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Pentagon begins independent investigation into special operations and war crimes

For decades, the Department of Defense has relied on secret and classified special operations troops to open doors and attack high-value targets around the world. The ministry’s Office of the Inspector General may be looking for the first time to whether these obscure strike forces committed war crimes along the way.

The office sent a memo Monday to the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Special Operations Command, informing them that it was beginning an investigation into whether the forces overseen by the command, which include Navy SEALs, the Delta Force army, marine raiders, and other elite commandos, have programs in place to ensure that they follow the law during combat and report troops when those laws are broken.

The four paragraph note, which was first reported by Task & Purpose, could have a seismic impact on the special operations community, according to current and former commandos and military legal experts.

The Pentagon has come to rely heavily on Special Operations Troops, who often conduct missions with little oversight, backed by an army and nation that often idolizes elite fighters. The responsibility has sometimes been insufficient.

For example, in 20 years of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, despite repeated reports that Navy SEALs needlessly beat and kill civilians in war zones, only a handful of members of the SEAL team have been accused of such acts. abuse and none were convicted.

The announcement of the investigation comes less than a week after President Biden took office, suggesting that his administration wants to take a very different approach to war crimes than its predecessor.

Among other things, former President Donald J. Trump intervened in military prosecutions and discipline of special operators, granted clemency to eight service members and military contractors accused or convicted of killing civilians, and told the crowds at his rallies that torture like waterboarding was fine, but “not tough enough”.

“Looks like Biden wants to show the world and our troops that he is breaking with Trump’s obstructionist approach to war criminals and the rule of law,” said Rachel VanLandingham, professor at Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles. Angeles and retired Air Force lieutenant. colonel who was senior adviser to the senior commanders of US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan during the Bush and Obama administrations, covering issues related to respect for the law of armed conflict.

Special operations troops in general, and members of the SEAL team in particular, have been repeatedly accused of covering up killings and other crimes under the guise of classified missions and a grounded tribal culture. on loyalty and silence, Ms VanLandingham said.

“I was hearing things about SEALs that were just outrageous, and I was trying to pull a thread to try to find out more, and everyone would stop talking,” she says. “It was almost impossible to really investigate, as they were operating in hot and dangerous areas. Plus, the SEALs were so deified by the military and society that no one really wanted to pursue them.

Now that can change, she said.

After several high-profile murder cases and reports of rampant drug use in the ranks, the SEAL’s commanding general wrote to his subordinates in 2019: “We have a problem. This problem has become more pressing in recent years after the International Criminal Court opened an investigation into possible war crimes committed by US troops in Afghanistan.

The Trump administration retaliated against the actions of the International Court last fall by imposing economic sanctions and travel restrictions on court investigators.

By opening a Department of Defense investigation, the Biden administration could try to signal that the United States is willing to look at the allegations independently and hold criminals accountable, VanLandingham said.

Accountability is also just good international and domestic policy, she added: “The United States does not want to be seen as a lawbreaker. The rule of law is a reason people look up to us and an important tool of soft power. “

The Special Operations Command declined to comment on the new investigation Thursday, referring the questions to the Inspector General’s office.

In a statement, the inspector general said the assessment started this week was routine and part of the office’s “planned oversight work, in accordance with its usual protocols.”

Yet lawyers said they had seen nothing like it during the longest period of armed conflict in U.S. history.

The Defense Ministry has given no indication of the size and scope of the new investigation. But a recent independent investigation in Australia of that country’s elite commando force, the Special Air Service, shows that such an effort could go back decades and examine hundreds of missions.

The four-year investigation in Australia interviewed 510 potential witnesses and reviewed 20,000 documents. Its final report revealed dozens of unlawful killings and a warrior culture within the ranks that prompted SAS commandos to glorify atrocities. Nineteen soldiers have since been fired for criminal investigation.

In the US Navy, said a senior SEAL officer, a small but equally twisted subculture has formed since 2001. Asked about the important differences between Australian commandos and US SEALs, the officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not allowed to speak publicly, replied: “The Australians have been investigated.”

Three active-duty enlisted SEALs said in interviews that a small subculture of rogue operators has spread across SEAL teams, protected by a fierce code of loyalty and the reluctance of their fellow SEALs to s’ express and risk tarnishing the reputation of their elite fraternity.

The SEALs said their leaders also often remained silent. One cited the example of Chris Kyle, a former SEAL sniper who died in 2013. In his widely read memoir, “American Sniper,” Mr. Kyle wrote that overseas, he had been repeatedly investigated for questionable killings in Iraq and had been returned. of duty at some point.

He wrote that he shot so many people that the men serving under him joked that he must have glued a tiny silhouette of a gun into his sniper scope, so that every Iraqi he targeted appears to be armed and therefore an acceptable target under the rules of engagement.

Despite these alarming accounts, the book was cleared for publication by the Department of Defense and adopted by SEAL management, the public and Hollywood.

“The military – civilians too – often they see us as demigods, and that has created a problem,” said SEAL, who spoke about the book.

After a number of questionable killings came to light, special operations leaders ordered a thorough assessment in 2019 of commando culture and ethics. A report of the findings, released six months later, found “no systematic ethical issues,” but said repeated deployments to war zones had created a culture that favored “the employment of forces and mission accomplishment versus routine activities that ensure leadership, accountability and discipline. “

The Navy said discipline and responsibility have always been a high priority for SEAL teams. In recent years, the service has increased training in ethical decision making and moral leadership for special operators.

The senior SEAL officer said he had hoped the 2019 assessment would include the kind of unwavering look at individual crimes committed in Australia, but as has been done internally by Special Operations Command , it was not really independent.

This week’s brief memo of the Inspector General’s investigation was open, he said. This could be the start of a major investigation or produce a bland examination of bureaucratic reporting processes. Yet, he added, “SEALs have been treated like heroes for too long – they need real responsibility.”

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Famous stall tactic War Over Filibuster shuts down Senate right off the bat

WASHINGTON – For months, as Democrats considered taking control of the White House and Senate and finally being able to move their agenda forward without Republican interference, centrists like Senator Jon Tester of Montana have warned that ‘they would not join their party in dropping. systematic obstruction, the ultimate weapon of massive obstruction, to lead the way.

But now that President Biden is in office and Democrats have taken over the Senate, even Mr. Tester, who sees filibuster as a crucial mechanism for forcing the kind of bipartisan compromise that is sorely needed, says his determination to preserve it is not unconditional.

“I feel very strong, but I’ll also tell you this: I’m here to get things done,” Mr. Tester said in an interview. “If all that happens is obstruction after obstruction, roadblock after roadblock, then my opinion may change.”

Mr Tester is at the center of a rapidly developing confrontation over the fate of filibuster, the signature feature of the Senate – a once rarely used weapon now used regularly to block action in the stranded institution – which has serious consequences for Mr. Biden. presidency.

Before the Senate could get down to business under new Democratic leadership, Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Republican of Kentucky and new Minority Leader, forced a showdown over the rule – which effectively imposes a 60-vote threshold to take measures – refusing to cooperate in organizing the Senate unless Democrats promise not to empty it.

New York Democrat and new Majority Leader Senator Chuck Schumer has rejected the request, infuriating Democrats who see it as proof that Mr McConnell intends to obstruct Mr Biden’s proposals on pandemic relief, immigration, climate change, health care and more.

“Mitch McConnell will not dictate in the Senate what to do and how to do it,” Schumer said Sunday. “McConnell is no longer the majority leader.”

The deadlock has created a bizarre situation where most Senate committees are frozen under Republican control and new senators cannot be seated in panels even though Democrats now command the Senate majority.

Beyond the immediate logistical effects, the feud reflects difficult dynamics in the 50-50 Senate for Mr Biden. By standing up to Democrats eager to take matters into their own hands, Mr. McConnell is exerting his influence. But it also foreshadows a possible clash within the chamber that might otherwise have taken months to unfold over how aggressive Democrats are in seeking to achieve Mr Biden’s top priorities.

Democrats say they must at least keep the threat that they could one day end the filibuster, arguing that complying with Mr McConnell’s request now would only encourage Republicans to deploy it consistently, without fear of reprisal.

“Well, he’s a non-runner because if we gave him that then filibuster would be on everything, every day,” said Sen. Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, Democrat no. No. 2 of the Senate, Sunday on NBC. Hurry.”

This is a rule that is at the heart of the consensus-driven Senate, which effectively requires any bill to draw 60 votes to move forward. But like everything else in the Senate, the rule itself is subject to change if senators agree. As the majority party, Democrats could act to remove the filibuster and force a rule change on a simple majority vote – a move known as blowing up the “nuclear option” – if the 50’s their members stood together and Vice President Kamala D Harris voted for the tiebreaker.

As the odds grew over the past year that Democrats could take control of the White House and Congress, speculation has grown over whether they would take such action if Republicans attacked each other. to Mr. Biden. But no one foresaw that Mr McConnell would bring the fight to a boil early on by preventing the obstruction of the groundwork of setting up the Senate for the next two years through what is known as a resolution. organization, which requires Senate approval. .

In calling for Democratic engagement, McConnell noted that Democrats themselves relied on filibuster when Donald J. Trump was president and Republicans held the Senate.

“The Democrats have used it constantly, as they have every right to,” he said last week. “They were happy to insist on a 60-vote threshold for virtually any action or bill that I took.”

Mr Schumer has said little about his strategy for the future, other than calling Mr McConnell’s request unacceptable. The new majority leader appears content for now to let Democrats and Mr. Biden, a long-time former senator who is reluctant to reverse the filibuster, simmer on Republican tactics.

Mr Schumer proposed to organize the Senate under the terms of a 2001 deal – the last time the Senate was split 50-50 – and give Republicans equal representation on committees, a move some Democrats considered generous.

Yet, given the deadlock, some liberal activists are urging Mr Schumer to respond aggressively and immediately blow up the filibuster to enact the organizing resolution over Mr McConnell’s objections, giving Democrats the power that ‘they won in the election. They argue that since the measure does not become law, the move would leave legislative flibust intact, and should win the support of even Democrats like Mr Tester who want to preserve it.

“You could see the Democrats rallying to the idea of ​​at least changing the rules to ban a filibuster on this procedural resolution so they could take their hammer and start Senate business,” said Brian Fallon, former assistant to Mr. Schumer. who is now a progressive justice activist with the Demand Justice group. “It would be a mini-nuclear option, in a way.”

Mr Schumer’s allies say he still hopes to strike a deal with Mr McConnell and is not yet in crisis. Mr Tester said he would urge Mr Schumer and “to sit at the table and lock the door and square it”.

“But if, in fact, Mitch is going to put up roadblocks and obstruct the organizing resolution, then I think Schumer needs to speak up,” Mr. Tester said.

Another Democrat who has taken a strong stand against eliminating the filibuster, West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin III, has not changed his position even though Mr McConnell’s request prevents Mr Manchin from taking the head of a committee of its own. In a 50-50 Senate, defection alone would prevent the rule from being eliminated.

“I’m in the minority in the caucus on this, I’m sure,” Manchin told reporters. “I think Chuck has the right to do what he does. He has the right to use this leverage in whatever he wants to do. It doesn’t worry me at all. They will get there. I just haven’t changed where I am.

Mr Schumer says Mr McConnell is trying to go beyond the terms of the 2001 agreement with his filibuster request, calling it superfluous. But so far Mr McConnell appears to have the support of other Republicans, including moderates who are empowered by the 60-vote requirement, who say it is essential that Democrats pledge not to overthrow systematic obstruction.

“It’s important to include some sort of detente on filibuster,” said Senator Lisa Murkowski, Republican of Alaska, who said that was not a problem in 2001 because no one at the time would not have considered eliminating it. “It wasn’t even a topic we even thought about, so it’s a different environment.”

As for Mr Biden, the White House says his stance in favor of filibuster has not changed, although he gave mixed signals during the campaign. Mr Schumer and the Senate Democrats would be highly unlikely to proceed with the removal of the practice without Mr Biden’s endorsement, especially since they would need Ms Harris’ vote to do so.

Mr Tester said filibuster had a role to play as it can lead to legislation that “stands the test of time”, rather than locking Congress into a cycle where a party is always trying to undo partisan legislation passed by the other. But his patience is not infinite.

“I did not come here to sit at my desk and wait for no vote to happen,” he said.

Luke broadwater and Emily cochrane contribution to reports.

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Five takeaways from the unfolding China-US space war

The stars of the new space age include not only famous entrepreneurs, but a rising generation of dreamers and actors. Small businesses, developing states and even high schools are now putting spacecraft into orbit.

But Beijing intends to dominate the democratized space age. It builds lasers on the ground that can zap spaceships and repeat cyberattacks meant to separate the Pentagon from its orbital fleets.

Seven years ago, Washington seized on a new strategy to strengthen the US military’s hand in a potential space war. The plan evolved under the Obama and Trump administrations and is expected to intensify under President Biden.

Here’s how the fight for space started and how it’s going now:

In 2007, China shattered one of its own abandoned satellites into thousands of swirling shards, making global headlines. The message to Washington was clear: Beijing was a strong new rival.

China carried out a dozen more tests after the 2007 incursion. Some of the fast warheads fired much higher, in theory endangering most classes of American spacecraft.

But Beijing has also sought to diversify its anti-satellite force beyond warheads.

The insight was simple. Every aspect of American space power was controlled from the ground by powerful computers. If penetrated, the brains of Washington’s space fleets could be degraded or destroyed. Moreover, these attacks were remarkably inexpensive compared to other anti-satellite weapons.

China began developing viruses to infect enemy computers, and in 2005 began incorporating cyber attacks into its military exercises. Increasingly, his military doctrine called for paralyzing the first attacks.

The idea is that advances in the commercial sector can do for US space forces what Steve Jobs did for terrestrial gadgets. To counter the Chinese threat, the Obama administration has sought to harness the breakthroughs of space innovators as a way to reinvigorate the military.

Washington has injected billions of dollars into commercial ventures like Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin. The result has been the development of swarms of tiny satellites as well as fleets of reusable rockets, innovations believed to make anti-satellite targeting much more difficult, if not impossible.

The Trump administration has pursued Obama’s trade strategy, although neither the White House nor the newly formed Space Force has publicly acknowledged its origin.

President Donald J. Trump has also sought to acquire offensive weapons. the Space Force has taken possession of its first offensive weapon, which fires beams of energy from ground sites to disrupt the orbiting enemy spacecraft.

The Trump administration last year asked Congress to start what it called counter-space weapons, valuing their expected cost at several hundred million dollars. The Army’s classified budget for offensive capabilities is said to be much higher.

Lloyd J. Austin III, a retired four-star Army general who was confirmed last week as Mr. Biden’s defense secretary, told the Senate he would keep a “laser focus” on maintaining and the sharpening of America’s “competitive advantage” over China. increasingly powerful military. Among other things, he called for further US investment in “space platforms” and repeatedly referred to space as a domain of war.

Mr. Austin spoke of the need to build orbital resilience, as well as the continued use of innovations from space entrepreneurs as a way to strengthen the military hand. The threatening new era, he said, highlighted the importance of “improving our combat capabilities” in space. And he called China “the rhythm threat.”

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Video: ‘We will win the Covid war,’ Cuomo says in his 2021 agenda speech

Today I am called upon to answer what is most of the time a simple question, but for the moment it is anything but: what is the state of our condition? Well, in some ways it’s like the state of the nation, and even the state of the world. We are hurt. We are frustrated. We are in mourning. We are anxious. We are shocked that an unseen enemy can cause such death and destruction, especially in this richest and most powerful nation in the world. And it wasn’t just the virus itself that showed our vulnerabilities, it’s that Covid created the low tide in America, and the ugliness that lurked beneath the surface was exposed and became visible to all. Racial divisions, religious tensions, government incompetence, health care disparities, social injustice and the danger of hateful leadership. In New York, we experience it all. But in other ways, New York State is different because New York is different. What Covid has done to us is different, and the way we have responded to Covid is different. We know what to do. And we will. We will win the Covid War, and we will learn and grow from the experience. The problems don’t just go away. They’re going up. It’s a national crisis, but New York will lead.


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How the pop music fandom became sports, politics, religion and all-out war

In October, with “Chromatica” recorded as a modest success, Grande’s new album, “Positions,” was leaked online ahead of its official release. Cordero, who liked Grande quite well but found his new music to be lacking, shared a link to the unreleased songs, much to the dismay of Grande’s fans, who feared that the counterfeit versions would hurt the singer’s business prospects.

Taking on the role of volunteer internet sleuths, Grande’s fans spent days playing Whac-a-Mole reporting unauthorized album links as they proliferated across the internet. But Cordero, annoyed and sensing them flustered, decided to bait them even more by tweeting – incorrectly – that he was subsequently fined $ 150,000 by Grande’s label for his role in spreading the escape. “Is there any way I can get out of this,” he wrote. “I’m so afraid.” He even shared a photo of himself crying.

“They were rejoicing,” Cordero recalls in awe of the Grande fans he had duped, who spread the message widely that the fleeing – a Gaga lover, no less – was being punished. “Sorry but I don’t feel any sympathy,” a Grande supporter wrote on Reddit. “Accuse him, put him in jail. you can’t divulge an album from the world’s greatest pop star and expect no consequences.

It was a pop fandom in 2020: competitive, mysterious, sales-obsessed, sometimes pointless, chaotic, contradictory, fun, and a little scary – all taking place almost entirely online. While music has long been linked to internet communities and the rise of social media, a growing faction of the most vocal and dedicated pop enthusiasts have adopted the term “stan” – taken from Eminem’s song. , aged 20, on a superfan turned homicide. stalker – and redefine what it means to love an artist.

On what’s known as Stan’s Twitter – and its offshoots on Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, Tumblr, and various message boards – these enthusiasts compare No.1s and streaming stats as sports fans batting averages, wins. championship and shooting percentages. They swear allegiance to their favorites like the most rabid political or religious supporters. They organize to win polls, drive sales and fundraise like grassroots activists. And they band together to harass – or harass, and even dox – those who dare to despise the stars they have chosen to align themselves with.

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Video: Cuomo announces new phase in ‘war on Covid’

TimesVideoCuomo announces a new phase in the “war on Covid’Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York on Monday announced a series of emergency measures to tackle the rise in hospitalizations and the number of coronavirus cases, according to Reuters.

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Biden urges unity: ‘We are at war with virus, not with each other’

“It was an election that we won easily,” he said. “We won it a lot.”

The president intended to appear there in person, but abruptly canceled those plans after a campaign adviser who had been near Mr Giuliani tested positive for the coronavirus. Later that day, Mr. Trump invited some of Pennsylvania’s lawmakers to the White House to discuss what someone familiar with the situation said were voting irregularities. Mr Trump did the same with a group of Michigan lawmakers – he pressured them not to certify the vote for Michigan’s 2020 election, which Mr Biden did – but it did not work.

Contrary to Mr. Trump’s thoughtless efforts to overturn the election results, Mr. Biden praised the sanctity of the vote in his speech and praised Americans for voting in record numbers despite the pandemic. “Our democracy has been put to the test this year,” he said. “What we have learned is this: The people of this nation are up to the task. In America we have full, fair and free elections. And then we honor the results.

He called the vote “the noblest instrument of non-violent protests ever.”

Mr. Trump, in the early days of the pandemic, tried to call himself a “war president” before claiming, wrongly, that the country had “rounded the curve”. On Wednesday, Mr Biden appeared to take up the torch of war, describing the coronavirus pandemic as “a battle of nearly a year” that has “devastated this nation”.

“America is not going to lose this war,” he said, reminding people, “Don’t get tired of yourself.”

Mr. Biden also tried to paint an optimistic view of the future, despite the current crisis, and called on Americans to “dream again.”

“We will rule the world by the power of our example, not just by the example of our power,” he said. “We are going to run the world on climate and save this planet. We will find cures for cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and diabetes, I promise you.

Mr Biden’s speech was steeped in his own experience of devastating loss, which he often quotes when addressing a nation that has so far lost more than 260,000 lives to the virus.

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The Last Front of the Advertising War 2020

Hi. welcome to On politics, your daily guide to national politics. I’m Nick Corasaniti, your host on Tuesdays for our coverage of all things media and messaging.

register here to get On Politics delivered to your inbox every day of the week.

The most expensive election season in American history is not yet over. With two second-round elections in Georgia that will determine control of the Senate, many more millions of dollars will be spent on television commercials before polling stations in the state close on Jan.5.

In fact, $ 97.5 million more, as of now. And that’s a number that is likely to increase.

The two biggest spenders are Republican incumbents Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler. Mr Perdue has about $ 19 million in ad bookings over the next two months, while Ms Loeffler tumbled $ 31 million.

Ad spending points to a late infusion of money for Mr Perdue, who was just under the 50% of the vote he needed on election day to avoid a run-off. His campaign had about $ 8.2 million in cash at the end of September, according to federal campaign fundraising records, and he had raised just $ 5.6 million in the previous three months.

Ms Loeffler, who is independently wealthy, had donated around $ 20 million of her own money to her campaign before her top two spots this month in the crowded special election for her seat.

The Democratic challengers are, for the moment, largely spent on air. Jon Ossoff, who challenges Mr Perdue, has set aside around $ 12 million in advertising, while Reverend Raphael Warnock, who races against Ms Loeffler, has spent around $ 20 million on ads.

Added to the Republican advantage are a host of Republican super PACs and outside groups that have already invested millions in Georgia. The Senate Leadership Fund, a super PAC with ties to Senator Mitch McConnell, spent approximately $ 2.5 million on each of the races. And American Crossroads, the super PAC founded by Republican strategist Karl Rove and led by a former McConnell aide, has poured $ 4.7 million into the effort to support Ms Loeffler.

National Democrats, meanwhile, began funneling funds into second-round races as soon as it became clear that Senate control was on the line.

Needless to say, the countryside is about to get messy in Georgia. Or, maybe more to the point, keep it messy.

Mr. Warnock caught a glimpse of it when he posted an ad of a satirical attack on himself, with a narrator implying that Mr. Warnock “eats pizza with a fork” and “hates puppies.”

“Get ready, Georgia,” Mr. Warnock said in the announcement. “Negative ads are coming.”

He was right, of course. Ms. Loeffler and American Crossroads ran negative ads exclusively during the second-round campaign, according to Advertising Analytics. And three-quarters of Mr. Warnock’s ads were negative.

There’s also not a lot of positivity on the airwaves in Mr. Perdue’s race for the seat. The Perdue campaign and the Senate Leadership Fund are running an all-out negative publicity campaign. And while Mr. Ossoff’s ads are largely positive, two outside Democratic groups – the Senate PAC majority and the Democratic Senate campaign committee – only run negative ads.

As of Tuesday, there were 14 different campaign announcements already aired in Georgia, ranging from attacks on candidate files to attempts to tie their political fortunes to the presidential race.

Mr Ossoff, in a new ad released Tuesday, pledged to “work with Joe Biden to empower medical experts” in the fight against the coronavirus and called Mr Perdue a obstructionist, saying “he will do anything. what’s in his power to make sure Joe Biden fails, just like he tried to do with President Obama.

On the Republican side, specific lines of attack vary, but both incumbents have used the phrase “Save the Senate” in their advertisements.

Georgian voters are already quite familiar with the four candidates: more than $ 206 million was spent on ads in the two races combined up to election day, the third most spent on Senate ads in a state in this cycle behind the North Carolina and Iowa.

Familiarity, however, won’t stop another advertising war. Ads will continue to flood the state, even during Falcons games, whether or not people are still watching.

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The spontaneous celebrations in the streets of New York after the victory of President-elect Joe Biden are now part of an announcement of Mr Perdue’s attack in Georgia.

The message: It was a moment that political agents quickly saw as likely to turn it into a campaign advertisement. Senator Chuck Schumer, the leader of the Democratic minority, made a statement amid the swell of supporters celebrating projections that Mr Biden had won the presidential election: “Now we take Georgia, then we change it ‘America!”

A few days later, the clip was released in Georgia, targeting Mr. Ossoff. The ad focuses on the word ‘change’ as a disturbing idea, accusing Democrats of seeking to dissolve the police and give undocumented immigrants the right to vote, although these are not policies endorsed by Mr Ossoff , Mr. Schumer, President Nancy Pelosi or Mr. Biden.

Takeaway meals: Senate races in battlefield states often argue that “Senate control is at stake.” This is rarely as true as in Georgia, and Mr. Perdue’s effort to present himself as the one who will “stop” these changes will likely be a central part of his second-round campaign, especially if President Trump ever accepts the fact. that he lost the election.

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Senator-elect Tommy Tuberville shakes up the foundations of the Constitution, World War II and the 2000 elections.

In his first major interview as an elected senator, Tommy Tuberville, Republican of Alabama, misidentified the three branches of the federal government, mistakenly asserted that World War II was a battle against socialism, and wrongly asserted that former vice president Al Gore was president. elect for 30 days.

Mr Tuberville, a former Auburn University football coach who decisively defeated Sen. Doug Jones, a Democrat, last week, gave a notable interview to The Alabama Daily News on Thursday after attending the orientation of new senators in Washington.

Asked if he thinks Republicans can still use their potential Senate majority to pass legislation in a divided government, with Democrats controlling the White House and the House of Representatives, Mr Tuberville replied that he had been given a mandate to “help people”, adding: “I don’t care if you are a Republican or a Democrat.

“Our government was not set up so that one group had all three branches of government – was not created that way,” Tuberville said. “You know, the House, the Senate and the executive.

The three branches of the federal government, as set out in the Constitution, are the legislature, including the House and the Senate; the executive or the presidency; and judicial, which includes the Supreme Court.

Asked about the main takeaways from the election, Mr Tuberville said he was concerned that Mr Biden, a traditional centrist Democrat, had promoted a vision that he said “led more to one type of government socialist”.

“It worries me that we’re at the point now where we have almost half the country voting for something that this country was not built upon,” Tuberville said. “I tell people, my father fought 76 years ago in Europe to liberate Europe from socialism.”

World War II was a global battle against fascism.

Mr Tuberville also said he plans to use his Senate office to raise funds for two Republican senators from Georgia who face an election that will determine control of the chamber. Senate ethics rules prohibit the use of official resources for campaigning purposes.

And in another exchange, he mistakenly said that Mr. Gore, the Democratic presidential candidate in 2000, was president-elect for 30 days during an intense and prolonged recount and legal battle. Neither Mr. Gore nor George W. Bush were considered the president-elect during this process.

The interview was the most comprehensive remarks Mr. Tuberville had made since his election last week. He kept a low profile on the election campaign, rarely making himself available to reporters other than those in the conservative media, but had positioned himself as a staunch supporter of President Trump.

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The Trump campaign has set up two ‘war rooms’ in the White House complex

President Trump’s campaign has set up two election night “war rooms” in the White House compound, again raising questions about the mix of government and politics in the Trump administration.

A war room is in Eisenhower’s executive office building, which is adjacent to the White House, campaign and White House officials have confirmed. White House officials also said there was a separate, smaller room in the White House building.

The use of government assets for political purposes has been a recurring practice of the Trump administration over the past year. Mr. Trump held the final night of the Republican National Convention on the South Lawn of the White House in late August, after plans were repeatedly altered due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In the final months of the presidential race, Mr. Trump has also increasingly relied on political appointments and government agencies to bolster his re-election campaign.

Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh said in a statement that the war room “ had to be close to the president and that there was no expense to U.S. taxpayers for the use of an EEOB room, where events such as prayer services and receptions from outside groups occur frequently. “

“Every piece of equipment, including Wi-Fi and computers, was paid for by the campaign, and no White House staff are involved,” he added. “The arrangement has been approved by the attorney for the White House.”

Previous administrations have monitored the elections from the White House, although some have been careful to avoid involving campaign staff.

For example, according to one person involved in the operation, when former President George W. Bush ran for re-election in 2004, his team had a facility in the White House residence with a screen allowing officials to view it. monitor campaign data. It has been approved by the White House attorneys office.

But in this case campaign staff were not present and officials involved had to demonstrate that they had worked a certain number of hours in government in order to participate, the person involved said.