddenly embrace the traditional bipartisan commitment to effective transitions. At best, he’ll be consumed by efforts to rationalize his defeat and paint the election as rigged; at worst, he’ll seek to contest or undermine the result,” Burns wrote. “Like so many other features of the Trump era, the transition would bear little resemblance to any before, or any of the many I served through as a career diplomat. The costs of confusion, mixed signals, and
    bureaucratic turmoil could be very high.”

    Burns also has a long history at the center of Middle East peace negotiations and worked closely in the Obama administration on the Iran nuclear deal. He has limited experience with China, but otherwise has a extensive portfolio of work in key regions around the globe.

    While all Biden nominees face an easier path to confirmation in a Democratic-controlled Senate, Burns’ role in the Benghazi investigation could also be revisited. He testified at a House hearing in 2012 after then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was unable to because of a concussion.

    “We learned some very hard and painful lessons in Benghazi,” Burns said. “We are already acting on them. We have to do better. We owe it to our colleagues who lost their lives in Benghazi.”

    The decision to select Burns to lead the CIA comes after other top contenders faced criticism for their previous support of torture programs. Former acting CIA director Michael Morell, who had been under consideration by Biden, was assailed as unacceptable by top Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee.

    Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, a member of the Intelligence Committee, had criticized Morell as a “torture apologist” for his previous suggestions that “enhanced interrogation” of terrorists was effective and moral.

    Burns, who is respected by Democrats and Republicans alike in the foreign policy arena, is expected to receive far easier confirmation. The CIA director position is not expected to be a formal member of Biden’s Cabinet, which represents a change from the Trump administration, but a return to the status it had in the Obama administration.

    Avril Haines, whom Biden nominated as director of national intelligence, will represent the intelligence community on the Cabinet. Haines and Burns have a long-standing relationship and during an appearance last year at Columbia University, she praised Burns for being well known for providing thoughtful feedback during his time in government.

    “Everyone always wanted to send their memos to Bill,” Haines told the audience.

    While Burns was initially mentioned as a secretary of state nominee for Biden, one longtime CIA analyst made the case for his selection to lead the CIA in a blog post late last year.

    “The appointment of Burns would send an important signal about the revival of public service, which has been demeaned for the past four years, and for the importance of the entire intelligence community, not simply the CIA,” Melvin Goodman, who served as a CIA analyst for three decades, wrote in a blog post for Counterpunch, arguing for the selection of Burns.

    “Much of CIA’s difficulty over the past 40 years can be attributed to mediocre leadership. The CIA would be the major beneficiary of such an exemplary appointment to an institution that has become too insular and parochial.”

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    Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf resigns

    (CNN) Chad Wolf is resigning as the acting secretary of Homeland Security, he said in a letter to the department Monday obtained by CNN.

    FEMA Administrator Pete Gaynor will be the new acting secretary, taking over in the wake of the US Capitol attack and as the national security apparatus prepares for possible violence leading up to Inauguration Day.

    “I am saddened to take this step, as it was my intention to serve the Department until the end of this Administration,” Wolf wrote, citing ongoing litigation challenging the validity of his appointment.

    “Unfortunately, this action is warranted by recent events, including the ongoing and meritless court rulings regarding the validity of my authority as Acting Secretary. These events and concerns increasingly serve to divert attention and resources away from the important work of the Department in this critical time of a transition of power,” Wolf added.

    Wolf was in the chief role at the department in an acting capacity for 14 months. His tenure has repeatedly come up in litigation against the Trump administration’s immigration actions.

    Wolf is the latest Cabinet secretary to resign in recent days, though his letter did not cite last week’s riots. Betsy DeVos, who served as education secretary, and Elaine Chao, who was transportation secretary, have also resigned.

    This story is breaking and will be updated.

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    House to vote on resolution calling to remove Trump from office by the 25th Amendment

    (CNN) The House of Representatives is expected to vote Tuesday on a measure calling for President Donald Trump to be removed from office through the 25th Amendment in the wake of the violent siege of the US Capitol last week.

    The resolution, brought forward by Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland, calls on Vice President Mike Pence “to immediately use his powers under section 4 of the 25th Amendment to convene and mobilize the principal officers of the executive departments in the Cabinet to declare what is obvious to a horrified nation: That the President is unable to successfully discharge the duties of his office.”

    It further calls on Pence to assume “the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.”

    Approval of the resolution by the Democratic-led House will stand as a symbolic rebuke to the President as many lawmakers are furious and reeling from the deadly attack on the Capitol by Trump supporters seeking to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

    It comes as House Democrats are now moving rapidly toward impeaching the President for a second time as a result of the insurrection, which Trump incited after repeatedly making false claims that the election had been stolen from him and calling for his supporters to fight back.

    House Democrats plan to vote Wednesday to impeach Trump, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said on a caucus call Monday, setting up an impeachment vote one week after rioters overran Capitol police and breached some of the most secure areas of the Capitol.

    Rep. Liz Cheney, the No. 3 House Republican, told colleagues on a conference call Monday evening that Wednesday’s impeachment vote is a “vote of conscience,” a source tells CNN.

    Cheney, who has not said how she will vote on impeachment, is one of the handful of outspoken critics of President Donald Trump’s disinformation surrounding the November election results and Trump’s attempts to overturn the election.

    The House will vote Tuesday evening on the resolution urging Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump, and then will plan to vote Wednesday at 9 a.m. ET on the impeachment resolution, Hoyer said.

    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement Monday that Democrats are “calling on the Vice President to respond within 24 hours after passage” of the 25th Amendment resolution.

    Invoking the 25th Amendment would require Pence and a majority of the Cabinet to vote to remove Trump from office due to his inability to “discharge the powers and duties of his office” — an unprecedented step. Pence has so far given no indication that he would take that action.

    Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer called Pence a day after the Capitol attack to discuss the 25th Amendment — but Pence never took the call after they were on hold for 25 minutes.

    “At least. Of course, I was — I was at home, so I was running the dishwasher, putting my clothes in the laundry. We’re still waiting for him to return the call,” she told CBS Sunday night.

    In her statement on Monday, Pelosi said that as a “next step,” House Democrats “will move forward with bringing impeachment legislation to the Floor.”

    Earlier on Monday, Democrats attempted to take up the 25th Amendment resolution by unanimous consent, but it was blocked by Republicans.

    Pelosi accused House Republicans of “enabling the President’s unhinged, unstable and deranged acts of sedition to continue,” adding, “Their complicity endangers America, erodes our Democracy, and it must end.”

    CNN’s Daniella Diaz and Jeremy Herb contributed to this report.

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    This is captivating since I feel like some people I didn’t expect are actually supporting the impeachment. Republican Party isn’t the party fof Trump is it Mr. President and cronies 🙂

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    Federal government executes the first woman in nearly 70 years

    by Christina Carrega, CNN
    Updated 2:51 AM ET, Wed January 13, 2021

    (CNN) Lisa Montgomery, 52, was executed by lethal injection at the Federal Correctional Complex in Terre Haute, Indiana, and pronounced dead at 1:31 a.m. Wednesday.

    Montgomery was the first woman to be executed by the federal government since 1953 and was the only woman on death row.

    The Supreme Court denied a last-ditch effort late Tuesday by her defense attorneys who argued that she should have been given a competency hearing to prove her severe mental illness, which would have made her ineligible for the death penalty.

    She was the 11th federal death row inmate to be executed by the Trump administration after a 17-year hiatus in federal executions.

    “The government stopped at nothing in its zeal to kill this damaged and delusional woman,” her attorney, Kelley Henry, said in a statement. “Lisa Montgomery’s execution was far from justice.”

    Montgomery’s attorneys, family and supporters had pleaded with President Donald Trump to read their clemency petition and make an executive decision to commute her sentence to life without the possibility of parole.

    A federal judge has granted a stay of execution for the only woman on federal death row pending a competency hearing

    Montgomery was sentenced to death in 2008 by a Missouri jury for the 2004 murder of a pregnant woman, cutting the fetus out and kidnapping it. The baby survived.

    A federal judge granted Montgomery a stay of execution Tuesday for a competency hearing — just hours before she was scheduled to be executed.

    “The Court was right to put a stop to Lisa Montgomery’s execution,” Henry said in a statement. “As the court found, Mrs. Montgomery ‘made a strong showing’ of her current incompetence to be executed. Mrs. Montgomery has brain damage and severe mental illness that was exacerbated by the lifetime of sexual torture she suffered at the hands of caretakers.”

    “The Eighth Amendment prohibits the execution of people like Mrs. Montgomery who, due to their severe mental illness or brain damage, do not understand the basis for their executions. Mrs. Montgomery is mentally deteriorating, and we are seeking an opportunity to prove her incompetence,” Henry added.

    But the Supreme Court denied the effort and pleas to President Trump were unsuccessful.

    Two more executions are scheduled this week, for Corey Johnson on Thursday and Dustin Higgs on Friday. Both of their executions have been halted by a federal court judge as the men are still recovering from Covid-19. Prosecutors intend to appeal the ruling on Higgs and Johnson, according to court documents.

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    Biden team to produce prime-time inauguration television special

    (CNN) President-elect Joe Biden’s team is producing a celebrity-filled prime-time special for the night of his inauguration in lieu of the traditional celebrations, which have been significantly pared down due to the pandemic, a Presidential Inaugural Committee official confirms to CNN.

    The special, hosted by Tom Hanks, is set to air live on ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN and MSNBC from 8:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. EST on January 20. It will feature performances from Jon Bon Jovi, who campaigned with Biden in Pennsylvania, Demi Lovato, Justin Timberlake and Ant Clemons.

    The 90-minute program, titled, “Celebrating America,” will also feature remarks from the President-elect and the Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and will celebrate “American heroes” like frontline workers, teachers and health care workers, among others.

    “Our first priority is safety — so while many of us will be watching safely from our homes, we are creating real moments of connection that highlight a new inclusive American era of leadership that works for and represents all Americans,” said PIC CEO Tony Allen.

    Politico was first to report the news of the special.

    The special comes as Biden’s inaugural committee has urged Americans not to travel to Washington, DC, to partake in the inaugural festivities as part of efforts to keep crowds to a minimum amid the coronavirus pandemic.

    It also comes as law enforcement in the nation’s capital and around the country brace for further extremist violence during the transition of power, after supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the US Capitol building in a deadly riot last week. The Pentagon has authorized up to 15,000 National Guard troops to meet current and future requests for Biden’s inauguration next week, and DC Mayor Muriel Bowser has urged Americans to avoid the city.

    Much like the virtual program at the Democratic National Convention, which was forced to go online over the summer in efforts to keep the virus from spreading, the inauguration will feature virtual events across the country. After Biden and Harris are sworn in to office next Wednesday at a significantly scaled-down ceremony, there will be a virtual parade that features performances in communities across the country, the inaugural committee has said.

    The committee has brought on Stephanie Cutter and Ricky Kirshner as executive producers, and Rod O’Connor as a senior adviser for the virtual programming. They will work with other professionals who also helped produce the Democratic convention, as well as past presidential inaugurations, Super Bowl halftime shows and the Tony Awards.

    The special will be streamed live on PIC social media channels: YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Twitch. Amazon Prime Video, Microsoft Bing, NewsNOW from Fox, and AT&T DIRECTV and U-verse, will also be carrying the program live.

    The committee is also hosting a national memorial on January 19 to remember and honor the lives lost to Covid-19 and is asking cities and towns around the country to participate. More than 380,800 Americans have died from the virus as of Wednesday morning.

    The inaugural committee will also promote the national day of service on Martin Luther King Jr. Day as part of the inaugural festivities, and will encourage the majority of events be held in a virtual format.

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    IMPEACHED AGAIN

    The House has just voted to impeach President Trump for the second time – making him the only US president to ever be impeached twice. The resolution passed 232 to 197.

    The impeachment resolution the House voted on charges Trump with a single article, “incitement of insurrection” for his role in last week’s deadly Capitol riot.

    There is no such thing as a routine impeachment but this one is unprecedented in all sorts of ways.

    The overall impeachment process laid out in the Constitution is relatively simple:

    A president commits “high Crime or Misdemeanor”

    The House votes to impeach

    The Senate conducts a trial

    This impeachment process will feel entirely new and different from the one we saw in late 2019 around the Ukraine investigation, most notably because the Senate trial is expected to occur after Trump leaves office.

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    Biden intends to name Jaime Harrison as his pick for DNC chair

    (CNN) President-elect Joe Biden intends to name Jaime Harrison, the former South Carolina Democratic Party chair and 2020 Senate candidate, to be the next chair of the Democratic National Committee, Democrats familiar with the decision tell CNN.

    Harrison has long been seen as the only candidate for the job. He will still be required to face an election by DNC members, but a win is almost a forgone conclusion with the support of the incoming President. DNC members will vote during a virtual meeting on January 21 — the day after Biden’s inauguration.

    The Democratic National Committee is at a moment of change as Biden prepares to take office, shifting from an oppositional force challenging Donald Trump at every turn to a political megaphone for a Democrat-dominated Washington.

    Harrison told CNN last week that he sees the job as being a reliable megaphone to tout White House and Capitol Hill accomplishments — something that changed when Democrats won control of the Senate.

    “The job of doing the work is on the Hill and in the White House, the job of making sure that message gets out and it is promoted and disseminated to voters and so those voters have an understanding of it, I believe that’s the job of the DNC,” Harrison said, adding that the DNC’s messaging should make people “understand this is what you get, when you have Democrats in control.”

    Before the Georgia runoffs were called, Democrats were preparing for President-elect Joe Biden’s first years in office to be a slog defined by Republican roadblocks in the Senate. But once Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock swept to victory last week, a new reality dawned on Democrats: The Democratic National Committee will not only be an extension of the White House political operation over the next four years, but arguably the party’s most potent amplifier to herald and brag about Democratic accomplishments in Washington.

    “The ante has increased dramatically after Georgia,” Harrison told CNN.

    Biden is stepping into the White House hoping to avoid the fate of former President Barack Obama, who suffered major losses in the first midterms after his 2008 win. Many of the same political advisers around Biden currently were top officials during the eight years of the Obama presidency, creating the scenario of the 2022 midterms being a second chance for these Democrats.

    In response to questions about how Biden will approach the DNC as president, a Biden campaign official said, unlike the Obama White House, the Biden team will not be creating an outside group like Obama’s Organizing for America and “instead will be channeling our efforts through the party structure.”

    “Moving forward, the DNC under President-elect Biden will continue to invest in state parties and maintain a strong partnership with them,” the official said, an important point for state party chairs who, more than anything, just want to know that the funding from the national party will continue.

    But questions remain about just how the Biden White House will work with the committee, with much of the focus falling to Jen O’Malley Dillon, Biden’s incoming deputy chief of staff.

    The DNC will fall within O’Malley Dillon’s purview in the White House, Democratic sources tell CNN, meaning Biden’s former campaign manager will be tasked with ensuring that the political committee works in step with Biden’s political goals. O’Malley Dillon was the executive director of the DNC after Obama’s 2008 election.

    Harrison is widely seen by broad swaths of the Democratic Party as the only real contender for the job of party chair. After running the South Carolina Democratic Party, Harrison ran to be party chair after the 2016 election, eventually losing to Perez. Harrison then ran for Senate in 2020, challenging Trump loyalist Sen. Lindsey Graham. While he failed to unseat Graham, Harrison raised his profile and turned himself into a prolific fundraiser, raising over $130 million in what became a nationalized campaign.

    Harrison is believed to be a strong pick by Democrats because he has held a number of party roles — state chair, DNC officer, candidate — and is viewed as someone who understands what it is like to be a Democrat in a red state where the investment is needed.

    Harrison, should he win the expected support from DNC members, will take over a much different Democratic National Committee than the one current Chair Tom Perez took over in 2017. When Perez took over the DNC in 2017, party loyalists were aghast at two key issues: The state of disrepair inside the committee after the departure of former chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz and the level of distrust raging among more progressive Democrats over how Sen. Bernie Sanders was treated in his 2016 nominating fight against Hillary Clinton. Perez got to work on addressing both those issues, investing millions in rebuilding the party’s infrastructure and overseeing the creation of the Unity Reform Commission that studied the issues that led to the widespread mistrust.

    “I’m a firm believer that good governance is great politics,” Perez said in an interview with CNN. “But what I’ve learned from 2009 and 2010 is that the misinformation campaigns that are going to come out there are going to be relentless. And so we need to make sure that we are not only delivering on our promises, but communicating to people across this country, exactly what we are doing.”

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    Here’s what’s in Biden’s $1.9 trillion economic rescue package

    (CNN) Bigger stimulus checks. More aid for the unemployed, the hungry and those facing eviction. Additional support for small businesses, states and local governments. Increased funding for vaccinations and testing.

    These are key parts of a $1.9 trillion proposal that President-elect Joe Biden unveiled Thursday evening.

    Billed as the American Rescue Plan, the package augments many of the measures in Congress’ historic $3 trillion coronavirus relief bill from March and in the $900 billion legislation from December, which was scaled back to garner support from Senate Republicans.

    Now that Democrats control both chambers and the White House, Biden is pushing for the big steps he says are needed to address immediate needs and control the coronavirus pandemic. He also plans to lay out an economic recovery plan in coming weeks that aims to create jobs and combat the climate crisis, among other measures.

    Here’s what’s in the American Rescue Plan:

    Beefed-up stimulus payments

    The plan calls for sending another $1,400 per person to eligible recipients. This money would be in addition to the $600 payments that were approved by Congress in December and sent out earlier this month — for a total of $2,000.

    The new payments would go to adult dependents that were left out of the earlier rounds, like some children over the age of 17. It would also include households with mixed immigration status, after the first round of $1,200 checks left out the spouses of undocumented immigrants who do not have Social Security Numbers.

    Enhanced unemployment aid

    Biden would increase the federal boost the jobless receive to $400 a week, from the $300 weekly enhancement contained in Congress’ relief package from December.

    He would also extend the payments, along with two key pandemic unemployment programs, through September. This applies to those in the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program who have exhausted their regular state jobless payments and in the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, which provides benefits to the self-employed, independent contractors, gig workers and certain people affected by the pandemic.

    Lawmakers only provided an additional 11 weeks of support in the December package, which will last until March.

    Rental assistance and eviction moratorium

    The plan would provide $25 billion in rental assistance for low- and moderate-income households who have lost jobs during the pandemic. That’s in addition to the $25 billion lawmakers provided in December.

    Another $5 billion would be set aside to help struggling renters to pay their utility bills. Biden is also calling for $5 billion to help states and localities assist those at risk of experiencing homelessness.

    The plan would extend the federal eviction moratorium, set to expire at the end of January, to September 30, as well as allow people with federally-guaranteed mortgages to apply for forbearance until September 30.

    Help for the hungry

    Biden would extend the 15% increase in food stamp benefits through September, instead of having it expire in June. He would invest another $3 billion to help women, infants and children secure food, and give US territories $1 billion in nutrition assistance. And he would partner with restaurants to provide food to needy Americans and jobs to laid-off restaurant workers.

    More money for child care and child tax credits

    The plan calls on Congress to create a $25 billion emergency fund and add $15 billion to an existing grant program to help child care providers, including family child care homes, to pay for rent, utilities, and payroll, and increased costs associated with the pandemic like personal protective equipment.

    It also proposes expanding the child care tax credit for one year so that families will get back as much as half of their spending on child care for children under age 13.

    A temporarily increase of tax credits

    Biden wants to boost the Child Tax Credit to $3,600 for children under age 6 and $3,000 for those between ages 6 and 17 for a year. The credit would also be made fully refundable.

    And he proposes to raise the maximum Earned Income Tax Credit for a year to close to $1,500 for childless adults, increase the income limit for the credit to about $21,000 and expand the age range of eligibility to cover older workers.

    Both of these are aimed at supporting low-income families, including millions of essential workers.

    Subsidies for health insurance premiums

    Biden is also calling on Congress to subsidize through September the premiums of those who lost their work-based health insurance.

    He wants to increase and expand the Affordable Care Act’s premium subsidies so that enrollees don’t have to pay more than 8.5% of their income for coverage — which is also one of his campaign promises. (The law is facing a challenge from Republican-led states that is currently before the Supreme Court.)

    Also, he wants Congress to provide $4 billion for mental health and substance use disorder services and $20 billion to meet the health care needs of veterans.

    Restoration of emergency paid leave

    The plan would reinstate the paid sick and family leave benefits that expired at the end of December until September 30.

    It would extend the benefit to workers employed at businesses with more than 500 employees and less than 50, as well as federal workers who were excluded from the original program.

    Under Biden’s proposal, people who are sick or quarantining, or caring for a child whose school is closed, will receive 14 weeks of paid leave. The government will reimburse employers with fewer than 500 workers for the full cost of providing the leave.

    More assistance for small businesses

    The plan calls for providing $15 billion to create a new grant program for small business owners, separate from the existing Paycheck Protection Program.

    It also proposes making a $35 billion investment in some state, local, tribal, and non-profit financing programs that make low-interest loans and provide venture capital to entrepreneurs.

    Aid for states and schools

    Biden wants to send $350 billion to state, local and territorial governments to keep their frontline workers employed, distribute the vaccine, increase testing, reopen schools and maintain vital services.

    Asked during a call with reporters whether states could use the funds to offset declines in tax revenue spurred by the pandemic, a senior Biden administration official did not clarify. The administration did not respond to a follow-up email asking for more information.

    Additional assistance to states has been among the most controversial elements of the congressional rescue packages, with Democrats looking to add to the $150 billion in the March legislation and Republicans resisting such efforts. The December package ultimately dropped an initial call to include $160 billion.

    Biden’s plan would also give $20 billion to the hardest-hit public transit agencies to help avert layoffs and the cutting of routes.

    The plan would provide an additional $170 billion to K-12 schools, colleges and universities to help them reopen and operate safely or to facilitate remote learning.

    Congress approved $82 billion in aid for schools in December.

    Increased support for vaccines and testing:

    The plan calls for investing $20 billion in a national vaccination program, including launching community vaccination centers around the country and mobile units in hard-to-reach areas. Biden would also increase federal support to vaccinate Medicaid enrollees.

    The proposal would also invest $50 billion in testing, providing funds to purchase rapid tests, expand lab capacity and help schools implement regular testing to support reopening.

    It would also fund the hiring of 100,000 public health workers, nearly tripling the community health workforce. It would address health disparities by expanding community health centers and health services on tribal lands. And it would provide support to long-term care facilities experiencing outbreaks and to prisons for mitigation strategies.

    A $15 hourly minimum wage:

    Biden is calling on Congress to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, and to end the tipped minimum wage and the sub-minimum wage for people with disabilities.

    This story has been updated with additional details.

    CNN Business’ Anna Bahney contributed to this report.

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    US says Capitol rioters intended to “capture and assassinate” elected officials

    (CNN) Federal prosecutors offered the most chilling description yet of rioters who seized the Capitol last week, writing in a new court filing that the intention was “to capture and assassinate elected officials.”

    The view was included in a memo seeking to keep Jacob Anthony Chansley, who rallied people inside the Capitol using a bullhorn, in detention. According to Capitol Police information included in the filing, Chansley was notable for his headdress, face paint and carrying of a six-foot spear.

    “Strong evidence, including Chansley’s own words and actions at the Capitol, supports that the intent of the Capitol rioters was to capture and assassinate elected officials in the United States government,” government prosecutors wrote.

    The allegations, written by Justice Department lawyers in Arizona, come as the government have begun describing in more alarming terms what transpired.

    In a separate case, prosecutors in Texas court alleged that a retired Air Force reservist who carried plastic zip tie-like restraints on the Senate floor may have intended to restrain lawmakers.

    Chansley is due in federal court in Arizona on Friday for a detention hearing.

    “He loved Trump, every word. He listened to him. He felt like he was answering the call of our president,” Chansley’s attorney Al Watkins, appearing on CNN Thursday night, said. ” My client wasn’t violent. He didn’t cross over any police lines. He didn’t assault anyone.” Watkins said Chansley also hopes for a presidential pardon.

    Prosecutors describe those who took over the Capitol as “insurrectionists” and offer new details about Chansley’s role in the violent siege last week, including that after standing at the dais where Vice President Mike Pence had stood that morning, Chansley wrote a note saying “it’s only a matter of time, justice is coming.”

    Chansley later told the FBI he did not mean the note as a threat but said the Vice President was a “child-trafficking traitor” and went on a long diatribe about Pence, Biden and other politicians as traitors.

    Before he was arrested, Chansley told the FBI he wanted to return to Washington for the inauguration to protest.

    Prosecutors accuse Chansley of being a flight risk who can quickly raise money through non-traditional means as “one of the leaders and mascots of QAnon, a group commonly referred to as a cult (which preaches debunked and fictitious anti-government conspiracy theory).”

    They also said Chansley suffers from mental illness and is a regular drug user, according to prosecutors’ detention memo.

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    Andrew Yang announces candidacy for New York mayor with surprising endorsement

    (CNN) Former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang officially jumped into the crowded race to become the next mayor of New York City on Thursday morning.

    At a kick-off rally in Upper Manhattan, Yang promised to “revive” a city stricken by the coronavirus and introduced newly-elected Rep. Ritchie Torres as a co-chair on his campaign — a striking endorsement for a candidate with no experience in city politics.

    “I’m running for mayor for a very simple reason,” Yang told a group of supporters in Upper Manhattan. “I see a crisis and believe that I can help.”

    Largely unknown outside of tech circles before the 2020 primary, Yang won the affection — if not always the votes — of Democrats who appreciated his happy warrior persona on the debate stage and campaign trail. And he was backed by supporters branded the “Yang Gang,” who helped him raise $40 million over the course of his run — including a surprising $16.5 million as the race heated up in the final three months of 2019.

    Yang filed the paperwork to run for mayor a few weeks ago, while he was campaigning in Georgia for the Democrats who would go on to win their Senate run-off campaigns and deliver the party a majority in the upper chamber. During his speech Thursday, Yang said Sen.-elect Jon Ossoff called him the night before to thank him for his help.

    But Yang’s campaign got tripped up out of the gate after Politico reported that he left the city for his second home, in New Paltz — about 90 minutes north of where he spoke on Thursday morning — during some of the darkest days of the pandemic in New York. His answer, when asked about the decision by The New York Times in a recent interview, didn’t help matters.

    “We live in a two-bedroom apartment in Manhattan,” Yang said. “And so, like, can you imagine trying to have two kids on virtual school in a two-bedroom apartment, and then trying to do work yourself?”

    Many New Yorkers can — and in less spacious accommodations than Yang described. The comment set off blowback in the media and will surely be used by rivals to cast him as out of touch when the campaign, which has not yet spun into gear, ramps up in the coming weeks.

    Yang, who has also been criticized for his lack of engagement in the city’s civic and political life before deciding to seek its top office, described his feeling when he moved here back in 1996.

    “I felt like I was joining the center of the world,” he said, recalling his attendance at one of the most famous New York Knicks games of the past 25 years — no one has questioned Yang’s fandom and, as often follows, frustration with the team — and his walk north on the morning of the 9/11 attacks.

    Yang said the work of rescuing the city from the pandemic’s devastation would require “bold ideas and a fresh approach” — an early nod to his unique platform, which includes a localized version of the “Universal Basic Income” pitch that was at the center of his presidential run.

    The program, as sketched out on his campaign website, would target 500,000 people and begin by “providing those who are living in extreme poverty with an average of $2,000 per year.”

    “As mayor, we will launch the largest basic income program in the history of the country. Right here in New York,” Yang said. “We will lift hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers out of extreme poverty, putting cash relief directly into the hands of the families who desperately need help right now.”

    His campaign rollout, including a website that includes a characteristically rich variety of ideas and plans, has already grabbed the attention of the most online New Yorkers — in particular, his dedication to making New York “fun again” and a plan to make the city more affordable for local artists and creative types.

    “Our administration would also work to attract content creator collectives, such as TikTok Hype Houses, where young artists collaborate. We need to help create similar artist collectives that utilize new technologies,” the site says, while on the same page that proposes a new position: “Deputy Mayor of Entertainment, Nightlife and Culture.”

    Yang joins a packed field of mayoral hopefuls trying to succeed Mayor Bill de Blasio’s two terms in office — including Shaun Donovan, former US secretary of housing and urban development, Brooklyn Borough President and former New York Police Department Capt. Eric Adams, former Citigroup executive Ray McGuire, New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer, and Maya Wiley, former counsel to de Blasio.

    The contenders are vying to take charge of a pandemic-stricken city where unemployment is skyrocketing, poverty and hunger are growing, and a budget crunch on the horizon could force the next mayor to make deep cuts to public sector jobs and services. Worries over mass layoffs has eased a little, though, since Democrats won control of the Senate, upping the chances that federal aid to state and local governments will be part of the next Covid relief package.

    Yang suspended his presidential campaign last February, and he spent time as a CNN contributor after leaving the campaign trail. At the time he ended that campaign, Yang had said he had no plans to run for mayor in New York, where he has lived for nearly 25 years.

    On Thursday, Yang touted his popularizing of the universal basic income as one of driving forces behind the congressional push to deliver direct relief to Americans as part of two stimulus packages — and likely a third, now in the works.

    “Calling for a vote on the $2,000 stimulus checks that Joe Biden just endorsed should be one of the first moves that new Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer makes,” he said, before talking up his relationship with Biden and his Transportation secretary pick, Pete Buttigieg, and the “dividends” that familiarity would play as he tries to juice the city’s financial comeback.

    Yang also dug into some of the more prickly pieces of city politics. He promised to push for greater “accountability” from the New York Police Department, which has been criticized for its heavy-handed response to largely peaceful protests last summer, and said he would seek to take control of the city’s public transit system from the governor’s office.

    Perhaps the most surprising moment of the day, though, came when Torres — less than two weeks since entering Congress — appeared by Yang’s side and endorsed him. Torres, Yang said, will be a campaign co-chair.

    “I know those in the press are surprised to see me. I’m surprised to see me,” Torres said. “I’ve made two consequential decisions at the beginning of my congressional career. First, I voted to impeach Donald Trump. To save our country from authoritarianism. And today I have chosen to endorse Andrew Yang for mayor of the city of New York, to save our city from the failed politics of the past.”

    On the eve of his announcement, Yang released a video produced by director Darren Aronofsky, the second world famous filmmaker to get involved in the mayoral campaign. Spike Lee did the same — plus providing narration — for McGuire, the former Wall Street executive who entered the race last month.

    After leaving the presidential race, Yang founded Humanity Forward, a nonprofit he used to test some of the ideas that animated his campaign. In March, he began giving hundreds of working families in New York $1,000 a month to determine the effectiveness of such a program. The organization also endorsed down-ballot candidates across the country.

    This story has been updated with background information and reporting from Thursday’s event.

    CNN’s Sonia Moghe, Devan Cole, Dan Merica and Poppy Harlow contributed to this report.

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    Trumps’ snub of Bidens historic in its magnitude

    by Kate Bennett, CNN
    Updated 4:07 PM ET, Mon January 18, 2021

    (CNN) On the morning of January 20, Donald Trump and Melania Trump will depart the White House as President and first lady, but they will not invite their incoming counterparts, Joe and Jill Biden, inside before they do.

    The dissolving of one of America’s most enduring transfer-of-power rituals — the outgoing president welcoming the incoming president on the steps of the North Portico, and then riding with them to the United States Capitol — is just one of the snubs the Trumps are perpetrating as they leave Washington.

    Instead of a president and first lady, the Bidens will be greeted by the White House chief usher Timothy Harleth, according to a source familiar with the day’s events and planning. Harleth, a 2017 Trump hire from the Trump International Hotel in Washington, will likely not stay on in the Biden administration, the source said, noting the role of chief usher in all probability will be filled by someone more familiar with the incoming president and first lady.

    The afternoon of Inauguration Day, then-President Biden will participate in a ceremonial wreath-laying at Arlington National Cemetery, joined by former Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama. It is during these hours the bulk of the Bidens’ personal effects will be moved into the White House and unpacked, according to another source with knowledge of executive residence practices.

    By that time, all Trump paraphernalia will be gone, and a thorough top-to-bottom cleaning of the entire White House campus will have been completed. Deeper cleaning protocols were arranged via the White House with outside contractors, on top of regular cleaning done by staff, including specialized attention to rugs, carpets, curtains and surfaces, to tackle any possibility of lingering germs, of the Covid-19 sort or otherwise.

    “Moving furniture and vacuuming, cleaning baseboards, vacuuming drapes, wiping down shades, cleaning chandeliers, washing windows, high dusting,” are areas all covered during the traditional move-in of a new president and his family, according to the residence source. “That cleaning will start as soon as Donald Trump and Melania Trump depart.”

    A particular focus of this move will be paid to the bedrooms in the residence, where new mattresses and box springs for the incoming first family are standard operating procedure, according to the source. Yet one part of the bedroom set-up will be markedly different with the Bidens than it was for the Trumps: the Bidens will be sharing a bedroom. Melania Trump spent the majority of her time in the White House in the large bedroom suite typically reserved for Presidents and their spouse, adjacent to the West Sitting Hall, according to a source with knowledge of the arrangement.

    “Donald Trump slept in his own bedroom, which was previously a study or den during other administrations,” the source said of the arrangement.

    On Monday, moving trucks were spotted in the driveways of Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, with movers loading dollies of boxes and items and rolling them into the private club, which will serve as the Trumps’ post-White House home, which is the plan for now, said another source with knowledge of the planned living arrangements and security arrangements set in place.

    Series of snubs

    The Inauguration Day snub of the Biden’s comes on the heels of a series of broken norms and childish behavior that comes directly from the President of the United States, who has been vocal about his disinterest in preserving any semblance of decency towards the man who will succeed him.

    Trump, according to several sources, is even mulling whether to write a letter to Biden to leave for him in the Oval Office, a standard-bearing tradition.

    Melania Trump, who has not been seen in public in more than two weeks, has not reached out to Jill Biden, dashing expectations she would continue the passing along of hospitality to her successor, hosting her for a tour.

    Even after contentious election cycles, first ladies and presidents have set aside hard feelings and ego, no matter how bruised, until now.

    “I recall both interactions that then first lady Hillary Clinton had with Barbara Bush in 1992 when she first arrived at the White House, and in 2000 when she hosted Laura Bush,” a former senior official in the Clinton administration told CNN. “Both were after contentious campaigns and both visits could not have been more gracious and welcoming.”

    And though the Bidens have a unique perspective having visited the White House numerous times throughout Joe Biden’s decades-long political career, the lack of politeness from the Trumps stings.

    “It’s abhorrent,” said another former White House official who worked in the Trump administration.

    Some tradition holds

    Small measures of decorum during the transition are being practiced, however. CNN has learned of at least three Trump administration officials who used private communication channels to reach out to their Biden administration counterparts in the last month, despite the President not conceding his loss.

    Over the weekend, Trump’s official White House photographer Shealah Craighead was spotted by CNN giving a tour of the White House photo office to Adam Schultz and Chandler West, Biden’s incoming official photographer and photo editor, respectively. While photographers mark one end of the spectrum, Vice President Mike Pence would signal the other.

    On Thursday, Pence spoke with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris for the first time, the highest-level contact to date between the outgoing and incoming administrations. Their conversation was described as cordial, with Pence offering his congratulations and assistance, according to a person familiar with the matter. CNN reached out to the office of second lady Karen Pence to see if she had made the same gesture to incoming second gentleman Doug Emhoff and did not receive a response.

    On Sunday, the Pences were still doing official duties, visiting troops at Fort Drum in New York. Karen Pence was emotional referring to her last official trip during her remarks.

    “Here I go,” she said, pausing between sentences at a podium inside the hangar, trying to catch herself before more tears rolled down her face. “It is such an honor to be here with you.”

    On Sunday, invitations were issued to Trump’s circle asking them to please attend — and bring up to five guests — his and Melania Trump’s going-away celebration at Joint Base Andrews, prior to boarding Air Force One early Wednesday morning for their last trip on the storied aircraft, which will deposit them in Florida.

    Trump has told staff he wants his tarmac send-off to include all the pomp and circumstance he feels he deserves, including a 21-Gun Salute, red carpet and military Color Guard. On Monday afternoon, an administration official told CNN the bells and whistles might all be for a very big audience of one — the President — and a small audience of others: “So far, there haven’t been a lot of RSVPs.”

    CNN’s Kate Andersen Brower, Jeff Zeleny and Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.

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    Biden to sign executive orders rejoining Paris climate accord and rescinding travel ban on first day

    by Dan Merica, CNN 1 day ago

    President-elect Joe Biden plans to sign roughly a dozen executive orders, including rejoining the Paris climate accord and ending the travel ban on predominantly Muslim countries, on his first day in office, according to a memo from incoming chief of staff Ron Klain.

    He’ll also sign orders halting evictions and student loan payments during the coronavirus pandemic and issuing a mask mandate on all federal property in an effort to either roll back moves made by the Trump administration or advance policy in a way that was impossible in the current administration.

    One of Biden’s most common campaign trail promises was to tackle an issue on his first day in office — a pledge he usually made to either contrast himself with President Donald Trump or highlight just how important he believed an issue to be. These promises were made on everything from climate change to immigration to foreign policy, and many are reflected in Klain’s Saturday memo, which was first reported by the New York Times.

    “During the campaign, President-elect Biden pledged to take immediate action to start addressing these crises and build back better,” Klain writes. “As president, he will keep those promises and sign dozens of executive orders, presidential memoranda, and directives to Cabinet agencies in fulfillment of the promises he made.”

    Beyond executive actions in his first days in office, the memo outlines that Biden plans to send Congress a large-scale immigration plan within his first 100 days in office. The plan would offer a pathway to citizenship for the millions of undocumented immigrations currently in the United States.

    Biden rolled out his first legislative priority this week, announcing a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package that included direct payments to Americans. Biden made clear during a speech on the plan that he wanted it to be the first issue Congress takes up after he is inaugurated on January 20.

    The memo makes clear a key part of Biden’s overall strategy includes getting Congress to act on his legislative priorities, something Biden ran on by highlighting his relationships with Republicans in the Senate. The focus is an acknowledgment that only so much can be done via executive order.

    “Full achievement of the Biden-Harris Administration’s policy objectives requires not just the executive actions the president-elect has promised to take, but also robust Congressional action,” Klain wrote.

    The day after Biden is inaugurated, according to Klain, he will “sign a number of executive actions to move aggressively to change the course of the COVID-19 crisis and safely re-open schools and businesses, including by taking action to mitigate spread through expanding testing, protecting workers, and establishing clear public health standards.”

    And on January 22, Biden will direct his Cabinet agencies to “take immediate action to deliver economic relief to working families bearing the brunt of this crisis,” Klain writes.

    The flurry of action is meant to show Americans that Biden is not wasting any time taking control of the coronavirus — something the Biden transition has been intently focused on. But the scope and breadth of the topics Biden will address also highlights the extent to which Democrats believe the incoming administration will have to be focused on multiple issues at once to be successful.

    From January 25 to February 1, Klain writes that Biden will issue orders on everything from directing his government to buy American products to beginning to fulfill promises to reform the criminal justice system.

    During that week-long period, Biden will also order the federal government to determine how to reunite children separated from their families at the US-Mexico border, as well sign additional orders aimed at tackling climate change and expanding access to health care.

    “Of course, these actions are just the start of our work,” Klain writes. “Much more will need to be done to fight COVID-19, build our economy back better, combat systemic racism and inequality, and address the existential threat of the climate crisis. But by February 1st, America will be moving in the right direction on all four of these challenges — and more — thanks to President-elect Joe Biden’s leadership.”

    For climate change activists, Biden’s promise to take swift action on an array of climate issues was a key part of why progressives rallied around Biden once he cleared the Democratic field, said Jared Leopold, co-founder of Evergreen Action, a group of former staffers to Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, who ran for president in 2020 focused almost entirely on climate change.

    And LGBTQ activists, like Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David, said it is critical for Biden to show clearly at the outset of his administration that he is committed to rewriting actions taken by the Trump administration.

    “I do expect that the Biden-Harris administration will take affirmative steps within the first day or so of taking office to satisfy their campaign pledges,” David said in an interview with CNN, highlighting the need to “ensure that the rights of LGBTQ students are enforced under Title IX.”

    “My goal is to make sure that the civil rights of LGBTQ people are protected, that Joe Biden meets his campaign promises and fulfills his campaign promises to the community,” said David. “And all of my expectations lead me to conclude and based on conversations that I’ve had, that they are going to be taking those steps to make sure that they meet their campaign obligations and promises.”

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    Trump’s last-minute pardons include Bannon, Lil Wayne and scores of others

    by Pamela Brown, Kevin Liptak and Kaitlan Collins, CNN
    Updated 1:30 AM ET, Wed January 20, 2021

    (CNN) President Donald Trump issued a raft of 11th-hour pardons and commutations early Wednesday that included his onetime political strategist, a former top fundraiser and two well-known rappers but not himself or his family.

    The batch of 73 pardons and 70 commutations issued in the final hours of his presidency was expected, and is in keeping with a long-standing presidential tradition of exercising clemency powers at the last minute.
    The list reflected a President keen on awarding pardons to his stalwart allies, an unusual number of whom have been swept up in corruption or lying charges.

    The vast majority of the pardons and commutations on Trump’s list were doled out to individuals whose cases have been championed by criminal justice reform advocates, including people serving lengthy sentences for low-level offenses.

    But several controversial names do appear, including Steve Bannon, who has pleaded not guilty to charges he defrauded donors in a “We Build the Wall” online fundraising campaign. Trump had spent the past days deliberating over a pardon for the man who helped him win the presidency in 2016 and followed him to the White House. During his final hours in office there was a frantic debate underway behind the scenes on whether to grant Bannon a pardon.

    One concern was Bannon’s possible connection to the January 6 riot of Trump supporters at the US Capitol, according to a source familiar with the discussions.

    Over the course of Tuesday, Trump continued to contemplate pardons that aides believed were settled, including for his former strategist. The President continued to go back and forth on it into Tuesday night, sources told CNN.

    Other names included Tuesday were Elliott Broidy, a former top fundraiser for Trump’s campaign who pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy relating to a secret lobbying campaign to influence the Trump administration on behalf of a foreign billionaire in exchange for millions of dollars.

    The rapper Lil Wayne received a pardon after pleading guilty to a gun possession charge in Miami. Another rapper, Kodak Black, received a commutation after he pleaded guilty to a weapons charge.

    Trump also offered clemency to Paul Erickson, the conservative political operative and ex-boyfiend of alleged Russian spy Maria Butina, who pleaded guilty to wire fraud and money laundering charges; Robin Hayes, a North Carolina political donor convicted of trying to bribe officials; Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, convinced of federal charges including racketeering, extortion and the filing of false tax returns; William Walters, a professional sports gambler convicted of insider trading; and Aviem Sella, an Israeli air force officer who the US accused of being a spy.

    Bob Zangrillo, the Miami developer and venture capitalist charged in the Varsity Blues college admission scandal, also received a pardon. None of the other parents caught up in the probe were pardoned.

    Though neither Trump or members of his family were included on his list, Trump has until noon on Wednesday to issue any final pardons before leaving office.

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