Biden warns of complacency as Covid vaccine rollout continues
Under-fire Florida congressman Matt Gaetz reportedly sought a blanket pardon from former president Donald Trump during the final weeks of his administration, a revelation that comes as he faces a federal sex trafficking investigation.
Mr Trump’s successor, Joe Biden, has meanwhile warned Americans against treating the coronavirus pandemic with complacency as he moved forward the deadline for widespread access to the Covid-19 vaccines to 19 April, two weeks earlier than previously planned.
“Despite the progress we’re making as a nation, I want every American to know in no uncertain terms, that this fight isn’t over. This progress we’ve worked so hard to achieve can be reversed. Now’s not the time to let down. Now’s not the time to celebrate,” he said, speaking at a vaccination site at the Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria on Tuesday.
Stephen Miller, one of Mr Trump’s most hardcore anti-immigration aides, is launching an organisation dedicated to obstructing Joe Biden’s agenda in courts across the US. According to Mr Miller, America First Legal will go after “anything the president does that we believe to be illegal”.
Ten Democratic members of Congress have added their names to a lawsuit against Donald Trump over the 6 January insurrection that saw scores of the ex-president’s fans storm the Capitol. Andrew Buncombe has the breaking news.
Andrew Naughtie7 April 2021 15:25
Derek Chauvin’s murder trial continues
It’s day eight in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the officer accused of causing George Floyd’s death on a Minneapolis street last summer.
So far, expert and police witnesses have given some devastating testimony against arguments that Mr Chauvin was following normal procedure when he knelt on Mr Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes.
Mr Chauvin is charged with second-degree unintentional murder, second-degree manslaughter, and third-degree murder. Follow it on video here:
Watch live as murder trial of former Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin continues
…and catch up with some of yesterday’s key testimony with this piece from Josh Marcus.
Andrew Naughtie7 April 2021 14:55
Former speaker’s book already failing to win over his critics
Former Republican Speaker John Boehner’s long-in-the-making memoir is in the process of dropping, mainly fanfared with news of his furious criticisms of Donald Trump. But as far as much of the commentariat’s concerned, the real point is that Mr Boehner waited this long to speak up.
Andrew Naughtie7 April 2021 14:29
Vaccine credentials row won’t stop any time soon
The US is vaccinating people faster and faster, with Joe Biden now promising all adults will be eligible for a shot by mid-April. But will people need to prove they’ve been jabbed if they want to get into a basketball game?
The White House claims that there’s no mandatory federal “vaccine passport” requirement on the way, but in some parts of the country, similar schemes are under development. And as Andrew Buncombe writes, it might be the private sector that decides whether people need passes to fully re-enter public life.
Andrew Naughtie7 April 2021 14:14
Mistaken identity crisis
The scandal engulfing Matt Gaetz has turned into a different kind of nightmare for Matthew Gertz, a senior fellow at Media Matters for America.
For more than a week now he has been bombarded with hate messages on Twitter from people furious at the charges against the Florida representative, this despite his profile clearly stating he is “definitely not the GOP congressman”.
The latest surreal exchange illustrates perfectly what he faces.
Andrew Naughtie7 April 2021 13:50
Abandoned in the desert
As the administration struggles to adequately house and protect the number of adults and children crossing the US’s southern border, a heart-rending video has emerged showing a young boy in tears asking Texas border agents for help after being abandoned by the people he was travelling with.
He has been taken into custody, but officials have said nothing else about him in public.
Andrew Naughtie7 April 2021 13:27
Bezos gives Biden backing on business taxes
Few things divide the left and right in the US like taxes on corporations, and few corporate titans are as despised on the left as Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. Quite the coup for the Biden administration, then, to have Mr Bezos himself come out in favour of a corporate tax hike.
“It’s the right time to work together,” Mr Bezos said in a statement yesterday about the administration’s mammoth infrastructure plan. “We recognise this investment will require concessions from all sides — both on the specifics of what’s included as well as how it gets paid for (we’re supportive of a rise in the corporate tax rate).”
Mr Biden wants to raise that rate from 21 per cent to 28 per cent. How will he keep companies from fleeing the US for cheaper territory? Read more here…
Andrew Naughtie7 April 2021 13:06
Hunter Biden and the psychedelic toad
The publication of Hunter Biden’s memoir is still coursing through the news cycle, with the president’s son detailing a harrowing journey through grief, addiction and recovery. But not all the book’s contents are dour and dark; some are borderline surreal.
In one passage, Mr Biden explains how he managed to stay sober for a year with the help of a substance secreted from the glands of the Sonoran Desert toad. The psychedelic secretion, he writes, “connected me in a vividly renewed way to everyone in my life, living or dead”.
Gustaf Kilander has the details.
Andrew Naughtie7 April 2021 12:48
Texas governor Greg Abbott issues order prohibiting ‘vaccine passports’
The proposed passports the Republican leader of the Lone Star State is so opposed to are meant to provide credentials for individuals who have already been vaccinated, making it easier for private entities like cruise lines, airports or sporting and music venues to re-open safely.
Nevertheless, Governor Abbott is not happy and insists they amount to “treading on our personal freedoms” issuing the following video statement accompanying his executive order.
Graig Graziosi has this one.
Joe Sommerlad7 April 2021 12:20
Ex-Trump official barred from public office after admitting violating Hatch Act on ethics
Lynne Patton, who was appointed as a regional administrator with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development in 2017, has admitted to violating the Hatch Act, which prohibits federal employees from participating in political activities.
Patton admitted using her position to produce a video for Republican National Convention (RNC) last year by interviewing residents of the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) about their living conditions, a claim she previously denied.
The US Office of Special Counsel made the announcement after it reached a settlement with the ex-official.
“During her approximately one-month stay, Patton met residents and later leveraged one of these relationships to recruit participants to film a video that would air at the RNC. Patton wanted NYCHA residents to appear in the video to explain how their standard of living had improved under the Trump administration,” a statement from the office read.
Shweta Sharma has more.
Joe Sommerlad7 April 2021 11:55