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UK should cut its 12-week delay between vaccine doses, doctors group says - CNN
The UK's decision to wait up to 12 weeks before giving people their second dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine should be scrapped, senior doctors have said, reigniting a debate over the British government's unorthodox inoculation strategy.
London (CNN)The UK's decision to wait up to 12 weeks before giving people their second dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine should be scrapped, senior doctors have said, reigniting a debate over the British government's unorthodox inoculation strategy. Britain is prioritizing giving more of its most at-risk citizens a first dose of a vaccine, and has delayed appointments for a second jab. But the decision has been debated in the medical community, and the chairman of the British Medical Association (BMA) urged ministers to follow the "best practice" and cut the wait time to six weeks for the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech. Pfizer/BioNTech recommend the second dose takes place 21 days after the first, and have said there's no data to support a 12-week gap. "What we're saying is that the UK should adopt this best practice based on international professional opinion," BMA chairman Dr. Chaand Nagpaul told the BBC on Saturday. The organization has sent a letter to the UK's Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty, warning against the delay. "Most nations in the world are facing challenges similar to the UK, in having limited vaccine supply and also wanting to protect their population maximally," Nagpaul added. "No other nation has adopted the UK's approach." In a statement to CNN, a BMA spokesperson said the letter informs Whitty of "the growing concern from the medical profession regarding the delay of the second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine as the UK's strategy has become increasingly isolated from many other countries." The group told CNN they were also concerned about the availability of the vaccine in the coming weeks, saying their members feel that "given the unpredictability of supplies, there may not be any guarantees that second doses of the Pfizer vaccine will be available in 12 weeks' time." "The Association is urging the (Chief Medical Officer) to urgently review the UK's current position of second doses after 12 weeks," they said. Britain is vaccinating its citizens at one of the quickest rates in the world, thanks partly to its spread-out dosing strategy. More than 5 million Brits have received at least one dose of either the Pfizer or the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, and more than 400,000 people are receiving the jab on a daily basis. Public Health England's medical director Yvonne Doyle defended the plan, telling the BBC on Saturday it was necessary to bring the virus under control. "The more people that are protected against this virus, the less opportunity it has to get the upper hand. Protecting more people is the right thing to do," she said. The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine has been in use in the UK since early December, when it became the first country in the world to approve it. When Britain first announced its plans, Pfizer said it did not have data to demonstrate that just a single dose of its vaccine would provide protection against the disease after more than 21 days. "Pfizer and BioNTech's Phase 3 study for the Covid-19 vaccine was designed to evaluate the vaccine's safety and efficacy following a 2-dose schedule, separated by 21 days," Pfizer said in a statement last month. "There are no data to demonstrate that protection after the first dose is sustained after 21 days." But the chief medical officers for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland explained the move in a letter to health care professionals after the vaccine was approved, saying it was based on the "balance of risks and benefits," and that the "great majority" of initial protection came from the first jab. The debate comes as Covid-19 deaths soar in the UK. While new cases are declining since Britain went into a third lockdown this month, the country reported its highest-ever daily fatality toll on Wednesday, with 1,820 deaths, giving a total of 97,517, according to John Hopkins University. CNN's Laura Smith-Spark and Nada Bashir contributed reporting
New York Times: Trump and DOJ attorney had plan to replace his acting AG and undo Georgia election result - CNN
Justice Department lawyer Jeffrey Clark nearly convinced then-President Donald Trump to remove then-acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen and use the Department of Justice to undo Georgia's election results, The New York Times reported Friday.
(CNN)Justice Department lawyer Jeffrey Clark nearly convinced then-President Donald Trump to remove then-acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen and use the Department of Justice to undo Georgia's election results, The New York Times reported Friday. Clark -- who appealed to the former President's false claims of election fraud -- met with Trump earlier this month and told Rosen following the meeting that the then-President was going to replace him with Clark. Clark would then move to keep Congress from certifying the election results in then-President-elect Joe Biden's favor, according to the paper. Rosen demanded to hear the news straight from Trump, according to the paper, and arranged a meeting on the evening of January 3 -- the same day that Trump's call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, in which Trump pressured the state official to find enough votes for him to win Georgia, came to light. During the meeting, Rosen, another top Justice Department official and Clark gathered with Trump, White House counsel Pat Cipollone and other lawyers. Trump had Rosen and Clark state their cases for him, the Times reported. The Times cited two officials who compared Rosen's and Clark's opposing arguments during the meeting to an episode of "The Apprentice," Trump's old reality TV show. Citing four former Trump administration officials, the paper reported that an agreement among department leadership that they would all resign if Rosen were fired helped sway Trump from removing his acting attorney general. The notion of department pandemonium, congressional investigations and blowback from fellow Republicans seemed to resonate with Trump, who after nearly three hours decided to allow Rosen to stay and determined that Clark's plan would not work, according to the Times. CNN has reached out to the Justice Department for comment. Clark told the Times that its report contained unspecified inaccuracies and that he could not speak to his conversations with Trump or department lawyers. "Senior Justice Department lawyers, not uncommonly, provide legal advice to the White House as part of our duties," he told the paper. "All my official communications were consistent with law." Trump declined to comment to the Times. One of his advisers told the paper that the former President had pushed for investigating "rampant election fraud that has plagued our system for years" and "any assertion to the contrary is false and being driven by those who wish to keep the system broken." The Times reported that Trump had pressured Rosen from the onset of his role as acting attorney general to appoint special counsels to investigate baseless claims that the election's integrity had been widely compromised, and specifically to probe Dominion Voting Systems, which Trump falsely claimed had perpetuated widespread fraud. Rosen refused, telling Trump that such a move would be inconsistent with the department's lack of findings of voter fraud, the paper reported. Trump continued to press him, questioning why the department had not found evidence and accusing it of failing to advocate for him, while Rosen and Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue resisted. Unbeknown to them, a Pennsylvania politician had connected Trump with Clark, who told the then-President he agreed that fraud had tainted the election results, according to the Times. Clark, who had become the acting head of the civil division in September, was quickly embraced by Trump after their meeting, per the paper.
Astronauts prepare for 2 upcoming spacewalks - CNN
Two upcoming spacewalks in the next week or so will help to upgrade and maintain the International Space Station.
(CNN)Astronauts Mike Hopkins and Victor Glover Jr. are preparing for two upcoming spacewalks that will help to upgrade and maintain the International Space Station. The NASA astronauts will conduct spacewalks on Wednesday, January 27, and Monday, February 1. It will be the first spacewalk experience for Glover, who is a few months into his first spaceflight on the station. This will be the third spacewalk for Hopkins, who previously completed two spacewalks during his first six-month venture to the space station from September 25, 2013, to March 10, 2014. Hopkins, Glover, NASA astronaut Shannon Walker and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Soichi Noguchi flew to the station in November aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon Resilience spacecraft. They joined NASA astronaut Kate Rubins and Russian cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov, who were already on the station after launching in October. Both spacewalks will be broadcast live on the NASA website, with coverage beginning each day at 5:30 a.m. ET. The spacewalks are scheduled to begin at 7 a.m. ET and are expected to last for six and a half hours. They will be the 233rd and 234th spacewalks in support of the space station. For both spacewalks, Hopkins will wear the spacesuit bearing red stripes as crew member 1 and Hopkins will wear the spacesuit with no stripes as crew member 2. The astronauts will focus on completing the installation of Bartolomeo, the newest payload hosting station outside the European Space Agency's Columbus module, on January 27. They will complete antenna and cable rigging to hook up power and data connections. The Bartolomeo platform, named after the younger brother of Christopher Columbus, is the first instance of a European commercial partnership that offers a place to conduct science and technology demonstrations outside of the space station, according to the European Space Agency. The Columbus module will also be upgraded with a terminal that provides an independent high-bandwidth communication link for European ground stations. The astronauts will install the final lithium-ion battery adapter plate on February 1. This installation wraps up work to complete the replacement of aging batteries outside the station that began in January 2017. During both spacewalks, Rubins will operate the robotic arm from inside the space station to assist the astronauts as they work outside. They will focus on other upgrades, like replacing an external standard camera with a new high-definition camera on the Destiny laboratory, and will replace camera and light assembly components needed for the Japanese robotic arm's camera system, located outside of the Kibo module. "We've been talking about these two EVAs (extra-vehicular activities) for the better part of a year, so we're excited to see them executed," said Kenny Todd, deputy manager for the International Space Station Program at NASA during a press conference Friday. There are more spacewalks planned for the crew near the end of February and beginning of March. Glover and Rubins will pair up for the third spacewalk to prepare the station's power system for installing new solar arrays, which will increase the station's power supply. During these long spacewalks, the astronauts go through alternating cycles of day and night every 45 minutes, operating against the hot, bright light of the sun as well as the cold darkness of space. This happens because the space station is orbiting the Earth at 17,500 miles per hour. While the astronauts don't feel the direct impacts of extreme cold and heat, there is the potential for a chill, so there are heaters installed in the astronauts' gloves to keep their hands warm, said Vincent Lacourt, spacewalk flight director at NASA for the February 1 spacewalk.
Prospects of convicting Trump erode as GOP grows vocal against Senate impeachment proceedings - CNN
The path in the Senate to convict Donald Trump is extremely slim, with a growing number of Republicans expressing confidence that the party will acquit the former President on a charge that he incited the deadly insurrection aimed at stopping President Joe Bi…
(CNN)The path in the Senate to convict Donald Trump is extremely slim, with a growing number of Republicans expressing confidence that the party will acquit the former President on a charge that he incited the deadly insurrection aimed at stopping President Joe Biden's electoral win. After Democratic leaders announced they would kick off the process to begin the impeachment trial on Monday, Republicans grew sharply critical about the proceedings -- and made clear that they saw virtually no chance that at least 17 Republicans would join with 50 Democrats to convict Trump and also bar him from ever running from office again. In interviews with more than a dozen GOP senators, the consensus was clear: Most Republicans are likely to acquit Trump, and only a handful are truly at risk of flipping to convict the former President -- unless more evidence emerges or the political dynamics within their party dramatically change. Yet Republicans are also signaling that as more time has passed since the riot, some of the emotions of the day have cooled and they're ready to move on. "The chances of getting a conviction are virtually nil," said Sen. Roger Wicker, a Mississippi Republican. "I don't know what the vote will be but I think the chance of two-thirds is nil," said Sen. John Cornyn, a Texas Republican and member of his party's leadership who called the Democratic push to begin the trial "vindictive." "From listening to the dynamic -- and everything to this point -- it's going to be tough to get even a handful," said Sen. Mike Braun, an Indiana Republican, referring to possible GOP defectors. "I think so many are getting confused by the fact that we're doing this - and everybody has views that it's kind of a constitutional concern." The GOP arguments are now coming into sharper focus, claiming the proceedings are unconstitutional to try a former President and contending that the trial is moving on too short of a timeframe to give due process to Trump, claims that Democrats resoundingly reject. But those arguments, Republicans believe, will allow them a way out of convicting Trump without endorsing his conduct in the run up to the deadly mob that ransacked the Capitol on January 6. And Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is likely to land in the same spot as much of his conference, GOP senators believe, although the Republican leader has said he would listen to the arguments first before deciding how to vote. Politically, most Republicans are not eager to break ranks and draw the kind of attacks that came the way of the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump last week for the second time in his presidency, this time on a charge of inciting an insurrection. "Many view it as a game of shirts and skins," said one GOP senator, referring to how many of his colleagues view the proceedings as a strictly partisan affair. For the Democrats, the calculation is also tricky. If they seek a longer trial -- even as long as the 21 days of Trump's first impeachment trial in 2020 -- with witnesses, they could satisfy some Republicans who are arguing that the trial must give adequate opportunity for Trump to make his case. Yet, doing so could eat away at the first full month of the Biden presidency, while a shorter trial would alienate some Republicans. "I'm not for any witch hunts," said Cornyn, who noted he'd be less likely to convict if it were a short trial with no witnesses. "This needs to be a fair and respectable process because whatever we do, it's not just about President Trump. This is about setting a new precedent and as you know, once we do things around here and there is a precedent for it, then that's the rule for the next time this happens." Among the most likely GOP defectors are Sens. Mitt Romney of Utah, Susan Collins of Maine, Ben Sasse of Nebraska, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania. But Republican leaders who monitor their conference closely don't see much of a chance that the list will swell to 17 senators unless something dramatically changes or more is learned about Trump's role in stoking the violent mob. "There's less than a handful of Republicans in play," said Sen. Lindsey Graham, the South Carolina Republican who is lobbying his colleagues to stick with Trump or risk "destroying" their party. And even some who had been viewed as possible swing votes are critical of Democrats for trying to start the trial immediately, rather than abiding by the timeline proposed by McConnell to push off the floor proceedings until later in February. "It's very problematic, I would say, for the folks who are bringing this right now from a timing standpoint," said Senate Minority Whip John Thune, the No. 2 Republican, who has been critical of Trump's conduct and also is up for reelection in 2022. "I think it's going to be very important whether or not there's due process." Added Murkowski: "I think what McConnell laid down was eminently reasonable, in terms of making sure that we got process. Got to have process and the process has to be fair." Collins, the Maine Republican who has been sharply critical of Trump's conduct, said that she is consulting with "constitutional scholars" about the proceedings. Asked about the GOP senators' assessment that Trump almost certainly won't get convicted, she said: "That's not an unreasonable conclusion, but I just don't know." McConnell himself has privately viewed Trump's handling of the riots with disdain and has told people they amounted to at least an impeachable offense, while even saying the mob was "provoked" by the former President. But McConnell has made clear to his colleagues that he is undecided -- and several Republicans told CNN this week that he could be at risk of losing his perch atop the Senate GOP conference if he votes to convict Trump. And in the last two days, McConnell has publicly made the case to give Trump's team more time to prepare. With much of the GOP conference now lining up against conviction, Republicans speculate that the GOP leader will likely vote to acquit as well. One of the key hurdles the House Democratic managers will have with Republicans is convincing them that a trial is constitutional, as a group of Senate Republicans have argued in recent days that a trial for an ex-president who is now a private citizen is unconstitutional. Such an argument could give Republicans a reason for voting to acquit Trump without addressing his conduct surrounding the insurrection at the Capitol earlier this month. "I think it's obvious that the post-presidential impeachment has never occurred in the history of the country for a reason, that it's unconstitutional, that it sets a bad precedent for the presidency and it continues to divide the nation," Graham said Friday. It's a debate that enters into unprecedented territory, as the Senate has never held an impeachment trial for a President who has left office because such a scenario never arose. But Democrats have pointed to legal scholars on both ends of the political spectrum who say a trial is constitutional. Legal analysts say there's precedent for a Senate impeachment trial of a former official, as the Senate tried Secretary of War William Belknap in 1876 after he resigned just before the House voted to impeach him. "It makes no sense whatsoever that a president or any official could commit a heinous crime against our country and then be permitted to resign so as to avoid accountability and a vote to disbar them from future office," Schumer said Friday. Republican defenders of Trump push back. Sen. Josh Hawley, a Missouri Republican who has generated blowback for joining with House Republicans to try to overturn Pennsylvania's election results, distanced himself from Trump's remarks at the January 6 rally where he urged his supporters to go to the Capitol that day, calling them "inflammatory" and "irresponsible." But when asked how they should hold Trump accountable, Hawley said: "Breaking the Constitution and using an unconstitutional process is not the way to do it." CNN's Ali Zaslav, Ali Main and Olanma Mang contributed to this report.
Biden to sign orders that include moves toward $15 minimum wage for federal workers and contractors - CNN
President Joe Biden is expected to sign two more executive orders on Friday -- one focused on raising the minimum wage to $15 for the federal workforce and the other on expanding assistance for Americans in need -- as he continues his swift efforts to overtur…
(CNN)President Joe Biden is expected to sign two more executive orders on Friday -- one focused on raising the minimum wage to $15 for the federal workforce and the other on expanding assistance for Americans in need -- as he continues his swift efforts to overturn his predecessor's policies. One is geared toward improving the jobs of federal workers and contractors, which was among the President's campaign commitments. It sets in motion another executive order he plans to sign within his first 100 days requiring federal contractors to pay a $15 hourly minimum wage and to provide emergency paid leave. It also directs agencies to determine which federal workers are earning less than that minimum and develop recommendations to promote bringing them up to $15 an hour. Biden included a call to raise the national hourly minimum wage to $15 as part of the $1.9 trillion relief package he outlined last week before taking office. It is currently $7.25 an hour. The second executive order seeks to provide help in a variety of ways to those who are out of work or struggling to buy food. "The American people can't afford to wait," said Brian Deese, the National Economic Council director, noting that Census Bureau data shows nearly 30 million people don't always have enough to eat. "And so many are hanging by a thread. They need help, and we are committed to doing everything we can to provide that help as quickly as possible." Biden has signed a raft of executive orders, actions and memorandums since being sworn in Wednesday, including immediate moves to help student loan borrowers and people facing eviction. On Thursday, he formalized steps to get the coronavirus pandemic under control. Biden is expected to sign additional orders over the coming days, according to a calendar document sent to administration allies and viewed by CNN. His agenda next week includes steps to beef up requirements for the government to purchase goods and services from US companies, a push to eliminate private prisons, reestablishing the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, rescinding the so-called Mexico City policy blocking federal funding for nongovernmental organizations that provide abortion services, and changing border processing and refugee policies as well as establishing a family reunification task force. Restoring civil service protections Friday's first executive order will also revoke three executive orders signed by then- President Donald Trump in 2018 that made it easier to terminate federal employees and weaken their labor unions. The measures have been the subject of litigation and arbitration. Biden's action directs agencies to bargain over permissible, non-mandatory subjects in contract negotiations. Friday's order also eliminates the new Schedule F classification for certain federal civil service employees, which Trump created in October by executive order. Critics said Trump's move politicizes civil service and could lead to career officials being pushed out for political reasons. The second order calls for the Department of Agriculture to consider enhancing Pandemic-EBT benefits by 15%, which would give a family with three children more than $100 in additional support every two months. The program, part of the relief packages Congress passed last March, provides funds to low-income families whose children's schools have closed to replace the free or reduced-price meals they would have received. Also, the order directs the department to consider allowing states to boost food stamp benefits for about 12 million Americans who did not receive an earlier increase in their emergency allotments. And the President is asking the agency to look into revising its Thrifty Food Plan, which is the basis for determining food stamp benefits, to better reflect the current cost of a healthy basic diet. Food insecurity has ballooned during the pandemic amid massive job losses. The relief bill lawmakers passed in December increases the maximum benefit of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, as food stamps are formally known, by 15% through June. Biden's relief measure would extend it through September. In addition, Biden will ask the Treasury Department to consider taking a series of actions to try to reach the estimated 8 million people who may have missed out on their stimulus payments because they don't normally file taxes. And the executive order directs the Department of Labor to consider clarifying that unemployed Americans can refuse to take jobs they fear will jeopardize their health and still qualify for unemployment benefits. This has become an issue during the pandemic because some out-of-work people have been afraid to accept jobs that they think will expose them to the virus. States have varied in how they have handled these situations. CNN's Katie Lobosco, Nikki Carvajal and Betsy Klein contributed to this report.
Canada's governor general steps down after employees accuse her of creating a 'toxic' workplace - CNN
Julie Payette, a former Canadian astronaut and the country's governor general since 2017, announced she would step down Thursday after she was accused by current and former employees of creating a "toxic" workplace environment.
Ottawa (CNN)Julie Payette, a former Canadian astronaut and the country's governor general since 2017, announced she would step down Thursday after she was accused by current and former employees of creating a "toxic" workplace environment. In a detailed statement, Payette said that she took the allegations seriously -- although she did not formally apologize or admit to any misconduct in the workplace. "While no formal complaints or official grievances were made during my tenure, which would have immediately triggered a detailed investigation as prescribed by law and the collective agreements in place, I still take these allegations very seriously," Payette said in the statement. As first reported by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) last year, current and former government employees accused Payette of creating a toxic workplace, harassing and bullying employees and reducing some employees to tears. In response, the Trudeau government hired an independent consulting company to investigate the allegations. The report was completed and submitted to the government earlier this week and that prompted Payette's resignation. "I am a strong believer in the principles of natural justice, due process and the rule of law, and that these principles apply to all equally," Payette wrote. "Notwithstanding, in respect for the integrity of my vice-regal Office and for the good of our country and of our democratic institutions, I have come to the conclusion that a new Governor General should be appointed. Canadians deserve stability in these uncertain times." Canada's prime minister released his own statement Thursday, saying he had received Payette's resignation. Trudeau did not confirm any of the allegations leveled at Payette. However, in the brief statement, he did not thank her for her service. "Every employee in the Government of Canada has the right to work in a safe and healthy environment, and we will always take this very seriously," Trudeau said in a statement. "Today's announcement provides an opportunity for new leadership at Rideau Hall to address the workplace concerns raised by employees during the review." Trudeau said Canada's chief justice will fulfill the duties of governor on an interim basis until he makes a recommendation on a replacement to Queen Elizabeth. Had Payette not agreed to resign in light of the workplace investigation, dismissing her could have triggered a constitutional crisis in Canada, and would have mandated more formal involvement by the Queen. Government officials told CNN that the report provided by the independent investigators found the allegations were consistent among employees and the evidence of a toxic workplace was "robust." It is not clear whether the results of the workplace investigation will be made public. Payette said in her statement of resignation that, "Everyone has a right to a healthy and safe work environment, at all times and under all circumstances. It appears this was not always the case at the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General. Tensions have arisen at Rideau Hall over the past few months and for that, I am sorry." However, later in the statement she added, "We all experience things differently, but we should always strive to do better, and be attentive to one another's perceptions." That appeared to echo similar language used by Trudeau. In 2018, CNN reported that in response to allegations that he had inappropriately groped a woman in 2000, Trudeau said during a press briefing that, "I do not feel that I acted inappropriately in any way but I respect the fact that someone else might have experienced that differently." Canada's prime minister is tasked with recommending a candidate for governor general for appointment by Queen Elizabeth. In 2017 when he recommended Payette, Trudeau said she was "unquestionably qualified for this high office." But Canada's opposition leader, Erin O'Toole, accused the prime minister's office of not vetting Payette thoroughly for the job. He said all political parties should now have a say in who replaces Payette. "The Governor General is the Commander in Chief of our Armed Forces and has an important constitutional role," O'Toole said in a statement to CNN. "Considering the problems with his last appointment and the minority Parliament, the Prime Minister should consult opposition parties and re-establish the Vice-Regal Appointments Committee."
'No Time to Die,' the new James Bond film, is delayed once again - CNN
"No Time to Die," the latest film in the James Bond series and one of the most anticipated movies of 2021, has been delayed again.
New York (CNN Business)"No Time to Die," the latest film in the James Bond series and one of the most anticipated movies of 2021, has been delayed again. The film, which stars Daniel Craig as the stylish spy, was set to open on April 2. But MGM announced on Thursday that it would push the action film to October 8. This is the third time the film has been delayed since the coronavirus pandemic started. It was originally set to open in North American theaters on April 10, 2020. The shifting schedule of "No Time to Die" is a symbol of the pandemic's impact on Hollywood. The 25th film in the Bond series was the first major movie to be delayed because of the pandemic, but it was far from the last. The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted the film industry, causing theaters to shutter for months and pushingaudiences to mostly stay away.Blockbusters like Marvel's "Black Widow," Universal's "F9" and Paramount's "Top Gun: Maverick" have all suffered delays. Other films, like Warner Bros.' "Wonder Woman 1984," did a hybrid release opening in theaters and dropping on HBO Maxon the same day. Some films like Pixar's "Soul" and Disney's "Mulan" have skipped US theaters entirely opting to debut on streaming. Warner Bros. has even gone as far to say it will release all of its 2021 films in theaters and on HBO Max on the same day. (Warner Bros. and CNN share the same parent company, WarnerMedia.) The delay of "No Time to Die" is a huge blow to theater owners who are desperate to get audiences back.Yet shifting the film to a later date is a strong signal that it could be months before things return to normal at the movies. Sony also said on Thursday that "Ghostbusters: Afterlife," the sequel to the popular Ghostbusters franchise, would be moving from June 6 to November 11. Now theater owners, whose business has been ravaged by the outbreak, and the rest of Hollywood watch to see if a new batch of blockbuster will be postponed in the coming weeks. The next big films on the calendar are "Black Widow," which is set for May 7, and "F9," which is set for May 28.
Florida man accused of being in Capitol riots was arrested at the inauguration, Justice Department says - CNN
Samuel Camargo told investigators he wanted to attempt to attend the inauguration.
(CNN)A Florida man knew he was wanted by authorities for being at the US Capitol riots but returned to Washington, DC, to attend the inauguration, the Justice Department said in a court filing Thursday. Samuel Camargo, 26, was arrested Wednesday in Washington, prosecutors said. The name of Camargo's attorney wasn't immediately available Thursday. He has not yet formally entered a plea. Camargo faces four charges related to the January 6 riots that include civil disorder; knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority; knowingly engaging in disorderly or disruptive conduct in any restricted building or grounds; and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, according to the criminal complaint. Camargo appeared Thursday in DC District Court, where a judge ordered he stay detained as he awaits trial. The judge agreed with the Justice Department that Camargo was a flight risk. "Frankly this country is very large and there are many different places a defendant could hide within it," US Magistrate Judge Zia Faruqui said at the hearing. Washington prosecutors wrote in a court filing Thursday that Camargo was seen in video at one of the doorways of the Capitol on January 6 "using his mobile phone to video tape his struggle with the U.S. Capitol Police over opening a door to the U.S. Capitol Building." Camargo later apologized on social media for his actions that day "while at the Capitol in D.C.," prosecutors wrote. On January 7, when contacted by an FBI agent about his actions, Camargo admitted he was in Washington the day of the riot and returned to his home in Broward County, Florida. "Then he became uncooperative and questioned the agent's loyalty to the constitution before saying he had no more information to provide," prosecutors wrote. "Following this interview, the defendant then posted on social media 'Just finished speaking to an FBI agent, I believe I've been cleared.'" Authorities tried to arrest Camargo on Tuesday at his home in Florida, but he was gone, prosecutors said. He was found the next day in Washington. Camargo told investigators after his arrest that he knew he was wanted by the Justice Department in connection with his actions at the Capitol and "decided that he should attempt to attend the Inauguration rather than turn himself into authorities," prosecutors wrote in the court filing on Thursday.
Federal judge blocks Parler's bid to be restored on Amazon Web Services - CNN
A federal judge has denied Parler's request for a court order blocking Amazon from kicking the social media app off its platform, marking yet another setback in Parler's efforts to get back online.
(CNN Business)A federal judge has denied Parler's request for a court order blocking Amazon from kicking the social media app off its platform, marking yet another setback in Parler's efforts to get back online. Judge Barbara Rothstein issued a ruling on Thursday saying that Parler had not met the legal requirements for a temporary restraining order or preliminary injunction. That decision does not end the litigation, but it does mean that the court will not force Amazon Web Services to allow Parler back onto its cloud hosting platform. Amazon's move effectively kicked Parler off the public internet. Parler, the alternative social media platform favored by the far-right, had sued AWS earlier this month after AWS claimed Parler did not do enough to remove instances of incitement from its website. Amazon previously said Parler's lawsuit has "no merit" and argued in a legal brief that Parler had "demonstrated unwillingness and inability to remove from the servers of Amazon Web Services ('AWS') content that threatens the public safety." Parler CEO John Matze said in a court filing Monday that Parler does not have the resources to host itself on its own servers. Parler tried to seek a hosting alternative to AWS from at least six different potential providers after it became clear Amazon would no work with it, but Parler was turned away, according to a court filing. Parler's website suddenly reappeared online Sunday afternoon with a message from Matze: "Hello world, is this thing on?" It remains unclear who may actually wind up providing the servers on which Parler's social network will run.
Fauci talks 'liberating feeling' serving under Biden versus Trump - CNN
When Dr. Anthony Fauci returned to the White House briefing room on Thursday, he did so without the sour reality of a hostile president watching him from feet away in the Oval Office.
(CNN)When Dr. Anthony Fauci returned to the White House briefing room on Thursday, he did so without the sour reality of a hostile president watching him from feet away in the Oval Office. "I can tell you, I take no pleasure at all in being in a situation of contradicting the President," Fauci told the room, appearing nonetheless to take some pleasure in no longer having to dance around President Donald Trump's turbulent ego. "The idea that you can get up here and talk about what you know, what the evidence, what the science is -- let the science speak," he added. "It is somewhat of a liberating feeling." He demurred somewhat on his rocky history with the previous administration. But he made no attempt to veil his pleasure at the changing of guard. For the 80-year-old infectious disease specialist, it was the latest act in a long history of serving seven US presidents. Fauci, who sat on Trump's coronavirus task force and endured Trump's public scorn, emerged to tout a new administration's plans and voice support for a new President's approach. In some ways it was a turnabout. Though he was sidelined and ignored in the end, he still helped formulate a badly flawed Trump administration policy that failed to contain the virus. But when things began to get bad, Trump's aides restricted how much Fauci could appear on television to offer warnings and disinvited him from briefing the President in the Oval Office. Fauci and Trump disagreed on how to approach the pandemic, what the correct message was for the American people and how to balance reopening with preventing further contagion. Through it all, Trump insisted he respected Fauci but disagreed with his approach. But at their relationship's nadir, Trump suggested he was considering firing Fauci. Attacks from Trump's allies led to death threats and enhanced security. It was a different scene on Thursday. Fauci awoke before 4 a.m. ET to address the World Health Organization on the administration's behalf after Biden rejoined the body. In the State Dining Room several hours later, Biden and Fauci greeted each other warmly before Biden signed a series of executive actions meant to combat the pandemic. He appeared for a number of television interviews. He was the first administration expert to stand in the briefing room under new management. Fauci himself said he was guaranteed a new approach. "One of the things that was very clear as recently as about 15 minutes ago, when I was with the President, is that one of the things that we're going to do is to be completely transparent, open and honest," Fauci said. "If things go wrong, not point fingers but to correct them. And to make everything we do be based on science and evidence." "That was literally a conversation I had 15 minutes ago with the President," he said, clearly relieved the stark warnings he's been trying to convey about the pandemic for months would now come with the imprimatur of the White House. "We are still in a very serious situation," Fauci said as he began his remarks, calling the recently passed death toll of 400,000 "historic in a very bad sense." He suggested that the recent seven-day average of cases "looks like it might actually be plateauing in the sense of turning around," and the public health officials "think it's real." But, he added, he's said this before. "I'm sort of getting a déjà vu standing up here cause I said something like this almost a little bit less than a year ago when we were talking about the acceleration of cases in the late winter, early spring of 2020, when we were having New York City metropolitan area being the epicenter of what was going on. There are always lags, so please be aware of that," he said. That, of course, was before Trump decided Fauci's urgent warnings were dampening Americans' spirits and, in turn, his political prospects. By summer, Trump had taken to insisting the country was "rounding the corner" on the virus. By the time another surge hit in the fall, Trump was in full denial. Fauci went for weeks without speaking with Trump. Two days before the election, Trump suggested to a crowd in Florida he might fire Fauci. The doctor continued to attend task force meetings with Pence, and appeared at a briefing with Pence in November, but his relationship had died with Trump -- who'd taken to a new adviser, Dr. Scott Atlas, whose views were on the fringe. On Thursday, Fauci signaled the days of overconfidence and loose facts were over. "One of the things new with this administration is if you don't know the answer, don't guess," he said. "Just say you don't know the answer." CNN's Betsy Klein contributed to this report.
Fact check: Is it constitutional for Trump to be tried in the Senate after leaving office? - CNN
Questions have arisen over the constitutionality of former President Donald Trump's impending trial in the Senate. Trump is the first president to be impeached twice and would be the first ex-president to have his impeachment tried in the Senate while out of …
(CNN)Questions have arisen over the constitutionality of former President Donald Trump's impending trial in the Senate. Trump is the first president to be impeached twice and would be the first ex-president to have his impeachment tried in the Senate while out of office. House Democrats are expected to send the articles of impeachment to the Senate soon but the timing remains unclear. Sources have told CNN it could be as early as Friday. Following Trump's most recent impeachment in the House, former US Circuit Court Judge J. Michael Luttig weighed in on some constitutional questions, writing on January 12 in the Washington Post that "Congress loses its constitutional authority to continue impeachment proceedings against" Trump after he leaves office because "the Senate's only power under the Constitution is to convict or not an incumbent President." Since then, several Republican senators, including Tom Cotton, Joni Ernst and Roger Marshall, have said they don't think it would be constitutional to convict Trump in the Senate after he's left office. Senate Democrat Richard Blumenthal called arguments questioning the constitutionality "bogus" saying that "[T]here's nothing in the Constitution that prevents any federal officer from being tried after they're out of office." Facts First: Given the limited language in the Constitution on impeachment, legal experts disagree about whether the Senate can convict a former president. However, with Democrats holding slim control of the Senate, there's no reason to think the trial won't go forward. Under the Constitution, the House can impeach a President for "treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors." Then the Senate holds a trial and needs a two-thirds majority to convict and remove the President from office. Another vote would be necessary to bar the then ex-President from holding office again, but this vote would require only a simple majority. The Constitution doesn't specifically address convicting an ex-President but simply says "The President," VP and all civil officers "shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors." Legal experts and precedents A January 15 Congressional Research Service report notes that while the Constitution "does not directly address" the issue, most scholars have concluded that Congress does have the authority to impeach and convict a former President. In op-eds for the Washington Post and the New York Times, respectively, Harvard Law School professor Laurence Tribe and CNN legal expert Steve Vladeck, argue that such a trial is constitutional in part because the Senate's role in an impeachment is defined by two separate judgments: one to remove and then subsequently another to disqualify. Tribe noted that even though a former officer such as the President can no longer be removed from office, that "has no bearing on whether such an ex-officer may be barred permanently from office upon being convicted." And according to Vladeck, the Senate's power to disqualify an individual from future office is "the primary evidence" that trying the impeachment of a former officer is constitutional. "Were it otherwise, an officer facing impeachment, or an officer who has already been impeached and is about to be removed, could also avoid disqualification simply by resigning," Vladeck wrote. Yale University law professor Akhil Reed Amar agreed, telling CNN's Joan Biskupic that "It would be absurd if you could escape by resigning one step ahead of the gavel." Biskupic also reported that Tulane Law School professor Ross Garber, who asserts that the Senate may try only a sitting president, nonetheless said the 1993 precedent, in which Mississippi federal judge Walter Nixon unsuccessfully challenged Senate trial procedures in his impeachment case, would likely make it difficult for Trump to find a court that would hear his appeal. "I think the reasoning of Nixon (case) could be a problem for any Trump litigation effort," Garber told CNN, adding that "it is very unlikely the Supreme Court would stop the Senate in its tracks in a direct Trump challenge to its jurisdiction." In addition to the Nixon case, a Congressional Research Service report from November 2019 cites -- as precedent -- the 1876 impeachment trial of Secretary of War William W. Belknap, who was tried and acquitted even after he'd resigned his office. The Senate ultimately upheld its authority to try Belknap even after his abrupt resignation -- though some senators who voted to acquit indicated they did so because they felt the Senate lacked jurisdiction over Belknap once he was no longer in office. CNN's Joan Biskupic contributed to this article.
Biden issues slew of pandemic initiatives to improve vaccine distribution, expand testing and reopen schools - CNN
President Joe Biden's first full day in office Thursday will focus on getting the Covid-19 pandemic under control, rolling out his national strategy that includes several executive actions related to vaccinations and testing in hopes of moving the federal res…
(CNN)President Joe Biden's first full day in office Thursday will focus on getting the Covid-19 pandemic under control, rolling out his national strategy that includes several executive actions related to vaccinations and testing in hopes of moving the federal response in a different direction. The day after being sworn-in, Biden plans to sign at least 10 executive orders, memorandums and directives focused on tackling the pandemic, which, as of Thursday morning, has claimed the lives of more than 400,000 Americans and infected over 24 million in the US. And he is set to present some of his initiatives to the public at 2 p.m. ET and his press secretary and Dr. Anthony Fauci will answer questions at 4 p.m. ET. Biden will sign an order ramping up supplies for vaccination, testing and personal protective equipment and another boosting development of therapeutics to treat Covid-19. Following through on his campaign proposals, Biden will sign two executive orders creating a National Pandemic Testing Board to improve US coronavirus testing capacity and a Covid-19 Health Equity Task Force to ensure an "equitable" pandemic response and recovery. Another executive order will enhance the nation's collection, production, sharing and analysis of data about the virus. He will direct the Federal Emergency Management Agency to offer full reimbursement to states for the cost of National Guard personnel and emergency supplies such as PPE for schools. Biden will direct the Department of Education and Department of Health and Human Services to provide guidance for safe reopening and operating of schools, childcare providers, and institutions of higher education. He will issue an executive order calling on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to release clear guidance on Covid-19, decide whether to establish emergency temporary standards, and directs OSHA to enforce worker health and safety requirements. Building on the order he signed Wednesday making masks mandatory on federal property, Biden will also take action to require facial coverings in airports and on certain modes of transportation, including many trains, planes, maritime vessels and intercity buses. Thursday's executive order will also require international travelers to provide proof of a negative Covid-19 test prior to traveling to the US. Biden also plans to issue a presidential directive to restore America's leadership, support the international pandemic response effort, promote resilience for future threats, and advance global health security and the Global Health Security Agenda. Newly-installed White House Covid coordinator Jeff Zients told reporters Wednesday that Biden's pandemic strategy will be "a fundamentally different approach from the Trump administration," and will be "driven by science, data, and public health" -- not politics. CNN reported Thursday that Biden and his advisers are inheriting a nonexistent coronavirus vaccine distribution plan to speak of from the Trump administration, with sources telling CNN that they'll have to essentially "build everything from scratch." "For almost a year now, Americans could not look to the federal government for any strategy, let alone a comprehensive approach to respond to COVID. And we've seen the tragic costs of that failure. As President Biden steps into office today that, that'll change tomorrow," Zients said Wednesday. After his swearing-in ceremony Wednesday, Biden's first action as President was to impose a mask mandate on federal property. Biden also installed a coronavirus response coordinator to oversee the White House's efforts to distribute vaccines and medical supplies. He also signed an executive order halting US withdrawal from the World Health Organization.