The Latest: Variant 1st seen in UK now dominant in LA County
Health officials say the most common COVID-19 variant of concern circulating in Los Angeles County is now a variant that was discovered in the U.K. Previously, two California variants were dominant, but in the past week 53% of 40 specimens analyzed by a public health laboratory were the U.K. variant and none were California variants.
Left out of MeToo: New initiative focuses on Black survivors
Tarana Burke, founder and leader of the #MeToo movement, stands in her home in Baltimore on Oct. 13, 2020. A coalition of three groups vital to the #MeToo movement is collaborating on an initiative to focus on a population that has often felt left out of the conversation: Black survivors of sexual violence. (AP Photo/Steve Ruark, file)It’s been more than three years since the #MeToo movement launched a culture-shifting conversation about sexual violence. In a statement, the groups said they were working together to create safe spaces for Black survivors; to confront narratives "that harm and silence Black survivors;" and lastly to come up with new practices that will help get Black survivors “believed, heard, and supported.”Burke said the most important immediate impact will simply be that a national conversation is being had. AdAmong the initiative's concrete plans: narrative research; conversation guides; a five-part event series; and “rapid-response tools” to support Black survivors who come forward.
Biden's team vows action against hack as US threats persist
Klain is preparing to serve as President-elect Joe Bidens chief of staff, a job often referred to as the nations chief operating officer. “Those who are responsible are going to face consequences for it,” said Biden chief of staff Ron Klain. On Sunday, Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, blasted Trump for putting the U.S. at continuing risk. Christopher Krebs, former director of CISA, highlighted the challenges ahead as Trump dismisses the threat and Biden prepares for his Jan. 20 inauguration. “The federal civilian agencies, the 101 civilian agencies, are not really optimized for defense right now,” Krebs said.
Biden adviser Cedric Richmond tests positive for coronavirus
Richmond, who is set to resign from Congress to join the incoming Biden administration as a senior adviser, tested positive on Thursday, Dec. 17, for the coronavirus, according to the Biden transition. – One of President-elect Joe Biden’s closest advisers tested positive for the coronavirus on Thursday, according to his transition team. Louisiana Rep. Cedric Richmond, who is set to resign from Congress to join the incoming Biden administration as a senior adviser, tested positive two days after traveling to Atlanta to attend a campaign rally that Biden headlined for Democratic Senate candidates Jon Ossoff and the Rev. Raphael Warnock, Biden transition spokesperson Kate Bedingfield said in a statement. Bedingfield said Richmond was not in close contact with Biden, Ossoff or Warnock, as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Trump appoints flurry of allies as presidency winds down
FILE - In this Dec. 12, 2020, file photo, President Donald Trump walks on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington before boarding Marine One. As he prepares to exit the White House, President Donald Trump is rewarding some supporters and like-minded allies with the perks and prestige that come with serving on federal advisory boards and commissions. “But nobody does these things with more politicization than Trump,” Light said. The positions have what Light describes as “gorgeous resume value.”The number of advisory board positions has ballooned over the years. Among the most consequential of the wave of appointments has been with advisory boards at the Pentagon.
Political fight brewing over Biden's WH budget chief nominee
– President-elect Joe Biden's pick to lead the Office of Management and Budget is quickly emerging as a political battle that could disrupt his efforts to swiftly fill out his administration. He called her “maybe (Biden's) worst nominee so far" and “radioactive.”Potential Budget Committee Chair Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., was less hostile, telling reporters, “Let's see what happens." But like all of Biden's nominees, Tanden has little margin for error as she faces confirmation in a closely divided Senate. At OMB, Tanden would be responsible for preparing Biden’s budget submission and would command several hundred budget analysts, economists and policy advisers with deep knowledge of the inner workings of the government. That would allow them to pass special budget legislation that could roll back Trump’s tax cuts, boost the Affordable Care Act and pursue other spending goals.
Biden filling top White House team with campaign veterans
President-elect Joe Biden has announced top White House staff positions, drawing from the senior ranks of his campaign and some of his closest confidants. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)ATLANTA – President-elect Joe Biden announced a raft of top White House staff positions on Tuesday, drawing from the senior ranks of his campaign and some of his closest confidants to fill out an increasingly diverse White House leadership team. Richmond will leave his Louisiana congressional seat to fill the White House job. Late last week, Biden tapped former senior campaign adviser Ron Klain to serve as his chief of staff. She is a veteran political operative who worked on both of Barack Obama’s White House bids.
Biden filling out top White House team with campaign vets
(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)ATLANTA – President-elect Joe Biden is drawing from the senior ranks of his campaign to fill out an increasingly diverse White House leadership team. Richmond will leave his Louisiana congressional seat to fill the White House job. Late last week, Biden tapped former senior campaign adviser Ron Klain to serve as his chief of staff. She is a veteran political operative who worked on both of former President Barack Obama's White House bids. Richmond was a key figure in helping Biden, a former senator and two-term vice president, leverage his own long-standing relationships with CBC members.
Analysis: GOP lets doubts about Biden's legitimacy flourish
“Their intent is to delegitimize this election and thereby delegitimize President-elect Biden’s presidency,” said Valerie Jarrett, who was a White House senior adviser to President Barack Obama. He has cleared the 270 Electoral College votes needed to win the White House. Still, Republicans have allowed Trump's misinformation to flourish, pushed along by conservative media and on the internet. The turmoil surrounding the transition, he added, said more about the person leaving the White House that the one who will soon enter. Those lies helped fuel some of the hard-line opposition to Obama within the party, making it difficult for more mainstream GOP leaders to work with the White House.
CBS News rebuilds MTV's old 'TRL' studio for election night
FILE - The ViacomCBS headquarters is shown in New York's Times Square on Aug. 5, 2020. CBS News is rebuilding MTV's old "Total Request Live" studio as its headquarters for election night. The network is installing giant touchscreens and "augmented reality" displays for the big political night and says the studio provides extra roominess to put on a television show in the COVID-19 era. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)
CBS News rebuilds MTV's old 'TRL' studio for election night
CBS News is rebuilding MTV's old "Total Request Live" studio as its headquarters for election night. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)NEW YORK – Watch out for Britney Spears and the Jonas Bros.: CBS News is building a new high-tech election night set in the Times Square studio where MTV's “Total Request Live” ruled the music world two decades ago. Norah O'Donnell will anchor her first presidential election night, joined on the set by Gayle King, Margaret Brennan, John Dickerson and Ed O'Keefe. Shades will be drawn on the windows for the serious business of election night. On television, CBS will have Major Garrett reporting on voter integrity, Jeff Pegues on misinformation and Nancy Cordes on congressional races.
Biden campaign 'flooding the zone' with celebrity backers
The four-time Grammy winner isn't the only Biden playlist mainstay helping his campaign against President Donald Trump. Still, Biden has gone beyond celebrities in search of campaign surrogates. Stars generate candidate buzz, help with fundraising and can build campaign event crowds even for those online. His reelection campaign has been holding its own online events with top supporters nearly every night for months and says its online events average 2.6 million views per broadcast, though its headliners are often the presidents children. The Trump campaign has also seized on Biden's preferred venue for participating in online events, a basement studio in his Delaware home accusing the former vice president of hiding from voters.
Aide: Michelle Obama to stress Biden's competency, character
WASHINGTON Michelle Obama will stress Democrat Joe Biden's competency and character in a Monday night convention speech that will draw sharp contrasts between the Republican incumbent seeking reelection and the man who was her husband's two-term vice president, an adviser said. This election is very personal for her, Valerie Jarrett, a longtime adviser to Barack and Michelle Obama, told The Associated Press. Biden's sense of empathy will also be a focus of Mrs. Obama's speech. But Mrs. Obama wrote lengthy posts on her Facebook and Instagram accounts praising Harris, a Black woman born to Jamaican and Indian parents. Monday's speech will be the fourth Democratic convention address by Michelle Obama, who first introduced herself to the nation during her husband's groundbreaking campaign.
Barack Obama to appear on Michelle Obama's podcast debut
LOS ANGELES The first guest of Michelle Obamas new podcast will have a familiar presidential voice: Barack Obama. The former United States president is expected to appear on The Michelle Obama Podcast on Spotify, the Obamas Higher Ground and streaming service announced Friday. For eight years my life was full of crazy schedules, juggling big initiatives, speeches, state dinners," Michelle Obama says in the first episode's intro. The nine-episode series will include several guests such as talk-show host Conan OBrien and Valerie Jarrett, business woman and former senior advisor to Barack Obama. Her podcast is the first title in the ongoing collaboration between Spotify and Higher Ground, a production company founded by Barack and Michelle Obama.
Obama steps out as nation confronts confluence of crises
(My Brother's Keeper Alliance and The Obama Foundation via AP)WASHINGTON Former President Barack Obama is taking on an increasingly public role as the nation confronts a confluence of historic crises that has exposed deep racial and socioeconomic inequalities in America and reshaped the November election. In doing so, Obama is signaling a willingness to sharply critique his successor, President Donald Trump, and fill what many Democrats see as a national leadership void. President Obama is not going to shy away from that dialogue simply because hes not in office anymore." Floyds death, however, has drawn a more visceral and personal reaction from the nations first black president. It cant be normal," Obama wrote.
Obama steps out as nation confronts confluence of crises
WASHINGTON Former President Barack Obama is taking on an increasingly public role as the nation confronts a confluence of historic crises that has exposed deep racial and socioeconomic inequalities in America and reshaped the November election. Floyds death, however, has drawn a more visceral and personal reaction from the nations first black president. It cant be normal," Obama wrote. Obama grappled with police brutality against minorities as president, including in Ferguson, Missouri, where clashes broke out after the death of Michael Brown, a black 18-year-old. After Browns death, Obamas Justice Department moved to enact broad policing reforms, though most were halted under the Trump administration.