By Mark Hosenball and John Whitesides WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Federal investigators have secured a warrant to examine newly discovered emails related to Hillary Clinton's private server, a source familiar with the matter said on Sunday, as a prominent Democrat accused FBI Director James Comey of breaking the law by trying to influence the election. The warrant will allow the Federal Bureau of Investigation to examine the emails to see if they are relevant to its probe of the private email server used for government work by Clinton, the Democratic presidential nominee, while she was secretary of state from 2009 to 2013. Comey came under heavy pressure from Democrats on Sunday to quickly provide details of the emails, as Clinton allies worried the prolonged controversy could extend beyond the Nov. 8 election and cast a shadow over a Clinton transition if she wins the White House. Comey's disclosure of the email discovery in a letter to Congress on Friday plunged the final days of the White House race between Clinton and Republican Donald Trump into turmoil. Clinton had opened a recent lead over Trump in national polls, but it had been narrowing even before the email controversy resurfaced. The unexpected turn in the email controversy shook financial markets' conviction of a Clinton victory in the election and the U.S. dollar slipped against major currencies in early Asian trading on Monday. U.S. Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid sent a letter to Comey on Sunday suggesting he violated the Hatch Act, which bars the use of a federal government position to influence an election. "Through your partisan actions, you may have broken the law," Reid, a senator from Nevada, said in the letter to Comey. Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta and campaign manager Robby Mook questioned Comey's decision to send a letter notifying Congress of the email review before he even knew whether they were significant or relevant. Comey's letter was "long on innuendo, short on facts," Podesta said on CNN's "State of the Union" program, and accused the FBI chief of breaking precedent by disclosing aspects of an investigation so close to the election. "We are calling on Mr. Comey to come forward and explain what’s at issue here," Podesta said, adding the significance of the emails was unclear. "He might have taken the first step of actually having looked at them before he did this in the middle of a presidential campaign, so close to the voting," Podesta said. Comey's letter was sent over the objections of Justice Department officials. But those officials did not try to stop the FBI from getting the warrant, a source familiar with the decision said, because they are interested in the FBI moving quickly on the probe. Sources close to the investigation have said the latest emails were discovered as part of a separate probe of former Democratic U.S. Representative Anthony Weiner, the estranged husband of Clinton aide Huma Abedin. Weiner is the target of an FBI investigation into illicit text messages he is alleged to have sent to a 15-year-old girl in North Carolina. The FBI already had a warrant to search Weiner's laptop in that probe, but needed a warrant to look at the material that might be related to Clinton. 'CHECK ON CORRUPTION' Sources familiar with the matter said FBI agents working on the Weiner investigation saw material on a laptop belonging to Weiner that led them to believe it might be relevant to the investigation of Clinton's email practices. Trump has highlighted the issue as proof for his argument that Clinton is corrupt and untrustworthy. "We have one ultimate check on Hillary's corruption and that is the power of the vote," Trump told a rally in Las Vegas on Sunday. "The only way to beat the corruption is to show up and vote by the tens of millions." Comey, who announced in July that the FBI's long investigation of Clinton's emails was ending without any charges, said in his letter the agency would review the newly surfaced emails to determine their relevance to the investigation of her handling of classified information. Richard Painter, a professor at the University of Minnesota Law School and the chief White House ethics lawyer from 2005 to 2007, said he filed a complaint over Comey's actions with the Office of Special Counsel, which investigates Hatch Act violations. "We cannot allow F.B.I. or Justice Department officials to unnecessarily publicize pending investigations concerning candidates of either party while an election is underway. That is an abuse of power," he said in a column in the New York Times. But Daniel Richman, a former federal prosecutor who now teaches at Columbia Law School, called the allegations that Comey improperly tried to influence the election "inane." "Comey’s critics cannot show his letter violated the Hatch Act unless they can prove that the FBI director was intending to influence the election rather than inform Congress, which was Comey’s stated aim," said Richman, who said he had advised Comey on law enforcement policy but not this issue. An ABC News/Washington Post poll released on Sunday showed Clinton with a statistically insignificant 1-point national lead on Trump. About a third of likely voters in the poll said they were less likely to back Clinton given Comey's disclosure. Clinton, who told a Florida rally on Saturday that Comey's letter was "deeply troubling," did not address the issue directly on Sunday but referred vaguely to voters overcoming a "distraction." "There’s a lot of noise and distraction but it really comes down to the kind of future we want and who can get us there,” she told a packed gay nightclub in Wilton Manors, Florida, where hundreds of supporters who could not get in lined the streets outside. "We don’t want a president who would appoint Supreme Court justices to overturn marriage equality,” she said. (Additional reporting by Joel Schectman, Timothy Gardner, Alana Wise and Julia Harte in Washington, Steve Holland in Las Vegas and Roberta Rampton in Florida; Editing by Mary Milliken and Peter Cooney)
- Yahoo News
Republicans built up QAnon backer Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, but now are they afraid of what they created?
On the eve of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, freshman Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, the combative Georgia Republican known for her association with QAnon, was back on Twitter after a 12-hour suspension, and back to making waves.
President-elect Joe Biden is expected to sign 15 executive actions upon taking office Wednesday, immediately reversing key Trump administration policies. Why it matters: The 15 actions — aimed at issues like climate change and immigration — mark more drastic immediate steps compared with the two day-one actions from Biden's four predecessors combined, according to incoming White House press secretary Jen Psaki.Get smarter, faster with the news CEOs, entrepreneurs and top politicians read. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.What they're saying: The actions are the first of many, Psaki said in a news release, as Biden works "to address the four crises that he's laid out" — COVID-19, the economic crisis, racial injustice and climate change. * "In the coming days and weeks we will be announcing additional executive actions that confront these challenges and deliver on the President-elect's promises to the American people," Psaki said, "including revoking the ban on military service by transgender Americans, and reversing the Mexico City policy." Highlights * Moving to rejoin Paris Climate Agreement * Asking the Department of Education to extend student loan relief * An executive order to rescind Keystone XL pipeline permit * Rejoining the World Health Organization * Asking the CDC to "immediately" extend eviction restrictions * Reversing Trump's travel ban on several Muslim-majority countries * Temporarily halting oil and gas leasing in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge * An initiative on advancing racial equity in federal policymakingGo deeper: See the full listSupport safe, smart, sane journalism. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.
Tam Dinh Pham of the Houston police department was part of the deadly mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. A veteran Houston police officer is in trouble after attending the U.S. Capitol riots in Washington, D.C., then lying about it. Officer Tam Dinh Pham joined the deadly mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
- The Week
President Trump has spent the last few days asking his friends, aides, and associates if they would like pardons — even those who are not facing any charges, a senior administration official told The Washington Post.In one case, the official said, Trump offered a pardon to a person who declined the chance at clemency, saying they weren't in any legal trouble and hadn't committed any crimes. "Trump's response was, 'Yeah, well, but you never know. They're going to come after us all. Maybe it's not a bad idea. Just let me know,'" the official recounted.Trump has taken a great interest in pardoning people, the Post reports, even calling families to personally let them know he granted a pardon. A person familiar with the matter told the Post that Trump was talked out of pardoning himself, family members, and controversial figures like Rudy Giuliani. An aide said there was also a brief discussion about possibly issuing pardons related to the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, but that idea went nowhere.While Trump has held a few ceremonial events in recent weeks, journalists have been kept away from the White House, largely because the president is "just not in a place where they would go well," one official told the Post. Trump is constantly flip-flopping, another administration official said, talking about his future but uncertain of where he will be. "He goes between, 'Well, I'm going to go to Florida and play golf, and life is honestly better,' and then in the next moment, it's like, 'But don't you think there's a chance to stay?'" the official said. Read more at The Washington Post.More stories from theweek.com 5 more scathing cartoons about Trump's 2nd impeachment Lindsey Graham seemed very pleased with Biden's secretary of state nominee Trump issues last-minute order attempting to free his appointees from ethics commitments
A boy who was killed in an alleged murder-suicide by his father has been identified as 9-year-old Pierce O’Loughlin. Family tragedy: The boy and his father, Stephen O'Loughlin, 49, were both found dead at their home on Scott Street, Marina District in San Francisco on Wednesday afternoon, SF Chronicle reports. The boy’s mother, Lesley Hu, asked authorities to check on her son after learning that he did not show up for school that day.
The incoming administration of U.S. President-elect Joe Biden is considering creating a White House position focused on competition policy and issues relating to antitrust, two sources familiar with internal deliberations said. The idea remains under consideration and the Biden White House may not ultimately make the move, one of the sources said. "It is yet to be determined if this will be more of a coordinator kind of a role or if this person will really sit at the White House," said another source.
- LA Times
Thousands of pro-Trump crowds have gathered since he took office. No state has had more than California
Despite its reputation as a leader of resistance, California saw more pro-Trump crowds than any other state during the president's term in office.
Retailers including Bed Bath & Beyond, Kohl's and Wayfair have stopped selling My Pillow products after Trump-supporting CEO Mike Lindell pushed baseless claims of voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election.Driving the news: Lindell told NBC News Tuesday the retailers phoned him to say they could face "a boycott" if they didn't take the action. But Bed Bath & Beyond and Kohl's have both said the decision was related to a lack of demand for My Pillow's products.Be smart: sign up FREE for the most influential newsletter in America. * Lindell insisted to Fox9 that "leftists" on social media were behind the moves, which he claimed also resulted in HEB dropping My Pillow products.What they're saying: Axios has contacted all of the retailers for comment. Bed Bath & Beyond told the New York Times in a statement: "We have been rationalizing our assortment to discontinue a number of underperforming items and brands." * Kohl's told USA Today in a statement: "There has been decreased customer demand for MyPillow. We will sell our current inventory and not buy additional/future inventory in the brand."Of note: The retailers' action comes a day after Dominion Voting Systems sent a cease and desist letter to Lindell over his spread of misinformation related to the 2020 election.Support safe, smart, sane journalism. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.
- Architectural Digest
Mercedes-Benz’s Hyperscreen, General Motors’ Bright Drop, and Jeep’s Electric Wrangler were among the unveils that turned headsOriginally Appeared on Architectural Digest
- The Week
Constitutionally-speaking, Chief Justice John Roberts is meant to preside over President Trump's impeachment trial, but he apparently wants out, Politico reports.Multiple Republican and Democratic sources have reportedly told Politico that Roberts is seeking a way to avoid the job because of how things played out when he oversaw Trump's first impeachment trial last year. Roberts, Politico notes, has worked hard to keep the Supreme Court apolitical during his tenure, so he was reportedly displeased that he "became a top target of the left" during the proceedings. "He wants no further part of this," one source told Politico, although there's been no official word from Roberts' camp about what he'll ultimately do.Trump's trial is a bit of a constitutional oddity. On the one hand, it's a presidential impeachment, but on the other hand, the trial will take place after he leaves office, which is why there's a chance Roberts may have some wiggle room. Historically, either the vice president or the longest-serving member of the Senate have taken up the mantle for lower-level impeachments, per Politico. That means Vice President-elect Kamala Harris or Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) could be the choice. Read more at Politico.More stories from theweek.com 5 more scathing cartoons about Trump's 2nd impeachment Lindsey Graham seemed very pleased with Biden's secretary of state nominee Trump issues last-minute order attempting to free his appointees from ethics commitments
- Associated Press
A California sheriff’s deputy was killed and another deputy was wounded in a shootout with a suspect who gunned down a K-9 dog before he was fatally shot, authorities said. The gunbattle erupted in Sacramento near a racetrack at the Cal Expo event venue after a vehicle pursuit late Monday, Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones said. The deputy who died was identified as Adam Gibson, a six-year veteran of the department, Jones said.
- The Independent
‘It’s unfortunate’: Ashley Biden confirms first lady snubbed her mother on traditional White House handover
"I think we’re all OK with it,' says incoming first daughter in first ever TV interview
Thailand's government on Wednesday filed a criminal complaint of defaming the monarchy against a banned opposition politician after he criticised the country's COVID-19 vaccine strategy. The move could mark the highest-profile lese majeste case since a wave of anti-government protests emerged last year and extended to criticism of King Maha Vajiralongkorn over accusations of meddling in politics and taking too much power. The complaint against Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit under Article 112 of the criminal code came two days after he said the government was too reliant on a company owned by the Crown Property Bureau, which is under the king's personal control, to produce vaccines for Thais.
Secretary of State nominee Tony Blinken said at a confirmation hearing on Tuesday that it was “extraordinary how frightened Vladimir Putin seems to be of one man” — Alexey Navalny.Why it matters: Russia’s most prominent opposition figure, Navalny, returned to Russia on Sunday and was swiftly arrested. He spent the previous five months recovering in Germany after being poisoned with the nerve agent Novichok. His detention poses an early foreign policy challenge for the Biden administration.Be smart: sign up FREE for the most influential newsletter in America.What he’s saying: Blinken told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that Navalny served as a voice for millions of Russians, “and their voice needs to be heard in Russia.” * “The attempts to silence that voice by silencing Mr. Navalny is something that we strongly condemn,” Blinken added, noting that Navalny's arrest and other points of tension with Russia would be “very high on the agenda for an incoming administration.” * Incoming national security adviser Jake Sullivan previously called for Navalny's immediate release.The latest: Navalny was ordered to remain in pre-trial detention for 30 days. He was officially arrested for violating the conditions of a suspended prison term by missing an appointment in December.Worth noting: Blinken praised Sen. Mitt Romney, who serves on the committee, for being “prescient” on Russia. Romney was mocked for referring to Russia as America’s “number one geopolitical foe” in a 2012 presidential debate with Barack Obama, including by Obama himself.Go deeper: Bill Browder on Russia-U.S. relations after Alexei Navalny's arrestGet smarter, faster with the news CEOs, entrepreneurs and top politicians read. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.
- Yahoo News Video
While Wednesday’s transfer of power from one presidential administration to another represents one of the enduring traditions of American democracy, President Trump’s refusal to concede defeat to President-elect Joe Biden has set the stage for several norms, like move-in/out day, to be broken.
- Associated Press
Already facing allegations of stealing more than $600,000 in federal funds from a health care school she directed, a Tennessee state senator has been charged in a new fraud case, the U.S. attorney’s office in Memphis said Tuesday. Democrat Katrina Robinson and two other people have been charged in a complaint with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering, about six months after Robinson was indicted on federal charges that she used grant money earmarked for health care worker training to pay for her wedding and honeymoon, a Jeep Renegade for her daughter, her children’s snow cone business, and other things. In the case disclosed Tuesday, prosecutors said Brooke Boudreaux, an associate of Robinson, convinced someone to pay $14,470 in tuition to the school Robinson runs in Memphis on Boudreaux's behalf.
- The Independent
Ivanka praises her own work in farewell message as bitter Don Jr compares Biden to Disney’s Uncle Scar
First daughter may now eye own run for elected office
- The Week
Anthony Scaramucci was right: The White House appears to be having trouble rounding up a sizable crowd for President Trump's official send-off from Joint Base Andrews in Maryland on Wednesday."In what looks like a desperate attempt to build a crowd for the crowd-obsessed president, an email has been making the rounds to current and former White House officials inviting them, and as many as five plus-ones, to Trump's elaborate exit ceremony," Politico reported Tuesday morning. "The go-to excuse for skipping out has been the 6 a.m. call time at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland. But truly, many just don't want to be photographed sending off their former boss."Trump's current staffers have a good reason to avoid their outgoing boss. "Former White House officials and campaign staffers who would typically land plum jobs in corporate America after serving their time are now out in the cold," Politico says. One former White House official who got out early put it this way: "No one wants to touch them, they're just toxic." Another former Trump aide, pointing to the fallout from the Jan. 6 insurrection, was more blunt, telling Politico: "They're f---ed."Trump will be the first president since Andrew Johnson, another member of the tiny impeached president club, to skip the inauguration of his successor. "Johnson snubbed Ulysses S. Grant in 1869," The Washington Post notes. More stories from theweek.com 5 more scathing cartoons about Trump's 2nd impeachment Lindsey Graham seemed very pleased with Biden's secretary of state nominee Trump issues last-minute order attempting to free his appointees from ethics commitments
A prominent Iranian-born scholar arrested Monday was secretly paid to write columns favorable to Tehran and lobby at least one U.S. lawmaker on its behalf, federal prosecutors say.Why it matters: Kaveh Afrasiabi’s writings showed up in prominent publications such as the New York Times and the Guardian as, the Justice Department says, he drew regular payments from the Iranian government and communicated frequently with the country’s diplomatic staff. None of these professional or financial conflicts was disclosed.Get smarter, faster with the news CEOs, entrepreneurs and top politicians read. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.What’s new: Federal officers charged Afrasiabi with acting as an unregistered foreign agent. * Prosecutors say Iran’s mission to the United Nations paid him more than $265,000 from July 2007 through November 2020. Many of the checks described payments to Afrasiabi as a “salary.” * Prosecutors say Afrasiabi also received health insurance benefits from the Iranian U.N. mission since 2011.During that time, Afrasiabi made media appearances and published writings in major publications that described him as an independent scholar and expert on Iranian affairs. * Afrasiabi’s columns have appeared in the New York Times, the Guardian, and HuffPost. He’s also appeared on Chinese and Russian state media in the U.S. * His writings uniformly aligned with Tehran’s position on world affairs, and, according to the indictment, were often written in consultation with Iranian diplomatic staff. * Prosecutors say Afrasiabi also helped craft an April 2015 column in the New York Times written by Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif.Afrasiabi’s work also included direct communications with an unidentified member of Congress and his staff, prosecutors say. * According to the indictment, Afrasiabi helped write a December 2009 letter from the unnamed congressman to then-President Barack Obama regarding Iranian nuclear negotiations.Be smart: DOJ’s indictment was unsealed on Tuesday, as the Trump administration unveils last-minute measures going after foreign powers it considers top U.S. adversaries.Go deeper: "U.S. declares China's actions against Uighurs 'genocide'"Be smart: sign up FREE for the most influential newsletter in America.
- The Telegraph
A valuable 16th century copy of Leonardo da Vinci’s Saviour of the World has been recovered by Italian police in a cupboard in a flat in Naples. The museum from which it was stolen had no idea it was missing. The copy of Salvator Mundi, which depicts Christ with one hand raised in a blessing and the other holding a crystal orb, is believed to have been painted by a pupil of Leonardo. It was stolen some time in the last few months from a collection of art works inside the Basilica di San Domenico Maggiore in Naples. The painting was of “inestimable value”, Italian police said in a statement. It was found “hidden in a bedroom” in an apartment in Naples. The owner of the flat, a 36-year-old man, was arrested not far from the property on charges of receiving stolen goods, police said. The oil painting, which dates to the early 1500s, is believed to be by artist Giacomo Alibrandi, a member of the artistic school of Leonardo. The museum had not noticed its theft because it had been closed for three months as a result of Italy’s coronavirus lockdown measures. Police are trying to ascertain how it was stolen, said Giovanni Melillo, a Naples prosecutor. “It is plausible that it was a theft commissioned by an organisation working in the international art trade," he said.