Watch live as Jen Psaki leads White House briefing with Miguel Cardona
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo played down Joe Biden’s comments about the allegations against him and if he should step down. But resigning wasn’t all Biden talked about. The president said he thinks Cuomo will “probably end up being prosecuted, too.”
The US Secret Service stopped an armed man near the official Washington DC residence of vice president Kamala Harris, with a long gun, ammunition and several handguns were found in his car that was parked in a DC garage.
The Internal Revenue Service announced a one-month extension to the tax deadline to give Americans breathing room during one of the most complicated tax seasons in decades. The deadline was delayed from 15 April date to 17 May.
Internationally, Russia has recalled its envoy to Washington after Joe Biden called Vladimir Putin a “killer” and that Moscow would “pay” for its attempt to influence the outcome of the 2020 US presidential election.
Putin recalled US ambassador Anatoly Antonov as Moscow avoiding “irreversible degradation” of relations with America during the early days of the Biden administration.
A newly declassified intelligence report claims Russia attempted to stoke tensions and undermine confidence in the electoral process, as well as to “support Trump” and “denigrate Biden”.
While Donald Trump was accused of “inflaming discrimination” against Asian Americans in the wake of a deadly shooting in Georgia, investigators believe it was driven sexual issues and not racially motivated.
Trump had been accused of “inflaming discrimination” against Asian Americans by his use of racist terms like “Kung Flu” to describe Covid-19. Congressman Ted Lieu made the accusation following the shooting that left six Asian people dead.
Andrew Cuomo, meanwhile, continues to resist calls to resign amid multiple sexual harassment allegations. Today he took the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to encourage New Yorkers to take the jab.
Biden supported the governor, saying Cuomo should wait for the result of the state attorney general’s investigation before resigning.
He told ABC News that Cuomo, who has been accused of sexual misconduct by multiple women, would “probably end up being prosecuted, too”. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi later added that the allegations are “serious” and “credible”.
Two jurors dropped in trial of Derek Chauvin over murder of George Floyd after city’s $27m settlement
Two jurors were dismissed from the trial of Derek Chauvin after Minneapolis announced a $27m (£20m) settlement with the family of George Floyd.
Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill on Wednesday recalled the seven seated jurors after defence attorney Eric Nelson said the civil settlement announcement, by Mayor Jacob Frey and the city council in the middle of jury selection, was “incredibly prejudicial”.
Judge Cahill asked jurors if “extensive media coverage about developments in a civil suit” affected their ability to serve impartially.
One was dismissed for saying he was shocked by the size of the settlement and wasn’t sure if he could set the news aside. Another was dismissed for saying the settlement confirmed his opinions and that it would be hard to remain impartial.
Justin Vallejo17 March 2021 22:35
Lauren Boebert applauded by GOP as says she wants to be called ‘congressman’
Representative Lauren Boebert said she wants Democrats to call her “congressman” in a rant against the Equality Act to a town hall meeting of supporters.
In a video posted online by the Montrose Daily Press, the Colorado lawmaker said that the bill currently being debated in the Senate to update federal civil rights law to include sexual orientation and gender identity is an attack on religious freedom.
“We all want equality, right?” Ms Boebert asked the crowd. “Must be a fantastic bill. Well, the Constitution right there in the preamble says that we are all equal, we have a 14th Amendment that says all men — and it’s okay to say men as a gender-neutral term — all men are created equal, are equal under the law.”
Oliver O’Connell reports.
Justin Vallejo17 March 2021 22:20
GOP senators call for Biden’s border wall restrictions to be revoked ahead of looming deadline
Senate Republicans have slammed President Joe Biden’s executive orders preventing further border wall construction just ahead of an expiration date on one of the actions which restricts the project along the nation’s southern border from going forward.
In a letter co-signed by 40 GOP senators, Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R—WV) urged the Office of Government Accountability to review the legality of the president’s executive order freezing funds Congress had previously appropriated for border wall construction.
The senators attacked Mr Biden over the influx of migrants arriving at the US-Mexico border and claimed his “actions directly contributed to this unfortunate, yet entirely avoidable, scenario” while adding: “They are also a blatant violation of federal law and infringe on Congress’s constitutional power of the purse.”
Justin Vallejo17 March 2021 22:05
Dow Jones: Index tops 33,000 for first time as market rises on Fed interest rate news
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at another new record high on Wednesday, topping 33,000 points for the first time ever.
Wall Street closed up after a pledge by the Federal Reserve to keep interest rates near zero and take a hands-off approach to inflation to bolster a full economic recovery post-pandemic. Action on interest rates is not expected until the end of 2023.
The Dow rose 189.42 points to 33,015.37, the S&P 500 gained 11.41 points to 3,974.12, and the tech-focused Nasdaq added 53.64 points to 13,525.20.
Upgrading its economic outlook, the Fed sees growth in US gross domestic product at 6.5 per cent in 202. The last projection by the Fed in December was for growth in 2021 of 4.2 per cent. It is then expected to cool in subsequent years, to 3.3 per cent in 2022, and 2.2 per cent in 2023.
Oliver O’Connell has the story.
Justin Vallejo17 March 2021 21:50
BREAKING: Outrage after John Kerry reportedly took off mask on flight
US climate envoy John Kerry provoked outrage online, after the Tennessee Star reported he took of his mask as he sat first-class on a recent flight from Boston to Washington. Conservatives online pointed to the photo as a sign of liberal hypocrisy around wearing masks.
The Independent Joshn Marcus has reached out to American Airlines and Mr Kerry’s office for comment and confirmation on this breaking news story.
Justin Vallejo17 March 2021 21:40
BREAKING: Secret Service stop armed man near vice president’s DC residence
The US Secret Service has stopped an armed man near the vice president’s official Washington DC residence, reports say.
Police say the man was detained near the Naval Observatory and that a long gun, ammunition and several handguns were found in his car that was parked in a DC garage.
The Naval Observatory will be where Kamala Harris resides when longstanding renovations undertaken after Mike Pence left it in January are completed.
Ms Harris and second gentleman Doug Emhoff are staying at Blair House until the historic building is ready for them to move in.
Justin Vallejo17 March 2021 21:16
Andrew Cuomo appears to play down Joe Biden’s comments about stepping down as NY governor
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo appeared to play down President Joe Biden’s comments about the allegations against him and if he should step down while on a phone call with reporters on Wednesday.
“If you committed a crime you can be prosecuted. That’s true,” Mr Cuomo said when asked about the recent statements from the president. “But what President Biden said was, there should be a review … I agree with him on that. The people of New York agree with him on that.”
But that wasn’t exactly what Mr Biden said when speaking to ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos on Tuesday evening.
Mr Stephanopoulos asked the president if the governor should step down if the investigation confirmed the allegations. “Yes,” Mr Biden said.
“I think he’ll probably end up being prosecuted, too,” Mr Biden added.
Danielle Zoellner reports.
Justin Vallejo17 March 2021 21:15
Ukraine says US intelligence report is a ‘loud fiasco’ for Russia
Ukraine’s foreign minister on Wednesday hailed a U.S. intelligence report which he said showed the Ukrainian government had played no role in “influence operations” against the United States.
“US intel community has found no Ukrainian government involvement in influence operations against the U.S. Moreover, Russia’s interference attempt included efforts to undermine U.S. support to Ukraine. Another loud fiasco for Russia,” Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba tweeted. – Reuters
Justin Vallejo17 March 2021 21:00
Officials probe how Trump Tower employees received vaccines before they were eligible
Officials have launched an inquiry into a vaccination site that opened up just outside of the Trump Tower in Chicago, where some employees of the former president’s hotel chain were inoculated before meeting eligibility requirements.
Chicago hotel employees are listed under Phase 1C in the city’s vaccination rollout plan, which meant they were not eligible to get the jab until the end of March, unless they met other specific requirements.
Yet the Loretto Hospital confirmed it had established a vaccine site earlier this week to inoculate employees at the Trump International Chicago, and said in a statement: “The Chicago Department of Public Health has been in contact with hospital leadership to clarify the department’s guidance regarding community vaccinations moving forward.”
Justin Vallejo17 March 2021 20:40
BREAKING: Racist and militia violence ‘most lethal’ domestic threat, US intelligence reports in national security report
A joint intelligence report on the state of domestic violence extremism assesses that racially and ethnically motivated violence as well violent militia groups present the “most lethal” threat among domestic threats.
Perpetrators of racist violence are “most likely to conduct mass-casualty attacks” against Americans, according to a newly unclassified report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Justice Department and Department of Homeland Security.
Domestic violence extremists, or DVEs, motivated by “a range of ideologies and galvanized by recent political and societal events” pose an “elevated threat” to the US in 2021, according to the report.
Justin Vallejo17 March 2021 20:20
Biden decries ‘brutality’ against Asian Americans after spa shooting
Joe Biden said he had been briefed by the attorney general’s office and the Federal Bureau of Investigations about the Georgia spa shooting, saying Asian Americans are concerned about racially motivated brutality.
Police have said the shooting was likely sexually motivated and not connected to race.
“Whatever the motivation here, I know that Asian Americans are in, very concerned, because as you know I have been speaking about the brutality against Asian Americans for the last couple months, and I think it’s very, very troubling,” Biden said.
“But I’m making no connection at this moment on the motivation of what the killer, I’m waiting for an answer from as the investigation proceeds.”
Justin Vallejo17 March 2021 20:08
White House ‘site looking’ for Biden’s first press conference
After announcing Joe Biden would hold his first press conference on day 65 of his presidency, press secretary Jen Psaki said the long-awaited moment won’t take place in the regular briefing room.
“We are working to figure out where we can do it in the White House to ensure we have a greater number of people who can attend,” she said.
“So we’re site looking at this point in time”
Justin Vallejo17 March 2021 19:59
Biden’s tax increases on families earning more than $400,000
The White House confirmed that the president’s plans to increase taxes from a “small to significant” amount would be on families making more than $400,000 per year.
When asked what he meant by such a broad range, press secretary Jen Psaki said it depends on whether someone a household was earning $425,000 or billions meaning the increase would be either end of that range.
“Are you a billionaire? Then you may end up paying more taxes than someone earning 425, there’s going to be a range,” she said.
Justin Vallejo17 March 2021 19:49
Biden won’t visit Mexico border because he’s ‘focused on action’, says White House
Asked why Joe Biden won’t see what is happening at the US-Mexico border first hand, press secretary Jen Psaki said he was focused on “taking actions”.
“Because his focus is on action and taking actions and moving for policies to ensure we are expediting the processing at the border,” she said.
“That we are opening more facilities, that we are putting in place policies that will move kids more quickly through the border patrol facilities, more quickly into safe and secure homes.”
Justin Vallejo17 March 2021 19:42
As border crisis deepens, Biden official blames Trump’s ‘four years of mismanagement’
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas parried question after question from Republican and even some Democratic lawmakers on Wednesday as the crisis of unaccompanied migrant children coming to the US-Mexico border seeking asylum continues to overwhelm his department.
The secretary described the situation at the border as “undoubtedly difficult,” but blamed the Trump administration for “four years of mismanagement and misuse of the department” that has led to inadequate preparation for such a surge in migration.
Mr Mayorkas acknowledged in his opening statement on Wednesday before the House Homeland Security Committee that DHS is dealing with “historic and unprecedented challenges” at the southern border, with families and individuals showing up in record numbers and being turned back towards Mexico.
“We are also encountering many unaccompanied children, children who arrive without a parent or legal guardian with them,” Mr Mayorkas said in his opening statement.
Griffin Connolly reports.
Justin Vallejo17 March 2021 19:35
White House says ‘relationship will look different’ after Moscow withdraws its US ambassador
“We’ve seen those reports,” press secretary Jen Psaki said of the move.
“We are going to be straight-forward and we are going to be direct in areas of concern,” she said, adding the US relationship with Russia would “look different”.
Justin Vallejo17 March 2021 19:18
White House media briefing begins
Press secretary Jen Psaki is joined today by the secretary of education Miguel Cardona.
Watch live with The Independent.
Watch live as Jen Psaki leads White House briefing with Miguel Cardona
Justin Vallejo17 March 2021 19:05
Trump’s fortune fell by almost a third in final year of presidency, report says
Donald Trump lost nearly one-third of his reported fortune in the final year of his presidency according to a study by Bloomberg.
His net worth has dropped to $2.3bn from $3bn as the Covid-19 pandemic has hit hardest at the industries in which he has the greatest investments — offices, hotels, and resorts branded with his name.
Four divisive years in the White House, two impeachments, and a violent insurrection that saw the US Capitol stormed by pro-Trump rioters have severely damaged his brand and business relationships.
Research for the Bloomberg Billionaire’s Index took in financial disclosures, loan documents, revelations from court documents, and interviews with former executives and industry analysts to establish the current state of the former president’s empire.
The Independent’s Oliver O’Connell reports.
Justin Vallejo17 March 2021 19:00
Russia calls back US ambassador as it ponders ‘irreversible degradation’ after Biden brands Putin a ‘killer’
Russia called its US ambassador Anatoly Antonov back home on Wednesday for consultations, as Moscow mulls avoiding “irreversible degradation” of relations with America during the early days of the Biden administration, according to the Russian foreign ministry.
Tensions between the two nations are high, following recently declassified reports on Russia’s suspected attempts to interfere in the 2020 election, US condemnation over the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny, and president Biden calling Vladimir Putin a “killer” in an interview on ABC News on Tuesday.
“The new American administration has been in power for two months, and a symbolic 100-day anniversary is just round the corner, which is an appropriate milestone to try and assess what the Biden team is successful in, and what it’s not,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a statement, according to Russia’s state-owned Sputnik news service.
A pause would also allow Americans to “acknowledge the associated risks” of the fraying relationship between the two nations, she added, which “Washington has itself sent into a stalemate in recent years.”
Josh Marcus has the full story.
Justin Vallejo17 March 2021 18:37
IRS reportedly plans to delay this year’s tax deadline by a month
The tax deadline will be extended to May under a plan to give Americans more time to file returns and pay outstanding levies, according to Bloomberg.
The Internal Revenue Service considering the one-month extension from the current 15 April deadline, according to three anonymous sources quoted in the report.
The agency is considering the exact date in May, whether the 15th, a Saturday, or on the following business day, Monday the 17th.
While neither the IRS nor the Treasury confirmed the proposed delay, Bloomberg reports it’s being considered to provide additional breathing room in the most complicated tax season in decades.
Justin Vallejo17 March 2021 18:19