Archive for Charles Davis

Biden orders airstrikes against infrastructure used by ‘Iranian-backed militant groups’ in Syria

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A F18 Hornet fighter jet prepares to land on the deck of the US navy aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman in the eastern Mediterranean Sea on May 8, 2018
  • The US launched airstrikes Thursday night against "Iranian-backed militant groups" in Syria.
  • The Defense Department said the strikes were carried out at the direction of President Joe Biden.
  • The strikes came after rocket attacks targeting US forces in Iraq.
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US President Joe Biden ordered the military to carry out airstrikes against the assets of "Iranian-backed militant groups" in Syria on Thursday evening, the Pentagon said in a statement.

The strikes come after militants last week fired rockets that hit an Iraqi airbase used by the US military. That attack killed a US military contractor and wounded nine others.

The Iranian government supports a number of militant groups in Iraq and Syria and has pledged continued retaliation for the January 2020 killing of its general, Qassim Suleimani. That assassination came after Iraqi militant groups, days earlier, had killed another US military contractor in a rocket attack.

Thursday's strikes, according to defense officials, were primarily aimed at the militants' "infrastructure," not necessarily their personnel.

"Specifically, the strikes destroyed multiple facilities located at a border control point used by a number of Iranian-backed militant groups, including Kait'ib Hezbollah (KH) and Kait'ib Sayyid al-Shuhada (KSS)," the Pentagon said. The groups have deployed in Syria to support the regime of Bashar al-Assad, a close ally of Tehran.

"The operation sends an unambiguous message: President Biden will act to protect American and Coalition personnel. At the same time, we have acted in a deliberate manner that aims to de-escalate the overall situation in both eastern Syria and Iraq."

The incident comes as the Biden administration is also seeking to engage Iran in diplomacy as part of an effort to restore the 2015 nuclear deal scuttled by former President Donald Trump. Last week, the US State Department said it would attend multiparty talks "to discuss a diplomatic way forward on Iran's nuclear program."

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An ex-girlfriend tipped off the FBI about an alleged US Capitol rioter after he called her a ‘moron’

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A pro-Trump rioters breaks into the US Capitol on January 6, 2021.
  • Richard Michetti has been charged with entering restricted grounds at the US Capitol.
  • The Pennsylvania man was turned in by his ex-girlfriend after he called her a 'moron'.
  • She provided text messages and videos to the FBI.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

A Pennsylvania man was outed by his ex-girlfriend after trying to stop Congress from recognizing President Joe Biden's election victory, according to court documents.

The woman may have decided to tip off law enforcement after being insulted.

"If you can't see the election was stolen, you're a moron," Richard Michetti texted his ex-girlfriend, according to the criminal complaint. "This is our country do you think we live like kings because no one sacrificed anything?"

"[T]he vote was fraud and trump won but they won't audit the votes," he added.

Michetti's former partner provided the FBI with text messages and videos a day after the January 6 insurrection. She also identified him in other images that appear to show him inside the US Capitol.

The FBI also obtained a receipt showing that he checked into a DC hotel on January 5 and checked out a day later.

Michetti charged with entering a restricted building, violent entry, and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, and obstructing the work of Congress.

He was arraigned Tuesday at the US District Court in Philadelphia and released on bail, according to The Morning Call.

Numerous investigations, including those led by elected Republicans, found no evidence that there was any significant fraud in the 2020 election. Nonetheless, former President Donald Trump enflamed his supporters - and threatened state election officials - culminating in the breach of the US Capitol that delayed certification of Biden's win in the Electoral College.

More than 265 people have now been arrested and charged with taking part in the Capitol riot.

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Tiger Woods ‘lucky to be alive,’ police say, after breaking his legs in a Tuesday morning crash

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Los Angeles County Sheriff deputies gather evidence from the car that golf legend Tiger Woods was driving when seriously injured in a rollover accident on February 23, 2021 in Rolling Hills Estates, California. Rescuers used hydraulic rescue tools to extricate him from the car where he reportedly sustained major leg injuries. Law enforcement reports that there was no evidence of impairment. He was in town to participate in The Genesis Invitational golf tournament.
  • Tiger Woods is "lucky to be alive," Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said Tuesday.
  • Woods suffered two broken legs after a car crash Tuesday morning.
  • Firefighters found Woods conscious and stable, Fire Department Chief Daryl Osby told reporters.
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Tiger Woods was conscious when firefighters pulled him from an overturned vehicle on Tuesday, in stable condition but with "a very serious injury," Los Angeles County Fire Department Chief Daryl Osby told reporters.

Though his condition was bad, "he wasn't so serious that he needed to be transported to the nearest hospital for immediate life-saving treatment," Osby said.

Woods is currently being treated at the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, where he underwent surgery after suffering two broken legs.

The renowned golfer is "lucky to be alive," Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said at a press conference Tuesday.

Villanueva declined to speculate on the cause of the single-vehicle crash Tuesday morning in the wealthy neighborhood of Rancho Palos Verdes. He did say, however, "there was no evidence of impairment."

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Ex-NYPD officer charged with using a flagpole to assault a cop during the US Capitol riot

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A pro-Trump mob clashes with police on January 6, 2021, in Washington, DC.
  • Thomas Webster appeared in court Tuesday over charges he assaulted a police officer.
  • Webster is a former member of the New York Police Department.
  • Prosecutors accuse him of using a flagpole to attack an officer at the January 6 US Capitol riot.
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A former member of the New York Police Department appeared in court Tuesday to face charges that he assaulted a police officer with a dangerous weapon during the January 6 riot at the US Capitol.

According to a criminal complaint, Thomas Webster, who was arrested Monday, was carrying a metal flagpole with a US Marine Corps flag on it when he began verbally harassing a member of the Metropolitan Police Department, declaring him a "commie" and a "piece of shit."

Then, prosecutors say, Webster shoved a metal gate into the man and then lunged at him, "striking at the officer with the flagpole numerous times."

He is at least the second man to be charged with using a flagpole to attack a police officer during the insurrection.

"You can see him ripping the officer's protective gear off, the gas mask or the helmet that he was wearing at the time, which … caused the police officer to choke. It cut off his air at least for a short period of time," Assistant US Attorney Benjamin Gianforti said Tuesday, the Associated Press reported.

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A man is seen attempting to rip a face mask off a police officer outside the US Capitol

The actions were caught on body camera footage. Prosecutors say Webster can also been seen on a YouTube video in restricted grounds at the US Capitol. "Send more patriots," the man in the video states. "We need some help."

Webster, who runs a landscaping company, was identified with screenshots from the video by an administrator at his children's high school, according to the complaint.

If convicted, he could face more than a decade behind bars.

Webster is currently being held without bail until his next court appearance on March 3, with US Magistrate Judge Andrew E. Krause calling the video footage he reviewed "disturbing" and "well beyond First Amendment speech."

His lawyer, James Monroe, said he intends to plead not guilty.

More than 250 people have now been charged in connection with the violence on January 6.

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Iowa and New Hampshire shouldn’t vote first anymore, says former DNC chair Tom Perez: ‘The status quo is clearly unacceptable.’

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Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT), (R), greets DNC Chairman Tom Perez, (L) on stage as he gets ready to speak to a crowd of supporters at a Democratic unity rally at the Rail Event Center on April 21, 2017 in Salt Lake City, Utah.
  • Former DNC chair Tom Perez said his party should change how it votes for a presidential nominee.
  • "The status quo is clearly unacceptable," Perez said in an interview with The New York Times.
  • Perez said a more diverse state or set of states should vote before either Iowa or New Hampshire.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Democrats cannot keep voting like it's 1972, according to former party chairman Tom Perez, who said it's time to let others go first when it comes time to select a presidential nominee.

"The status quo is clearly unacceptable," Perez, who headed the Democratic National Committee during the 2020 nomination process, said in an interview published Sunday by The New York Times.

For nearly 50 years, Iowa has been the first state to weigh in on who should lead the Democrats into the general election, followed soon after by New Hampshire. In 1972, that was a progressive reform: Previously, party elites made the choice with little direct input from their party's voters.

But both states are overwhelmingly white, far more so than the general public and the Democratic electorate in particular.

"A diverse state or states need to be first," Perez said. "The difference between going first and going third is really important. We know the importance of momentum in Democratic primaries."

In 2020, the Iowa caucuses were narrowly won by now-Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders taking New Hampshire. Sanders also won the next state, Nevada, the first with a significant population of color.

However, it wasn't until the fourth contest, in South Carolina, that a state with a large Black population voted. That state was won by President Joe Biden.

"This is the Democratic Party of 2020," Perez said. "It's different from the Democratic Party in how we were in 1972. And we need to reflect that change. And so I am confident that the status quo is not going to survive."

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Iowa and New Hampshire shouldn’t vote first anymore, says former DNC chair Tom Perez: ‘The status quo is clearly unacceptable.’

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Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT), (R), greets DNC Chairman Tom Perez, (L) on stage as he gets ready to speak to a crowd of supporters at a Democratic unity rally at the Rail Event Center on April 21, 2017 in Salt Lake City, Utah.
  • Former DNC chair Tom Perez said his party should change how it votes for a presidential nominee.
  • "The status quo is clearly unacceptable," Perez said in an interview with The New York Times.
  • Perez said a more diverse state or set of states should vote before either Iowa or New Hampshire.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Democrats cannot keep voting like it's 1972, according to former party chairman Tom Perez, who said it's time to let others go first when it comes time to select a presidential nominee.

"The status quo is clearly unacceptable," Perez, who headed the Democratic National Committee during the 2020 nomination process, said in an interview published Sunday by The New York Times.

For nearly 50 years, Iowa has been the first state to weigh in on who should lead the Democrats into the general election, followed soon after by New Hampshire. In 1972, that was a progressive reform: Previously, party elites made the choice with little direct input from their party's voters.

But both states are overwhelmingly white, far more so than the general public and the Democratic electorate in particular.

"A diverse state or states need to be first," Perez said. "The difference between going first and going third is really important. We know the importance of momentum in Democratic primaries."

In 2020, the Iowa caucuses were narrowly won by now-Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders taking New Hampshire. Sanders also won the next state, Nevada, the first with a significant population of color.

However, it wasn't until the fourth contest, in South Carolina, that a state with a large Black population voted. That state was won by President Joe Biden.

"This is the Democratic Party of 2020," Perez said. "It's different from the Democratic Party in how we were in 1972. And we need to reflect that change. And so I am confident that the status quo is not going to survive."

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Florida man arrested after FBI says Facebook posts appear to show him entering the US Capitol, including an image of broken furniture with a ‘US SENATE SERGEANT AT ARMS’ sticker

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In this Jan. 6, 2021, file photo, Trump supporters try to break through a police barrier at the Capitol in Washington. In dozens of cases on social media, Trump supporters downright flaunted their activity on the day of the deadly insurrection. Some, apparently realizing they were in trouble with the law, deleted their accounts only to discover their friends and family members had already taken screenshots of their selfies, videos, and comments and sent them to the FBI.
  • Adam Honeycutt was arrested Thursday at his girlfriend's house in Florida.
  • The government alleges he unlawfully entered the US Capitol on January 6.
  • Honeycutt boasted of his involvement on Facebook, according to a criminal complaint.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

A Florida man who posted videos on social media that appear to show him entering the US Capitol was arrested by federal agents on Thursday over his alleged role in the January 6 insurrection

Adam Honeycutt was arrested after two people tipped off the FBI. Both alerted the bureau to the man's Facebook page, which one of the tipsters said showed "multiple videos and photos apparently taken by [him] at the US Capitol," according to a criminal complaint.

One tipster said they were "not friends with him" on Facebook but said, according to the complaint, that there was sufficient enough evidence on his public feed, "Including a picture of him holding a broken piece of a desk from within the Capitol."

That photo is included in the government's complaint, the broken furniture having a prominent sticker that reveals its owner: "US SENATE SERGEANT AT ARMS."

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Photo from criminal complaint.

Days after the riot, Honeycutt appeared to grasp that there could be legal consequences. In one private post, provided to the FBI by a confidential informant, he insisted that he had not been inside the US Capitol at all.

"Hell, I was at the food truck when the shit hit the fan," he wrote on January 10, asserting that he would have said so sooner but he did not have reception. "Then got put in [Facebook] jail so I couldn't let yall know that I wasn't with the rioters."

He also changed his profile photo from one of him outside the Capitol to another featuring him and a small child.

Videos posted the day of the riot, reviewed by the FBI, however, suggest otherwise, according to the criminal complaint.

In one, he appears to be outside the Capitol as rioters clash with police, the complaint alleges. "It's about to go down!" he yells, according to the court documents. In another, the complaint alleges, he appears on camera and states, "Well, made it in."

His still-active Facebook page shows him to be a fan of Fox News personalities Laura Ingraham and Tucker Carlson. On January 28 he updated his profile photo again to a meme that depicts President Joe Biden as a character from "The Avengers," Thanos, snapping his fingers and eliminating oil industry jobs, a reference to the canceling of the Keystone XL pipeline.

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Adam Honeycutt's most recent profile photo on Facebook.

Honeycutt is charged with entering restricted grounds, violent entry, and disorderly conduct. He was arrested at his girlfriend's house in Orange Park, Florida, a suburb of Jacksonville, according to local NBC News affiliate News4Jax. He faces up to six months in prison.

Read more: Meet the little-known power player with the 'hardest job' on Capitol Hill. She's shaping Trump's impeachment trial and Joe Biden's agenda.

His lawyer, Lee Lockett, did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment. However, he told News4Jax that his client is cooperating with authorities.

Prosecutors are seeking to prevent Honeycutt from being released on bail, alleging that they found marijuana and improperly secured guns when they arrested him.

Honeycutt is himself a bail bondsman, the complaint says, a LinkedIn page stating that he has worked as one since August 2018.

A hearing, at the federal courthouse in Jacksonville, is set for Tuesday morning.

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Sen. Tom Cotton denies asking staffer to bring him a gun during US Capitol siege

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Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) questions President Joe Biden's nominee for Secretary of Defense, retired Army Gen. Lloyd Austin at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee at the US Capitol on January 19, 2021 in Washington, DC.
  • Sen. Tom Cotton denies asking an aide to bring him a gun during the Capitol Siege on January 6.
  • A spokesperson challenged a CNN report that he'd asked for a firearm.
  • Cotton declined to challenge the final result of the 2020 election, breaking with other Republicans.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

US Sen. Tom Cotton's office is denying the Arkansas Republican asked one of his staffers to bring him a gun during the January 6 siege on the US Capitol by a pro-Trump mob.

CNN's Jamie Gangel made the claim on-air Wednesday evening, saying Cotton told her he was prepared to shoot rioters.

But a spokesperson for the senator, Caroline Tabler, denied that report.

"Senator Cotton did not have or request a gun that day," Tabler told Insider, "nor does he need one to defend himself and others under any circumstances."

Though a reliable conservative vote in the Senate, Cotton had angered Trump supporters by refusing to join Sens. Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley in challenging the outcome of the 2020 election.

"I will not oppose the counting of certified electoral votes on January 6," he said in a statement issued 72 hours before the insurrection.

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About 1 in 10 Americans have received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine

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Medical staff prepare to administer COVID-19 vaccines at Northern Navajo Medical Center on December 15, 2020 in Shiprock, New Mexico. Medical staff at the Northern Navajo Medical Center are among the first in the Navajo Nation to receive their Pfizer-BioNTech vaccinations today.
  • Roughly one out of every 10 Americans has received a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to the CDC.
  • Roughly 3% of Americans have been fully inoculated.
  • At the current pace, half of the US will have received at least one dose by July.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Roughly 1 in 10 people in the United States has received at least a single dose of a coronavirus vaccine, with just under 3% of the population now fully inoculated, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Overall, 42.4 million shots had been administered as of Monday: over 22 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech and more than 20 million of Moderna.

Before taking office, President Joe Biden said he was hoping to provide the first dose to 100 million Americans in his first 100 days. But after being inaugurated, Biden expressed optimism there would be enough supply "to get that to 1.5 million a day, rather than 1 million a day."

According to the CDC, the US is inching close to that goal. More than 1.2 million doses were delivered on February 8, with a seven-day average of 1.46 million, per The New York Times. At the current pace, half the population will be at least partially vaccinated by July 7.

There is reason to believe that target will be reached sooner. Earlier this month, Johnson & Johnson asked the Food and Drug Administration to authorize the emergency use of its single-dose vaccine, which was found to prevent moderate and severe cases of COVID-19 in 66% of those who received it during clinical trials. That authorization could come before the end of February.

Another vaccine, from AstraZeneca, could also be available in the US this spring, although supplies in Europe, where it is currently being used, are tight.

A continuing hurdle, however, will be equality of access. In the US, African-Americans make up less than 6% of those who have received a dose of the vaccine, according to the CDC, despite making up more than 13% of the total population. And while more than 18% of the public identifies as Latino or Latina, less than 9% of that demographic has been vaccinated.

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PayPal suspends account of neo-Nazi who was using the site to sell hate speech

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PayPal suspended a neo-Nazi user after anti-fascist activists noted he was selling books using the company's service.

An avowed white supremacist will have to find another way to sell his racist tracts after PayPal suspended his account on Tuesday.

Billy Roper is a third-generation white supremacist, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center; his father and grandfather were both members of the Ku Klux Klan. The SPLC describes Roper, based in Arkansas, as "the uncensored voice of violent neo-Nazism."

"I'm a biological racist," he said in a 2003 essay published in a neo-Nazi newsletter, per the SPLC. "Every non-white on the planet has to become extinct," he added in a 2005 radio interview. He also praised the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, admiring the "testicular fortitude" of al-Qaeda.

Though his views were well-documented, Roper was until this week selling his latest collection of hate speech, purporting to be a guide to surviving "the future breakup of America" into racial enclaves, on his own website, where he was accepting credit cards through PayPal - after Amazon and other online retailers had the 126-page screed removed from their platforms.

"We regularly assess activity against our Acceptable Use Policy and carefully review actions reported to us, and will discontinue our relationship with account holders who are found to violate our policy," a company spokesperson said after Insider asked about his use of the service. PayPal's policy states that users may not promote "hate, violence, racial or other forms of intolerance."

On Twitter, the Colorado Springs Anti-Fascists group has been calling on supporters to contact PayPal and other companies and bring to attention their roles in facilitating the spread of racist propaganda.

"Billy Roper is a well known neo-Nazi leader, so he has been on our radar for years," an activist from the group told Insider. "Cutting off funding to white supremacist organizations and figureheads makes their recruitment and propaganda efforts more difficult."

It's not the first time that PayPal has acted against right-wing extremists after activists pointed out they were exploiting its platform. In 2019, it suspended an account being used to fundraise for the KKK after a co-founder of the anti-racist group Sleeping Giants highlighted it on social media.

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