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Birx says she regularly considered quitting | TheHill - The Hill
Deborah Birx, the former coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force under President Tr...
Deborah BirxDeborah BirxPence delivers coronavirus task force report to BidenSlew of Biden orders on COVID-19 to include resuming WHO membershipWhite House wishes Birx well after she announces retirementMORE, the former coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force under President TrumpDonald TrumpIran's leader vows 'revenge,' posting an image resembling TrumpFormer Sanders spokesperson: Biden 'backing away' from 'populist offerings' Justice Dept. to probe sudden departure of US attorney in Atlanta after Trump criticismMORE, said in an interview excerpt released Friday that she regularly considered quitting her post during the previous administration. Birx told CBS News that she had colleagues with whom shed worked for decades on public health issues who began questioning if she was politicizing the governments response to COVID-19 after Trump pushed to tout his administration's actions on the virus ahead of the election. I mean, why would you want to put yourself through that every day? Colleagues of mine that I had known for decades, decades, in that one experience, because I was in the White House, decided that I had become this political person, even though they had known me forever," Birx said in the interview that will air in full on "Face the Nation" on Sunday. "I had to ask myself every morning, is there something that I think I can do that would be helpful in responding to this pandemic, and it's something I asked myself every night, she continued. And when it became a point where I wasn't getting anywhere and that was right before the election, I wrote a very detailed communication plan of what needed to happen the day after the election and how that needed to be executed," she added. "And there was a lot of promise that that would happen. WATCH: @margbrennan: "Did you ever consider quitting?" Birx: "Always...I had to ask myself every morning: is there something that I think I can do that would be helpful in responding to this pandemic?" More on Sunday's @FaceTheNation on @CBShttps://t.co/7fk9mlPpvJpic.twitter.com/qh380bdpcF Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) January 22, 2021 Birx was first appointed by former President Obama as the coordinator of President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and she later joined Trumps coronavirus team. She said that while she personally never withheld information, she did believe the November presidential election played a factor in how the White House communicated to the public about the virus. The Trump administrations response to the virus, which relied on a patchwork of guidelines that left most of the policymaking on testing, school closures and other issues to states, was widely panned by public health officials who called for a more robust federal role. More than 24.7 million people have been infected with the coronavirus in the U.S., and more than 413,000 people have died in the country. Birx told CBS News she intends to retire in the next few weeks, though her State Department biography says her term ended Wednesday.
GOP lawmaker says he'd OK $1,400 stimulus checks for people who receive COVID-19 vaccine | TheHill - The Hill
Rep. Steve Stivers (R-Ohio) says he’d be willing to give $1,400 stimu...
Rep. Steve StiversSteven (Steve) Ernst StiversThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump finally concedes; 25th Amendment pressure growsGOP lawmaker says he 'wouldn't oppose' removing Trump under 25th AmendmentHouse Republicans who didn't sign onto the Texas lawsuitMORE (R-Ohio) says hed be willing to give $1,400 stimulus checks to people who receive the coronavirus vaccine. In a Thursday interview with Yahoo Live, Stivers discussed issues Republicans can work on with President Biden, who has called for a $1,400 increase in the $600 direct payments to Americans that Congress approved late last year. Even the pandemic response, it's so important that we build herd immunity as soon as we can. While I am not for giving a $1,400 stimulus check for anything, Id be willing to sign off on a stimulus check of $1,400 for people who take the vaccine, Stivers said. And I hope the administration will look at that option because we actually buy something with our $1,400 and thats herd immunity," he added. [email protected] says hed support $1,400 stimulus checks if they go to people who get the coronavirus vaccine. pic.twitter.com/GK9lCzbD7D Jessica Smith (@JessicaASmith8) January 21, 2021 Biden last week unveiled his proposed $1.9 trillion coronavirus stimulus and relief plan, which includes $1,400 in direct payments to Americans. Some Republicans have signaled that they wouldnt be on board with Bidens proposal in its current form, arguing it would add too much to the national debt which has seen a 50 percent increase from when former President TrumpDonald TrumpIran's leader vows 'revenge,' posting an image resembling TrumpFormer Sanders spokesperson: Biden 'backing away' from 'populist offerings' Justice Dept. to probe sudden departure of US attorney in Atlanta after Trump criticismMORE took office. Stivers said hed be willing to take on debt "for the right things." "The quickest thing we need to do if we really want to help the American people, is get this economy turned back on get people back to work, get kids back in school, get ourselves some herd immunity, get the vaccine distributed as quick as we can and get the uptake rate up. That's why I'd be willing to accept a $1,400 stimulus check if people are willing to take the vaccine," he said. The U.S. has been working to speed up coronavirus vaccine distribution after a slower-than-expected rollout. Biden has set a goal to administer 100 million vaccine doses in the first 100 days of his presidency. More than 37.9 million vaccine doses have been distributed, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, of which 17.5 million have been administered.
Biden's third wave of executive orders target minimum wage and food insecurity | TheHill - The Hill
Two new executive orders will target the ailing economy amid COVID-19.
Following the flurry of executive orders aimed at expediting COVID-19 testing and vaccinations, President Biden is slated to sign two additional executive orders to help reduce the economic burden brought on by the pandemic. USAToday reports that Fridays executive orders will give low-income families and individuals efficient access to food security and assistance programs, as well as initiating federal contractors to pay workers a mandatory minimum wage of $15 per hour and offer emergency paid leave benefits. The first executive order will enlist multiple sectors of the federal government to help delegate aid, such as asking the U.S. Department of Agriculture to expand federal nutrition programs, and making it easier for families to claim the Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer program, or P-EBT, that will replace typical school meals while children are going to class remotely. In addition to mandating a $15 minimum wage for federal contractors, Bidens order will also restore collective bargaining among workers and request that the U.S. Department of Labor extend unemployment benefits to employees who forgo work out of health concerns due to COVID-19. These actions are concrete and will provide immediate support to hard-hit families, Brian Deese, the director of the National Economic Council, stated. He noted that while the executive actions are signs of progress, more federal aid will be needed. The American people can't afford to wait. So many are hanging on by a thread," Deese told NBC. The U.S. unemployment rate currently stands at 6.7 percent as of December 2020, which is about twice the pre-pandemic levels. Unemployment claims are also still high despite seeing a small decline, with 900,000 claims filed as of mid-January. As Biden works to kickstart efforts to see the nation through the COVID-19 pandemic, a pillar of his plan will be the passage of his $1.9 trillion stimulus plan. The plan has been met with pessimism from Senate Republicans as lawmakers begin talks over the bill.
Dershowitz: Senate should dismiss impeachment article since Trump is private citizen | TheHill - The Hill
Alan Dershowitz, the celebrity attorney who defended former Presi...
Alan DershowitzAlan Morton DershowitzGiuliani won't be part of Trump defense at Senate trialSunday shows preview: Washington prepares for an inauguration and impeachment; coronavirus surges across the USIn calling out Trump, Nikki Haley warns of a more sinister threatMORE, the celebrity attorney who defended former President TrumpDonald TrumpClinton, Bush, Obama reflect on peaceful transition of power on Biden's Inauguration DayArizona Republican's brothers say he is 'at least partially to blame' for Capitol violenceBiden reverses Trump's freeze on .4 billion in fundsMORE during his first impeachment trial, argued Wednesday that the Senate should throw out the current article of impeachment against Trump now that he is a private citizen. In a piece published in The Wall Street Journal, Dershowitz shared the argument that many GOP lawmakers have made that it is unconstitutional to hold an impeachment trial for a former president. "For the victorious Democrats to seek revenge against Donald Trump would set a terrible precedent, distract from President Bidens agenda, and make it hard to heal the country. Better to move on," wrote Dershowitz, who is an opinion contributor for The Hill. Whether or not a former president can be impeached has been heavily debated since the article of impeachment was filed against Trump earlier this month after a mob of his supporters stormed the Capitol. The Constitution does not have any specific language detailing whether this action would be allowed. Trumps term officially ended on Wednesday when President Biden was sworn in. Trump did not attend the inauguration, leaving the White House for the last time just hours before the ceremony began. Though arguing against the Senate taking action, Dershowitz did acknowledge in his op-ed that impeaching former officials is not unprecedented. He called back to the impeachment of Secretary of War William Belknap in 1876. Belknap had accepted kickbacks in exchange for appointing an associate to a lucrative military trading position. "Secretary of War William W. Belknap was indisputably guilty of numerous impeachable offences, to which he confessed as he resigned his office hours before the House unanimously impeached him in 1876," wrote Dershowitz. "But two dozen senators who believed he was guilty voted to acquit on jurisdictional grounds. A close vote nearly a century and a half ago doesnt establish a binding precedent." The constitutional lawyer argued that prosecuting a former president would be too similar to other nations where predecessors are routinely attacked by the administration that follows them. He recalled former President Lincoln's words to the Confederacy before it was defeated in the Civil War: With Malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nations wounds. Trump became the first president to be impeached twice when the House voted to impeach him on Jan. 13 saying he incited the deadly riots at the Capitol. Ten GOP lawmakers joined Democrats in voting to impeach the former president, the most bipartisan impeachment vote in the nation's history. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellBudowsky: Democracy won, Trump lost, President Biden inauguratedBiden's inauguration marked by conflict of hope and fearMcConnell faces conservative backlash over Trump criticismMORE (R-Ky.) this week agreed that Trump had "provoked" the rioters, but has not stated how he will vote in a possible Senate trial. Trump's legal team for his Senate trial has yet to be announced, but Dershowitz has signaled that he would be willing to defend the former president once again. During his first impeachment trial, Trump was acquitted by the GOP-controlled Senate in February 2020. Democrats control the Senate with a narrow majority, and they would need at least 17 Republicans to join their vote to get the two-thirds needed to convict the former president.
Trump revokes 5-year lobbying ban for administration officials on last day in office | TheHill - The Hill
President Trump signed an executive order lifting a five-year lobbying ban for members of his adm...
President TrumpDonald TrumpLil Wayne gets 11th hour Trump pardonTrump grants clemency to more than 100 people, including BannonTrump expected to pardon Bannon: reportsMORE signed an executive order lifting a five-year lobbying ban for members of his administration just hours before he leaves office and Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump grants clemency to more than 100 people, including BannonScalise bringing Donna Brazile as guest to Biden inaugurationSidney Powell withdraws 'kraken' lawsuit in GeorgiaMORE is sworn in as the next president of the United States. The order, issued early Wednesday along with a flurry of pardons for former top campaign and White House officials, nullifies an ethics pledge made by all members of his administration that would have required them to adhere to a five-year cooling-off period before engaging in lobbying services. Employees and former employees subject to the commitments in Executive Order 13770 will not be subject to those commitments after noon January 20, 2021," the order reads. Former President Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonTrump stock performance falls short of Obama, ClintonPress: Biden must go big and boldThe challenge of Biden's first days: staying focused and on messageMORE signed a similar waiver with only weeks left in his term, The Associated Press noted. Trump ran for president in 2016 partially on a promise to "drain the swamp" and regularly attacked politicians, lobbyists and members of the "political elite" who he said were out of touch with Americans and put their own interests above those of the nation. Trump also granted clemency to dozens of people in a late-night pardoning blitz. Among those pardoned by Trump overnight Tuesday were former chief strategist Steve BannonStephen (Steve) Kevin BannonTrump expected to pardon Bannon: reportsTrump has sought Bannon's consultation to overturn election results: BloombergFacebook's 'stop the steal' ban misses 90 groups promoting election misinformation: analysisMORE, rapper Lil Wayne and GOP fundraiser Elliot Broidy and former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick (D). Bannon has been indicted on wire fraud and other financial crimes. "Mr. Bannon has been an important leader in the conservative movement and is known for his political acumen," the White House said in issuing his pardon. Trump is slated to speak on Wednesday morning before departing Washington, D.C. for Florida. He will not attend Biden's inauguration at noon.
Trump has talked to associates about forming new political party: report | TheHill - The Hill
President Trump has reportedly floated the possibility of&nb...
President TrumpDonald TrumpGiuliani used provisional ballot to vote in 2020 election, same method he disparaged in fighting to overturn results Trump gets lowest job approval rating in final days as presidentFox News' DC managing editor Bill Sammon to retireMORE has reportedly floated the possibility of starting a new political party as he prepares to leave the White House amid internal struggles within the Republican Party. The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday that Trump has discussed the matter with associates in the last week, suggesting he would call it the "Patriot Party." According to the Journal, it's unclear how serious the outgoing president is about starting a new party. The outlet noted that Trump's wide base of supporters was not heavily involved in the Republican Party before Trump became the party's 2016 presidential nominee. Speculation has grown as to whether Trump will run for the presidency again in 2024. If he did, it could effectively exclude other viable Republican candidates from pursuing the presidency. Traditionally, third parties have failed to gain enough momentum to challenge the Democratic and Republican parties. This endeavor would likely be strongly opposed by Republican leadership, as it would be seen as Trump siphoning off support for other Republican candidates. Ever since he lost the presidential election, Trump's future after the White House has been brought into question. In November, Axios reported that Trump's allies were looking to buy into conservative news network Newsmax in order to compete with Fox News. However, Newsmax Chief Executive Officer Chris Ruddy denied that such discussions were occurring. Trump's future endeavors in D.C. are likely to face challenges. His Senate impeachment trial is set to take place after he leaves office, and outgoing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellWhat would MLK say about Trump and the Republican Party?Biden's minimum wage push faces uphill battle with GOPGOP senators wrestle with purging Trump from partyMORE (R-Ky.) has not yet decided whether he will vote to convict Trump. McConnell on Tuesday blamed trump for provoking the violent crowd that broke into the Capitol on Jan. 6. Democratic lawmakers have called for Trump to be barred from running for federal office in the future, and on Tuesday Rep. Nikema Williams (D-Ga.) introduced legislation to ban Trump from entering the U.S. Capitol after his presidency ends on Wednesday.
Moderna says it's investigating reported allergic reactions to COVID-19 vaccine | TheHill - The Hill
Moderna said Tuesday that it is investigating reported allergic react...
Moderna said Tuesday that it is investigating reported allergic reactions from one batch of its COVID-19 vaccine after California recommended pausing vaccinations. State epidemiologist Erica Pan recommended on Sunday that health care providers pause administering doses from lot 041L20A while the state investigates a higher-than-usual number of possible allergic reactions that were reported with doses that were administered at a community vaccination clinic. Pan said at the time that California, Moderna, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are all investigating. In a statement on Tuesday, Moderna said it acknowledges receiving a report from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) several individuals at one vaccination center in San Diego were treated for possible allergic reactions after vaccination from the lot. The company said its unaware of comparable clusters of adverse events from other vaccination centers that may have administered doses from the same lots. This investigation is still ongoing and Moderna is working closely with FDA and CDC to understand the clinical cases and whether the broad pause in use of the lot is warranted, the company said. The company did not specify on Sunday exactly how many people reported adverse reactions. However, The Associated Press previously reported that six health care workers in San Diego had allergic reactions to vaccines they received at a vaccination center on Thursday. A spokesperson for the FDA told The Hill in a statement that the agency is "aware of a situation in California in which multiple potential adverse events were reported after vaccination with a specific lot of Moderna vaccine (Moderna Lot 041L20A) at one community vaccination clinic. We are working closely with the CDC, California Department of Public Health, and Moderna to investigate these potential adverse events." "At this time CDC and FDA do not recommend health departments stop administering this lot or any lots of Modernas COVID-19 vaccine," Hunt said. The Hill has reached out to the CDC for comment. A total of 1,272,000 doses were produced in the batch, of which 964,900 have already been distributed across 37 states, Moderna said. The CDPH said it received 330,000 doses from the batch that were distributed to 287 providers. Updated at 5:04 p.m.
Trump considers pardons for former New York Assembly Speaker, Lil Wayne: NYT | TheHill - The Hill
President Trump is reportedly considering issuing pardons on his last...
President TrumpDonald TrumpIran convicts American businessman on spying charge: reportDC, state capitals see few issues, heavy security amid protest worriesPardon-seekers have paid Trump allies tens of thousands to lobby president: NYTMORE is reportedly considering issuing pardons on his last full day in office for rapper Lil Wayne and former New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. The New York Times reported that the names are among a list of pardons that the president intends to unveil on Tuesday. The list is likely to cover at least 60 pardons or commutations that could end up exceeding 100. People briefed on the calls told the Times that hes been making calls to some of the recipients and he held another meeting about the topic on Monday. Lil Wayne pleaded guilty to a federal firearm charge in December, and is facing up to 10 years in prison. He was charged in December 2019 with illegally carrying a loaded handgun while traveling from California to South Florida. The rapper met with Trump back in October, and praised the presidents proposed Platinum Plan intended to help the Black community. Silver was convicted of corruption charges twice in 2015. The former Democratic lawmaker was sentenced to 78 months in prison in July 2020. Also on the list is Sholam Weiss, according to The Times, who was sentenced to over 800 years in 2000 for racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering over a fraud scheme that defrauded $450 million from an insurance company. The White House declined to comment to The New York Times, and didnt immediately return a request for comment from The Hill. Multiple news outlets reported earlier on Monday that the new batch of around 100 pardons will likely cover white-collar criminals and high-profile rappers. The president issued a slew of pardons in December, and has reportedly floated the idea of pardoning himself and family members. Officials told the Times that there are no plans for Trump to pardon himself, nor his sons Eric TrumpEric TrumpManhattan DA expands probe into Trump company to include family estate: reportThird bank cuts ties with Trump after Capitol riotEric Trump: Business cancellations part of liberal 'cancel culture'MORE and Donald Trump Jr., who have not been charged with wrongdoing. However, the officials said that decision is still possible. Trump's term comes to an end Wednesday at noon.
China becomes only major world economy to report growth in 2020 | TheHill - The Hill
China's economy increased by about 2 percent in 2020, becoming on...
China's economy increased by about 2 percent in 2020, becoming one of the only major countries to report such a growth in the midst of an economically devastating pandemic. Economic activity in China shrunk by nearly 7 percent in the first quarter of last year, the Associated Press reports. However, the governments decision to swiftly shut down most of its economy appeared to have allowed the country to reopen businesses earlier than others. However, the AP reported that 2020 was still the worst year in terms of growth for China since the 1990s when the country faced international isolation following the Tiananmen Square democracy movement. Iris Pang, chief ING economist for the China region, told the AP that "it is too early to conclude that this is a full recovery, despite the relatively positive growth the country saw. External demand has not yet fully recovered. This is a big hurdle," added Pang. The demand for medical supplies such as masks has been a boon for Chinese-made exports, but heavy tariffs levied by President TrumpDonald TrumpIran convicts American businessman on spying charge: reportDC, state capitals see few issues, heavy security amid protest worriesPardon-seekers have paid Trump allies tens of thousands to lobby president: NYTMORE have negatively impacted exporters. President-elect Biden has indicated that he will keep Trump's tariffs in place once he assumes office. In his first interview after winning the presidential election, Biden said that Trump's approach to China had been "backwards," while also stating he expected the country to play by "international norms" during his administration. The pandemic's effect on the global economy brought China closer to the U.S. in terms of economic output, the AP notes with its total activity amounting to roughly $15.6 trillion, about 75 percent of the $20.8 trillion projected for the U.S. by the International Monetary Fund. The U.S. economy is expected to shrink by about 4.3 percent in 2020.
Schiff: No reason Trump should get intel briefings ever again | TheHill - The Hill
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said Sunday that President Trump sho...
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffSunday shows preview: Washington prepares for an inauguration and impeachment; coronavirus surges across the USWhat our kids should know after the Capitol Hill riot Pelosi names 9 impeachment managersMORE (D-Calif.) said Sunday that President TrumpDonald TrumpFacebook temporarily bans ads for weapons accessories following Capitol riotsSasse, in fiery op-ed, says QAnon is destroying GOPSection 230 worked after the insurrection, but not before: How to regulate social mediaMORE should no longer receive daily intelligence briefings and be prohibited from receiving such briefings once he leaves office. In an interview on CBS's "Face the Nation," Schiff agreed with calls from Susan Gordon, Trump's former principal deputy director of national intelligence, to cease providing Trump with intelligence immediately given his actions surrounding the riot that overtook the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. "There's no circumstance in which this president should get another intelligence briefing, not now, not in the future. I don't think he can be trusted with it now, and in the future he certainly can't be trusted," Schiff said. NEWS: Theres no circumstance, in which #Trump should receive another intelligence briefing once he leaves office, @RepAdamSchiff tells @margbrennan, saying the Biden team should cut off his briefings. Earlier this week, former top intel official Sue Gordon urged similarly pic.twitter.com/64Do6TJyln Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) January 17, 2021 The Intelligence Committee chairman went on to say that he thought U.S. allies had begun withholding intelligence from the Trump administration due to fears about the president's ability or willingness to keep such intelligence private, a prospect Schiff said "makes us less safe." Gordon, who left the Trump administration in 2019, wrote in a Washington Post op-ed on Friday that President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenMissouri woman seen with Pelosi sign charged in connection with Capitol riotsFacebook temporarily bans ads for weapons accessories following Capitol riotsSasse, in fiery op-ed, says QAnon is destroying GOPMORE should move to deny Trump intelligence briefings after Trump departs from the White House. "My recommendation, as a 30-plus-year veteran of the intelligence community, is not to provide him any briefings after Jan. 20," she wrote. "With this simple act which is solely the new presidents prerogative Joe Biden can mitigate one aspect of the potential national security risk posed by Donald Trump, private citizen." Schiff has been a top critic of the president for years and joined other Democrats and some Republicans this week in voting for a historic second impeachment of the president, which now heads to the Senate for a trial. Five people died during the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, including a Capitol Police officer.
Hot pockets recalled for possible glass, plastic contamination | TheHill - The Hill
Nestlé Prepared Foods has issued a recall of their pepperoni hot pockets over the potential for c...
Nestlé Prepared Foods has issued a recall of their pepperoni hot pockets over the potential for contamination by "extraneous materials," U.S. Department of Agricultures Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced Friday. The company is recalling the popular product over reports that there are rogue pieces of plastic and glass in some hot pockets. The FSIS received four reports from customers alleging finding the materials in their hot pockets, leading the the recall of approximately 762,615 pounds of the not-ready-to-eat items. So far, only one "minor injury" has been reported related to the contamination, but the FSIS is encouraging consumers who purchased the product to use caution and avoid consumption. "This product should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase," the FSIS wrote. The products in question were produced between Nov. 13, 2020 and Nov. 16, 2020, and were shipped to retailers across the nation, the FSIS says. Consumers are warned to look for hot pockets with a label that reads "Nestlé HOT POCKETS BRAND SANDWICHES: PREMIUM PEPPERONI MADE WITH PORK, CHICKEN & BEEF PIZZA GARLIC BUTTERY CRUST," with a best used before date of February 2022. The FSIS has classified the contaminated hot pockets as a Class I "high risk" problem, and urges consumers to seek medical attention if they come in contact with the product. Nestlé Prepared Foods, which acquired Hot Pockets in 2002, could not be immediately reached for comment.
Palestinian Authority to hold first elections in 15 years | TheHill - The Hill
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Friday announced that parliamentary and presidential elections will take place in the country for the first time in 15 years.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Friday announced that parliamentary and presidential elections will take place in the country for the first time in 15 years. Abbas said in a decree that the parliamentary elections will take place on May 22, and the presidential race will be held on July 31 in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem. They will be the first votes of their kind since 2006, when the militant group Hamas won in a resounding victory and set off a clash with Abbass Fatah Party, thrusting the Palestinian Authority (PA) into a political crisis. Hamas later took control of the Gaza Strip in a bloody fight. Abbas first won the presidency in a 2005 election to determine the successor to the late Yasser Arafat. While Fatah and Hamas have vowed to hold elections for over a decade, they have been unable to repair their bitter divide, and it is still far from certain that votes will actually be cast later this year. Hamas last week informed Abbas that it would agree to participate in elections in a reconciliation effort. Hamas in a statement Friday expressed its strong eagerness to make this obligation successful, according to The Associated Press. We have worked in the past months to surmount all hurdles to reach this day, and we have shown a lot of flexibility, it said in a statement. It also called for dialogue ahead of the vote. The elections could present massive dangers for both parties given rising dissatisfaction over a worsening coronavirus pandemic, lack of progress on a push for statehood, poverty and more. However, it appears that Abbas may be in particularly steep political peril; the 85-year-old leader has been beset by health issues and is especially unpopular, and it is possible he could lose to a Hamas candidate. Abbass PA has been sidelined during the Trump administration, which took a slew of actions championed by Israel, including moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and shuttering the PAs diplomatic mission in Washington. Still, should the elections go through, it could have massive implications for both Israel and the U.S. If Abbas loses to a Hamas candidate, it would raise significant issues over the governance of the West Bank. It would be virtually impossible for a candidate from the militant group, which is recognized as a terrorist group by Israel and many western nations, to assume control of the West Bank, over which Jerusalem maintains overall security control. Abbass government in the West Bank coordinates with Israel over security issues, but Hamas has fought three wars with the Israeli military since it took over the Gaza Strip. A Hamas victory could also throw a major monkey wrench in President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenConfirmation hearing for Biden's DNI pick postponedBiden's Sunday inauguration rehearsal postponed due to security concerns: reportMurkowski says it would be 'appropriate' to bar Trump from holding office againMOREs plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and restore aide to the Palestinians, given that Washington views Hamas as a terrorist group. It is still uncertain that votes will actually be cast later this year, though, given the inability to hold elections in past years. It is also possible that Israel blocks voting in East Jerusalem, which could also throw the elections into jeopardy.