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The promises made to the coal country are familiar, but can Biden keep?

“I made the choice to be a coal miner,” he said. “I probably could have gone to college and pursued a different career, but I didn’t.

“I don’t know anything else,” he added.

Magoffin County Executive Judge Matt Wireman sees tremendous potential in his community. The county has a new industrial park, tourist potential and broadband access. With the help of the federal government, he thinks things could change.

“I want to see action, I want to see things that are tangible,” Mr. Wireman said. “They can talk, talk and talk. Let’s see the things we can see, feel and touch. “

Of course, not everyone waits for Washington to come to the rescue, or even thinks it’s the best approach. Gwen Johnson, who operates a bakery near Neon, said outside help was often misplaced and money mismanaged. Although she would like federal attention, she is wary.

The bakery, she said, shows how local people can improve their own communities in their own way: by providing fresh bread and a place to meet, and by providing employment for people recovering from drug addiction.

“I’m just sick and tired of strangers saying what we need,” Ms. Johnson said. “Don’t plan what we need thinking you know, because you don’t know.”

Rebecca Shelton, director of policy and organization at the Appalachian Citizens’ Law Center in Whitesburg, supports a program to employ former miners in the reclamation of abandoned coal mines. Old mines, if left behind, can be dangerous for residents living nearby and destructive to the environment. As climate change leads to more extreme weather conditions, the risks of landslides, landslides and other dangers to public safety will increase.

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Biden promises enough vaccine ‘for every American adult’ by end of May

But Johnson & Johnson and its partners have fallen behind in their manufacture. The company was supposed to deliver its first 37 million doses by the end of March, but said it would only be able to deliver 20 million doses by that date, which made assistants to Biden nervous.

In late January, Jeffrey D. Zients, Mr Biden’s coronavirus response coordinator, and Dr David Kessler, who manages vaccine distribution for the White House, contacted senior company officials, including Alex Gorsky. , its managing director, with a blunt message: this is unacceptable.

This led to a series of negotiations in February in which administration officials repeatedly pressured Johnson & Johnson to accept that they needed help, while urging Merck to be a part solution, according to two administration officials who participated in the discussions.

In a statement on Tuesday, Merck said the federal government would pay it up to $ 269 million to adapt and make available its existing facilities to produce coronavirus vaccines. Michael T. Nally, executive vice president of human health at Merck, said in an interview that the company has been in talks with several companies and governments, including officials from the former Trump administration.

“I think we all recognize that every day matters,” he said.

Mr Nally declined to provide an estimate of how many doses of vaccine the company could ultimately produce, saying only it would be “substantial.” Merck’s expanded offering, however, is unlikely to be available for months.

A federal official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said other measures taken by the administration would advance Johnson & Johnson’s manufacturing schedule.

Those steps, said Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, included providing a team of experts to oversee the Department of Defense manufacturing and logistical support. In addition, the president will invoke the Defense Production Act, a Korean War-era law, to give Johnson & Johnson access to the supplies needed to make and package the vaccines.

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Trump promises GOP unity, then attacks Republicans who backed impeachment

ORLANDO, Florida – Former President Donald J. Trump used his first public appearance on Sunday since leaving and moving to Florida to castigate President Biden and insist there is no division within of the Republican Party – before naming all the Republicans who voted in support of his second indictment and asking for their removal from office.

In a speech on the closing day of the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, Mr. Trump attacked Democrats, teased a possible presidential candidacy in 2024, and dismissed the grievances that continue to drive much of his left.

“I still miss you? Mr Trump asked the crowd after arriving about an hour late. Speaking for about 90 minutes, he spoke of his “journey” with his supporters, adding, “It’s far from over.”

Mr Trump, who hates being seen as a ‘loser’, repeated his false claims that he won the 2020 election, which he made two months before his supporters rioted deadly as they sought to stop the certification of the vote on the Capitol on January 6.

Then he walked through, by name, every Republicans in the House and Senate who voted in favor of his second impeachment, lingering last on Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming.

“Of course the warmonger, a person who likes to see our troops fight, Liz Cheney. And that? Mr. Trump said, adding, “Get rid of them all.” He vowed to fight against them.

For the first time, he himself invoked the phrase “Trumpism” and described it as an ideology consisting of positions he took during his tenure, including restrictive immigration policies and “good business”.

“We will do what we did from the start, which is to win,” Mr. Trump said. And although he pitched the idea with a few advisers, he went on to say clearly, “I’m not throwing a new party.”

Instead, Mr. Trump repeatedly hit on conservative talking points, eliciting loud applause when he said, “We reject the culture of cancellation.

Condemning Mr Biden’s performance and persisting in his false claims that electoral fraud robbed him of victory in 2020, Mr Trump said, two months after his supporters violently raped the U.S. Capitol, that Democrats “Had just lost the White House”. He added: “I might even decide to beat them a third time.”

Towards the end of his speech, Mr Trump called for “electoral reform” and referred to what he called “abuse” in the 2020 ballot, in which a postal vote was held because of the coronavirus. He called for severe restrictions on postal voting.

“This election has been rigged,” Trump said just over an hour after starting his speech, prompting long chants of “You won! You won! ”Mr. Trump agreed,“ We ​​did it. ”

“They did not have the guts or the courage to make the right decision,” he said in an excoriation from the Supreme Court.

He deviated from the script several times.

Mr. Trump’s biggest applause came on his grievances. He criticized Dr Anthony S. Fauci, the infectious disease expert who worked with the former president and stayed with Mr Biden, and called for an end to coronavirus restrictions that have kept schools closed in all the countries. The schools issue is one that Republicans have repeatedly insisted on heading into the 2022 midterm election, believing it gives them an advantage.

At one point, Mr Trump did something he never did as president – specifically called on people to take the coronavirus vaccines he had been asking for and hoped to help him in his efforts. re-election. But he mocked Mr Biden for tripping at a CNN mayoralty event and attacked him over the president’s comments about the limited number of vaccines available when he took office.

Backstage, before speaking, an aide brought Mr. Trump a full-length mirror to see what he looked like. The former president held a small bottle of hairspray a few inches from his chin and pointed it at his forehead, delivering a jet of spray to his forehead. He drank a Coke Light before going on stage.

While much of the party’s base remains devoted to the 74-year-old former president, some Republicans view him less favorably because of his refusal to accept defeat and his role in inciting the riot. from the Capitol.

A handful of GOP lawmakers have urged the party to move from Mr. Trump, the most prominent Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming, to the third House Republican.

In response, Mr. Trump’s eldest son Donald Trump Jr. repeatedly attacked Ms. Cheney in his remarks to CPAC on Friday, and the former president was scheduled to target her himself on Sunday.

Many of his advisers, however, urged him to use his time on stage in Orlando to deliver a forward-looking speech.

To that end, they also released a snippet in which Mr. Trump would assume his successor in a manner almost identical to what he said about Mr. Biden when he himself was president, when he was president. repeatedly told his supporters that Mr. Biden would destroy. the country.

Unaware that schools remained closed during his own presidency, Mr. Trump also planned to call on Mr. Biden to open schools “now. No more special interest deadlines! “

Whether or not Mr. Trump would choose to follow a teleprompter script was still an open question. And maybe more than ever now that he has scampered from the White House to his Palm Beach resort, stripped of his social media accounts.

His speech was written by two of the former president’s speech writers in the White House, Ross Worthington and Vince Haley, with input from other advisers.

The former president’s aides were looking for an opportunity for him to reappear and debated whether to host a rally-type event or take advantage of the forum of CPAC, which moved to Mr. Trump from the suburbs. Washington because Florida has more lenient coronavirus restrictions.

Mr. Trump and his aides worked with him on the speech for several days in his newly constructed office above the ballroom at Mar-a-Lago, his private club near the Atlantic Ocean. Without his Twitter thread, Mr. Trump used specific moments in the news cycle – the death of radio host Rush Limbaugh and the Tiger Woods car crash – to inject himself into the news cycle. information.

Outside of prepared statements, however, he has said much less since January 20 about the future of the GOP and its own lingering ambitions.

Mr Trump’s advisers have said he does not plan to discuss a litany of his own accomplishments, and instead will try to regain some of the way he presented himself as a candidate in 2016. Mr Trump has made it clear to allies and advisers that at least he wants to run for president again in 2024, which he was to tease in the speech.

Yet even with a built-in supporting audience, not everyone in the party thinks Trumpism is the way to go.

“CPAC is not the whole of the Republican Party,” said Senator Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, one of seven Republican senators who voted to convict Mr. Trump on the House impeachment charges on Sunday.

Speaking on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Cassidy said Republicans need to pay attention to voters who have changed over the past four years. “If we talk to the less secure voters, who have gone from President Trump to President Biden, we win. Otherwise, we lose, ”Mr. Cassidy said.

Jonathan Martin reported from Orlando, Florida and Maggie Haberman from New York. Erin Schaff contributed reporting from Orlando.

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What is really behind corporate promises on climate change?

Companies with tough goals have made progress. In a report last month, Science Based Targets, which was launched by environmental groups and hundreds of companies united by the United Nations, said the 338 large companies around the world for which it had emissions data sufficient had collectively reduced their emissions by 25%. between 2015 and 2019.

Large companies in the same industry often have very different backgrounds.

For example, Walmart discloses its emission reduction targets and progress on the Carbon Disclosure Project, including a target for its supplier emissions, and its plan has been approved by Science Based Targets. But Costco doesn’t expect to commit to reducing emissions until the end of next year. Costco executives declined to comment.

Netflix is ​​often compared to tech giants like Google and Microsoft. But Netflix has yet to set a target for reducing emissions from its offices, production operations and the computer servers it uses. “Climate action is important and we will announce our plans in the spring, which will include targets based on climate science,” the company said in a statement.

Reducing emissions is difficult. Businesses need to reliably measure the amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases for which they are responsible. Next, businesses need to find cleaner sources of energy without hurting their operations. When they can’t find cleaner substitutes, companies often pay others to reduce emissions or remove carbon from the atmosphere.

The task becomes even more difficult when companies begin the process of reducing so-called Scope 3 emissions – pollution caused by suppliers and customers. In oil companies, for example, Scope 3 would include emissions from gasoline-powered cars.

BlackRock, with $ 8.7 trillion in assets under management, including stakes in many companies, clearly faces a daunting task. The company doesn’t directly own most of the stocks or bonds it buys – it manages them for pension funds, other companies, and individual investors – which limits the degree of climate activism it can pursue. Additionally, most of its investment products track indexes like the S&P 500, which inevitably ends up managing stocks of fossil fuel companies.

Many Wall Street companies have pledged to achieve net zero emissions from their loans and other financial activities, but have not clarified whether this target applies to stocks and bonds they manage for their clients. BlackRock’s decision to include all the assets it manages could put pressure on other financial giants to make similar commitments, but it could put the fossil fuel industries and their political supporters at the forefront of Congress.

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Video: Fauci promises science-based coronavirus response

First of all, of course, we are still in a very serious situation. I mean, having over 400,000 dead is something that, you know, is sadly historic in a very bad sense. When you look at the number of new infections we have, it’s always at a very, very high rate. Hospitalizations are on the rise. There are parts of the country, as I think you all know, that are really stressed from a bed perspective, from a health system stress perspective. However, when you look more recently at the seven day average of cases, remember that we were going between three and 400,000, and between two and 300,000. Right now it looks like it might actually level off. One of the things we’re going to do is be completely transparent, open, and honest. If things go wrong, do not point the finger, but to correct them and to make sure that everything we do is based on science and evidence. It was very clear that there were things that were said, whether it was regarding things like hydroxychloroquine hydroxychloroquine and things like that, it was really uncomfortable because they weren’t based on scientific facts. I can tell you that I take no pleasure in being in a situation of contradiction with the president. So, that was really something that you didn’t feel like you could say anything about, and there wouldn’t be any repercussions about it. The idea that you can get up here and talk about what you know, the evidence, the science, and the knowledge, that’s it. Let science speak. It’s a bit of a liberating feeling.


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Buttigieg’s climate promises: what could he really do?

WASHINGTON – Pete Buttigieg, President Biden’s choice to head the Department of Transportation, vowed to make climate change a top priority during his Senate confirmation hearing on Thursday.

But it begs a question: How much can a secretary of transportation actually do to reduce emissions from America’s vast fleet of cars, trucks, and airplanes – which the agency oversees to varying degrees?

Transport now accounts for a third of the country’s greenhouse gases each year. And the area has been stubbornly difficult to clean up, as the vast majority of Americans remain deeply dependent on gasoline vehicles for getting around every day.

The federal agency has a number of powerful political levers that could be used to try to change this. One strategy could be to encourage state governments to rethink the way they design their roads and transit systems, moving the United States away from its dependence on car travel. Another is to help raise energy efficiency standards for new cars and trucks and promote cleaner electric vehicles.

But there are also significant constraints: Mr Buttigieg would most likely need to persuade lawmakers to pass major new legislation if he hopes to significantly transform the way the country travels. It could turn out to be a political minefield.

Here’s a look at what the Department of Transportation could do on climate policy.

Most of the ministry’s spending on roads and public transit, which totaled about $ 47 billion last year, is driven by strict formulas set by Congress.

But not at all.

The ministry also distributes approximately $ 1 billion annually in competitive grants that help states and cities fund individual transportation projects. Mr Buttigieg would have considerable leeway to reshape these subsidy programs fairly quickly, experts say.

The Trump administration has often given grants to highway projects that encouraged car travel, such as $ 34.6 million for a highway interchange to support a new National Football League facility in South Carolina. A more climate-focused agency, on the other hand, could announce that it was looking for proposals that offer alternatives to driving, such as bus or bicycle projects.

“It’s a small amount of money, but it sends a powerful signal to states and cities,” said Paul Lewis, vice president of policy and finance at the Eno Center for Transportation. “And I would expect the new administration to put more emphasis on climate-friendly projects.”

Individual states – not the federal government – usually have the final say over how they spend billions of federal dollars each year to build or repair roads and transit.

Nonetheless, the Department of Transportation could require states to start tracking greenhouse gas emissions produced by their transportation systems and set targets to reduce those emissions over time. While states are not required to reduce their emissions, a little transparency could be very helpful.

“Right now, we don’t even measure greenhouse gas emissions and don’t use them to guide project choices,” said Kevin DeGood, director of infrastructure policy at the Liberal Center for the American progress, which recommended policy change.

The department could also do more to help states and cities identify roads and bridges that may be damaged by sea level rise and other extreme weather conditions caused by climate change, Mr. DeGood.

By law, the Department of Transportation works with the Environmental Protection Agency to develop federal fuel economy standards, which require new cars, SUVs, and vans sold in the United States to use less gasoline. over time.

The Obama administration has used this authority to demand that automakers improve their fleet efficiency by 5% per year, on average, for model years 2021 to 2026. The Trump administration has weakened it to 1.5 % per year. On Wednesday, Biden asked the two agencies to review the decision and come up with new, possibly more ambitious, rules by July.

The Department of Transportation will have a huge contribution to these rules, which could potentially be designed to encourage automakers to sell cleaner electric vehicles. One challenge, however, is that more Americans are buying SUVs, which has resulted in stagnant overall fuel consumption.

Mr. Biden has also set a goal of installing 500,000 new electric vehicle charging stations over the next decade. Achieving this daunting goal would most likely require Congress to authorize billions of dollars in new spending. The Department of Transportation, however, could help determine how and where these chargers will be built.

U.S. transit agencies are in dire financial straits as the coronavirus epidemic has driven passengers away. Without significant federal help, experts have warned, the bus and metro systems could collapse, leaving the country even more dependent on personal cars and polluting SUVs once the pandemic subsides.

It’s mostly a job for Congress: Lawmakers approved $ 14 billion in transportation aid last December, and Mr Biden offered an additional $ 20 billion as he sought new clawback legislation.

But the Department of Transportation will most likely be closely involved in helping transit agencies get back on their feet.

“The ministry can do a lot to work with cities to figure out how to help public transit run more reliably and ensure that services get to the communities that need them most,” said Ann Shikany, infrastructure expert at the environmental group.

Ultimately, experts said, it will be difficult to significantly reduce emissions from U.S. vehicles unless Congress steps in to reorganize federal transportation funding.

An opportunity presents itself: the current round of federal highway spending is set to expire later this year.

Lawmakers in the House and Senate have already proposed a range of reforms that could potentially reduce emissions from the transportation sector. Ideas include increasing the total amount of money available for public transit and electric vehicle infrastructure, encouraging cycling and walking, and imposing new climatic conditions on existing road spending formulas.

Still, any change is likely to prove controversial, especially in a tightly divided Senate.

“When you start transferring money, some states start to gain and some states start to lose,” said Lewis of the Eno Center for Transportation. “This means that huge reforms can face a protracted political struggle.”

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Big promises made by Biden

Biden asks Americans to “imagine a future” beyond the virus, pushing a $ 1.9 trillion plan to promote jobs and prosperity. It’s Friday, and here is your political advice sheet. register here to get On Politics delivered to your inbox every day of the week.

Amid heavy safety precautions, workers have placed banners for next week’s inauguration in front of the White House.

Jaime Harrison raised more money than any Senate candidate in history when he challenged Senator Lindsey Graham in South Carolina last fall.

Now, after losing this race by more than 10 percentage points, he is going to be responsible for telling his whole party how to spend his political money.

Like my colleague Jonathan martin and I reported yesterday, Harrison is Joe Biden’s choice to lead the Democratic National Committee. Typically, when Democrats hold the White House, the committee relies on the president on party leadership. So it’s likely that Harrison won’t face any competition for the job. The Biden team has also announced high-profile alternates as vice presidents, including Governor Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, Senator Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, Representative Filemon Vela of Texas and Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms of Atlanta.

Former state party president Harrison was defended by dozens of leaders on the committee who would like to see the organization continue to invest in local political infrastructure. And after building a national profile during his run, the former Senate candidate comes to work with a built-in foundation for fundraising and media attention.

That doesn’t mean it will be easy. Harrison will be tasked with helping navigate deeply uncertain political terrain and deciding the party’s message ahead of what is generally expected to be a tough midterm election. Already, fighting is brewing within the party between those who would like Biden to get his message of unifying the country across and a more liberal wing that wants the new administration to hold President Trump and his allies accountable for any misdeeds in power.

Additionally, Harrison will face a simmering battle over the party’s main nominating calendar. Some Democrats would like to see Iowa and New Hampshire – states with predominantly white and older voters – lose their touted status at the start of the primary calendar. Others would like to eliminate caucuses, the complicated nomination processes used in Iowa and Nevada.

This fight will likely strike close to home for Harrison: his home state – South Carolina – votes fourth.

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After 2 indictments, Giuliani promises to continue his “ madness ” for Trump

WASHINGTON – When Rudolph W. Giuliani was treating his efforts to fulfill President Trump’s wish to overturn the 2020 presidential election results as an opportunity for payment – he offered a daily retainer of $ 20,000 for his legal services to the fund Trump’s Booming Campaign Legal – The President rejected it and responded by demanding personal approval of every expense.

Nine weeks and one more arraignment later, Mr. Trump started the day Thursday by asking his aides to erase any signs of a breakup. Stripped of his Twitter account, Mr. Trump praised an adviser, Jason Miller, who tweeted: “I just spoke with President Trump, and he told me that @RudyGiuliani is a great guy and a patriot who has dedicated his service to the country! We all love the American mayor! “

White House officials are universally angry with Mr. Giuliani and blame him for both of Mr. Trump’s indictments. But the president is another story.

Even though he complains that Mr Giuliani’s latest efforts are unsuccessful, the president remains exceptionally respectful to him in public and private. “Don’t underestimate it,” Trump told advisers.

But only up to a point. While Mr. Trump and his advisers opposed the $ 20,000 request weeks ago, it’s unclear whether the president will approve of Mr. Giuliani being paid for anything other than expenses.

Recurring and recurring tensions are a hallmark of a decades-long mutually beneficial relationship between the former New York mayor of Brooklyn and the former Queens real estate developer. Although the two have never been particularly close in New York, Mr Trump appreciated that the former mayor was his personal legal pit bull during the special council’s investigation into his campaign’s ties to Russia.

In return, Mr. Giuliani, who failed his own presidential bid in 2008, was able to spend time with the president in the Oval Office and used his new connections to secure lucrative deals.

Mr. Trump deployed Mr. Giuliani on politically ruinous missions that led to his impeachment – twice. Now isolated and stripped of his usual political megaphones, the president faces the devastation of his business and political affairs for his part by cheering on a pro-Trump mob that continued to attack the Capitol on January 6.

Mr. Giuliani – who, for his part, encouraged a group of the president’s supporters that day to conduct a “trial by combat” – is one of the few people still eager and eager to join Mr. Trump in the foxhole. . While most lawyers are reluctant to represent the president in a second Senate impeachment trial, Trump’s advisers have said Mr. Giuliani remains most likely to be involved. Despite President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s certification as the winner, Mr. Giuliani continued to promote unproven theories about election results and falsely attributed the violence to left-wing anarchists.

A podcast hosted by Stephen K. Banon, Mr. Trump’s former chief strategist, was withdrawn Thursday due to an interview in which Mr. Giuliani repeated false statements about the election. During the interview, Mr. Bannon begged Mr. Giuliani to move on to a new topic.

“I don’t mind being closed for my folly,” Mr Bannon told Mr Giuliani, according to Alexander Panetta, a CBC News reporter who listened to the podcast before it was deleted. “I’m not going to be closed for yours.”

Mr. Trump has always had an abundance of yes men and women around him, but Mr. Giuliani occupies a unique space in his orbit. Few have had such durability with the President, and few have been so willing to say and do things for him that others will not.

“Your typical role as legal counsel is to tell your client the hard truth and steer them away from the risk,” Matthew Sanderson, a Washington-based Republican political lawyer, said in an interview. “Rather, Rudy seems to be telling his client exactly what he wants to hear and guiding him to risk like they’re both moths to a flame.

This trip left him looking worse for wear. Days after the election, Giuliani hit the road, disputing the results in a much maligned press conference outside a Pennsylvania landscaping company. In another appearance that month, Mr Giuliani stood in front of a camera with black liquid, apparently hair dye, streaming down his face as he denounced the election result.

Few have been so willing to stand up for the president and, ironically, few have been so damaging to his legacy.

Mr. Giuliani entered the president’s legal affairs in April 2018. His eagerness to attack Robert S. Mueller III, the special advocate, impressed Mr. Trump, who was constantly making changes to his legal team. Most of Trump’s advisers have come to view Mr. Giuliani’s efforts with Mr. Mueller as a success.

“There was never a time when Rudy was unwilling to take it any lower, and that’s what Trump needs,” Trump biographer Michael D’Antonio said. “He proved that actually delivering for Donald wasn’t as important as keeping trying.

In addition to his work with Mr. Trump, Mr. Giuliani pursued side projects with the added cachet of being the President’s personal advocate. Free from ethics laws that restrict government employees, Mr Giuliani struck lucrative deals even amid the special council’s investigation.

And then came the indictments. When the history of the Trump presidency is written, Mr. Giuliani will be a central figure, first by leading a lobbying campaign against the Ukrainian government to investigate Mr. Biden’s family members, and then by traveling the country. in an attempt to overthrow Mr. Biden. victory.

Mr. Giuliani’s legal problems have multiplied along with those of the President. As Mr Giuliani searched for distinct business opportunities in Ukraine, intelligence agencies warned that it could have been used by Russian intelligence agents seeking to spread disinformation about the election – reports that Mr Trump ignored the shoulders. Mr. Giuliani’s work in Ukraine continues to be a topic of interest as part of an ongoing investigation by federal prosecutors in New York. And his remarks to Trump supporters before the Capitol riot are now the subject of an effort by the New York State Bar Association to expel him.

Mr. Giuliani does not seem discouraged.

In a 37-minute video posted Wednesday night, Mr Giuliani attempted to rewrite the history of the riot on Capitol Hill. Although Mr. Trump urged his supporters to walk towards the building and “show his strength,” Mr. Giuliani suggested in the video that anti-fa activists were involved, a theory repeatedly debunked that has proliferated in circles. pro-Trump online.

“The rally was ultimately used to some extent as a fulcrum to create something totally different that the president had nothing to do with,” Giuliani said.

From now on, his appeals to the president are sometimes blocked by order of the officials of the White House. Advisers claim that Jared Kushner, Mr Trump’s son-in-law, holds Mr Giuliani partly responsible for the disorder currently plaguing the White House.

But Mr. Giuliani clings to the shrinking circle around Mr. Trump.

“He is not alone,” Alan Marcus, a former consultant to the Trump organization, said of the president. “He is abandoned. Rudy is just the last of a whole bunch of people.

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Video: Trump promises orderly transfer of power

new video loaded: Trump promises orderly transfer of power



Trump promises orderly transfer of power

President Trump said a day after a crowd stormed Capitol Hill that a “new administration” would be sworn in after a “smooth, orderly and seamless transition of power.”

Now Congress has certified the results. A new administration will be inaugurated on January 20. I am now striving to ensure a smooth, orderly and transparent power transition. This moment calls for healing and reconciliation. 2020 has been a difficult time for our people.

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Bill Trump promises to veto strengthens hacking defenses, lawmakers say

WASHINGTON – The military spending bill that President Trump is threatening to veto contains provisions that would help protect against the type of large-scale Russian hacking uncovered in recent days, experts and lawmakers say.

The annual defense authorization bill, which Mr. Trump as recently as Thursday said he would veto, contains a series of recommendations from a bipartite commission created by Congress.

The recent hack into numerous federal agencies by Russia’s elite spy service demonstrated the need for new defenses, key lawmakers said.

The military bill contains two dozen provisions aimed at strengthening cyber defenses. It gives the federal government the ability to actively search for foreign hackers trying to penetrate computer networks and establishes a national cyber director who would coordinate the government’s defenses and responses to such attacks.

“This is an incredibly important bill,” said Senator Angus King, an independent from Maine who was co-chair of the bipartisan panel, the Cyberspace Solarium Commission. “This is the most important computer legislation ever passed by the United States Congress.”

If those provisions had been in place this year, the Trump administration could have better detected and stopped the violation more quickly, lawmakers said.

But other recommendations from the commission that could also have helped uncover Russian hacking much earlier, including giving the government the power to search for threats on certain private networks, were not included in the bill. this year.

Rep. Mike Gallagher, Republican of Wisconsin and co-chair of the commission, said it was essential to remember that a private company, FireEye, had discovered Russian hacking that exploited vulnerabilities, including in software created by a Texan company called SolarWinds.

“It went undetected for months and months by US government agencies,” Gallagher said. “I think this shows a weakness in federal defense.”

The Russians were able to use vulnerabilities in a large number of federal computer networks and private sector companies to gain broad access. The hackers, who work for the elite Russian spy agency, have been in federal agencies for months, at least since March.

On Thursday, the Federal Agency for Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security warned that the hack was “a serious risk to the federal government.” While the warning did not contain any details, it confirmed findings from private cybersecurity experts that hackers had found multiple routes into computer networks.

While the scope of the intrusion grows daily as investigators learn more, officials have not revealed anything about the information the Russian spies stole or what they were looking for.

The response from senior Trump administration officials has been muffled, but after the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency’s announcement, President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. said his administration would impose substantial costs on those responsible for hacking the government systems.

The commission announced its recommendations in March. Congress wrote 23 in the annual military bill that was passed by both houses with veto margins this month. Mr Gallagher said no one guaranteed the hack would have been stopped, but giving the Department of Homeland Security more power to hunt threats across the federal government would have provided a “chance” to detect the intrusion sooner. .

“This type of threat hunting capability is necessary, and I think this attack underscores that,” he said.

While the White House viewed certain provisions with skepticism, including the creation of a Senate-confirmed cyber director, Mr. Trump’s veto threat focused on his demands that Congress remove legal protections for companies from social media.

Opposing the legislation would be a mistake, especially after the SolarWinds hack was revealed, King said.

“If the question is whether their provisions in the bill could have protected us, the answer is yes,” said King, who caucus with the Democrats. “There is no guarantee that we could have found it, but it is exactly the sort of thing that worried us and which motivated the creation of the committee.

The commission included members of Congress and officials from the Trump administration and aimed to make recommendations to strengthen defenses against piracy.

Mr Trump has until next week to veto the bill, and the longer he waits, the harder it could be for Congress to overturn his decision, which could require lawmakers to be brought to Washington after Christmas , or to organize a last vote on January. 3, just before the session of the next Congress.

Machinations over the bill’s fate come as criticism from Congress grows over the administration’s revelations about the Russian hack and officials failing to provide detailed briefings.

Pentagon officials have tried to reassure the public that their defenses are holding and have so far found “no evidence of compromise” on their systems. The intrusion exploited a vulnerability in software used in the public and private sectors.

But lawmakers and outside experts viewed the statement with skepticism.

“It is far too early to claim that there is no danger here. I think the operating assumption has to be that the Russians have had access to extremely sensitive information, ”said Jeremy Bash, a former senior Pentagon and CIA official in the Obama administration. “Anyone who gets up after 72 hours and says ‘there is nothing to see here’ is completely unaware of how cyber attacks work. It is dangerous to make such a proclamation.

Mr Bash, now a consultant at Beacon Global Strategies, said it was impossible to tell in a few days how extensive the intrusion was. It could take months to find out what information the Russians had.

The hack, Mr Bash said, demonstrated the need for the type of cyberdirector the commission lobbied for. Such a director would be in a good position to orchestrate a unified federal response and promptly notify Congress and the public of action taken.

“A national cyber director is essential to ensure that all agencies have a very high level of cyber defense,” he said. “If the president veto the bill, Congress should quickly overturn that veto.”

Besides the director, the military bill includes other provisions aimed at strengthening the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, a branch of the Department of Homeland Security whose head was fired by Mr. Trump after proclaiming the safe elections. It would also establish more exercises on hacking defenses, require a review of the size of US cyber command forces, require an annual review of vulnerabilities in major weapon systems, and facilitate the recruitment and retention of defense experts. electronic by government.

Even if the military bill becomes law, there is still work to be done, Mr Gallagher said. Members of the commission urged appropriators in Congress to devote more funds to the type of threat hunting operations permitted by the bill.

Mr Gallagher also said he hoped next year’s legislation could expand threat-hunting work beyond government networks, allowing the federal government to proactively search for foreign intruders on corporate networks. ‘military contractors, to better connect the defenses of public and private networks.