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Pompeo Accuses China Of Genocide Against Muslim Uighurs In Xinjiang

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo giving a speech earlier this month. He said on Tuesday that China has committed genocide against its Muslim Uighur population.

Andrew Harnik/POOL/AFP via Getty Images


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Andrew Harnik/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is accusing China and its Communist Party of carrying out genocide against Muslim Uighurs and other minority groups in the western Xinjiang region, in a forceful statement that was issued on Pompeo’s last full day in his diplomatic role.

“I have determined that the People’s Republic of China is committing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang, China, targeting Uyghur Muslims and members of other ethnic and religious minority groups,” Pompeo said via Twitter, using an alternate spelling for the group.

The message drew a sharp response from Chen Weihua, a columnist for China’s official newspaper, China Daily, who said that when Pompeo leaves his post along with the outgoing Trump administration, it will be “Time to celebrate.”

The secretary’s tweet echoed his official statement, in which he said, “I believe this genocide is ongoing, and that we are witnessing the systematic attempt to destroy Uyghurs by the Chinese party-state.”

Pompeo decried China’s policies that have denied basic human rights to minorities, saying authorities have “forced sterilizations and abortions on Uyghur women, coerced them to marry non-Uyghurs, and separated Uyghur children from their families.”

The accusations are the strongest yet from Pompeo over China’s actions in Xinjiang, where analysts have estimated up to 1.5 million Muslim Uighurs and other ethnic minorities have been detained. The U.S. imposed sanctions on China’s government and officials last July, citing gross human rights violations in the region.

But as NPR’s Michele Kelemen reports for our Newscast unit, President Trump’s administration has been accused of taking an inconsistent approach regarding China and people in Xinjiang.

“In his book, Trump’s former National Security Adviser John Bolton wrote that Trump told China’s president to go ahead and build detention camps for Uighurs,” Kelemen said. “That was back when Trump was trying to negotiate a trade deal with China.”

Last year, Buzzfeed News used satellite images to identify what it said were hundreds of recently built internment camps in Xinjiang – large facilities that resemble prisons. China’s government has disagreed with that description, saying the installations are “vocational education and training centers.”

A researcher published a report in Foreign Policy last summer saying that China’s suppression of Uighurs, Kazakhs and other groups meets the United Nations’ definition of genocide, citing a campaign of mass sterilizations, forced abortions and mandatory birth control.

Pompeo’s remarks were welcomed by the advocacy group Refugees International, whose president, Eric Schwartz, said that in Xinjiang, “the evidence of genocide is significant and substantial.”

Schwartz called for international investigations and prosecutions over the treatment of ethnic minorities in Xinjiang. But he added that he is “baffled and deeply concerned” that Pompeo has not made a similar declaration about Myanmar and its treatment of the Rohingya population.


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Author: Bill Chappell

Israel sharing COVID-19 data with Pfizer to help fine-tune vaccine rollout

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel is giving weekly data updates on its COVID-19 outbreak to vaccine maker Pfizer under a collaboration agreement that may help other countries fine-tune their inoculation campaigns and achieve “herd immunity”, officials said.

Israelis began receiving first shots of the vaccine developed by Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech on Dec. 19 in one of the world’s fastest vaccination rollouts.

Israel’s Health Ministry made public most of a 20-page collaboration agreement it signed with Pfizer, which said the aim was “to determine whether herd immunity is achieved after reaching a certain percentage of vaccination coverage in Israel”.

Commercial details such as price and quantity of vaccine shots supplied were not made public, but the agreement said that Israel was relying on Pfizer to deliver enough doses at a fast enough rate to allow it to achieve “herd immunity”, meaning a sufficient portion of the population is immune to the virus.

“While this project is conducted in Israel, the insights gained will be applicable around the world and we anticipate will allow governments to maximize the public health impact of their vaccination campaigns,” BioNTech said on Monday in a statement.

This includes determining potential immunization rates needed to stop the virus from spreading, it said.

The goal, BioNTech said, was “to monitor the evolution of the epidemic over time and at different vaccination rates”.

“This will help us understand whether a potential decrease in cases and deaths can be attributed solely to direct vaccine protection or to both direct and indirect (or ‘herd’) protection,” it said.

During weekly status reports, Israel will provide Pfizer with epidemiological data such as: the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, how many patients were on ventilators, how many died, as well as an age and other demographic breakdown.

Such data was available to the public and keeps patients anonymous, Israeli officials said.

A Pfizer spokeswoman in Israel had no immediate comment.

About a quarter of Israelis have received their first vaccine shot and 3.5% already got their second dose.

Still, the country is in its third lockdown with infection rates remaining high. More than half a million cases have been reported and 4,005 people have died in Israel since the pandemic began.

(Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch, Ludwig Burger, Nikolaj Skydsgaard and Steven Scheer; Editing by Alex Richardson)


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A protected right? Free speech and social media

A decade ago social media was hailed as an organizing tool for pro-democracy rallies, giving voice to the voiceless. But it has also become a forum for conspiracy theories, disinformation and hate speech. President Donald Trump was recently banned from Twitter following his incitement of rioters, and his social media accounts on Facebook and Instagram were suspended. Correspondent Lee Cowan looks into the legality and implications of tech companies “de-platforming” a user – even a president.

Deceptions in the time of the ‘alternative facts’ president

WASHINGTON (AP) — Truth caught up with Donald Trump after years of giving chase.

The twice-impeached president painted a fantasy world in office, starring himself. In this world, he did things bigger, better, more boldly than all who came before him while facing enemies more pernicious than any in creation.

In service of his ego, his nature and his reelection prospects, he said things that were not only wrong, but the precise opposite of right. He said them over and over, in leaps and bounds, and no less so when the deceptions were exposed.

We’re rounding the corner on the virus, he said repeatedly, when the obvious reality was that the most lethal stage of the pandemic was just picking up. On the cusp of this danger, he spread the suspicion that masks make you more vulnerable to COVID-19, not less.

Then came his election defeat and a menacing twist in his life history of assaulting the facts.

That’s when Trump, primed for months to declare the election stolen from him, spun a web of deception and denialism in an effort to overturn the will of voters, pairing his words with furious action in the courts and intimidation of election officials. This all exploded in violent insurrection at the Capitol by followers inflamed by his sustained and flamboyant lie.

The United States, that self-described beacon of democracy, that supposed shining city on a hill, came under the flickering shadow of his gaslight.

“Who’s the banana republic now?” asked newspaper headlines an ocean apart in Kenya and Colombia.

Trump leaves Joe Biden with repair work to do on the government’s credibility in a country where millions went along with their president’s fantastical ride — believing his persistent falsehoods about masks, election fraud, socialists in the halls of power, antifa rampant in the streets, his tormenters at every turn.

It’s a legacy of “magical thinking,” said Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland. “They have a full-blown independent reality, totally cut apart from the world of facts.” He said that is the road to fascism.

Wherever that road goes, it’s up to Biden to try to lead the way back.

THE BULWARK

Two of Trump’s legacies collided with each other while he was still in power.

One was his success in reshaping federal courts and the Supreme Court along conservative lines, an achievement bound to affect the direction of the country for years. The other was his signature capacity for disinformation, also for the history books.

In psychology, gaslighting means manipulating people to question their own perceptions, memories or even sanity. It tends not to work so well on judges.

The courts proved to be the bulwark against Trump’s machinations. The three justices he placed on the high court did nothing to help him when they had the chance. Dozens of federal judges — Trump nominees among them — blocked his course, finding no merit in his complaints of voting and counting fraud.

Yet he had waged the fight with the support of legions of his voters and more than 100 Republican members of Congress who supported his challenge of Biden’s election certification on the same false pretenses peddled by Trump.

“It really matters that the president of the United States is an arsonist of radicalization,” Kori Schake, a senior national security and State Department aide in the George W. Bush administration, told a postelection conference. She dared hope “it will really help when that’s no longer the case.”

By being so determinedly loose with the truth, Trump stayed true to character in the White House.

The arc of his life reveals insistent fabrication and exaggeration, as well as one vast understatement, attributed to him in his memoir and singular in its audacity: “A little hyperbole never hurts.”

A little?

‘THE VACCINE IS ME’

In his days as a publicity hungry real estate developer in New York, he would pretend to be a publicist named John Miller as he got on the phone with the press and planted flattering secrets about Donald Trump, such as “actresses just call to see if they can go out with him and things.”

His deceptions would start to take on much larger dimensions with deeper consequences, as when he tried to perpetuate the lie that President Barack Obama was not born in the U.S. and thus was an illegitimate president. The lie so seeped into the public consciousness that Obama’s White House felt compelled to issue a copy of his birth certificate to counter it.

Then in office, Trump used the extraordinary reach and power of the presidency to tell Americans not to believe what they could see with their own eyes.

Trump underplayed the threat the coronavirus posed while admitting he knew better. For weeks in the fall he spoke of the U.S. “rounding the corner” on the pandemic even as infections rose across the country. He further encouraged his believers to let down their guard by telling them that most people who wear masks get COVID-19, which is far from the truth.

Throughout his term, to go with Trump’s flow was to suspend logic, to disdain arithmetic, to ignore that his latest statement contradicted what he said days before. It meant buying into “alternative facts” — a phrase that spurred sales of George Orwell’s dystopian book “1984” when it was coined by a Trump aide.

He hailed make-believe economic numbers. He misrepresented his conversations with foreign leaders. He claimed to have saved Christmas from the anti-Christians, declared “the vaccine is me,” and bookended his term with baseless claims that both elections were “rigged,” even the one he won. (He was sore about losing the popular vote in 2016.)

“It’s simply gotten to the point where Donald Trump has told so many lies in so many different ways … it just makes you wonder if we’re living in a post-truth world,” said Richard Waterman, a University of Kentucky political science professor who studies the presidency.

Surveys consistently found that Trump’s supporters believed him more than objective sources, even when he was clearly and demonstrably wrong. Huge numbers of Americans said they believed the election was fraudulent when Trump told them so, in the face of judges, state and federal election officials, Republican governors and his own attorney general who said it wasn’t.

FROM THE STAGE

Trump’s fabrications were the racing heartbeat of his rallies. The counterfeit fed the charisma.

At a postelection rally in Georgia, Trump railed for nearly two hours in a speech where it was easier to suss out the true statements than the false ones because there were so few true ones.

The Democrats, he said, “want to rip down buildings and rebuild them with no windows. I like windows.”

“They even want to take away your beautiful Christmas that we just got back,” he went on, inexplicably.

“We know the Democrats will have dead people voting and you got to watch it — dead people. You wouldn’t believe how many illegal aliens from out of the state and they’ll be filing out and filling out ballots for people who don’t even exist.” No such behavior was uncovered in the dozens of courtrooms where Trump’s postelection lawsuits went to die.

No matter. Whether his core supporters believed he was speaking the whole truth or not, they believed he was speaking their truth. Never more so than when he went after the elites.

“They beat you down, shut you up and make you retreat,” he said in Georgia. “That’s what they do.”

Sitting atop a sophisticated information-gathering apparatus — the U.S. government — Trump was a sponge for fevered speculations on Twitter or from his favorite right-wing talk shows.

ANATOMY OF A LIE

One day on Twitter, someone tweeted a screenshot of a streaming video of Biden’s Thanksgiving address, showing the video was being watched at that one moment on one site by about 1,000 people. Someone on Instagram seized on the number, questioning in a popular video post how Biden could possibly get more than 80 million honest votes when only 1,000 people bothered to watch his holiday remarks.

It was amateur hour in the world of conspiracy theories.

Biden’s remarks were watched by millions, as a check of just a sampling of other streaming sources by The Associated Press quickly made clear. But the theory wasn’t too silly for the president to put in his quiver.

“I’m shocked to hear that,” Trump told his crowd. “They say he had less than a thousand people. How do you have 80 million votes and you have a thousand people?”

The remark captured one of Trump’s traits when he was saying something dishonest. He might attribute the claim to an unidentified someone else: “They say.”

He would often speak of things he claimed to have seen or heard — somewhere. He saw Muslims in New Jersey dancing in the streets after the 2001 terrorist attacks, he said, citing TV footage no one found.

In October, Trump several times botched the findings of a federal study on masks and the virus. “Just the other day they came out with a statement that 85% of the people that wear masks catch it,” he said in an NBC forum in Miami.

“They” didn’t say that at all.

“Well that’s what I heard and that’s what I saw,” he said when challenged by NBC’s Savannah Guthrie.

He told his Georgia rally last month, as he’s told many before, that someone in the Army confided to him, “Sir, we have no ammunition.”

So he rushed into the breach, he said, giving soldiers not only bullets and a pay raise but missiles 17 times faster than anything the world had seen. Or four or seven times faster; the number varied by the telling.

“And we now have the greatest, most modern military in the history of our country,” Trump told his Georgia crowd. “We have … hypersonic missiles. We have hypersonic and hydrosonic. You know what hydrosonic is? Water. We have them all.”

We don’t. Hydrosonic isn’t a missile. It’s an expensive toothbrush.

TRUTH AND CONSEQUENCES

Trump’s fraught relationship with the facts extended beyond his own words. Officials who fell under the umbrella of truth-telling or truth-finding ended up in tough spots in his presidency.

He fired or demoted nearly a half dozen inspectors general responsible for calling out waste and fraud in federal departments. The nonpartisan public health scientists who would not echo his rosy take about the pandemic with sufficient enthusiasm, or at all, earned his ire or were sidelined or both.

Among them, Dr. Anthony Fauci took on a security detail for his family because of threats. Some election and state officials did the same when Trump came hard after them with his tweets for refusing to validate his election falsehoods. Innocent, low-level election workers identified by Trump in public forums had to go into hiding.

Intelligence analysts who saw Russian meddling that Trump didn’t want to see, disinterested public servants who witnessed and accurately described the pressure campaign on Ukraine that got Trump impeached the first time — these and more were subject to hair-trigger accusations of disloyalty, with consequences.

Mark K. Updegrove, presidential historian and CEO of the LBJ Foundation, said the presidents held highest in the pantheon have been the ones known for their integrity. The converse, he said, “will be a major part of the Trump presidency when we look back at it, his absolute inability to tell the truth consistently.”

To be sure, volumes of books are filled with the varied ways presidents of the past disgraced themselves, fought secret wars, undermined their opponents with sketchy tactics, lied about sex, broke big promises or dodged inconvenient truths.

But the systematic deceptions of the “alternative facts” president were unlike anything before.

Attempting to explain her phrase, Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway said there are alternative ways of arriving at the truth. Two plus two equals four, she noted, but so does three plus one.

That’s not, though, how Trump rolled. Two plus two would equal an astronomical number in his reckoning. Maybe the biggest number ever. At least that’s what they say.

___

Associated Press writers Darlene Superville and Michael Tackett contributed to this report.


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Biden speaks on plan to administer COVID-19 vaccines to U.S. population

President-elect Joe Biden is giving remarks Friday on his plan to administer COVID-19 vaccines to the American population, a day after unveiling his $1.9 trillion coronavirus economic relief package, which includes a drive to vaccinate 100 million people in his first 100 days in office. 

It’s expensive legislation with three major targets: $400 billion for arresting the spread of COVID-19 and increasing vaccine capabilities; over $1 trillion to assist families needing direct financial support; and $440 billion in emergency funds for cash-poor small businesses and communities.

Mr. Biden’s plan will encourage states to allow more Americans to be vaccinated, expanding guidelines to include those 65 years and older and all frontline workers. Organizing by priority groups is scientific, but it’s also meant doses of vaccines have gone unused when others could be taking them, a fact sheet from the Biden team notes. 

The vaccination plan also entails setting up federally supported community vaccination centers around the country, with the support of the Federal Emergency Management Administration. The incoming Biden administration also intends to launch mobile vaccination clinics to reach poorer urban areas and rural communities. 

Mr. Biden also intends to use the Defense Production Act to maximize vaccine production for things like glass vials, needles and syringes. 

He also plans to increase data sharing and timelines with states so they aren’t left in the dark. 

As he’s said before, Mr. Biden wants to release most of the available vaccine doses, even though patients will need a second dose for the vaccine to be the most effective. 

The incoming administration also plans to launch a federally led by locally targeted public education campaign to increase trust in the vaccine. 

“I believe we have a moral obligation,” Mr. Biden said in a speech on Thursday night. “In this pandemic in America, we cannot let people go hungry, we cannot let people get evicted, we cannot watch nurses, educators and others lose their jobs, we so badly need them. We must act now, and we must act decisively.”


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Watch Live: Biden speaks on plan to administer COVID-19 vaccines to U.S. population

President-elect Joe Biden is giving remarks Friday on his plan to administer COVID-19 vaccines to the American population, a day after unveiling his $1.9 trillion coronavirus economic relief package, which includes a drive to vaccinate 100 million people in his first 100 days in office. 

It’s expensive legislation with three major targets: $400 billion for arresting the spread of COVID-19 and increasing vaccine capabilities; over $1 trillion to assist families needing direct financial support; and $440 billion in emergency funds for cash-poor small businesses and communities.


How to watch Biden’s remarks on COVID-19 vaccines 

  • What: President-elect Joe Biden speaks on his plan to administer COVID-19 vaccines to the U.S. population
  • Date: January 15, 2021 
  • Time: 3:45 p.m. ET
  • Location: Wilmington, Delaware 
  • Online stream: Live on CBSN in the player above and on your mobile or streaming device 

“I believe we have a moral obligation,” Mr. Biden said in a speech on Thursday night. “In this pandemic in America, we cannot let people go hungry, we cannot let people get evicted, we cannot watch nurses, educators and others lose their jobs, we so badly need them. We must act now, and we must act decisively.”

Speaking from Wilmington, Delaware, Mr. Biden was announcing what could be the signature legislation of his first 100 days in office.

Note: Streaming plans are subject to change 


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Russia to submit Sputnik V vaccine for EU approval, says RDIF chief

National Review

GOP Reps. Deny Giving ‘Reconnaissance Tours’ to Capitol Rioters

Representatives Andy Biggs (R., Ariz.), Mo Brooks (R., Ala.), and Paul Gosar (R., Ariz.) are denying any involvement in organizing last week’s rioting at the U.S. Capitol after a protest organizer claimed he “schemed” with them to put “maximum pressure on Congress while they were voting.” Right-wing activist Ali Alexander’s claim that he had colluded with the congressmen came in a since-deleted video on Periscope unearthed by the Project on Government Oversight. He said weeks before the storming of the Capitol that he was planning something big for January 6, the date Congress met to tally the electoral votes and affirm President-elect Joe Biden’s win. Alexander planned to “change the hearts and the minds of Republicans who were in that body, hearing our loud roar from outside,” he said. Meanwhile, Representative Mikie Sherrill (D., N.J.) on Tuesday claimed she saw members of Congress leading people through the U.S. Capitol on “reconnaissance” tours one day before supporters of President Trump stormed the building, though she did not name the members or explain how she knew she was witnessing a so-called reconnaissance tour. “We can’t have a democracy if members of Congress are actively helping the president overturn the elections results,” she said. “Not only do I intend to see that the president is removed and never runs for office again and doesn’t have access to classified material, I also intend to see that those members of Congress who abetted him; those members of Congress who had groups coming through the Capitol that I saw on Jan. 5 – a reconnaissance for the next day; those members of Congress that incited this violent crowd; those members of Congress that attempted to help our president undermine our democracy; I’m going to see they are held accountable, and if necessary, ensure that they don’t serve in Congress.” Sherill did not say whether the “groups” were Trump supporters or offer any additional information on the “reconnaissance.” National Review has reached out to Sherrill for comment. A spokesman for Biggs told the Washington Post that the congressman had never been in touch with Alexander or other protestors and denied involvement in organizing a rally on January 6. “Congressman Biggs is not aware of hearing of or meeting Mr. Alexander at any point — let alone working with him to organize some part of a planned protest,” the statement said. Brooks on Wednesday also denied having any responsibility for the unrest, saying he would not have encouraged any action that could undermine Republican efforts to block the certification of Biden’s victory. “I take great offense at anyone who suggests I am so politically inexperienced as to want to torpedo my honest and accurate election system effort I spent months fighting on,” Brooks wrote. However, the Washington Post notes that videos and posts on social media suggest ties between Alexander, who is a felon, and all three congressmen. Gosar called Alexander “a true patriot” on Twitter and the pair both spoke at a “Stop the Steal” rally in Phoenix last month. Patriots remain firm in their support for @realDonaldTrump and will not take the theft of this election lying down. #StopTheSteaI @ali @MichaelCoudrey @michellemalkin @RudyGiuliani @JennPellegrino @RepAndyBiggsAZ pic.twitter.com/hhPltxHoXn — Paul Gosar (@DrPaulGosar) November 30, 2020 At the same event, Alexander played a video message from Biggs, who called him a “friend” and “hero.” “When it comes to January 6, I will be right down there in the well of the House with my friend from Alabama representative Mo Brooks,” Biggs said in the recording. A spokesperson for Biggs told CNN that the congressman recorded the video at the request of Gosar’s staff. While Alexander has expressed regret over the rioting, saying in a video on Periscope that he wishes people had not entered the Capitol or even gone on the steps, ahead of the unrest he seemed to endorse stopping the certification of the votes by any means. If Democrats stopped an objection from Republicans, “everyone can guess what me and 500,000 others will do to that building,” he wrote on Twitter in December, according to the Daily Beast. “1776 is *always* an option.” At a rally on the eve of the vote, Alexander led a “Victory or death!” chant. However, he told the Washington Post that he had “remained peaceful” during the siege and claimed his earlier speeches “mentioned peace” and were being misrepresented. In a video posted shortly after the Capitol riots on January 6, while Alexander claimed the majority of protestors were peaceful and commended those who did not enter the building, he added, “I don’t disavow this. I do not denounce this.”


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Powerball jackpot hits $640M as Mega Millions grows to $750M

National Review

GOP Reps. Deny Giving ‘Reconnaissance Tours’ to Capitol Rioters

Representatives Andy Biggs (R., Ariz.), Mo Brooks (R., Ala.), and Paul Gosar (R., Ariz.) are denying any involvement in organizing last week’s rioting at the U.S. Capitol after a protest organizer claimed he “schemed” with them to put “maximum pressure on Congress while they were voting.” Right-wing activist Ali Alexander’s claim that he had colluded with the congressmen came in a since-deleted video on Periscope unearthed by the Project on Government Oversight. He said weeks before the storming of the Capitol that he was planning something big for January 6, the date Congress met to tally the electoral votes and affirm President-elect Joe Biden’s win. Alexander planned to “change the hearts and the minds of Republicans who were in that body, hearing our loud roar from outside,” he said. Meanwhile, Representative Mikie Sherrill (D., N.J.) on Tuesday claimed she saw members of Congress leading people through the U.S. Capitol on “reconnaissance” tours one day before supporters of President Trump stormed the building, though she did not name the members or explain how she knew she was witnessing a so-called reconnaissance tour. “We can’t have a democracy if members of Congress are actively helping the president overturn the elections results,” she said. “Not only do I intend to see that the president is removed and never runs for office again and doesn’t have access to classified material, I also intend to see that those members of Congress who abetted him; those members of Congress who had groups coming through the Capitol that I saw on Jan. 5 – a reconnaissance for the next day; those members of Congress that incited this violent crowd; those members of Congress that attempted to help our president undermine our democracy; I’m going to see they are held accountable, and if necessary, ensure that they don’t serve in Congress.” Sherill did not say whether the “groups” were Trump supporters or offer any additional information on the “reconnaissance.” National Review has reached out to Sherrill for comment. A spokesman for Biggs told the Washington Post that the congressman had never been in touch with Alexander or other protestors and denied involvement in organizing a rally on January 6. “Congressman Biggs is not aware of hearing of or meeting Mr. Alexander at any point — let alone working with him to organize some part of a planned protest,” the statement said. Brooks on Wednesday also denied having any responsibility for the unrest, saying he would not have encouraged any action that could undermine Republican efforts to block the certification of Biden’s victory. “I take great offense at anyone who suggests I am so politically inexperienced as to want to torpedo my honest and accurate election system effort I spent months fighting on,” Brooks wrote. However, the Washington Post notes that videos and posts on social media suggest ties between Alexander, who is a felon, and all three congressmen. Gosar called Alexander “a true patriot” on Twitter and the pair both spoke at a “Stop the Steal” rally in Phoenix last month. Patriots remain firm in their support for @realDonaldTrump and will not take the theft of this election lying down. #StopTheSteaI @ali @MichaelCoudrey @michellemalkin @RudyGiuliani @JennPellegrino @RepAndyBiggsAZ pic.twitter.com/hhPltxHoXn — Paul Gosar (@DrPaulGosar) November 30, 2020 At the same event, Alexander played a video message from Biggs, who called him a “friend” and “hero.” “When it comes to January 6, I will be right down there in the well of the House with my friend from Alabama representative Mo Brooks,” Biggs said in the recording. A spokesperson for Biggs told CNN that the congressman recorded the video at the request of Gosar’s staff. While Alexander has expressed regret over the rioting, saying in a video on Periscope that he wishes people had not entered the Capitol or even gone on the steps, ahead of the unrest he seemed to endorse stopping the certification of the votes by any means. If Democrats stopped an objection from Republicans, “everyone can guess what me and 500,000 others will do to that building,” he wrote on Twitter in December, according to the Daily Beast. “1776 is *always* an option.” At a rally on the eve of the vote, Alexander led a “Victory or death!” chant. However, he told the Washington Post that he had “remained peaceful” during the siege and claimed his earlier speeches “mentioned peace” and were being misrepresented. In a video posted shortly after the Capitol riots on January 6, while Alexander claimed the majority of protestors were peaceful and commended those who did not enter the building, he added, “I don’t disavow this. I do not denounce this.”


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China 2020 exports up despite virus; surplus surges to $535B

National Review

GOP Reps. Deny Giving ‘Reconnaissance Tours’ to Capitol Rioters

Representatives Andy Biggs (R., Ariz.), Mo Brooks (R., Ala.), and Paul Gosar (R., Ariz.) are denying any involvement in organizing last week’s rioting at the U.S. Capitol after a protest organizer claimed he “schemed” with them to put “maximum pressure on Congress while they were voting.” Right-wing activist Ali Alexander’s claim that he had colluded with the congressmen came in a since-deleted video on Periscope unearthed by the Project on Government Oversight. He said weeks before the storming of the Capitol that he was planning something big for January 6, the date Congress met to tally the electoral votes and affirm President-elect Joe Biden’s win. Alexander planned to “change the hearts and the minds of Republicans who were in that body, hearing our loud roar from outside,” he said. Meanwhile, Representative Mikie Sherrill (D., N.J.) on Tuesday claimed she saw members of Congress leading people through the U.S. Capitol on “reconnaissance” tours one day before supporters of President Trump stormed the building, though she did not name the members or explain how she knew she was witnessing a so-called reconnaissance tour. “We can’t have a democracy if members of Congress are actively helping the president overturn the elections results,” she said. “Not only do I intend to see that the president is removed and never runs for office again and doesn’t have access to classified material, I also intend to see that those members of Congress who abetted him; those members of Congress who had groups coming through the Capitol that I saw on Jan. 5 – a reconnaissance for the next day; those members of Congress that incited this violent crowd; those members of Congress that attempted to help our president undermine our democracy; I’m going to see they are held accountable, and if necessary, ensure that they don’t serve in Congress.” Sherill did not say whether the “groups” were Trump supporters or offer any additional information on the “reconnaissance.” National Review has reached out to Sherrill for comment. A spokesman for Biggs told the Washington Post that the congressman had never been in touch with Alexander or other protestors and denied involvement in organizing a rally on January 6. “Congressman Biggs is not aware of hearing of or meeting Mr. Alexander at any point — let alone working with him to organize some part of a planned protest,” the statement said. Brooks on Wednesday also denied having any responsibility for the unrest, saying he would not have encouraged any action that could undermine Republican efforts to block the certification of Biden’s victory. “I take great offense at anyone who suggests I am so politically inexperienced as to want to torpedo my honest and accurate election system effort I spent months fighting on,” Brooks wrote. However, the Washington Post notes that videos and posts on social media suggest ties between Alexander, who is a felon, and all three congressmen. Gosar called Alexander “a true patriot” on Twitter and the pair both spoke at a “Stop the Steal” rally in Phoenix last month. Patriots remain firm in their support for @realDonaldTrump and will not take the theft of this election lying down. #StopTheSteaI @ali @MichaelCoudrey @michellemalkin @RudyGiuliani @JennPellegrino @RepAndyBiggsAZ pic.twitter.com/hhPltxHoXn — Paul Gosar (@DrPaulGosar) November 30, 2020 At the same event, Alexander played a video message from Biggs, who called him a “friend” and “hero.” “When it comes to January 6, I will be right down there in the well of the House with my friend from Alabama representative Mo Brooks,” Biggs said in the recording. A spokesperson for Biggs told CNN that the congressman recorded the video at the request of Gosar’s staff. While Alexander has expressed regret over the rioting, saying in a video on Periscope that he wishes people had not entered the Capitol or even gone on the steps, ahead of the unrest he seemed to endorse stopping the certification of the votes by any means. If Democrats stopped an objection from Republicans, “everyone can guess what me and 500,000 others will do to that building,” he wrote on Twitter in December, according to the Daily Beast. “1776 is *always* an option.” At a rally on the eve of the vote, Alexander led a “Victory or death!” chant. However, he told the Washington Post that he had “remained peaceful” during the siege and claimed his earlier speeches “mentioned peace” and were being misrepresented. In a video posted shortly after the Capitol riots on January 6, while Alexander claimed the majority of protestors were peaceful and commended those who did not enter the building, he added, “I don’t disavow this. I do not denounce this.”


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National Review

GOP Reps. Deny Giving ‘Reconnaissance Tours’ to Capitol Rioters

Representatives Andy Biggs (R., Ariz.), Mo Brooks (R., Ala.), and Paul Gosar (R., Ariz.) are denying any involvement in organizing last week’s rioting at the U.S. Capitol after a protest organizer claimed he “schemed” with them to put “maximum pressure on Congress while they were voting.” Right-wing activist Ali Alexander’s claim that he had colluded with the congressmen came in a since-deleted video on Periscope unearthed by the Project on Government Oversight. He said weeks before the storming of the Capitol that he was planning something big for January 6, the date Congress met to tally the electoral votes and affirm President-elect Joe Biden’s win. Alexander planned to “change the hearts and the minds of Republicans who were in that body, hearing our loud roar from outside,” he said. Meanwhile, Representative Mikie Sherrill (D., N.J.) on Tuesday claimed she saw members of Congress leading people through the U.S. Capitol on “reconnaissance” tours one day before supporters of President Trump stormed the building, though she did not name the members or explain how she knew she was witnessing a so-called reconnaissance tour. “We can’t have a democracy if members of Congress are actively helping the president overturn the elections results,” she said. “Not only do I intend to see that the president is removed and never runs for office again and doesn’t have access to classified material, I also intend to see that those members of Congress who abetted him; those members of Congress who had groups coming through the Capitol that I saw on Jan. 5 – a reconnaissance for the next day; those members of Congress that incited this violent crowd; those members of Congress that attempted to help our president undermine our democracy; I’m going to see they are held accountable, and if necessary, ensure that they don’t serve in Congress.” Sherill did not say whether the “groups” were Trump supporters or offer any additional information on the “reconnaissance.” National Review has reached out to Sherrill for comment. A spokesman for Biggs told the Washington Post that the congressman had never been in touch with Alexander or other protestors and denied involvement in organizing a rally on January 6. “Congressman Biggs is not aware of hearing of or meeting Mr. Alexander at any point — let alone working with him to organize some part of a planned protest,” the statement said. Brooks on Wednesday also denied having any responsibility for the unrest, saying he would not have encouraged any action that could undermine Republican efforts to block the certification of Biden’s victory. “I take great offense at anyone who suggests I am so politically inexperienced as to want to torpedo my honest and accurate election system effort I spent months fighting on,” Brooks wrote. However, the Washington Post notes that videos and posts on social media suggest ties between Alexander, who is a felon, and all three congressmen. Gosar called Alexander “a true patriot” on Twitter and the pair both spoke at a “Stop the Steal” rally in Phoenix last month. Patriots remain firm in their support for @realDonaldTrump and will not take the theft of this election lying down. #StopTheSteaI @ali @MichaelCoudrey @michellemalkin @RudyGiuliani @JennPellegrino @RepAndyBiggsAZ pic.twitter.com/hhPltxHoXn — Paul Gosar (@DrPaulGosar) November 30, 2020 At the same event, Alexander played a video message from Biggs, who called him a “friend” and “hero.” “When it comes to January 6, I will be right down there in the well of the House with my friend from Alabama representative Mo Brooks,” Biggs said in the recording. A spokesperson for Biggs told CNN that the congressman recorded the video at the request of Gosar’s staff. While Alexander has expressed regret over the rioting, saying in a video on Periscope that he wishes people had not entered the Capitol or even gone on the steps, ahead of the unrest he seemed to endorse stopping the certification of the votes by any means. If Democrats stopped an objection from Republicans, “everyone can guess what me and 500,000 others will do to that building,” he wrote on Twitter in December, according to the Daily Beast. “1776 is *always* an option.” At a rally on the eve of the vote, Alexander led a “Victory or death!” chant. However, he told the Washington Post that he had “remained peaceful” during the siege and claimed his earlier speeches “mentioned peace” and were being misrepresented. In a video posted shortly after the Capitol riots on January 6, while Alexander claimed the majority of protestors were peaceful and commended those who did not enter the building, he added, “I don’t disavow this. I do not denounce this.”


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