Covid: Biden says to beat Omicron variant ‘we have to shut it down worldwide’ – live - The Guardian
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And here’s a video of Biden cheekily blaming his affectionate baby grandson for giving him a cold.

Former Trump lawyer John Eastman, who was connected to efforts to stop the certification of Joe Biden’s presidential election win on 6 January, will plead the fifth amendment protection against self-incrimination before the House select committee investigating the Capitol attack, writes Hugo Lowell.

The move by Eastman, communicated in a letter to the select committee by his attorney, is an extraordinary step and appears to suggest a growing fear among some of Trump’s closest advisers that their testimony may implicate them in potential criminality.

“Dr Eastman has a more than reasonable fear that any statements he makes pursuant to this subpoena will be used in an attempt to mount a criminal investigation against him,” Eastman’s lawyer, Charles Burnham, told the select committee in a letter on Wednesday.

The select committee issued a subpoena to Eastman last month as they sought to uncover the extent of his role in Trump’s scheme to prevent Biden from being certified as president and return himself to office for a second term despite losing the 2020 election.

The claim, which was reported by Reuters, comes just weeks after the Biden administration placed NSO on a US blacklist and said the surveillance company acted “contrary to the foreign policy and national security interests of the US”.

Asked about a Reuters report that the phones of several state department employees were hacked by the Israel-based NSO Group, Psaki said the White House was aware.

“We have been acutely concerned that commercial spyware like NSO group software poses a serious counterintelligence and security risk to US personnel,” Psaki said.

Psaki said it remained a “core issue for the president” but didn’t offer a strategy for passing legislation stalled in Congress.

Psaki demurred on questions about the filibuster, which Biden has expressed an openness to reforming but does not support eliminating.

Earlier Biden had said his national security team was preparing a “meaningful set of initiatives” to address the escalating situation.

“We want to make sure that we are prepared,” Psaki said.

The White House has been “engaged in the possibility of a call” with the Russian leader, Psaki said.

Asked about Russia’s desire for assurances that Ukraine will not be allowed to join Nato, Psaki said it was not up to Russia to decide who is and isn’t a part of the alliance.

Psaki also said Biden would deliver remarks on Monday about how the Build Back Better Act, currently pending before the Senate, would lower the cost of prescription drug prices

In a press release, the White House again thanked Congressional leaders and a bipartisan group of Senators for reaching a deal and averting a shutdown at midnight

“Thank you to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Chairman Patrick Leahy, Vice Chairman Richard Shelby, and Chair Rosa DeLauro,” the White House said

According to a memo released by the White House and signed by O’Connor, Biden was tested three times for Covid this week and separately tested for respiratory pathogens such as flu & strep

Lawyer and associate of Donald Trump John Eastman as indicated he is asserting his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination in the investigation by the special House committee investigating events surrounding the insurrection at the US Capitol on January 6 by extremist Trump supporters

Eastman hereby asserts his Fifth Amendment right not to be a witness against himself in response to your subpoena,” attorney Charles Burnham wrote earlier this week in a letter on behalf of Eastman and sent to the chair of that bipartisan committee, Mississippi Democratic congressman Bennie Thompson

Eastman was subpoenaed by the committee last month

House investigators are taking a special interest in Eastman after it emerged that he outlined scenarios for overturning the election in a memo for a 4 January White House meeting that included Trump, the former vice-president Mike Pence and Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, Hugo Lowell previously reported for Guardian US

Burnham’s letter continues: “Members of this very Committee have openly spoken of making criminal referrals to the Department of Justice and described the Committee’s work in terms of determining “guilt or innocence..

6 committee..

6 committee witness to plead the Fifth to avoid self-incrimination

He was especially gleeful about the retirement of congressman Peter DeFazio of Oregon, the chairman of the transportation and infrastructure committee, who said this week that he will not seek re-election after more than three decades in Congress

“It’s different when a committee chair announces retirement,” McCarthy said

He said it was a clear sign that Democrats know “they’re not going to be in the majority the next time”

House minority leader Kevin McCarthy said the Islamophobic remarks by Republican congresswoman Laura Boebert and Majorie Taylor Greene hurt the party as it tries to keep the focus on discontent over the economy and other problems facing the Biden administration

He called the comments by the lawmakers “things we would not want to deal with”

But McCarthy has so far chosen not to take action against his own members, leaving it to Democrats to respond

House Democrats stripped Greene of her committee assignments earlier this year over violent and bigoted comments she made before being elected, and last month censured Arizona congressman Paul Gosar for sharing an anime video that depicted him killing congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

He was also stripped of his committee assignments

New: House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy admits at news conference that behavior of Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert are “things we would not want to deal with” — but worth noting they have so far ignored him

But McCarthy acknowledged their rhetoric could cause political problems for the party

He said Boebert’s apology to congresswoman Ilhan Omar should be sufficient, after the Colorado congresswoman made a joke about terrorism when sharing an elevator with Omar, who is Muslim

Boebert apologized to “anyone in the Muslim community” in a post on Twitter and then called Omar to apologize personally, McCarthy said

But Omar said the call was “unproductive” and implored McCarthy to “actually hold his party accountable”

Asked how the situation involving Boebert differs from the one involving former congressman Steve King, who was removed by the Republican leader from his committee assignments in 2019 after making comments supportive of white nationalism, McCarthy again insisted that Boebert’s apology was the right course of action


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