Politics

Political news

The new president of the federally funded Radio Free Asia network most recently ran a consulting company from Boise, Idaho that has represented foreign governments and interests. Among them is Taiwan.

That connection has startled veterans of the international broadcaster.

"Are you serious?" said Libby Liu, who led Radio Free Asia for 14 years. "I don't think it's appropriate for a registered lobbyist for a foreign government to be leading a free-press organization, even democracies we support and admire."

Next week marks one year since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the first coronavirus case in the United States.

Dr. Robert Redfield, the outgoing CDC director, has been heading the federal public health agency's response to the pandemic from the start.

During the chaos of the Capitol on January 6, it was impossible to miss the flags and symbols. Taken together, they allowed for a kind of brisk vexillology of the American right. There were the Trump 2020 flags, of course — and, as has been widely noted, one rioter brandished a Confederate flag in the Capitol building, a historical first.

Updated at 5:12 p.m. ET

The National Mall, where millions of people have gathered to mark historic events in Washington, D.C., was closed to the public late Friday morning, as officials announced a string of security measures meant to foil any attempts to derail next week's inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

One year ago this weekend, life as we knew it was about to change. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the CDC, had been tracking a cluster of what looked like pneumonia cases in the Chinese city of Wuhan. They'd issued an alert, told health care providers to be on the lookout for symptoms in patients who had been to Wuhan. And then January 17, 2020, the CDC made this announcement.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

One year ago this weekend, life as we knew it was about to change. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the CDC, had been tracking a cluster of what looked like pneumonia cases in the Chinese city of Wuhan. They'd issued an alert, told health care providers to be on the lookout for symptoms in patients who had been to Wuhan. And then January 17, 2020, the CDC made this announcement.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

One year ago this weekend, life as we knew it was about to change. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the CDC, had been tracking a cluster of what looked like pneumonia cases in the Chinese city of Wuhan. They'd issued an alert, told health care providers to be on the lookout for symptoms in patients who had been to Wuhan. And then January 17, 2020, the CDC made this announcement.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

The White House push to vaccinate against the coronavirus will have a new name and new leadership under the Biden administration.

The "Operation Warp Speed" name will be retired, incoming White House press secretary Jen Psaki tweeted on Friday. She said there was an "urgent need to address the failures of the Trump team approach to vaccine distribution." Psaki did not say what the new name will be.

The U.S. ambassador to the Netherlands sent a jubilant tweet on Monday, claiming to have "made some history today." He had welcomed Taiwan's de facto ambassador into the U.S. Embassy for a meeting.

Updated at 7:25 p.m. ET

As thousands of National Guard troops now buttress security in Washington, D.C., and the nation, former U.S. Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund is standing by his actions, and those of his agency, on Jan. 6 — the day pro-Trump rioters attacked the Capitol under his watch.

In an interview with NPR, Sund says he had already planned to have 1,400 to 1,500 officers on duty, "all hands on deck." He said Capitol Police expected a large crowd but said nothing prepared them for what actually happened.

Nearly 30 sworn police officers from a dozen departments attended the pro-Trump rally at the U.S. Capitol last week, and several stormed the building with rioters and are facing federal criminal charges as well as possible expulsion or other discipline.

The officers are from departments large and small. There was veteran officer in Houston, the nation's eighth-largest department; a sergeant in the small town of Rocky Mount, Va., and a group of Philadelphia transit officers.

Almost 6 in 10 Americans said they blame President Trump for the violent insurrection that took place Jan. 6 at the U.S. Capitol by a mob of his supporters, according to the latest NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll.

But they are split on whether Congress should continue to take action against him after he leaves office next week, and half believe social media companies such as Facebook and Twitter — which have banned him from their platforms — should not continue to restrict Trump after Wednesday.

Updated at 3:05 p.m. ET

The top federal prosecutor for the District of Columbia said Friday that investigators have not uncovered direct evidence at this point of any "kill/capture teams" targeting elected officials during the U.S. Capitol insurrection, contradicting allegations made earlier by federal prosecutors in Arizona.

U.S. prosecutors in Arizona said Thursday in a court filing against Jacob Chansley, also known as the "QAnon Shaman," that they have "strong evidence" members of the pro-Trump mob wanted to "capture and assassinate" officials.

Civil liberties advocates are warning that the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol could lead to new police and surveillance powers. If history is a guide, they say, those tools could be used against Blacks and other people of color in the justice system, not the white rioters who stormed Congress.

Updated 4 p.m. ET

Law enforcement officials are bracing for possible serious security breaches and violent assaults ahead of President-elect Joe Biden's swearing-in next week. State and federal officials are taking no chances as the countdown begins for Inauguration Day.

The heightened security comes after a violent siege at the U.S. Capitol last week from pro-Trump extremists that resulted in the death of five people and forced lawmakers into hiding.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

President-elect Joe Biden has identified his first priority. He's calling for $1.9 trillion in new spending to help the U.S. economy navigate its way out of the pandemic.

TONYA MOSLEY, HOST:

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

TONYA MOSLEY, HOST:

Well, last Wednesday, just before pro-Trump extremists stormed the Capitol in an insurrection that left five people dead, the president insisted...

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Copyright 2021 WFAE. To see more, visit WFAE.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

The Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol was a security failure, an intelligence failure — or both.

How could security forces in the nation's capital be so swiftly and completely overwhelmed by rioters who stated their plans openly on a range of social media sites? President Trump had even tweeted on Dec. 19: "Big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!"

On Wednesday, Kamala Harris will become the first woman, and the first woman of color, to serve as vice president of the United States.

Twelve years ago, hundreds of thousands of people filled the National Mall to watch Barack Obama make history as the nation's first Black president.

But when Harris takes the oath, the mall will very likely be nearly empty.

Former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions knew his "zero tolerance" policy on illegal entry along the Southwest border in 2018 would separate children from their parents, a watchdog office reported on Thursday. Despite warnings that the government couldn't care for the children, he pushed forward with the policy. As a result, more than 3,000 children were separated from their families.

Updated at 8:37 p.m.

President-elect Joe Biden outlined his plans for economic relief from the coronavirus crisis on Thursday, citing the need for a more robust vaccination plan as well as for additional direct payments to American families to help recover the U.S. economy. His plan, called the American Rescue Plan, is expected to cost $1.9 trillion.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

President-elect Biden laid out his plan tonight to deal with the pandemic, what he called a crisis of deep human suffering. It is his top priority when he takes office next week. The plan has a huge price tag - $1.9 trillion.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

President-elect Joe Biden will choose South Carolina's Jaime Harrison to head the Democratic National Committee, a source close to the decision, who was not authorized to speak ahead of the formal announcement, told NPR's Scott Detrow.

Harrison is a former South Carolina Democratic Party chair, and his selection highlights the influence of another South Carolina Democrat, Rep. James Clyburn, the majority whip in the U.S. House.

What do you call the people who violently stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6? Rioters? Insurrectionists? Terrorists? Since the attack, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has used all three labels.

Linda Sarsour, a Muslim, Palestinian American activist with a huge social media following, tweeted, "This is domestic terrorism. Period," and Republican Rep. Nancy Mace from South Carolina also used the label "domestic terrorist" in a tweet.

Pages