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Man who stormed U.S. Capitol charged with threatening to assassinate Rep. Ocasio-Cortez - CNBC
Garret Miller, 34, of Richardson, faces five charges related to the deadly riots in D.C.
A Dallas-area man who joined a violent mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol earlier this month has been charged with making a death threat in a social media post against Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Garret Miller, 34, of Richardson, Texas was arrested earlier this week on multiple charges related to the Capitol riot, according to a federal complaint. Miller's attorney, Clinton Broden, told CNBC that the charges against his client were upgraded to include a threat charge on Tuesday, a day before he was arrested in Richardson. The upgraded charge came relatively soon after the initial complaint was filed in Washington, D.C. federal court, Broden said. The other charges include entering or remaining in any restricted buildings or grounds without lawful authority; violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds; obstructing or impeding any official proceeding and certain acts during civil disorder. The threat charge against Miller is based on the claim by prosecutors that he threatened Rep. Ocasio Cortez, D-N.Y., across state lines on social media. It carries a maximum possible sentence of five years in prison. Miller wrote "Assassinate AOC" in a Twitter post, according to the complaint. Miller also allegedly posted about entering the Capitol building on his Instagram account and admitted that he "had a rope in [his] bag on that day." Miller also threatened a Capitol Police officer who shot dead a woman trying to breach the Capitol building during the riot. "We going to get a hold of [the USCP officer] and hug his neck with a nice rope[.]," Miller said, according to the complaint. "Mr. Miller regrets the actions he took in a misguided effort to show his support for former President Trump," Broden said. "He has the full support of his family and has always been a law-abiding citizen." "His social media comments reflect very ill-considered political hyperbole in very divided times and will certainly not be repeated in the future," Broden continued. "He looks forward to putting all of this behind him." Broden added that he doesn't believe there is evidence that Miller planned to carry out the threats. Miller is due to appear Monday for a detention hearing in Dallas federal court. Prosecutors have said they want him detained pending trial, but Broden said he will argue for Miller's conditional release pending trial in Washington. Ocasio-Cortez responded to the complaint detailing Miller allegedly bragging online about his role in the riot, writing in a tweet: "On one hand you have to laugh, and on the other know that the reason they were this brazen is because they thought they were going to succeed." Ocasio-Cortez has previously said she feared for her life during the riot and members of Congress were "nearly assassinated." "I did not know if I was going to make it to the end of that day alive, and not just in a general sense but also in a very, very specific sense," the Democratic representative said in an Instagram Live video on Jan. 12, without elaborating the details.
Trump considered ousting U.S. Attorney General and installing loyalist in push to overturn election - CNBC
Trump plotted to oust Jeffrey Rosen as acting attorney general and replace him with a Justice Department lawyer who would help overturn the election results.
Former President Donald Trump earlier this month plotted to oust Jeffrey Rosen as acting attorney general and replace him with a Justice Department lawyer who would aid his efforts to overturn the presidential election results, The New York Times reported Friday. The plan would have replaced Rosen with Jeffrey Clark, the lawyer who led the Justice Department's civil division. Clark would have then supported Trump's baseless claims of voter fraud and put pressure on Georgia state officials to change the election outcome. A Justice Department official familiar with the matter confirmed to NBC News the Times' account of Trump's efforts. Trump's plan ultimately didn't materialize after Justice Department officials agreed during a conference call that they would resign if Rosen was dismissed, according to the Times. Trump had urged Rosen to appoint special counsels to investigate his allegations of widespread election fraud as well as the voting machine company Dominion, but Rosen refused. Trump in December tried to pressure Georgia's top elections investigator to "find the fraud" in an investigation of alleged ballot fraud in Cobb County, allegations which state officials found had no merit. Trump also urged Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to "find" votes to shift the election in his favor. In a statement to the Times, Clark categorically denied that he devised a plan to oust Rosen or provide recommendations for action based on factual inaccuracies from the Internet. The House has charged Trump with inciting an insurrection against the government on Jan. 6 following deadly riots at the Capitol. His Senate impeachment trial is set to begin the week of Feb. 8. Read the full Times report here
Biden signs executive orders to increase food stamps benefits and send missing stimulus checks - CNBC
President Joe Biden signed two executive orders to combat the nation's ongoing hunger crisis and address the financial instability felt by millions of families.
President Joe Biden issued two executive orders on Friday aimed at combating the nation's ongoing hunger crisis and addressing the financial instability felt by millions of families and exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic. Today's orders follow a slew of other memos signed by Biden in his first few days in office, which aim to tackle the worsening economic and public health crises devastating the nation. Those orders included extending the nationwide eviction ban and the pause on federal student loan payments. National Economic Council director Brian Deese called the orders a "critical lifeline" for millions of families at the White House Friday, noting that Biden also introduced a more comprehensive $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package earlier this month. The package would provide additional funds for vaccine production and distribution, unemployment insurance, stimulus checks and more. "Our economy is at a very precarious moment," Deese said. "It's a moment that requires decisive action to beat this pandemic and support the economic recovery that American families need." These are the issues the executive orders Biden signed Friday address: Hunger Biden is taking major steps to address the "growing" hunger crisis in the U.S., Deese said, directing the Department of Agriculture to increase the value of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits for an estimated 12 million families by 15% to 20% through September 2021. Additionally, the order calls for the department to consider increasing Pandemic-EBT benefits by 15%, getting more aid to families with children who would have received free or reduced school lunches. This could provide a family with three children an extra $100 each month, according to Deese. An estimated 6 to 7 million people have applied and been approved for SNAP benefits since February 2020, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a 17% increase from before the pandemic. Stimulus checks Biden is also asking the Treasury Department to take additional measures to finally deliver stimulus checks to taxpayers who are eligible but have not yet received them. While most people received their payments, an estimated 8 million people including many who do not typically make enough money to file taxes are still missing the first $1,200 check authorized under the CARES Act in March 2020. Millions of taxpayers have also not yet received the second stimulus check, though many are still being delivered. Last year, the Treasury Department created an online tool that helped low income people get the first payment without filing a tax return. The department could create additional tools to help people now, and reach out to those who have not been paid directly, among other measures. These fixes are especially important for Biden as he plans to improve the delivery process for his desired third payment. Unemployment benefits The president is also asking the Department of Labor to clarify to states that workers have a "federally-guaranteed right to refuse employment that would jeopardize their health" and still qualify for unemployment insurance (UI) during the pandemic, Deese said. "This is a commonsense step to make sure that workers have a right to safe work environments, and that we don't put workers, in the middle of a pandemic, in a position where they have to choose between their own livelihoods and the health of they and their families," he said. The CARES Act, passed last year, allowed people more leeway to quit and still receive benefits if they felt their health and safety was at risk. But as the pandemic dragged on for months, some states began restricting the circumstances under which workers could do leave their jobs and still qualify for UI. This order would ensure that states follow a broader, more uniform standard. $15 minimum wage Finally, a second order will establish, within his first 100 days in office, a $15 minimum wage and emergency paid leave for federal employees and contractors. The relief plan Biden unveiled earlier this month also calls on Congress to establish a national $15 minimum hourly wage. Currently it is $7.25 per hour. Biden's second executive order also revokes orders signed by former president Donald Trump that weakened labor unions, allowing federal workers to collectively bargain for increased pay and better benefits. Check out: Critics say Biden's Covid relief plan breaks promise of $2,000 stimulus checks Don't miss: The best credit cards for building credit of 2021
Boris Johnson says some evidence new Covid variant in the UK may be more deadly - CNBC
There is "some evidence" a new Covid variant first identified in the U.K. could be more deadly than the original strain, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Friday.
LONDON There is "some evidence" a new Covid variant first identified in the U.K. could be more deadly than the original strain, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Friday. "We've been informed today that in addition to spreading more quickly, it also now appears that there is some evidence that the new variant the variant that was first discovered in London and the southeast (of England) may be associated with a higher degree of mortality," Johnson told a news conference. He added that all the evidence suggests the vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca-Oxford University, the two currently being used in the U.K., remain effective against both the old and new variants of the virus. The evidence is still at a preliminary stage and it's being assessed by the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group, which advises the British government. The variant, known as B.1.1.7, has an unusually high number of mutations and was already associated with a more efficient and rapid transmission. Scientists first detected this mutation in September. It has since been found in at least 44 countries, including the U.S., which has reported its presence in 12 states. Last week, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned that the modeled trajectory of the variant in the United States "exhibits rapid growth in early 2021, becoming the predominant variant in March." Speaking alongside Johnson on Friday, the U.K.'s chief scientific advisor, Patrick Vallance, said there is now early evidence that there's an increased risk for those who have the new variant, compared with the old virus. "If you took ... a man in their 60s, the average risk is that for 1,000 people who got infected, roughly 10 would be expected to unfortunately die with the virus. With the new variant, for 1,000 people infected roughly 13 or 14 people might be expected to die," Vallance said. He described the data as not being strong yet, and highlighted more concern regarding other Covid variants found in Brazil and South Africa. CNBC's Sam Meredith contributed to this article.
Apple reportedly working on MacBooks with magnetic charging and new designs - CNBC
Apple will use its own processors instead of Intel's in the new Macs.
Apple is planning to release a new thinner and lighter MacBook Air that will launch in the second half of this year or early next year, according to Bloomberg. The report said Apple will plan to market the device as a higher-end version of the current MacBook Air, which Apple released in November with its new M1 processor. That device was among three new Apple computers to make the switch away from Intel chips. Apple's Mac revenue was up 28% year over year, when the company reported its fiscal fourth-quarter earnings in October. That boost was helped by millions of people forced to work from home because of Covid. The new MacBook Air will include Apple's magnetic charging system called MagSafe, according to the report. MagSafe was used in Apple laptops for years before it was removed over two years ago in place of newer USB-C charging. But, it's convenient because it allows the charger to pop out easily and helps prevent the laptop from being dragged off a surface if someone pulls the cord or trips on it. MagSafe is also used in the latest iPhone 12 phones, though it has a different design and relies on a magnetic puck accessory that wirelessly charges the phones. Top Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of TFI said earlier this month that Apple is planning to launch two new MacBook Pro laptops this year with 14- and 16-inch screens and with MagSafe. Bloomberg confirmed the report but added Apple is also planning an iMac with Face ID, which means it would unlock when you look at it, a smaller version of the Mac Pro computer and a new Mac Pro with an Intel processor. Read more on Bloomberg.
Dr. Fauci says Covid vaccines appear to be less effective against some new strains - CNBC
New data shows that the Covid-19 vaccines currently on the market may not be as effective in guarding against new, more contagious strains of the coronavirus, White House health advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said on Thursday. A handful of new strains of the coronavirus have emerged overseas that have given scientists some cause for concern. Some variants that have been identified in the United Kingdom, South Africa and Brazil appear to be more transmissible than previous strains but not necessarily more deadly. While it's no surprise the virus is mutating, researchers are quickly trying to determine what the changes might mean for recently developed lifesaving vaccines and therapeutics against the disease. Some early findings that were published in the preprint server bioRxiv, which have yet to be peer reviewed, indicate that the variant identified in South Africa can evade the antibodies provided by some coronavirus treatments, and may reduce the efficacy of the current line of available vaccines. However, even if the drugs are less effective, they will still likely provide enough protection to make the vaccines worth getting, Fauci said. Both vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna have proven to be highly effective, creating a "cushion effect" that would allow for some dip in their effectiveness. A dip in the vaccines' effectiveness would be "all the more reason why we should be vaccinating as many people as you possibly can." Mutations occur when the virus spreads and replicates itself, which can be suppressed if enough people are inoculated against the disease to build so-called herd immunity. "Bottom line: We're paying very close attention to it. There are alternative plans if we ever have to modify the vaccine. That's not something that is a very onerous thing, we can do that given the platforms we have," Fauci said during the White House press briefing. This is a developing story. Please check back later for updates.
Stock market live updates: Nasdaq and S&P 500 set records, tech leads, bitcoin struggles - CNBC
This is CNBC's markets live blog that will be updated throughout the day.
The major averages climbed to all-time intraday highs on Thursday, after closing at records on Wednesday following President Biden's inauguration. But the Dow and S&P 500 cooled off later in the session, and the Dow finished negative, just missing a record close. The Nasdaq, however, continued to be boosted by shares of Big Tech companies. For continuous real-time insight on the market see below.
Facebook is referring Trump ban to its 'Supreme Court' which cannot be overruled by Zuckerberg or execs - CNBC
Facebook on Thursday announced that it will refer its decision to indefinitely suspend the account of former President Donald Trump to its Oversight Board.
Facebook on Thursday announced that it will refer its decision to indefinitely suspend the account of former President Donald Trump to its newly instituted Oversight Board. The independent body will review the decision to suspend Trump and make a binding decision on whether the account will be reinstated. Until a decision is made, Trump's account will remain suspended, the company said in a blog post. The board will begin accepting public comments on the case next week, it said in a tweet. It will have up to 90 days to make its decision, but its members have committed to move as quickly as possible, a spokesman for the body told CNBC. A decision can't be overruled by CEO Mark Zuckerberg or other executives. After Trump's comments on social media led to an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 that resulted in the death of five people, Facebook said it hopes that the board will uphold its Jan. 7 decision to indefinitely suspend Trump. "We believe our decision was necessary and right," Facebook said in a blog post. "Given its significance, we think it is important for the board to review it and reach an independent judgment on whether it should be upheld." The company's Oversight Board was launched in October with the premise of reviewing difficult content moderation decisions. The Facebook Oversight Board is made up of scholars, journalists and former lawmakers from around the world. This will be the board's first major case. Nominations are open for the 2021 CNBC Disruptor 50, a list of private start-ups using breakthrough technology to become the next generation of great public companies. Submit by Friday, Feb. 12, at 3 p.m. EST.
Jobless claims show modest decline as Congress works on more stimulus - CNBC
Jobless claims for the week ended Jan. 16 totaled 900,000, the Labor Department reported, slightly better than the Wall Street estimate of 925,000.
Americans continued to hit the unemployment line in large numbers as the ongoing surge of Covid cases added to America's unemployment problem last week. Jobless claims totaled 900,000 for the week ended Jan. 16, the Labor Department reported Thursday. That was slightly less than the Dow Jones estimate of 925,000 and below the previous week's downwardly revised total of 926,000. Markets shaved some arlier gains following the data and amid continued anticipation that President Joe Biden and Congress will soon deliver another large fiscal infusion to help the economy through the pandemic. Stock futures pointed to a modest gain on Wall Street. Continuing claims showed a slight decrease for the week, falling by 127,000 to 5.05 million. Weekly claims had been trending lower since exploding in March and April in the early days of the pandemic but began drifting higher again in October amid renewed business restrictions. The hospitality industry has been hit hardest as hotels, bars, restaurants and casinos either have been closed or forced to limit capacity for guests. In January alone, the industry lost 498,000 workers. The latest claims report showed that the total of Americans receiving unemployment benefits continues to decline, though largely due to a drop in pandemic-related programs as 2020 came to a close. There were just under 16 million benefit recipients in the most recent data, down from 18.4 million. However, the decline in pandemic-related claims won't last as the latest fiscal package includes extended benefits for displaced workers. Several big states that have had a heavier hand with restrictions saw the previous week's rise in claims tempered. California (-58,665), New York (-12,212) and Pennsylvania (-9,638) all saw notable declines. Gains came from Arizona (15,347) and Illinois (13,948). Other economic news for the morning was better than expected. Housing starts totaled 1.67 million vs. the 1.56 million estimate, while permits came in at 1.71 million against the 1.61 million expectation from Dow Jones. The Philadelphia Fed business activity index jumped to 26.5, better than the 10.5 estimate.
England's third lockdown sees 'no evidence of decline' in Covid rates, study says - CNBC
The findings of the preprint report come shortly after the U.K. recorded another all-time high of coronavirus deaths.
Medics take a patient from an ambulance into the Royal London hospital in London on January 19, 2021. LONDON A third national lockdown in England appears to have had little impact on the rising rate of coronavirus infections, according to the findings of a major study, with "no evidence of decline" in the prevalence of the virus during the first 10 days of tougher restrictions. The closely-watched REACT-1 study, led by Imperial College London, warned that health services would remain under "extreme pressure" and the cumulative number of deaths would increase rapidly unless the prevalence of the virus in the community was reduced substantially. The findings of the preprint report, published Thursday by Imperial College London and Ipsos MORI, come shortly after the U.K. recorded another all-time high of coronavirus deaths. Government figures released on Wednesday showed an additional 1,820 people had died within 28 days of a positive Covid test. To date, the U.K. has recorded 3.5 million coronavirus cases, with 93,290 deaths. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during a media briefing on coronavirus (COVID-19) at Downing Street on January 15, 2021 in London, England. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the latest figures were "appalling" and warned: "There are still tough weeks to come." Johnson imposed lockdown measures in England on Jan. 5, instructing people to "stay at home" as most schools, bars and restaurants were ordered to close. It is expected the strict public health measures will remain in place until at least mid-February. The REACT-1 study tests nose and throat swabs from between 120,000 to 180,000 people in the community in England at approximately monthly intervals. The latest results mostly covered a period from Jan. 6 to Jan. 15. The study compared the results with swabs collected between Nov. 13 to Nov. 24 and those taken between Nov. 25 and Dec. 3. Researchers found 1,962 positives from 142,909 swabs taken over the January period. It means 1.58% of people tested had Covid on a weighted average. This represents a more than 50% increase in prevalence rates since the study's mid-December results and is the highest recorded by REACT-1 since it started in May 2020. Prevalence from Jan. 6 to Jan. 15 was highest in London, the study said, with 1 in 36 people infected, more than double the rate of the previous REACT-1 results. A man wearing a mask as a preventive measure against the spread of Covid-19 walks in London. Infections had also more than doubled in the southeast of England, east of England and West Midlands when compared to the findings published in early December. "Our data are showing worrying suggestions of a recent uptick in infections which we will continue to monitor closely," Professor Paul Elliott, director of the program at Imperial, said in a statement. "We all have a part to play in preventing this situation from worsening and must do our best to stay at home wherever possible," he added. The U.K.'s Department of Health and Social Care said the full impact of lockdown measures would not yet be reflected in the prevalence figures reported in the REACT-1 study. "These findings show why we must not let down our guard over the weeks to come," Health Secretary Matt Hancock said. "It is absolutely paramount that everyone plays their part to bring down infections. This means staying at home and only going out where absolutely necessary, reducing contact with others and maintaining social distancing," Hancock said.
European Central Bank says it 'stands ready' to act as Covid infections continue to rise - CNBC
The European Central Bank kept interest rates unchanged Thursday, as euro nations continue to struggle with surging Covid-19 infections and lockdowns.
President of the European Central Bank (ECB) Christine Lagarde. LONDON The coronavirus pandemic is still posing "serious risks" to the euro zone economy, European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde said Thursday as lockdowns are tightened across the region. "The start of vaccination campaigns across the euro area is an important milestone in the resolution of the ongoing health crisis. Nonetheless, the pandemic continues to pose serious risks to public health and to the euro area and global economies," she said during a press conference. European countries started inoculating their citizens in late December, but the rollout has proven to be challenging. The speed of vaccinations across the region has been patchy, and some nations have complained that there are not enough doses. "In this environment ample monetary stimulus remains essential," Lagarde said, while acknowledging that "uncertainty remains high" over how the 19-member region will perform in the coming months. There are question marks over when governments will reopen their economies and if they will manage to speed up the distribution of Covid-19 jabs. New lockdowns The new year began with stricter social restrictions and national lockdowns in many of the 19 countries that share the single currency. Germany this week, for instance, extended a national lockdown until Feb. 14. The Netherlands has announced there will be a curfew starting next week. And France chose to intensify its curfew hours earlier this month, while Portugal will close schools from Friday. There have been more than 16 million Covid-19 infections in the EU and more than 400,000 deaths so far, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. European leaders are hoping to accelerate vaccinations in the coming months as a way to contain the spread of the virus and its economic impact. The European Commission, the executive arm of the EU, has asked member states to vaccinate at least 70% of their adult populations by the summer. Stands ready to act Amid the economic uncertainty, the ECB said it's ready to update its policies whenever necessary. "We continue to stand ready to adjust all of our instruments, as appropriate, to ensure that inflation moves towards our aim in a sustained manner," Lagarde said Thursday. The ECB's main policy target is to achieve an inflation rate close to, but below, 2%. However, officials have already said they do not expect that to be feasible in the coming months. Meanwhile, at its policy meeting on Thursday, the ECB's Governing Council kept interest rates and it huge stimulus program unchanged. The ECB's main refinancing operations, marginal lending facility and deposit facility will remain at 0.00%, 0.25% and -0.50%, respectively. The ECB stepped up its massive stimulus program in December to support the economic recovery in the region. Its Pandemic Emergency Purchase Programme was extended to March 2022, totaling 1.85 trillion euros ($2.25 trillion) in bond purchases. This allows euro zone governments to get cheaper rates when borrowing from public markets. "Our policy measures, together with the measures adopted by national governments and other European institutions, remain essential to support bank lending conditions and access to financing, in particular for those most affected by the pandemic," Lagarde said. Despite the troubled situation, the ECB has stuck with its growth forecasts for this year. Speaking at an event, earlier this month, central bank President Christine Lagarde said: "I think our last projections in December are still very clearly plausible." In December, the bank estimated a 3.9% GDP rate for 2021, and 2.1% for 2022. Dovish for a 'long time' "As the vaccination program gathers pace across the euro zone, the economy should begin to recover from the Spring," Joseph Little, global chief strategist at HSBC Global Asset Management, said in a research note after the announcement. "Despite the prospect of a re-invigorated recovery, the ECB is likely to remain dovish for a long time to come, as the economy is around 7% smaller than a year ago," he added. Many economists expect the ECB to keep its policy unchanged for the foreseeable future, even if lockdowns were to continue beyond March. "Even if some of these downside risks materialise, the policy implications would be limited," Andrew Kenningham, chief Europe economist at Capital Economics, said in an email, "particularly as the Bank appears to be resigned to missing its key policy target for a long time to come."
A tiny village in South India celebrates Vice President Kamala Harris with firecrackers and prayers - CNBC
Kamala Harris, 56, is a daughter of Indian and Jamaican immigrants.
As Kamala Harris made history on Wednesday when she was sworn in as the first female, Black and South Asian American vice president of the United States, a tiny village in India celebrated her ascension in politics with firecrackers and prayers. Harris, 56, is a daughter of Indian and Jamaican immigrants. Her maternal grandfather was born in the village of Thulasendrapuram, about 215 miles from Chennai in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu more than 100 years ago, the Associated Press reported. Groups of women in bright saris and men wearing white dhoti pants a type of sarong worn by men in India watched Harris' inauguration live in Thulasendrapuram, according to the AP. The villagers chanted "Long live Kamala Harris" while holding portraits of her and blasted off fireworks the moment she took the oath, the AP reported. Harris' late mother, Shyamala Gopalan Harris, was also born in India before she moved to the U.S. to study, where she received a Ph.D in nutrition and endocrinology from the University of California at Berkeley, and met Harris' father, Donald Harris. On numerous occasions, Harris has credited her mother with being a "force of nature and the greatest source of inspiration in my life." As an alumna of Howard University and member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, Harris is also the first vice president to have graduated from a historically Black college and to be in a historically Black Greek letter organization.