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Republican lawmakers are accused of giving tours of the Capitol to insurgents before the riot as new investigations are opened.

“The members of Congress who had groups crossing the Capitol that I saw on January 5, recognition for the next day, those members of Congress who incited this violent crowd,” Ms. Sherrill said, “these members who have tried to help our president undermine our democracy, I’ll see they are held accountable.

Ms. Sherrill did not respond to follow-up questions.

Rep. Tim Ryan, Democrat from Ohio, said lawmakers were aware of the tours but are now looking at them in a new light given the attack. He said they included “handfuls” of people and the authorities were aware of their existence. “Now you look back at some things and you look at them differently so, yeah, we look at that,” he said.

Mr. Crow said he was aware of the tours but was not sure what they were.

Pressure is mounting on Republican members of Congress who partnered with far-right groups in the days leading up to the mob attack. Several of Mr. Trump’s strongest supporters, including Reps Mo Brooks of Alabama and Paul Gosar and Andy Biggs, both of Arizona, have been accused of helping plan the January 6 rally that led to the violent attack on the Capitol.

A photo was also deceptively circulated online on Wednesday claiming to implicate Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert for giving such a tour, but that was from 2019 in Colorado.

Mr Crow said he found the photo disturbing nonetheless because others saw it as “symbols of white power gangs.”

“I am very concerned about the potential complicity of the members,” said Mr. Crow. “There are certainly many examples of incentives for which members of Congress are responsible. I think we need to do an investigation to find out what exactly happened.

Representative Steny H. Hoyer, the majority leader of Maryland, played down the prospect of immediate discipline for lawmakers until the impeachment process against President Trump is completed.

“There will be time to sort this out,” Hoyer said of far-right Republicans in Congress. “Right now, we’re dealing with the president.

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Giving meaning to the attack on the Capitol


Images of a pro-Trump mob swarming the Capitol on January 6 have been etched in our minds over the past week.

Now, as the country – along with those in charge of state capitals – braces for the possibility of more violence ahead of Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s inauguration, we find ourselves grappling with painful questions about what lies ahead. for our democracy and, in particular. , for our democracy in California.

[See a visual investigation into how a presidential rally turned into a Capitol rampage.]

On Tuesday, I spoke with Lawrence Rosenthal, president of the Center for Right-Wing Studies at the University of California at Berkeley, who has studied the movements of American militias.

Here’s our conversation, lightly edited and condensed:

What was going through your mind on January 6? And emotionally, how did you feel?

It was very powerful for me. My book deals with the adherence of populism to toxic nationalism. So most of this book and most of my work is about trying to figure out how to deal with the far right.

In the final chapter, I talk about Blue America’s response to Trump’s election and this sense of unease that arose – it was hard to put your finger on it, but it was all about taking it for granted. existence of liberal democracy.

What happened emotionally for me and for others, I think, on January 6 was that we got a sense of the depth to which we have feelings about American democracy, and the symbolic center of it was under siege.

And when you say taking liberal democracy for granted, just to clarify, you mean things like a peaceful transition of power …

Yes, exactly, that is part of it.

But also along the way, there were things like depriving people of all rights – on the southern border, depriving children of their parents. There was the coming to power of a president who established himself not only as an ally of the right-wing militia in this country, but almost as their leader.

A president whose administration aligns with judicial justice is something extraordinary. Its predecessor in America is the KKK with the Democratic Party in the Jim Crow South: “We are ready to accept as a political party our people on the streets, in uniforms – however modest these uniforms may be. It’s, “We will get our way or we will lose our people for either stopping the functioning of government – in this case counting the votes – or we will hit you in the streets.”

I wanted to ask you how you see this dynamic playing out in local governments, especially in California, or rural California. The Los Angeles Times reported recently about open threats against members of the Shasta County Supervisory Board by Trump supporters who are angry with the restrictions on the pandemic. What do you think about this?

The thing about California, this very, very famous blue state, is there’s still a huge population of Red America in California.

The “Jeffersonian State” is a concept that exists and periodically takes on new life. It is an argument to separate from the state of California.

It had a considerable period in which it organized itself around restrictions on the logging industry, but during the Trump era, Jefferson State and allied groups in California became, like the militias across the United States has become, very Trumpian..

All these militia groups had no role in national politics. Some were involved in regional politics, like David Duke, candidate for the Senate in Louisiana. Then, suddenly in 2016, someone at the presidential level of politics spoke their language in the way that was so electrifying. So you get Charlottesville, and you have “alternative law”.

[Read more from 2017 about resistance against the “tyranny” of the urban majority in the far northern part of California.]

They metamorphosed in 2020, with the succession of major events such as the first lockdowns, which went straight to the heart of historic right-wing anti-government militias. The anti-lockdown protests were immediately followed by the George Floyd protests, and then they converged on the third major event of its kind, which is the “Stop the Steal” movement.

What will be interesting in the future is whether what will be the myth of the stolen election continues in the sense of the myth of the “lost cause”.

If that is the case, it will be a powerful rallying force to keep right-wing militias in American politics.

So if we think of California as a microcosm, do you think these types of anti-government militias or this movement will grow, if not at the state level, at the local level?

I think success – if you want to understand it that way – at the local level will vary directly with success at the national level.

What about the political repercussions for California Republicans like House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy or Rep. Devin Nunes for their support of the president even after his actions last week?

So it is striking that in November there was some sort of resurrection of the Republican Party in California, like the redeemed force in Orange County.

But the deep division is within the Republican Party. He split Mike Pence absolutely in the middle – as a unique individual that’s kind of a metaphor for the whole party.

So what happens to the California Republican Party is going to be how it is dealt with, and it’s going to be complicated.

This is to some extent an unprecedented situation. It is, at least in my life. And I’m not a spring chicken.

[If you missed it, read about California reactions to the siege of Congress.]

Do you think that the fact that California, at least at the state level, is some kind of aggressive Democrat, will make the desire to hold the Republican leadership accountable here?

No, I do not think so. Partly because it has never happened before. But California is not at the forefront of cracking down on illegal right-wing actions.

You have been studying right-wing groups for a long time. So, do you have any final thoughts – things you want Americans to know?

That kind of anti-government, white nationalism and so on – it’s not going to go away with Trump. We’re not going to put the toothpaste back in the tube.

(This article is part of California today newsletter. Register to have it delivered to your inbox.)

  • The order at the domicile of the State for the Sacramento area was to be lifted, with immediate effect. Some businesses could reopen as early as Wednesday when the region returns to the state’s purple level of restriction. [CapRadio]

Learn more about the indefinite order extension for the southern region of the state and the San Joaquin Valley. [The New York Times]

  • Tuesday, State Democratic Party leaders likened an effort to recall Governor Gavin Newsom – which is a legal option in the state – to an extremist “coup”. [CalMatters]

  • Drivers and unions filed a complaint challenge the constitutionality of Proposition 22. [The Verge]

Legal challenges to voting initiatives are common. Learn more about why. [The New York Times]

California Today goes live at 6:30 a.m. PT on weekdays. Tell us what you want to see: Have you received this email? Sign up for California Today here and read each edition online here.

Jill Cowan grew up in Orange County, graduated from UC Berkeley and has reported statewide, including the Bay Area, Bakersfield and Los Angeles – but she always wants to see more. Follow us here or on Twitter.

California Today is edited by Julie Bloom, who grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from UC Berkeley.

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Trump breaks another standard, giving Biden another challenge

WASHINGTON – The White House has so far refused to call for the resignation of its ambassadors and other political appointees, which could delay the turnover of top government officials and risk further chaos in the workforce federal government in the last days of President Trump’s tenure.

Mr Trump’s disregard for months to issue an order for these resignation letters – which was a routine procedure in past administrations – is another snub of presidential decorum that diffuses the depths of division in the United States.

Mr Trump vowed early Thursday to ensure an “orderly transition” to the administration of President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr., following Wednesday’s assault by his supporters on Capitol Hill to disrupt the official Electoral College tally. Some senior administration officials resigned after Mr. Trump instigated the violent protest against Congress.

The White House did not respond Thursday morning to the latest of several requests for comment on when it would officially call for resignation.

The delay has angered some foreign allies who want to plan Mr. Biden’s policy but are waiting for Mr. Trump’s ambassadors to leave so that career diplomats in U.S. embassies are not placed in the position of being insubordinate to their bosses . More broadly, and without a clear direction to leave, officials said, some political appointees may burrow into the federal bureaucracy until they are kicked out by Mr Biden.

When the Clinton and Bush administrations left office, there were also concerns about the retention of political appointments, often transferred to permanent positions in the public service. But people familiar with Mr. Biden’s transition plans have said that Mr. Trump’s refusal to formally tell his cabinet secretaries, ambassadors and other senior political advisers to leave before the Jan. 20 nomination created anxiety and a high level of confusion within the federal workforce.

“No note was sent to anyone,” said Christopher R. Hill, ambassador to four countries under Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama. He was also Deputy Secretary of State to Mr. Bush. “And so a number of ambassadors say, ‘Hey, I’m going to stay until I’m told otherwise. “”

Hill predicted, however, that the delay would not dramatically endanger national security or foreign policy, or have widespread negative effects other than “participating in some kind of scorched earth political effort.”

Another former ambassador, Eric Rubin, noted that “the world is watching” the transition process – in part to see if the United States will return to an era of domestic politics ending at the water’s edge, which was the foundation. of American foreign policy for much of the past 75 years.

“We hope that the next two weeks will see intensified cooperation on the transition in all our foreign affairs agencies,” said Mr. Rubin, who was ambassador to Bulgaria under Mr. Obama and Mr. Trump, and is now president of the union. . which represents career diplomats.

For more than 30 years, since at least the end of the Reagan administration, outgoing presidents have called for the resignation of elected politicians, who represent about 4,000 of the 2.1 million federal government employees. Their timely departure helps avoid a staff bottleneck immediately after the inauguration that would occur if departing employees are still being treated just as new members of the administration arrive.

Even during friendly transitions of power, it’s quite common for new presidential administrations to take several months or more to appoint the majority of their senior advisers.

Most politically appointed ambassadors, for example, don’t take up their posts abroad until early summer after the January transition, depending on how quickly they can be confirmed by the Senate.

And Mr. Biden’s top advisers have urged senators to start considering key political appointments, including cabinet secretaries, even before January 20 to speed up the process.

At the State Department, diplomats and other officials involved in discussions with Mr. Biden’s transition team noted that some foreign governments, especially in Europe, are eager to start discussing climate policy with US embassies, but cannot while Mr. Trump’s ambassadors are in place.

Others have described a sense of bewilderment among allies watching U.S. diplomats as they carefully avoid mentioning Mr. Trump’s electoral loss – and by extension, Mr. Biden’s victory.

Former British Conservative MP Alistair Burt seized Wednesday’s protests on the Capitol to press the United States ambassador in the United Kingdom, Robert Wood Johnson IV, for “a clear expression of support for your new duly elected president Biden”.

Several diplomats said they repeatedly sought specific advice from Washington – and did not receive it – on whether they were allowed to recognize the transition in public documents or statements.

Others have taken the silence as permission to do so anyway, as in an interview last month when Philip Frayne, the US consul general in Dubai, assured a local radio host that Washington’s relations with the United Arab Emirates “were not going to change much with the new administration, with the arrival of the Biden administration.

Although U.S. ambassadors are expected to submit resignation letters at the end of a presidential term, tradition has it that only political candidates are accepted. Currently, around 57 percent of ambassadors are career diplomats who have obtained the degree and will generally be allowed to remain in post for the duration of their three-year assignments.

In a limited number of cases, and usually to house the family of an ambassador, political appointees have been allowed to stay for a short period under a new presidential administration. It is not clear whether Mr Biden will agree to this, although officials familiar with his transition plans have said he is prepared to fire political appointees, according to rules set by the Office of Personnel Management, if they have not resigned before he is sworn in.

The country’s top diplomat, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, vaguely spoke of his own impending departure in an interview this week. “I think we are leaving the world safer than when we first arrived,” he told Bloomberg News.

Travel News

MacKenzie Scott announces an additional $ 4.2 billion in charitable giving

During his short career as one of the world’s leading philanthropists, MacKenzie Scott stood out for the enormous scale of his donations and also for his speed, donating nearly $ 6 billion of his fortune this year alone.

Ms Scott, an author who was once married to Jeff Bezos, the founder and chief executive of Amazon, announced in a Medium article on Tuesday that she had donated nearly $ 4.2 billion to 384 organizations over the past four years. last months only. Many groups are focusing on basic needs, including food banks and meals on wheels, in a trying year for millions of people.

“This pandemic has taken a devastating toll on the lives of Americans already struggling,” Ms. Scott wrote. “The economic losses and the health outcomes have been worse for women, for people of color and for people living in poverty. During this time, he dramatically increased the wealth of billionaires.

Pillars like the NAACP, Easterseals, Goodwill and United Way made the list. The same has been true of over 100 separate YMCA and YWCA organizations nationwide, which like many nonprofits have lost huge amounts of revenue, even as demand for their services increased.

And smaller organizations like a nonprofit affordable housing lender in Minnesota and a group that helps people pay off medical debt have also received funding.

Ms. Scott’s message did not include amounts paid to individual organizations, but did indicate that the total amount committed was prepaid and unrestricted, or “unconditional” as she put it.

Morgan State University, a historically black university in Baltimore, announced that it had received $ 40 million, the largest private donation in the institution’s history. Ms Scott said the money went to groups in all 50 states, Washington and Puerto Rico.

Chuck Collins, director of the Charity Reform Initiative at the Institute for Policy Studies, said that, at least in terms of publicly announced grants, he couldn’t think of anyone who had given more this year. “She is responding with urgency at the present moment,” said Collins.

“You think of all these technological fortunes, they are the big disruptors, but she is disrupting the norms around billionaire philanthropy by acting quickly, without creating a private foundation for her great-grandchildren to donate money,” said added Mr. Collins.

The Institute for Policy Studies has pushed for legislation that would double the amount foundations are required to pay on their endowments from 5% per year to 10% for the next three years to meet dire needs created by the pandemic.

For context, the Gates Foundation, in many ways the largest and most influential charitable foundation in the world, with the fortune of Microsoft founder Bill Gates and investor Warren E. Buffett behind it, gave 5, $ 1 billion in direct grants in 2019. But the Gates Foundation has decades of experience and more than 1,600 employees, while Ms Scott referred only to a team of advisers helping her find worthy causes.

Although the Gates Foundation may surpass its $ 5.9 billion in donations thanks to its Covid-19 response, the figure illustrates how Ms. Scott has come to be the number one donor in the world.

In July, Ms Scott announced that she had donated $ 1.7 billion, among others, to historically black colleges and universities as well as groups supporting women’s rights, LGBTQ equality and the fight against climate change. Howard University said at the time it had received $ 40 million, a donation it called “transformative.”

When Ms Scott and Mr Bezos divorced last year, Ms Scott received 4 percent of Amazon’s outstanding shares, or 19.7 million shares. They were valued at the time at around $ 38.3 billion. Those stocks today, after a surge in Amazon stocks fueled by a pandemic, would be worth around $ 62 billion; it is not clear how many shares she sold.

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18 days after giving birth, a woman dies of Covid-19

Erika Becerra was eight months pregnant when she learned she had tested positive for the coronavirus. Almost immediately after getting the result, her body started to ache, she developed a fever, and she felt tightness in her chest. When she began to have difficulty breathing, her husband called an ambulance.

Three days later, on November 15, she gave birth in a Detroit hospital to a healthy boy, Diego. She was never able to hold him in her arms, her brother told KCBS-TV in Los Angeles.

Ms Becerra’s health declined so rapidly that doctors put her on a ventilator, that she remained for 18 days. Ms Becerra, 33, who had no known health problems before she fell ill, died Thursday, surrounded by her parents and brother, who had rushed from east Los Angeles, her godmother said, Claudia Garcia.

“It was a complete shock – she was fine,” Ms. Garcia said. “I’m speechless. I’m still trying to wake up from this nightmare.

Last month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention added pregnancy to the list of conditions that place people with Covid-19 at an increased risk of developing serious illness, including an increased risk of death.

The agency added pregnancy to the list after a study that looked at the health outcomes of 409,462 symptomatic women aged 15 to 44 who tested positive for the coronavirus, of which 23,434 were pregnant.

The study found that pregnant women had a 70% increased risk of death compared to non-pregnant women who exhibited symptoms.

Pregnant women were also much more likely to require intensive care, to be connected to a specialized heart-lung bypass machine, and to require mechanical ventilation than non-pregnant women.

“When you think of a growing uterus pressing down on the diaphragm and lifting it upward, it is usually more difficult to breathe when you are pregnant,” said Dr. Cynthia Gyamfi-Bannerman, obstetrician at NewYork-Presbyterian / Columbia University Irving Medical Center. “Adding respiratory disease only makes things more difficult.”

Dr Gyamfi-Bannerman said Ms Becerra’s death was a reminder of the importance for pregnant women to maintain social distancing, wear masks and minimize time spent outside their home.

But she said doctors still need more data to get a better idea of ​​the risks to pregnant women who contract the virus. The absolute risk of death for pregnant women who contracted the coronavirus was always lower than for women who contracted the H1N1 virus during pregnancy, according to the CDC study.

A Nov. 19 study, published in the JAMA Network Open, also found that 95% of pregnant women who tested positive for the coronavirus had no adverse results.

“The vast majority of pregnant women with Covid do very well,” said Dr Gyamfi-Bannerman.

Ms Garcia said the family did not know how Ms Becerra contracted the virus. Relatives have speculated that she must have been infected in early November, during her numerous visits to the doctor at the end of the pregnancy, when she began to feel mild contractions. She learned that she was infected with the virus on November 7.

Ms Becerra’s husband Diego, a landscaper, took care of her toddler son and the couple’s daughter, one-year-old Erika. All three have tested negative for Covid-19, Ms Garcia said.

Ms Garcia said her goddaughter was ecstatic when she found out she was going to have a boy.

“She was so excited,” Ms. Garcia said. “She was like, ‘I’m going to have my boy and I’m going to have my daughter and they’re going to grow up together.'”

Roni Caryn Rabin contributed reporting.

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Ideas for giving Tuesday

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In the early days of the Internet, it seemed to have the potential to crush traditional print media. But its impact turned out to be more nuanced.

Rather, the Internet has been a boon for some publications with a national audience. The New York Times has never had as many subscribers or readers – or employed as many journalists – as it does today. The Atlantic, the Washington Post and a few others are also flourishing.

It is at the local level that the digital revolution has been as destructive as feared.

Hundreds of local news organizations have folded, as their advertising revenues disappear, and the pandemic is exacerbating the crisis. At least 60 local newsrooms have closed since March, according to Poynter. Some of them were over a century old, like The Eureka Sentinel in Nevada; The Mineral Wells showing, Texas; and The Morehead News, in Kentucky.

This is not a story of creative destruction, in which agile new entrants replace older companies. Often, nothing can replace a closed newsroom, leaving communities without any independent information about local government, schools and businesses. (A recent Times investigation found that some partisan groups have started masquerading as local publishers, trying to pass off political propaganda as news.)

There are consequences for society. When a community’s newspaper closes, voter turnout and cross-party voting tend to drop, while political corruption and government waste increases, according to academic research. A democracy struggles to function when its citizens cannot stay informed.

What can be done? Ultimately, savvy entrepreneurs can figure out how to make local news profitable. But several have tried in recent years, without success. For the foreseeable future, the only reliable answer seems to involve philanthropy. Americans have long accepted that the arts, higher education, and organized religion all depend on charitable giving. Local journalism is now in the same category.

“We need philanthropists across the country to embrace strong local journalism,” Sarabeth Berman, executive director of the American Journalism Project, which funds local news sites, told me. “If you care about education, you have to worry if school boards and charter boards are covered. And if you care about the environment, you need to make sure reporters like Ken Ward Jr. cover the coal country in West Virginia. “

There are many other shining examples of the new nonprofit journalism. But even more communities receive little or no high-quality coverage.

I decided to write about this topic this morning because today is Donation Tuesday when people take a break from online shopping to focus on charitable giving. If you’re concerned about the state of local news, you can donate through NewsMatch, which matches donations to local publications, or to your local public radio affiliate.

  • President-elect Joe Biden’s choices for economic advisers suggest his administration will focus on workers and unions, including pushing for a higher minimum wage and a stronger social safety net. It’s unclear what Biden can accomplish if Republicans retain a majority in the Senate after the second round of elections in Georgia in January.

  • Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris received their first President’s Daily Brief, a high-level intelligence report. The incoming former presidents received their first days only after the election.

  • President Trump has raised about $ 170 million since Election Day after his campaign solicited donations for an “Election Defense Fund.” The money could also fund his next political move.

  • Election officials certified Biden’s victories in Arizona and Wisconsin despite the Trump campaign’s efforts to reverse the results. And Georgia Republican Gov. Brian Kemp has rejected Trump’s calls asking him to invalidate the mail-in ballots.

  • A government watchdog said the Labor Ministry’s weekly jobless count suffers from data issues that have often overestimated the number of unemployed people. The watchdog also found that the government has underpaid many people who receive these benefits.

  • Supreme Court justices have reacted with frustration and some confusion to Trump’s plan to exclude unauthorized immigrants from the calculations used to allocate seats in Congress.

  • A white man shot and killed Aiden Ellison, a black teenage girl, in an aloud confrontation in an Oregon hotel parking lot last week, authorities said.

True crime: Samuel Little, America’s most prolific known serial killer, has confessed to 93 murders in over 30 years. The Washington Post explores how it escaped attention by primarily targeting black women, whose disappearances have often been overlooked.

Decorate the rooms: Melania Trump, the first lady, unveiled this year’s White House decorations – a traditional display of green trees decorated with red, gold and silver ornaments and white lights. The bold aesthetic choices that caused devious memes in the Christmas past are missing.

From the review: The 1993 New York mayoral race between David Dinkins and Rudy Giuliani predicts today’s polarized national politics, writes Michael Tomasky. And Michelle Goldberg, Bret Stephens and Paul Krugman have columns.

Lives lived: Debra White Plume has faced bullets from the police and mining companies as an activist trying to protect the traditional Oglala Lakota way of life. “If anyone wants to tag me, I guess that would be a water protector,” she once said. White Plume died at age 66.

Tony Hsieh was not at all interested in the shoes. The tech entrepreneur, who helped turn Zappos into an online footwear and clothing powerhouse, admitted in media interviews.

His obsessions were customer service and corporate culture. These obsessions helped him revolutionize the shoe industry – and ultimately sell Zappos to Amazon for $ 1.2 billion. Hsieh, 46, died on Friday from a house fire.

Hsieh (pronounced “shay”) invested in Zappos in 1999, when it had the less catchy name and the concept of selling shoes online was baffling. The shoes seemed like the ultimate product to try on in a store. To make customers feel comfortable with their online purchase, Zappos has offered free shipping and returns. Hsieh encouraged employees to spend hours on the phone with a customer if that’s what it takes to ensure their satisfaction, as reported by the Wall Street Journal.

He also focused on employee satisfaction – in part to provide better customer service. Shortly after making new hires, Zappos was offering them a quitting bonus to eliminate less engaged employees. His core values ​​included “Creating fun and a little weirdness”.

“Imagine a greenhouse, where maybe in a typical business, the CEO could be the strongest, tallest, most charismatic plant that all other plants someday strive to become,” he said. declared in 2017. “For me, I really think of myself as the architect of the greenhouse, and then all the plants inside will bloom and thrive on their own. “

The Spelling Bee pangrams of yesterday were growth and forge. Today’s puzzle is above – or you can play it online if you have a Games membership.

Here are today’s mini crosswords and a hint: two in a game (four letters).

Thank you for spending part of your morning with The Times. See you tomorrow. – David

One clarification: In yesterday’s email it was not clear where a cyberattack ended distance education. It was in Baltimore County (which is outside the city).