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Capitol attack: Pentagon restricted ability to deploy troops, says national guard chief – live Andrew Cuomo apologizes over sexual harassment reports but insists 'I'm not going to resign' – live
(32 minutes later)
Ability to deploy quick-reaction force was restricted day before insurrection, said commanding general of DC national guard Lawmakers of both parties have called on Democratic governor to resign as state attorney general investigates
Asked what his message is to New Yorkers, Andrew Cuomo said he was “embarrassed” that his behavior had such a negative impact on one of his aides. He did not appear to address the allegations from two other women.
The governor said he was not caveating his apology in any way. “There’s no ‘buts.’ I’m sorry,” Cuomo said.
But the governor did attempt to qualify his apology multiple times by emphasizing he did not intend to hurt or offend anyone through his actions.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo made clear that he would not resign in the wake of multiple sexual misconduct allegations against him.
“I’m not going to resign,” Cuomo said at his press conference. “I’m going to do the job the people of the state elected me to do.”
A number of lawmakers of both parties have called on the Democratic governor to resign as the state attorney general investigates the allegations against him.
“I do not believe I have ever done anything in my public career that I am ashamed of,” Cuomo said.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said that he has learned from the experience of having multiple women accuse him of sexual misconduct.
“I’m sorry,” Cuomo said. “I’m sorry for whatever pain I caused anyone. I never intended it, and I will be the better for this experience.”
Cuomo acknowledged that his intentions did not matter when his behavior had such a negative impact on the women affected by it. And yet, the governor continued to emphasize that he did not intend to hurt or offend anyone.
“If they were offended by it, it was wrong,” Cuomo said. “And if they were offended by it, I apologize.”
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said at a press conference moments ago that he will “fully cooperate” with the state attorney general’s investigation of sexual misconduct allegations against him.
“I fully support a woman’s right to come forward, and I think it should be encouraged in every way,” Cuomo said.
The Democratic went on to apologize for engaging in behavior that made anyone feel uncomfortable.
“I now understand that I acted in a way that made people feel uncomfortable,” Cuomo said. “It was unintentional, and I truly and deeply apologize for it.”
But Cuomo went on to say, “I never touched anyone inappropriately.”
The governor asked the people of New York to wait for the attorney general’s investigation to conclude before reaching any conclusions about him.
“I ask the people of this state to wait for the facts from the attorney general’s report before forming an opinion. Get the facts please before forming an opinion,” Cuomo said. “I will fully cooperate with it, and then you will have the facts.”
White House press secretary Jen Psaki was asked when Joe Biden will start naming his nominees for key ambassadorships.White House press secretary Jen Psaki was asked when Joe Biden will start naming his nominees for key ambassadorships.
“This is a popular question, including from some people who want to be ambassadors, which won’t surprise you,” Psaki told reporters.“This is a popular question, including from some people who want to be ambassadors, which won’t surprise you,” Psaki told reporters.
The press secretary noted past administrations have often nominated ambassadors in March, but she was not sure whether Biden would follow that timeline, given his current focus on responding to the coronavirus pandemic.The press secretary noted past administrations have often nominated ambassadors in March, but she was not sure whether Biden would follow that timeline, given his current focus on responding to the coronavirus pandemic.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki dodged a question about whether Joe Biden is breaking his promise to millions of Americans who will no longer receive stimulus payments if the faster phaseout is authorized.White House press secretary Jen Psaki dodged a question about whether Joe Biden is breaking his promise to millions of Americans who will no longer receive stimulus payments if the faster phaseout is authorized.
Psaki emphasized Biden was following through on delivering direct relief to American families, while sidestepping the fact that fewer families would now be receiving checks.Psaki emphasized Biden was following through on delivering direct relief to American families, while sidestepping the fact that fewer families would now be receiving checks.
Asked whether there might be another round of direct payments in the future, Psaki said, “I can’t predict for you there will never be stimulus checks in the future.”Asked whether there might be another round of direct payments in the future, Psaki said, “I can’t predict for you there will never be stimulus checks in the future.”
White House press secretary Jen Psaki was asked why the Biden administration seems to be prioritizing teachers over other frontline workers.White House press secretary Jen Psaki was asked why the Biden administration seems to be prioritizing teachers over other frontline workers.
A reporter noted some have suggested that Joe Biden is bowing to political pressure from teachers’ unions, who have expressed strong opposition to sending teachers back to the classroom before they are vaccinated.A reporter noted some have suggested that Joe Biden is bowing to political pressure from teachers’ unions, who have expressed strong opposition to sending teachers back to the classroom before they are vaccinated.
Psaki said teachers are a vaccination priority because the reopening of schools has an impact on the next generation of American children and the future of the workforce.Psaki said teachers are a vaccination priority because the reopening of schools has an impact on the next generation of American children and the future of the workforce.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki criticized the Republican governors of Texas and Mississippi for rescinding their mask mandates as health experts warn of another potential surge in coronavirus cases.White House press secretary Jen Psaki criticized the Republican governors of Texas and Mississippi for rescinding their mask mandates as health experts warn of another potential surge in coronavirus cases.
“This entire country has paid the price for political leaders who ignored the science,” Psaki said.“This entire country has paid the price for political leaders who ignored the science,” Psaki said.
The press secretary said Joe Biden would raise the issue the next time he speaks with governors. She encouraged Americans to follow the guidance of public health experts, who are “basing their recommendations on how to save people’s lives”.The press secretary said Joe Biden would raise the issue the next time he speaks with governors. She encouraged Americans to follow the guidance of public health experts, who are “basing their recommendations on how to save people’s lives”.
Dr Rochelle Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said earlier today, “Every individual is empowered to do the right thing here, regardless of what the states decide.”Dr Rochelle Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said earlier today, “Every individual is empowered to do the right thing here, regardless of what the states decide.”
White House press secretary Jen Psaki would not definitively say whether Joe Biden has signed off on more rapidly phasing out the $1,400 checks in the coronavirus relief bill.White House press secretary Jen Psaki would not definitively say whether Joe Biden has signed off on more rapidly phasing out the $1,400 checks in the coronavirus relief bill.
“He is comfortable with where the negotiations stand,” Psaki said. She added, “We don’t have a final bill.”“He is comfortable with where the negotiations stand,” Psaki said. She added, “We don’t have a final bill.”
The press secretary emphasized there were “ongoing discussions” about the specifics of the bill, and the White House expected there to be “tweaks on the margins” as the Senate moves toward final passage.The press secretary emphasized there were “ongoing discussions” about the specifics of the bill, and the White House expected there to be “tweaks on the margins” as the Senate moves toward final passage.
Reports have indicated Biden has signaled support for completely phasing out the checks for individuals who make $80,000 a year, rather than $100,000 a year.Reports have indicated Biden has signaled support for completely phasing out the checks for individuals who make $80,000 a year, rather than $100,000 a year.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Joe Biden does not intend to name another nominee to lead the Office of Management and Budget this week.White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Joe Biden does not intend to name another nominee to lead the Office of Management and Budget this week.
Psaki told reporters that she would not get into the White House’s discussions with specific senators regarding Neera Tanden’s nomination.Psaki told reporters that she would not get into the White House’s discussions with specific senators regarding Neera Tanden’s nomination.
Tanden withdrew her nomination last night, saying she no longer believed she had a path to confirmation.Tanden withdrew her nomination last night, saying she no longer believed she had a path to confirmation.
Joe Biden’s press secretary, Jen Psaki, is now holding her daily briefing with reporters at the White House.Joe Biden’s press secretary, Jen Psaki, is now holding her daily briefing with reporters at the White House.
Psaki announced the Biden administration would release its “interim national security strategic guidance” on the White House website this afternoon.Psaki announced the Biden administration would release its “interim national security strategic guidance” on the White House website this afternoon.
The guidance will provide recommendations to government departments and agencies, before the administration releases its full national security strategy later this year.The guidance will provide recommendations to government departments and agencies, before the administration releases its full national security strategy later this year.
First lady Jill Biden has arrived in Connecticut, where she is visiting an elementary school with Education Secretary Miguel Cardona.First lady Jill Biden has arrived in Connecticut, where she is visiting an elementary school with Education Secretary Miguel Cardona.
Biden and Cardona, both former educators, are visiting Benjamin Franklin Elementary School in Meriden, Connecticut, and they will later travel to Fort LeBoeuf Middle School in Waterford, Pennsylvania.Biden and Cardona, both former educators, are visiting Benjamin Franklin Elementary School in Meriden, Connecticut, and they will later travel to Fort LeBoeuf Middle School in Waterford, Pennsylvania.
The trip comes two days after the Senate confirmed Cardona, in a vote of 64 to 33. Cardona has said that safely reopening schools will be his top priority as education secretary.The trip comes two days after the Senate confirmed Cardona, in a vote of 64 to 33. Cardona has said that safely reopening schools will be his top priority as education secretary.
Previewing the trip yesterday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said, “They will highlight the key CDC mitigation strategies that the schools have implemented successfully in these locations; listen to the challenges they are facing due to the pandemic, including the academic, social, and emotional needs of students; highlight the additional resources in the American Rescue Plan needed for schools to open -- remain open; and address the needs of students, and thank educators for their work in supporting students and their families.”Previewing the trip yesterday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said, “They will highlight the key CDC mitigation strategies that the schools have implemented successfully in these locations; listen to the challenges they are facing due to the pandemic, including the academic, social, and emotional needs of students; highlight the additional resources in the American Rescue Plan needed for schools to open -- remain open; and address the needs of students, and thank educators for their work in supporting students and their families.”
Over at the Senate hearing on the Capitol insurrection, William J Walker, the commanding general of the DC national guard, said he was required to receive Pentagon approval before deploying Guard troops on 6 January.
Walker noted that such an approval process was not put in place for the summer protests in DC, following the police killing of George Floyd. During those protests, Walker was able to quickly deploy guard troops himself.
The general said his ability to deploy a quick-reaction force was restricted by acting defense secretary Christopher Miller on 5 January, the day before the insurrection.
Walker said that, if he had the ability to deploy a quick-reaction force, “I would have sent them there immediately as soon as I hung up” with US Capitol police chief Steven Sund.
Walker added he was “stunned” by the laborious approval process for troop deployment because he had never seen anything like it in his 19 years of service.
The commanding general previously testified that it took more than three hours to receive approval from the Pentagon to deploy guard troops on 6 January.
If Walker had the ability to deploy a quick-reaction force, he could have sent 150 troops to the Capitol in 20 minutes, he told senators.
House Democratic leaders are encouraging Joe Biden to choose Shalanda Young to replace Neera Tanden as his nominee to lead the Office of Management and Budget.
The statement from House speaker Nancy Pelosi, majority leader Steny Hoyer and majority whip Jim Clyburn comes a day after Tanden withdrew her nomination as OMB director due to bipartisan opposition to her confirmation.
“Neera Tanden is an outstanding public servant who has dedicated decades to fighting to advance the health, financial security and well-being of the American people. We know that she will continue to bring her progressive values, bold vision for the future and valuable perspective to Democrats’ work to Build Back Better,” the three House leaders said in a statement.
“As longtime Members of the Appropriations Committee, we take great pride in recommending Shalanda Young as Director of the Office of Management and Budget. We have worked closely with her for several years and highly recommend her for her intellect, her deep expertise on the federal budget and her determination to ensure that our budget reflects our values as a nation.”
The Democratic leaders added that Young’s nomination would be “historic,” as she would be the first African American woman to lead OMB if she were confirmed.
Young, a longtime Capitol Hill staffer, has already been nominated for the deputy OMB director post, and that nomination has attracted praise from senators of both parties.
During her confirmation hearing yesterday, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham explicitly told Young that he would be happy to support her if she were nominated for the top job at OMB.
Dr Rochelle Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, noted that Americans can still follow best practices to limit their risk of contracting coronavirus, even if their states are lifting restrictions.
“Every individual is empowered to do the right thing here, regardless of what the states decide -- for personal health, for public health, for the health of their loved ones and communities,” Walensky said.
She added, “I would still encourage individuals to wear a mask, to socially distance and to do the right thing to protect their own health.”
The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expressed disapproval of states lifting some of their coronavirus-related public health orders.
“We’ve been very clear that now is not the time to release all restrictions. The next month or two is really pivotal,” Dr Rochelle Walensky said.
Walensky’s comments come one day after the Republican governors of Texas and Mississippi announced they were lifting their mask mandates, despite health officials’ concerns about another potential surge in cases.
The White House coronavirus response team is now holding a briefing to provide an update on the vaccine distribution process.
Andy Slavitt, a senior White House adviser, said health insurance companies are stepping up their efforts to get all seniors vaccinated, given that the elderly are more likely to become severely ill after contracting coronavirus.
Dr Rochelle Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, also encouraged all Americans to “roll up your sleeves and get vaccinated with the first vaccine that’s available to you.”
The officials’ comments come one day after Joe Biden announced the US would have enough coronavirus vaccines for all American adults by the end of May.
Joe Biden has reportedly agreed to phase out the $1,400 direct payments in the coronavirus relief package at a more rapid rate.
Bloomberg News has details on the changes:
The move will likely spark intense criticism among progressives, who had already expressed disappointment that the checks were not the full $2,000 amount that Biden campaigned on.
The White House has said the $1,400 checks, in combination with the $600 checks passed before Biden took office, collectively add up to $2,000 and thus the president is still keeping his promise.
But that will be harder to argue now that there is a segment of the American population who will no longer receive checks when they were previously expecting reduced payments.
The US Capitol Police’s new warning clashes with a statement from the House sergeant at arms yesterday, which said chatter among far-right extremists about March 4 as the true inauguration date had somewhat subsided.
The US Capitol Police says it has obtained intelligence about a militia group potentially attempting to breach the Capitol tomorrow.
“We have obtained intelligence that shows a possible plot to breach the Capitol by an identified militia group on Thursday, March 4. We have already made significant security upgrades to include establishing a physical structure and increasing manpower to ensure the protection of Congress, the public and our police officers,” the USCP said in a new statement.
“Our Department is working with our local, state, and federal partners to stop any threats to the Capitol. We are taking the intelligence seriously. Due to the sensitive nature of this information, we cannot provide additional details at this time.”
Other law enforcement officials have expressed concerns about potential violence on March 4, which far-right extremists have identified as the date that Donald Trump will be inaugurated as president.
The US Constitution previously mandated that presidents be inaugurated on March 4, but the 20th amendment pushed the presidential inauguration up to January 20.
Of course, Trump lost the presidential election, and Joe Biden was sworn in as the rightful winner of the presidential race on January 20.
A senior Pentagon official offered a conflicting account of when the deployment of DC National Guard troops was approved on January 6.
Robert G. Salesses, the acting assistant secretary of defense for homeland defense and global security, confirmed that Capitol Police chief Steven Sund requested assistance at 1:49 pm on January 6.
“Following a call with the Mayor of DC and her staff, the Secretary of the Army met with the Acting Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to discuss the requests of the U.S. Capitol Police and the Mayor of DC (at approximately 2:30 p.m.),” Salesses said in his prepared opening remarks.
“The Acting Secretary of Defense determined that all available forces of the DC National Guard were required to be re-missioned to reinforce DC MPD and U.S. Capitol Police positions to support efforts to reestablish security of the U.S. Capitol Complex. The Acting Secretary of Defense approved full activation of the DC National Guard to provide support, and the Secretary of the Army directed DC National Guard personnel to initiate movement and full mobilization (3:04 p.m.).”
Salesses went on to say, “After reviewing the DC National Guard forces’ missions, equipping, and responsibilities to be performed at the Capitol Complex in support of DC MPD and U.S. Capitol Police, and conferring with the DC MPD at their headquarters at 4:10 p.m., the Secretary of the Army received the Acting Secretary of Defense’s approval at 4:32 p.m., and ordered the DC National Guard forces to depart the Armory for the Capitol.”
In contrast, William J. Walker, the commanding general of the DC National Guard, said the acting secretary of defense’s approval was not relayed until 5:08 p.m., more than three hours after assistance was requested.
The Senate homeland security committee and the Senate rules committee is now starting their second joint hearing on the security failures that occurred during the Capitol insurrection.
In his prepared opening remarks, William J. Walker, the commanding general of the DC National Guard, said it took army leaders more than three hours to approve a request for Guard troops to be deployed to the Capitol on 6 January.
“At 1:49pm I received a frantic call from then chief of US Capitol Police, Steven Sund, where he informed me that the security perimeter at the Capitol had been breached by hostile rioters. 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,” Walker said in his prepared remarks.
“Immediately after the 1.49pm call with Chief Sund, I alerted the army senior leadership of the request. The approval for Chief Sund’s request would eventually come from the acting secretary of defense and be relayed to me by army senior leaders at 5.08pm – three hours and 19 minutes later. We already had guardsmen on buses ready to move to the Capitol. Consequently, at 5.20pm (in under 20 minutes) the District of Columbia National Guard arrived at the Capitol. We helped to re-establish the security perimeter at the east side of the Capitol to facilitate the resumption of the joint session of Congress.”
The delay is particularly alarming given that Mike Pence missed clashing with insurrectionists by a matter of minutes, around 2.15pm on 6 January.