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Biden’s choice for the health and social services role would be the first transgender federal official confirmed by the Senate.

President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. has hired Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Rachel Levine to become Assistant Secretary of Health in the Department of Health and Human Services. She would be the first openly transgender federal official to be confirmed by the Senate.

Mr. Biden pledged transgender and non-conformist people in the United States and around the world to fight for their safety and dignity. His promise stands in stark contrast to the efforts of the Trump administration, which over the past four years has reduced protections.

In his current role, Dr Levine has led Pennsylvania’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Dr. Rachel Levine will bring the continued leadership and essential expertise we need to help people navigate this pandemic – regardless of zip code, race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability – and meet the public health needs of our country in this critical situation. time and beyond, ”Biden said in a statement Tuesday. “She is a historic and highly qualified choice to help lead our administration’s health efforts.”

Under President Trump’s leadership, Admiral Brett P. Giroir served as Assistant Secretary of Health in the Department of Health and Human Services and led the country’s Covid-19 testing efforts. Ahead of the December break, Admiral Giroir urged people to avoid travel if possible and wear face masks – a position that has been ridiculed by Mr Trump.

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Senior Indian health official to resign

The director of India’s Health Service said he would step down, giving President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. a chance to install new management at an agency that has drawn strong criticism for its inability to provide adequate care to people. tribal communities previously. and during the pandemic.

Director, Rear Adm. Michael Weahkee, a member of the indigenous Zuni tribe who has held the post since April after leading the agency on an interim basis since 2017, said in a letter this week that his resignation would be effective Jan. 20. .

“It was a sincere honor to have been entrusted with this role,” he said in the letter, noting that his departure was typical during the presidential transitions. “I believe that the IHS is more capable than ever of realizing our vision of healthy communities and quality health care systems through strong partnerships and culturally appropriate practices.

Admiral Weahkee oversaw a healthcare agency that critics say has been routinely overlooked by Congress and successive administrations. It is riddled with vacancies throughout its hospital system and has left the Native American communities it served with some of the worst health outcomes in the country.

India’s health service includes 26 hospitals, 56 health centers and 32 health posts and provides care to 2.2 million members of the country’s tribal communities. The size of hospitals, spread across a dozen regions of the country, ranges from four to 133 beds.

The service has long faced funding and supply shortages, but the pandemic has brought these disparities to the fore, contributing to disproportionately high infection and death rates among Native Americans.

Abigail Echo-Hawk, director of the Urban Indian Health Institute, said the Biden administration has the option of appointing someone who can address these weaknesses. Native American voters, Ms. Echo-Hawk said, have helped tip key states in favor of Mr. Biden.

“The rest of the country needs to know that the Indian health service has failed us and previous administrations have failed us,” Ms. Echo-Hawk said. “The Biden administration has the opportunity to bring in someone who has the support needed to make innovative changes.”

Jonathan Nez, President of the Navajo Nation, said the Indian Health Service led by Admiral Weahkee was doing its best with the limited resources allocated to it. Mr Nez said he was confident the new administration would work to resolve the agency’s funding and infrastructure issues.

The Navajo nation, which includes parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah, has been particularly hard hit by the coronavirus. At one point, its per capita death rate surpassed New York’s. The country has recorded a total of 25,746 cases and 879 deaths from the virus, according to the Navajo Department of Health.

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Joe Neguse: The impeachment official was one of the early supporters of the President’s indictment

Joe Neguse: The impeachment official was one of the earliest advocates of President Neguse’s impeachment described his first vote to impeach President Trump in 2019 as a defense of democracy By Emily Cochrane

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Stacey Plaskett: impeachment official who couldn’t vote for impeachment

WASHINGTON – Delegate Stacey Plaskett from the Virgin Islands has limited privileges as a member of Congress because she represents U.S. territory: she cannot vote in the House.

She was unable to vote to impeach President Trump, but will now be able to file a lawsuit against him during his Senate trial as the impeachment official chosen by President Nancy Pelosi.

Wednesday on Twitter, she accused Mr. Trump of “conduct which presumably resulted in the imminent lawless actions of his supporters” when he incited a mob that attacked the Capitol last week.

Born in Brooklyn to parents originally from the Virgin Islands, Ms. Plaskett graduated from Georgetown University with a degree in history and diplomacy and the Washington College of Law at the American University. She has worked as an Assistant District Attorney in the Bronx, as an attorney for the House Ethics Committee, and as a political appointee in the Department of Justice under President George W. Bush, among others.

Ms. Plaskett returned to the Virgin Islands, where she worked in the private sector, before being elected in 2014 to represent the group of islands that lie to the south-east of Florida in the Caribbean Sea. During her congressional career, Ms. Plaskett has prioritized economic development in the Caribbean. She is also a member of the Congressional Black Caucus.

In a 2019 letter to Ms Pelosi in which Ms Plaskett asked to be made responsible for impeaching the House in Mr Trump’s first trial, she cited the weight the decision would have on her constituents, who no ‘do not have full voting rights, as well as his years of experience working in the public service and as a prosecutor.

“The party says black women are the base and our mainstay, and there are five black women in the House who are lawyers and only two of us are former prosecutors,” Plaskett said in the statement. letter, according to BuzzFeed News.

Ms. Plaskett was not chosen the first time. But Ms Pelosi announced Tuesday night that Ms Plaskett would help present the second case against Mr Trump.

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Joaquin Castro: impeachment official fought Trump over immigration

WASHINGTON – Representative Joaquin Castro, Democrat of Texas, made no secret of his desire to see President Trump resign: he has been one of the most vocal critics of the president’s immigration policy and has voted to impeach him the first time.

Now, Mr. Castro, a Harvard-trained attorney who sits on the Intelligence Committee, will be part of the prosecution against Mr. Trump as impeachment official in the Senate trial.

In his remarks in the House on Wednesday ahead of Mr. Trump’s impeachment vote, Mr. Castro described the attack on Capitol Hill and then asked his fellow lawmakers: ‘What do you think they would have done if they were entered? What do you think they would have done to you? And who do you think sent them here?

He concluded that impeachment was the only option.

“If inciting a deadly insurgency is not enough to remove a president, then what is it?” Said Mr. Castro. “We all need to answer this question today.”

A native of San Antonio and second-generation Mexican-American, Mr. Castro served in the Texas Legislature before winning a candidacy for a Congressional seat in 2012. Appointed by his peers as president of the freshman class at the Congressman in 2013, Mr. Castro quickly secured a spot on the Intelligence Committee and in leadership roles in the Hispanic caucus.

As a member of the committee in 2019, Mr. Castro participated both in the initial closed-door hearings during Mr. Trump’s first impeachment inquiry, and then in public questioning of witnesses before the writing of the articles of commission. in charge. He also sits on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Mr. Castro, who led the Hispanic caucus at the 116th Congress, strongly opposed Mr. Trump’s immigration policies, leading numerous delegations to the southwest border and condemning what he called the policies cruel and dehumanizing.

Mr. Castro’s identical twin brother Julián Castro ran for the Democratic presidential nomination with his support in 2020. After Julián Castro dropped out, Mr. Castro endorsed Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts before supporting Joseph R. Biden Jr.

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Madeleine Dean: charge official points out her experience in ethics

WASHINGTON – A week ago, Representative Madeleine Dean, Democrat of Pennsylvania, was among lawmakers hiding on the floor of the House gallery, donning an emergency hood as tear gas was fired into the rotunda and demonstrators threatened to enter the room.

Ms Dean, almost two weeks into her second term, is now one of the impeachment officials that President Nancy Pelosi of California has appointed to present the case of President Trump’s impeachment on the grounds that he committed serious crimes and offenses.

“The President and many members of this chamber have shamelessly peddled dangerous untruths about this election – despite warnings as to the destination of those lies,” Ms. Dean told the House before voting to impeach Mr. Trump. “Last Wednesday, those lies and dangers found their way inside this Capitol. This hateful rhetoric is another virus – it’s time to take down its host. “

Within the Democratic caucus, she was one of the earliest supporters of continuing an impeachment inquiry against the president just over a year ago and has shown little reluctance in approving a second impeachment. charge.

In an opinion piece that appeared in The Philadelphia Inquirer after she voted to impeach Mr. Trump in 2019, Ms. Dean admitted that she challenged a number of the president’s policies, such as his “indifference to the environment” and ” inhumanity and brutality towards the vulnerable. ”But she added that while these were not open to attack, the articles of indictment, rooted in“ attacks on our constitutional order ”, were of another case.

“To heal, we need responsibility and truth,” Ms. Dean said Wednesday. “It starts with recognizing the President’s dangerous lies and their deadly consequences.”

At 19, Ms Dean volunteered for her first campaign for a state representative, where she met her husband. After earning a law degree and opening her own practice, she changed careers to become an Assistant Professor in the English Department at La Salle University and taught writing and ethics.

She was elected state representative in 2012 and then applied for a seat in Congress after the 2016 election. In Congress, she won a seat on the House Judiciary Committee. She won her second term by 19 points in November.

Hidden in her pocket Constitution, which she takes with her at all times, is a copy of the Beatitudes.

“I carry them with me because one is a guide to life – a high standard to achieve – and the other is the law of the land,” Ms. Dean said. “One is how to live as a human being and how to live as a citizen.”

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Ted Lieu: impeachment official and reservist tweeted about Trump

WASHINGTON – During the long hours of chaos of January 6, as a violent pro-Trump mob took control of the Capitol, Representative Ted Lieu, who was taking refuge inside the building, began writing an impeachment article against President Trump.

“Insurgents incited by Mr. Trump attacked our nation’s Capitol to prevent Congress from accepting the Electoral College results,” he later told The New York Times.

Mr. Lieu sponsored the article of impeachment with Reps David Cicilline of Rhode Island and Jamie Raskin of Maryland, two fellow Democrats. President Nancy Pelosi of California then selected him to serve as the impeachment official in the second impeachment case against Mr. Trump.

First elected to Congress in 2014 to represent the wealthy suburbs west of Los Angeles, Mr. Lieu has become known for his harsh criticism of Mr. Trump on his personal twitter account, which made him popular among Democrats online. His tweets regularly accumulate thousands of interactions.

“We must remove Trump”, M. Lieu wrote hours after the Capitol attack. He added that failing to do so would mean Congress has “let our country down.”

Mr. Lieu was 3 years old when his family immigrated to the United States from Taiwan, where he was born. He described his family as the target of racism as he grew up in a largely white community in Cleveland. But Lieu cites the perseverance of his parents, who did not speak English and struggled to make ends meet when they arrived in the United States, as inspiration. His parents eventually became the owners of a line of gift shops, where Mr. Lieu and his brother would work.

In Congress, Mr. Lieu sits on the House Judiciary and Foreign Affairs committees.

He studied computer science and political science at Stanford University and went on to obtain a law degree from Georgetown University and served as editor of its legal journal. He joined the Air Force in the Judge Advocate General Corps, which oversees the administration of justice and ethics. Mr. Lieu is still a member of the Air Force Reserve.

He previously served as an Environmental Quality Commissioner and a member of the Torrance, California City Council before being elected to the California State Assembly in 2005 and the State Senate in 2011.

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Jamie Raskin: impeachment official leads campaign to overthrow Trump

WASHINGTON – Representative Jamie Raskin began drafting the article of impeachment against President Trump in the hours following the violent mob attack on the Capitol.

“We don’t have a minute to lose,” he told the House on Wednesday. “He represents a clear and present danger for the people.”

Mr. Raskin, 58, a former American University constitutional law professor who also served as a senator from Maryland, won the 2016 congressional election after a costly and hard-fought nine-time primary in his heavily Democratic district of the suburb of Washington. . A graduate of Harvard University and Harvard Law School, he is passionate about the Constitution and American history.

President Nancy Pelosi has named him chief impeachment officer, meaning he will be the lead prosecutor in a Senate trial against Mr. Trump.

“We must create a dynamic of action in which all our colleagues are obliged to confront their conscience about the permission they have given the President to trample all the principles and values ​​of our Constitution,” he said. he stated in an interview this week. .

In many ways, Mr. Raskin was made for this moment; he has been engaged in progressive politics since he was little, learning at the knees of his father, Marcus Raskin, a well-known anti-war activist and liberal intellectual. But as he assumes the important role of senior prosecutor, he also faces a devastating family tragedy: the loss of his son, Tommy, 25, and a Harvard Law student, to suicide on New Years Eve. .

“Even in this darkest moment, he has in no way diminished what he sees as his responsibility as a congressman to defend our democracy,” said Rep. David Cicilline, Democrat of Rhode Island and the one of Mr. Raskin’s closest friends in the Capitol. “None of us who know Jamie well are surprised.”

Beloved on both sides of the political aisle, Mr. Raskin is a member of Ms. Pelosi’s unofficial “kitchen cabinet” and sits on both the House Judiciary Committee and the House Rules Committee, the powerful group of 13 members who defines the conditions debate in the House.

In addition to drafting the article of impeachment, he also drafted the resolution, passed by the House on Tuesday night, calling on Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to strip Mr. Trump of his powers. He likes to quote Thomas Paine, the character from the War of Independence for which his son was named: “Times have found us.

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A senior Georgia election official said Jon Ossoff would likely win.

A senior Georgia election official said it was almost certain that Jon Ossoff, the 33-year-old media executive who issued an unlikely challenge to a sitting senator, would emerge victorious against David Perdue.

“The senator will probably be Ossoff,” Gabriel Sterling, a senior Georgia election official, said at a press conference Wednesday morning.

In his briefing, Sterling said it was also likely that Mr. Ossoff’s victory would exceed the margin – ½ of 1 percent – that would trigger an election recount in Georgia.

Mr Ossoff currently leads Mr Perdue by more than 17,500 votes after Tuesday’s second round of the Senate, in which more than 4.4 million voters voted, a record in Georgia.

Just over 60,000 votes remain to be counted, with the biggest numbers coming from Democratic or Democratic counties in the metro Atlanta area. These include DeKalb (17,902 votes); Henry (9,078); Fulton (5,294); and Gwinnett (5,068).

The remaining votes are largely absent votes that were delivered by mail or placed in drop boxes on Tuesday, according to Mr Sterling, who said he expected most between them are counted at 1 p.m.

During the meeting, Mr Sterling, a former Republican political agent, said there was no evidence of irregularities in the Senate election and, once again, expressed frustration with of President Donald Trump, whom he accused of having started a “war within a GOP that must be united to get through this difficult fight.”

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Hack ‘likely’ came from Russia, says US in late official statement on major intrusion

US intelligence agencies have officially named Russia as the “likely” source of the large-scale US government and private enterprise hacking, and said the operation was “underway” nearly a month after its discovery.

The statement issued jointly on Tuesday by four government agencies was a clear rebuke of President Trump’s efforts, in Twitter posts, to suggest that China was behind the hack. But within intelligence agencies, there is little doubt about Russia’s responsibility. No information has been gathered indicating China, according to people briefed on the material.

The statement also highlighted how U.S. intelligence agencies continue to catch up, after being alerted in mid-December by private security firms to the widest and deepest penetration of U.S. computer networks of times. modern. Intelligence agencies concluded with a high degree of confidence that Russia was responsible for the hacking, according to people briefed on the analysis.

This statement is as final a blame on Russia as the United States has made, and echoes early statements of 2016 about the Kremlin’s interference in the elections. It took months in this case to link the attacks to the orders given by President Vladimir V. Putin.

Mr. Putin and his main intelligence agency, the SVR, were not mentioned in the statement released on Tuesday. But the general conclusion that Russia was the likely source of the penetration of American systems had already been announced by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and then Attorney General William P. Barr.

Tuesday’s statement was carefully crafted, in a nod to Mr. Trump’s personal skepticism of Russian guilt.

But whatever its wording, the formal conclusion opens the way for retaliation, likely from President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. after taking office. Mr. Biden, unlike Mr. Trump, said whoever was behind the operation would pay a high price.

According to the statement, an as yet unidentified cyber actor, possibly of Russian origin, is responsible for most or all of the recently discovered and ongoing cyber compromises of government and non-government networks.

He added: “At the moment, we believe it was, and continues to be, an intelligence-gathering effort. We are taking all necessary steps to understand the full scope of this campaign and respond accordingly. “

The characterization of the intrusion as an “intelligence gathering effort” is significant because it shows that there is no indication yet that the Russians have implanted malware in American systems intended to disrupt power grids or modify data. government or private databases.

But in interviews over the past two weeks, government and private officials have said they are still discovering the scope of the intrusions, and it may take months to determine whether Russia or others could do so. more malicious use of the “back doors” they have placed. in systems.

The statement from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the National Security Agency, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security seemed very similar in wording to the one the White House was set to release nearly two weeks ago. But it was pulled after Mr Trump erupted against his intelligence officials and said they had no evidence to link the action to Russia.

The various agencies have already created ad hoc working groups to deal with hacking, but the formal creation of a new working group is a reflection of the fact that bringing the full extent of the huge Russian piracy under control will take time. and is beyond the capacity of a single government agency.

While the computers of many agencies were infected with the backdoor providing access, Russian intelligence agencies were shrewd in which of those doors they opened and what information they stole, complicating the investigation of the material that had been taken.

The establishment of the task force will help the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI and the National Security Agency share information better and faster, according to government officials.

In addition to trying to better understand what the Russian spies have taken, the task force will also examine what is needed to repair existing computer networks and ensure that no further vulnerabilities remain in government networks created by them. Russian hackers.

Members of the task force will also start trying to put in place new procedures to try to prevent similar future vulnerabilities from being exploited by conflicting powers.