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Police say the discovery of a live pipe bomb at a central Iowa polling place forced an evacuation of the building
By The Associated Press

ANKENY, Iowa -- The discovery of a live pipe bomb at a central Iowa polling place as voters were casting ballots in a special election forced an evacuation of the building, police said. Officers called to the Lakeside Center in Ankeny around 9:30 a.m. Tuesday found a device that looked like a pipe bomb in grass near the center. Police later confirmed in a news release that the device was a pipe bomb. The banquet hall was being used as a polling place for an Ankeny school district special election. Police evacuated the building, and the State Fire Marshal and agents with the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were called in. Technicians safely detonated the device, and the center was reopened around 12:30 p.m. — about three hours after the device was discovered, police said. No one was injured. more...

By Manu Raju, Barbara Starr, Zachary Cohen and Oren Liebermann, CNN

(CNN) The Department of Defense inspector general has issued a scathing review of Rep. Ronny Jackson during his time serving as the top White House physician, concluding that he made "sexual and denigrating" comments about a female subordinate, violated the policy for drinking alcohol while on a presidential trip and took prescription-strength sleeping medication that prompted concerns from his colleagues about his ability to provide proper care. The findings outlined in the report, which was obtained by CNN prior to its release on Wednesday, stem from a years-long IG investigation into Jackson -- who currently represents Texas in the House of Representatives and sits on the House Armed Services subcommittee overseeing military personnel -- that was launched in 2018 and examines allegations that date back to his time serving during the Obama and Trump administrations. Members of Congress were briefed on the IG report findings on Tuesday, according to two sources familiar with the matter. more...

CBS News

Baghdad — At least 10 rockets targeted a military base in western Iraq that hosts about 2,000 U.S. troops on Wednesday, American and Iraqi military officials said. A U.S. defense official told CBS News national security correspondent David Martin there were no reported casualties among U.S. or coalition troops, but one American civilian contractor, who had taken cover in a bunker on the base, died of a heart attack during the rocket strike. The rockets struck Ain al-Asad airbase in Anbar province at 7:20 a.m., according to Col. Wayne Marotto, a spokesman for the U.S.-led military coalition. The Iraqi military released a statement later saying the attack did not cause significant losses and that security forces had found the launch pad used for the missiles. An Iraqi official said it was found in the al-Baghdadi area of Anbar, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not permitted to brief media. more...

Alana Wise

It took more than three hours for former President Donald Trump's Defense Department to approve a request for D.C.'s National Guard to intervene in the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, the commanding general of the outfit told senators on Wednesday. The testimony comes as Congress holds a series of hearings about security preparations for and response to the violence at the Capitol earlier this year. "At 1:49 p.m. I received a frantic call from then-Chief of U.S. Capitol Police, Steven Sund, where he informed me that the security perimeter at the Capitol had been breached by hostile rioters," Maj. Gen. William Walker told the Senate Homeland and Rules committees in a joint hearing. "Chief Sund, his voice cracking with emotion, indicated that there was a dire emergency on Capitol Hill and requested the immediate assistance of as many Guardsmen as I could muster." more...

Twitter users mocked the right-wing network’s newest obsession.
By Ed Mazza

Fox News went into full freakout mode on Tuesday after Dr. Seuss Enterprises announced it would stop publishing six books over “hurtful and wrong” stereotypes and racist imagery. “Ceasing sales of these books is only part of our commitment and our broader plan to ensure Dr. Seuss Enterprises’ catalog represents and supports all communities and families,” the organization said. Fox News spent much of the day deriding “cancel culture” despite the fact that the company made the decision on its own and most of the beloved author’s books will remain in circulation. The progressive watchdog group Media Matters counted 85 mentions of Seuss on Fox News by 4 p.m.: more...

The Infowars host, who profits from pandering to Trump’s base, was filmed in an expletive-laden tirade against him in 2019.
By Josephine Harvey

Conspiracy theorist and far-right talk radio host Alex Jones, who has promoted Donald Trump to his audience extensively for years, is heard in a newly leaked video expressing disgust at the former president in 2019. “It’s the truth, and I’m just going to say it. That I wish I never would have fucking met Trump,” Jones says in the footage. “I wish it never would have happened. And it’s not the attacks I’ve been through. I’m so sick of fucking Donald Trump, man. God, I’m fucking sick of him. And I’m not doing this because, like, I’m kissing his fucking ass, you know. It’s, like, I’m sick of it.” Filmmaker Caolan Robertson, who shot a propaganda film called “You Can’t Watch This” with the Infowars host, leaked the footage to the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Hatewatch initiative, which monitors far-right extremism in the U.S. more...

City and county leaders urged residents in their areas to still follow recommendations from health experts and officials that call for wearing face masks in public.
by Juan Pablo Garnham

Mayors and county judges in some of Texas’ largest urban areas criticized Gov. Greg Abbott over his decision to lift the statewide face mask mandate next week, saying it contradicts health officials’ advice as infections continue to spread throughout the state, which averaged over 200 reported deaths a day over the last week. Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price, a fellow Republican, called Abbott’s order “premature” and asked him to allow more people to get the vaccine. “I am calling on Gov. Abbott to open up additional vaccine tier categories so that more people are eligible to get a vaccine if they want one,” Price said in a statement. “As the state’s directive has changed, so must our response. Now, more than ever, vaccines and testing must be readily available.” more...

*** No matter how hard Republicans, Fox news and right wing media try to place the blame on Anifa the facts and the videos prove it was not Antifa but Trump supporters, white supremacist and Qanon that sacked the capitol of the Untied States of America. ***

The FBI has not seen "any evidence of anarchist violent extremists or people subscribing to antifa in connection with the 6th," he said at a Senate hearing.
By Rebecca Shabad

WASHINGTON — FBI Director Christopher Wray on Tuesday repeatedly shot down claims by Republican allies of former President Donald Trump and others that antifa activists participated in the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol. “We have not to date seen any evidence of anarchist violent extremists or people subscribing to antifa in connection with the 6th," Wray said in testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee at a hearing to address concerns about the intelligence leading up to the riot and the domestic terrorism threat more broadly. "That doesn't mean we're not looking, and we'll continue to look, but at the moment we have not seen that.”

Wray explained that those who participated in the breach of the Capitol fell into two main groups of violent extremists — those associated with militia groups, such as Oath Keepers, and those who advocate white supremacy. Wray's comments came after Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, the top Republican on the committee, spent much of his opening remarks focused not on the right-wing extremists who attacked the Capitol in January, but on left-wing extremists, such as the anti-fascist, or antifa, movement. Grassley referred to how far-left protesters vandalized a federal courthouse in Portland, Oregon, in the summer and the state Democratic Party headquarters during President Joe Biden's inauguration. more...

The three Trump-appointed justices could provide key swing votes in the ruling.
By Sahil Kapur

WASHINGTON — Supreme Court justices asked skeptical questions Tuesday about Arizona election laws in a case that has emerged as an important test of the Voting Rights Act. The case is about whether two state laws violate Section 2 of the act: One blocks the counting of ballots cast in the wrong precinct, and another prohibits anyone other than a family member or caregiver from collecting and delivering a voter’s absentee ballot.

On one side is the state of Arizona and Republicans, who want to keep the strict laws on the books and argue they prevent fraud. And on the other side are Democrats, who want the laws stricken and argue the rules prevent voters, particularly minorities, from accessing the ballot. The voting restrictions are being fought in a state where Republicans have dominated local and national races for generations but where recently Democrats have gained traction and won both U.S. Senate seats and the presidential contest last year. The outcome of the case could have far-reaching implications for voting laws in other states, too. more...

By Jericka Duncan, Caitlin Yilek CBS News

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is facing allegations that he was sexually inappropriate toward three women. Harassment allegations from two women, former aides to Cuomo, led New York Attorney General Letitia James to launch an investigation. James said Monday she received a formal referral from Cuomo's office, granting her the ability to choose an investigator to look into the allegations.  "This is not a responsibility we take lightly as allegations of sexual harassment should always be taken seriously," James said in a statement, adding that the findings of the investigation would be made public after its completion. "All members of the Governor's office will cooperate fully. We will have no further comment until the report is issued," said Beth Garvey, special counsel and senior advisor to Cuomo. more...

by: Associated Press

El CENTRO, Calif. (AP) — An SUV believed to be carrying 27 people crashed into a semi truck Tuesday on a Southern California highway, killing 15 people and leaving others injured, hospital officials said. Judy Cruz, director of El Centro Regional Medical Center’s emergency department, said 14 people died at the scene, which is about 11 miles (18 kilometers) north of the U.S.-Mexico border, and another died after arriving at the hospital. more...

Brittany Gosney told investigators she tried to abandon her son in a wildlife area and ran over him when he attempted to get back into her vehicle, according to court documents.
By Wilson Wong

An Ohio mother who told police her 6-year-old son was missing now faces murder and other charges in connection with his death. Before Brittney Gosney filed a missing persons report with the Middeltown Division of Police on Sunday, authorities said she tried to abandon James Robert Hutchinson in a wildlife area and ran over him when he attempted to get back into the car. Gosney, 29, told investigators she sped off and dragged Hutchinson in Preble County on Friday, according to court records obtained by NBC affiliate WWBT. When she returned about 30 minutes later, she said she found him dead in a parking lot with a head injury, the criminal complaint said. more...

By Paul LeBlanc and Gregory Krieg, CNN

Washington (CNN) A third woman has accused Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo of unwanted advances in 2019, The New York Times reported Monday, adding to an escalating crisis facing the governor in the wake of two sexual harassment allegations. The woman, Anna Ruch, told the Times that Cuomo approached her during a crowded wedding reception in New York in 2019. Ruch told the newspaper she thanked Cuomo for his toast to the newlyweds, and in response, she says he put his hand on her bare lower back, which the Times said was exposed in an open-back dress. When Ruch removed his hand, Cuomo allegedly told her she seemed "aggressive" as he put his hands on her cheeks, she recalled to the Times. Cuomo then asked if he could kiss her, Ruch said, and she distanced herself as he came closer. "I was so confused and shocked and embarrassed," Ruch told the Times. "I turned my head away and didn't have words in that moment." more...

Anderson Cooper 360

CNN's Ryan Nobles reports that Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) fell during a visit with his family that resulted in a visit to the hospital, and visible injuries including a black eye. Source: CNN. video...

Members are alleged to have dressed “incognito” on Jan. 6, then fanned out to prevent law enforcement from identifying them en masse.
By KYLE CHENEY and JOSH GERSTEIN

The Proud Boys gathered at the Washington Monument at 10 a.m. on Jan. 6 dressed “incognito” to avoid detection, and then fanned out across the Capitol to prevent law enforcement from identifying them en masse, prosecutors alleged Monday in a legal filing that provides the most detail yet about the group’s actions on the day of the insurrection. In one of the most detailed filings describing the violent nationalist group’s activities, prosecutors say the Proud Boys — bereft of their leader Enrique Tarrio, who had been arrested two days earlier — turned to new leaders, including Ethan Nordean, a Seattle-based Proud Boys leader, who helped orchestrate the group’s role in the assault. more...

CNBC

Texas energy companies failed to pay another $345 million for electricity and other services incurred during last month’s cold snap, the operator of the state’s grid said on Monday. The state’s deregulated electricity market was thrown into turmoil last month as 48% of its generating plants went offline, fueling up to $9,000 per megawatt hour (mwh) spot rates and $25,000 per mwh service fees. Those charges drove one provider into bankruptcy on Monday. In all, electricity prices on the state’s wholesale market soared by $47 billion for the about five-day period when cold weather drove up demand and generating plants failed, estimated Carrie Bivens, a vice president at Potomac Economics, which monitors the Texas power market. more...

Fritz Berggren’s hundreds of blog posts, videos and podcasts date back several years.
By NAHAL TOOSI

A State Department official for several years has been publicly calling for the establishment of Christian nation-states, warning that white people face “elimination” and railing against Jews as well as Black Lives Matter and other social movements. Fritz Berggren, a mid-ranking Foreign Service officer, openly uses his name and image as he espouses these and other controversial views, according to a review of his online postings. Current and former State Department officials noted the connection to POLITICO in recent days. more...

Ryan Lucas

FBI Director Christopher Wray is expected to face a grilling from lawmakers Tuesday about the bureau's response to the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol and the rising threat from white supremacists and other domestic violent extremists. Wray is set to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee for what will be his first public testimony before Congress since a pro-Trump mob ransacked the Capitol almost two months ago. more...

By Alex Marquardt, CNN

(CNN) Shortly after the US intelligence community published its long-awaited report on Friday afternoon on the Saudis who were responsible for the death of Jamal Khashoggi, it was taken down without explanation and replaced with another version that removed the names of three men it had initially said were complicit. The quiet switch by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence went largely unnoticed as the outcry grew that the Biden administration was failing to punish the prince in any way, despite having just declared in no uncertain terms that MBS was responsible. The first link to the report that was sent out by ODNI went dead. It was then replaced with a second version that removed three of the men it had just announced "participated in, ordered, or were otherwise complicit in or responsible for the death of Jamal Khashoggi." The Office of the Director of National Intelligence declined to clarify why the names were originally on the list and what roles, if any, they may have had in Khashoggi's killing. more...

*** How Republicans win elections by suppressing the votes of democrats. ***

By Mark Niesse, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The fight over voting restrictions will permeate the Georgia Capitol this week, with protests and votes on bills creating obstacles to absentee and early voting. The House planned to vote on an overhaul of Georgia’s election laws Monday, requiring ID for absentee voting, curbing ballot drop boxes and limiting weekend early voting hours. Proposals to end no-excuse absentee voting and automatic voter registration could also receive votes within days. Democrats vowed to try to stop the bills, but they’re outnumbered by majority Republicans pushing to change election rules after losing presidential and U.S. Senate races in Georgia. more...

Jacob Shamsian

The Supreme Court on Monday formally rejected two of Sidney Powell's lawsuits seeking to overturn the results of the 2020 US election, brushing away any lingering ideas that Donald Trump would be declared the true winner. As Law and Crime first reported, the court didn't offer any comment while rejecting the two lawsuits. One lawsuit sought to overturn results in Arizona, the other in Wisconsin. Joe Biden, the winner of the presidential election, was inaugurated on January 20. The cases — premised on a bizarre conspiracy theory that election-technology companies were in cahoots with the regime of the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez to secretly flip votes from Trump to Biden — were widely expected to fail. The Supreme Court has rejected several other lawsuits seeking to overturn election results. more...

Jaclyn Diaz

Amazon warehouse workers in Alabama voting to unionize won the backing of an important executive. Without naming the massive e-commerce company specifically, President Joe Biden said in a video posted late Sunday that he supports the organizing drive in Bessemer, Ala. "Today and over the next few days and weeks, workers in Alabama and all across America are voting on whether to organize a union in their workplace," Biden said in a video shared to his Twitter page. "This is vitally important — a vitally important choice, as America grapples with the deadly pandemic, the economic crisis and the reckoning on race — what it reveals is the deep disparities that still exist in our country." More than 5,800 warehouse workers at the facility are voting this month whether to join the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union. more...

The Arizona case involves GOP efforts that Democrats charge would disenfranchise minority voters.
By Pete Williams

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court takes up a court fight Tuesday over voting rights in the battleground state of Arizona, and the outcome may affect how the nation's courts resolve clashes over election laws in dozens of other states. The case also will be a test of one of the most important civil rights laws — the Voting Rights Act, which the Supreme Court significantly scaled back in 2013. Two Arizona laws are at issue in the virtual oral arguments before the justices. One requires election officials to reject ballots cast in the wrong precincts. The other concerns voting by mail and provides that only the voter, a family member or a caregiver can collect and deliver a completed ballot. more...

By David Zurawik | Baltimore Sun

One hour into his rambling, grievance-filled speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference on Sunday night, former President Donald Trump had his big moment. He had already said multiple times that he won the 2020 presidential election but that it was stolen from him. Now, however, he uttered the magical, dumbed-down catchphrase that his audience wanted to hear. “The election was rigged,” he shouted, and the crowd rose to its feet to give him a standing ovation. And then as he posed and beamed amid the applause like the late fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, the audience started to chant: “You won. You won. You won.” more...

Opinion by Scott Jennings

(CNN) Donald Trump's return to the national stage at the Conservative Political Action Convention (CPAC) was about what I expected: In a two-track speech where he was intermittently bored by a teleprompter and amused by his own adlibs, he teased a third presidential run, came home to his animating issue, immigration (which was inexplicably absent from his 2020 reelection campaign) and continued the farce that he actually won last November. He even ran through a "hit list" of Republicans to be ousted from the party. Of note was Trump shooting down the idea of a third party, which is actually a good impulse. Republicans cannot win with a fractured party, nor can they win if it gets any smaller. I don't understand the quest by some Republicans to shrink the party. The GOP just lost the White House by nearly 7 million votes and hasn't won the national popular vote in a presidential election with someone other than a Bush since 1984. Republicans lost the White House and don't control either house of Congress in Washington, despite the relative equilibrium in the congress. more...

Jaclyn Diaz

The largest power cooperative in Texas filed for bankruptcy protection Monday, citing a massive bill from the state's electricity grid operator following last month's winter storm that left millions of residents without power for days. Brazos Electric Power Cooperative Inc. filed for Chapter 11 in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas, according to court documents reviewed by NPR. The company in court documents says it received an essentially unpayable $1.8 billion bill from the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, the entity that maintains and operates much of the state's electricity grid. Brazos Electric is the wholesale energy provider for its 16-member cooperative. more...

On social media, on cable networks and even in the halls of Congress, supporters of Donald J. Trump tried to rewrite history in real time, pushing the fiction that left-wing agitators were to blame for the violence on Jan. 6.
By Michael M. Grynbaum, Davey Alba and Reid J. Epstein

At 1:51 p.m. on Jan. 6, a right-wing radio host named Michael D. Brown wrote on Twitter that rioters had breached the United States Capitol — and immediately speculated about who was really to blame. “Antifa or BLM or other insurgents could be doing it disguised as Trump supporters,” Mr. Brown wrote, using shorthand for Black Lives Matter. “Come on, man, have you never heard of psyops?” Only 13,000 people follow Mr. Brown on Twitter, but his tweet caught the attention of another conservative pundit: Todd Herman, who was guest-hosting Rush Limbaugh’s national radio program. Minutes later, he repeated Mr. Brown’s baseless claim to Mr. Limbaugh’s throngs of listeners: “It’s probably not Trump supporters who would do that. Antifa, BLM, that’s what they do. Right?” What happened over the next 12 hours illustrated the speed and the scale of a right-wing disinformation machine primed to seize on a lie that served its political interests and quickly spread it as truth to a receptive audience. The weekslong fiction about a stolen election that President Donald J. Trump pushed to his millions of supporters had set the stage for a new and equally false iteration: that left-wing agitators were responsible for the attack on the Capitol. more...

By Bill McCarthy

Tucker Carlson’s false claim downplaying role of white supremacists at Capitol riot. Several people charged in connection with the U.S. Capitol riot have ties to right-wing extremist groups. Some of those groups are explicitly white supremacist. Others, like the Proud Boys, have members who have expressed white supremacist views. Video and photos from the event show that white supremacist symbols were prominently displayed on shirts and flags. Asked during a Senate hearing on Feb. 23 whether white supremacists and extremist groups were involved in the riot, top Capitol security officials said, “yes.” Fox News host Tucker Carlson downplayed the involvement of racially motivated extremist groups in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, falsely suggesting that the mob of pro-Trump rioters who violently stormed the building did not include white supremacists. "There's no evidence that white supremacists were responsible for what happened on Jan. 6. That's a lie," Carlson said Feb. 22 on his TV show. "And contrary to what you've been hearing, there's also no evidence this was a, quote, 'armed insurrection.'" During the segment, Carlson, whose primetime show is among the most-watched cable news programs, interviewed the author of a blog post that argued the riot did not amount to an armed insurrection. PolitiFact previously rated that claim Pants on Fire. more...

By Erik Larson

Donald Trump’s niece is balking at the former president’s claim that she waited too long to file her multi-million dollar fraud suit against him, saying she would have sued sooner if he hadn’t covered his tracks so well. Mary Trump on Friday asked a judge to deny Donald Trump’s motion to dismiss the suit, which she filed in September against her uncle and his siblings, Robert Trump and Maryanne Trump Barry. She claims they conspired to skim tens of millions of dollars off her stake in the family business for decades after her father died and left them as her fiduciaries. The suit by the daughter of Donald Trump’s late older brother, Fred Trump Jr., is one of several serious legal threats the former president faces as a private citizen. If the case in New York state court in Manhattan survives, he could be deposed under oath by the end of the year or early 2022. more...


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