President Joe Biden called on New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to resign on Tuesday, joining a slew of congressional Democrats and Republicans.
“Yes,” Biden said when asked by CNN’s Kaitlan Collins if Cuomo should step down in light of the investigation released Tuesday by New York attorney general’s office, which found that the governor sexually harassed 11 women.
Biden did not weigh in on a possible impeachment.
“Let’s take one thing at a time here, I think he should resign,” he said.
“Look, I’m not gonna flyspeck this. I’m sure there were some embraces that were totally innocent,” Biden added. “But apparently the attorney general decided there were things that weren’t.”
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The Biden administration is poised to announce a limited eviction ban after coming under immense pressure from progressives to act in recent days.
A person familiar with the new policy from the White House said it would be a 60-day federal eviction freeze targeted at areas with surging infections from the Delta variant. They said it would cover 80% of all counties and 90% of the renter population.
The exact details of the initiative still were not clear. A federal eviction ban expired on Saturday, threatening over six million renters with the loss of their homes.
President Joe Biden indicated the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would unveil more details later on Tuesday, but conceded it may face legal challenges. “Any call for a moratorium based on the Supreme Court’s recent decision is likely to face obstacles,” he said at a news conference.
It comes after a group of progressive Democrats led by Rep. Cori Bush of Missouri waged a five-day sit-in at the steps of the Capitol.
Bush slept outside the past four nights, along with a group of protesters to demand an extension of the eviction moratorium that ended over the weekend. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Bernie Sanders showed their support for the protesters on Monday.
It seems as if your theory of Trump is that he’s a not-bright insane person with a gift for reading a crowd.
Yes. He’s like many actors I have known in my time: not too bright in their own particular reality, with extraordinary gifts for getting on the wavelength of their audience.
Does he know that he lost the election fair and square?
He does not know. Now, whether he has managed to successfully convince himself or whether from the get-go he was so focused on hearing what he wanted to hear, he is absolutely certain. Absolutely certain that he won the election and that if he did not win it, it could only be that it was stolen from him. And that everybody else also sees it that way. So this is delusional, which is the word I use fairly often in the book.
You also say he’s mentally deranged.
Yes. I would say that seems the obvious conclusion.
I kept waiting for someone in the book to just go out to him and say “You lost.”
When you haven’t been in his presence, it’s very hard then to actually describe for someone the fact that he is incapable of listening. He just doesn’t hear anything that he doesn’t want to hear. He’s unable to acknowledge any deviation, any slightest departure, any merest qualification of something different than what he thinks or wants to think.
So no one has just gone up to him and said, “Sir, you lost this election”?
Exactly so. You cannot say anything to Trump that he doesn’t want to hear. Everybody knows that. So to do that would mark you as incompetent or a fool or a silly person. It just doesn’t happen.
Now, there’s a set of billionaire types – sort of what passes for friends – who have at least described to me instances in which they have tried to, if not exactly level with him, bring him around to a new understanding. But also the feeling that you come away from those descriptions is that even these people can’t get over the barrier of saying: “You’re an idiot. You’re a fool. You don’t know what you’re talking about.”
Partly because it would require that kind of extreme language. And, given that he was the president of the United States, and given that everybody knows he doesn’t listen anyway.
And given, of course, that people who are talking to him want to remain in his favor.
It’s almost another power of his, if every time he encounters someone they can’t bring themselves to be direct about the circumstances.
Completely. But just think of it as talking to a crazy person, a person whose capacity to parse reality in some logical way is so diminished that you have to humor them, essentially. Everybody knows that reality can’t get through here, so the best you can do is work at the edges.
In your first book about Trump, you called Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump “Jarvanka.” Everyone knows it’s “Javanka.” Did you hear about that criticism?
Yeah. And I don’t know what to say about it. I know that Steve Bannon invented the term, and that’s the term he used with me. You know, did it somehow change underneath? I don’t know. I think I was probably one of the first people to put it into print. So who knows? I don’t know. I have no knowledge there. I said to Steve, “Is it Javanka or is it Jarvanka?” And he said, “Javanka, Jarvanka, let’s call the whole thing off.” So I don’t know.
The Treasury Department took initial steps to start paying off the federal government’s bills on Monday because Congress missed a July 30 deadline to either raise or suspend the debt ceiling.
In a letter to Congressional leaders, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said she’s starting what are known as “extraordinary measures” to keep the federal government afloat. She urged lawmakers to take swift action to either raise or suspend the debt ceiling, which hit its statutory limit on August 1.
“I respectfully urge Congress to protect the full faith and credit of the United States by acting as soon as possible,” Yellen said in the letter. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said in an analysis that Treasury would exhaust its special powers sometime in September or October. Absent action from Congress, the US would then default on its loans.
A default from the federal government could precipitate a chain reaction of cash shortages that could hit bondholders including the people, businesses, and foreign governments who hold US debt. It could also lead to a spike in interest rates.
Yellen said the duration of “extraordinary measures” was uncertain because of the economic impact from the pandemic on tax receipts. Last month, she noted that raising the debt ceiling does not prompt more federal spending, it only permits the government to pay back what it owes.
“Failure to meet those obligations would cause irreparable harm to the U.S. economy and the livelihoods of all Americans,” Yellen wrote in a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Congress last suspended the debt ceiling for two years under President Donald Trump in July 2019. But now, many Republicans are balking at raising the debt limit without ensuring spending cuts from Democrats, as they similarly did when they controlled Congress under President Barack Obama. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell suggested last month Democrats would have to raise the debt ceiling on their own.
GOP Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia on Thursday attempted to shift blame to President Joe Biden for the state’s low COVID-19 vaccination rate as the highly-infectious Delta variant continues to spread, according to The Associated Press.
While speaking to reporters, Kemp said that Biden needed to push harder to allow the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to upgrade its emergency use authorization for the COVID-19 vaccines to full approval.
Kemp, who won his first race for governor in 2018, also stated that asking people to wear masks once again sends a “mixed message” and might cause people not to take the vaccine.
He encouraged Georgians to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and said he would look into other solutions if hospitals in the state became overwhelmed with patients.
“We know that the vaccines work,” Kemp said on Thursday. “I want to encourage people to get vaccinated if you’re comfortable doing that.”
Democratic state Sen. Michelle Au, an anesthesiologist, told The Associated Press that the state needed to do more to increase access to the vaccine and promote testing among residents who are unvaccinated.
“We aren’t trying hard enough,” Au told the news organization. “We like to blame the unvaccinated.”
On Thursday, Georgia posted over 4,800 positive COVID-19 tests, a high-point that was last reached in early February, when the vaccine wasn’t as readily available to the general public.
With the Delta variant spreading throughout Georgia, similar to the US as a whole, the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations across the state rose above 1,800.
COVID-19 infection rates have remained elevated in southeast Georgia.
Charlton County Administrator Hampton Raulerson told The Brunswick News that interest in the vaccines has not been robust.
“There’s a lot of distrust when it comes to the vaccine,” he said. “A lot of people thought (COVID-19) was going away.”
Kemp said that many people are reluctant to take the vaccine since it has still not been fully approved by the FDA.
“I’d love to see the Biden administration put an ‘Operation Warp Speed’ on moving away from the emergency use authorization,” he said on Thursday, referring to the Trump-era public-private vaccine development initiative that manufactured and distributed COVID-19 vaccines.
Dr. Peter Marks, the director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation, told The Washington Post on Friday that the agency is redeploying staff to accelerate their effort in fully approving the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
“This will remove one more layer for the vaccine-hesitant,” Marks said.“If all this does is get five to 10 million more people vaccinations down south, that will save lives.”
The CDC earlier this week shifted their guidelines on mask-wearing, recommending face coverings for vaccinated people indoors in areas with high transmission of the virus.
Kemp said that the CDC’s new guidance didn’t inspire confidence.
“When you tell them they can get vaccinated and then take their mask off and then you turn around weeks later and reverse that, who’s gonna trust anybody, any politician, Republican, Democrat, or otherwise?” he said.
President Joe Biden slammed state leaders Friday for sitting on billions in rental aid as the eviction moratorium is set to expire on Saturday.
Biden called on state and local governments to disperse the Emergency Rental Assistance funding they received in February.
“Five months later, with localities across the nation showing that they can deliver funds effectively – there can be no excuse for any state or locality not accelerating funds to landlords and tenants that have been hurt during this pandemic,” Biden said in a statement.
“Every state and local government must get these funds out to ensure we prevent every eviction we can,” Biden continued.
Lawmakers have been shifting the responsibility of letting the moratorium lapse.
Earlier this week, the president called on Congress to extend the eviction ban just days before the moratorium was set to expire, saying his administration would have “strongly supported” the decision to renew the ban but claimed to be unable to do so citing a ruling from the Supreme Court.
“In June, when CDC extended the eviction moratorium until July 31st, the Supreme Court’s ruling stated that ‘clear and specific congressional authorization (via new legislation) would be necessary for the CDC to extend the moratorium past July 31,'” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement.
According to Washington Post reporter Seung Min Kim, when she asked “why the administration waited until this week to push this to Congress – the White House insisted it had been ‘having conversations with Congress for some time about this.'”
However, a House Democratic aide, granted anonymity to speak candidly, told Insider that the White House statement on Thursday “just didn’t leave enough time.”
“Their statement hit us totally out of the blue, nobody was expecting it,” the aide said.
On the House floor on Friday evening, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, a Democrat from Maryland, asked for unanimous consent on extending the eviction moratorium before the House adjourned ahead of the deadline at the end of July.
The vote failed upon one objection, and the House is scheduled to reconvene until late September, pending any “significant legislation” that could call them into session sooner.
After the bill failed, Pelosi, Hoyer and House Majority whip Rep. James Clyburn wrote a statement expressing their disappointment. Earlier in the week and as late as Thursday, members of the House reportedly believed that the White House would extend the moratorium on it’s own.
“It is extremely disappointing that House and Senate Republicans have refused to work with us on this issue,” they wrote after the vote. “We strongly urge them to reconsider their opposition to helping millions of Americans and instead join with us to help renters and landlords hit hardest by the pandemic and prevent a nationwide eviction crisis.”
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted that her and Rep. Cori Bush, ” tried to object to the House adjourning session and force a roll call on whether we should leave.”
“They rushed to adjourn before we could get to the floor,” she wrote.
Around 6 million Americans are at risk of getting evicted in the coming months, or 16% of all renters, per Census Pulse Survey Data, after the moratorium expires on July 31.
When he was running for president in 2015, Sen. Ted Cruz pledged to fire around 150,000 federal workers, outright eliminating the Department of Education and IRS. But now he is advocating for unelected bureaucrats in Washington, at least when it comes to their right to resist a life-saving vaccine in a pandemic.
“President Biden’s new vaccine mandate for federal employees is a brazen example of how the Left is politicizing science in the service of their authoritarian instincts,” Cruz said in a press release on Thursday.
But we are dealing with a virus, not a personal vice. The available vaccines are incredibly effective, making one 25 times less likely to end up in the hospital or die, according to the latest data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But they are not perfect – and the likelihood of a “breakthrough” case is substantially higher when one is regularly exposed to an unvaccinated population that is a breeding ground for new variants.
You may drink yourself to death in a free society, at least in the privacy of your own home, but you are not permitted to cruise down the interstate. Federal and state laws are in place that prohibit drinking and driving.
In almost any other context, the senator from Texas would likely defend the right of an employer to set the terms of employment – indeed, he has argued there’s a right to deny it on the basis of sexual orientation. Every day, people accept restrictions on their liberties, from how they dress to what they say, in exchange for money. This is a system that enjoys overwhelming support from Republicans.
Vaccine mandates are also commonplace in Texas. There, the government mandates that every child who attends a public school receive seven vaccines covering everything from polio to Hepatitis to Measles, Mumps, and Rubella. Parents can obtain exemptions, under certain circumstances, but “in times of emergency or epidemic” Texas relies on blunt force. If you want your child to attend school, they must be vaccinated or they will be barred from entering the building – a recognition that, when it comes to a contagious disease, an individual choice can impinge on the liberty of others.
“Of course not,” a Cruz spokesperson, Dave Vasquez, said when asked if the senator objects to requirements for other vaccines. “Sen. Cruz has been clear that he opposes COVID vaccine mandates.”
And that is the crux: amid a pandemic, Cruz and others have decided now is the time to make public health another battle in the culture war, and to inveigh against liberal “authoritarianism” with respect to one particular life-saving inoculation. That looks more like politics than principle.
More than four-in-10 Republicans (45%) support a universal COVID-19 vaccine mandate, according to a new survey conducted by The COVID States Project.
The survey also found that a strong majority of Americans (64%) would support a universal vaccine mandate across the US. Most Americans (70%) supported a vaccine requirement for getting on a plane, as well as requiring one for allowing children to go back to school (61%), and mandating one for college students to go back to university (66%).
Republicans were the only subgroup in which a majority did not support a universal mandate. Comparatively, 84% of Democrats support a universal mandate, the poll showed.
The survey of 20,669 people was conducted across all 50 states and Washington, DC, from June 9 to July 7.
Polling has consistently shown that Republican voters are among the most hesitant Americans when it comes to getting vaccinated. Meanwhile, GOP politicians in Washington continue to push misinformation on vaccines, as they rail against mask mandates and other restrictions. But a number of GOP governors, as well as some prominent Republicans in Washington like Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, have recently ramped up efforts to urge people to get vaccinated – breaking from the vaccine skeptics in their party.
A universal mandate has not been proposed by leaders at the federal or state level, but there have been more specific requirements issued at various levels. But the Biden administration on Thursday did issue new rules for federal workers attest to their vaccination status or submit to testing and other measures. The Pentagon said members of the military would be subject to the same protocols.
Though the US appeared to be seeing the light at the end of the tunnel as vaccinations ramped up, the rate of vaccinations has plateaued across the county and cases have spiked in recent weeks due to the extraordinarily contagious Delta variant. The rise in cases has been driven by unvaccinated people, according to public health experts. This is prompting a new conversation about vaccine incentives.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new mask guidance this week amid concerns over the Delta variant, recommending that everyone – including vaccinated people – wear masks in public, indoor settings in areas of substantial and high transmission.
The CDC on Friday issued a report that said vaccinated people with breakthrough cases of the Delta variant may spread the virus to others as easily as unvaccinated people. The agency said the “concerning” finding “was a pivotal discovery leading to CDC’s updated mask recommendation.” But breakthrough cases are still thought to be rare, and the vaccine has shown to be highly effective in preventing severe illness, hospitalization, and death.
“Vaccinated and unvaccinated people infected with delta have higher viral loads, meaning more virus in their body, than with previous variants,” said White House principal deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on Friday. “High viral loads mean you are more likely to spread it, so in the rare occasions that vaccinated people get delta in a breakthrough infection, they may be contagious, and this is what we heard from CDC this week.”
During a virtual meeting with governors on Friday, a photographer captured the contents of a note passed to President Joe Biden from an aide: “Sir, there is something on your chin.”
The note was exposed as the president proceeded to turn the card over to take notes during the meeting in the South Court Auditorium in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.
Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris virtually met with seven governors, including California Gov. Gavin Newsom and Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee, on Friday to discuss wildfire prevention, preparedness, and response efforts.
“We can’t ignore how the overlapping and intertwined factors – extreme heat, prolonged drought, and supercharged wildfire conditions – are affecting the country,” Biden said during the virtual meeting. “And so this is a challenge that demands our urgent, urgent action.”
Other state leaders who were present on the call were Govs. Greg Gianforte of Montana, Kate Brown of Oregon, Brad Little of Idaho, Tim Walz of Minnesota, and Mark Gordon of Wyoming.
Wildfires have raged across the Pacific Northwest in recent weeks, blanketing the US in wildfire smoke that could be seen as far as the East Coast. “The largest, Oregon’s Bootleg Fire, has grown to nearly twice the size of New York City and started generating its own weather,” Insider’s Morgan McFall-Johnson reported.
“We’re in a for a long fight yet this year and the only way we’re going to meet those challenges is by working together. Wildfires are a problem for all of us and we have to stay closely coordinated in doing everything we can for our people,” Biden said.
Speaking to reporters at the White House Thursday, President Joe Biden said he supports including immigration reform measures in the $3.5 trillion spending bill that Democrats hope to pass without any Republican support via the process of reconciliation.
Biden supports creating a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers or immigrants under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, but said he’s unsure if it would be included in the bill, according to Reuters.
Biden’s remarks followed a meeting at the White House with Vice President Kamala Harris and a group of Democratic lawmakers to discuss the DACA program, which prevents the deportation of young immigrants.
Sen. Dick Durbin told reporters that Democrats have an opportunity to pass immigration reform measures and that Biden “made it clear to us, unequivocally clear that he stands with our efforts.”
The DACA discussions followed a ruling last month by a judge in Texas that found the program unlawful, causing the suspension of new applications.
Biden’s $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure deal advanced in the Senate Wednesday, with 17 Republicans joining all 50 Democrats in supporting it. In addition to the bipartisan plan, which will likely have a final vote in the next week or two, Democrats are hoping to pass a bigger infrastructure bill through reconciliation.
Reconciliation is a legislative tactic that allows lawmakers to pass bills that concern government spending with only a simple majority, rather than the 60-vote threshold needed to avoid a filibuster.
The $3.5 trillion spending package Democrats have proposed would include new social initiatives that Republicans opposed in the bipartisan bill. The initiatives include a national paid-leave program and affordable childcare, among other items.
“Anytime there’s been a CBO examination on immigration reform, it produces a significant increase in the GDP without really costing much money,” he said, referring to an analysis by the Congressional Budget Office.
It’s unclear what immigration reform measures would be included in the bill.
In March, House Democrats passed two immigration measures to establish pathways to citizenship for Dreamers and migrant farmworkers. Neither has passed in the Senate, despite a Democratic majority, because they lack the 10 Republican votes needed to avoid a filibuster.
The reconciliation bill would need all 50 Democratic senators on board to pass, but Sen. Kristen Sinema of Arizona said Wednesday she would not support a bill with a $3.5 trillion price tag, setting up the bill to be scaled back.