Archive for Erin Snodgrass

Justices prosecuting pro-Trump Capitol riot defendants are receiving ‘all kinds of threats,’ according to federal judge

capitol riot military
In this Jan. 6, 2021 file photo rioters supporting President Donald Trump storm the Capitol in Washington.
  • A federal judge said judges prosecuting January 6 cases are receiving "all kinds of threats."
  • DC District Judge Reggie Walton made the comments during sentencing for Lori and Thomas Vinson.
  • The judge handed down the maximum sentence for both in an effort to deter future violence.

A federal judge is blaming unrepentant Capitol riot defendants for the recent influx of threats targeted toward justices prosecuting January 6 cases.

During a Friday sentencing hearing for Lori and Thomas Vinson, DC District Judge Reggie Walton slammed the ongoing propagation of former President Donald Trump's election lies, saying Capitol riot defendants who are standing by their actions have spurred others who believe the election was "stolen" to harass the dozen or so judges who are overseeing the hundreds of January 6 cases.

"As judges, we're getting all kinds of threats and hostile phone calls when we have these cases before us, because there are unfortunately other people out there who buy in on this proposition, even though there was no proof, that somehow the election was fraudulent," Walton said in court on Friday, according to CNN.

Official audits and election experts have concluded there was no widespread fraud in the 2020 election, and the Department of Homeland Security declared the election the "most secure in American history."

But that hasn't stopped some Trump supporters from continuing to spread dangerous propaganda about US election security, Walton said, which he called a threat to democracy.

"Democracies die, and we've seen it in the past, when the citizens rise up against their government and engage in the type of conduct that happened on January 6," Walton said.

In an effort to deter future insurrection, Walton sentenced both Lori and Thomas Vinson to five years probation and a $5,000 fine - the maximum penalty allowed, as well as the heftiest fine for any Capitol rioter yet, CNN reported. Federal prosecutors had originally asked that Lori receive one month in jail and Thomas get house arrest.

"I want the sentence to hurt," Walton said. "I want people to understand that if you do something like this, it's going to hurt. I know it's a lot of money but hey, that's the consequence that you suffer when you associate yourself with this type of behavior."

The Kentucky couple was arrested in February after several people identified them in photos and videos from inside the Capitol on January 6, according to court documents. Lori Vinson made headlines after giving a broadcast interview in which she boasted that she would "do it again."

"I hope [Jan. 6] is something I remember and say 'I'm glad I was a part of that' 30 years from now," Vinson told a local TV station in Evansville, Indiana. She also said she was "not sorry" for her participation.

The FBI said it used her TV interviews after the insurrection to help build a case against the couple.

"It bothers me that she would try to associate herself with that type of violence... and then she goes on television on two occasions and is proud of what she did, and says she would do it again," Walton said on Friday.

Ahead of sentencing, Lori Vinson tearfully asked the judge for leniency, citing her new job as a nurse and her work helping patients with COVID-19, according to CNN. Her husband, one of the several dozen veterans charged in the riot, acknowledged his wrongdoing.

"I took that oath to the Constitution and I know I broke that oath that day by entering that building and participating in the events of January 6," Thomas Vinson reportedly said. "It's blemish that's going to be on myself, my family for the rest of my life, and the country, and into the history books."

Read the original article on Business Insider

An Illinois school board member said she resigned after finding 4 dead rodents in front of her home: ‘I was afraid on a day-to-day basis’

A photo of Carolyn Waibel's AC unit after she said harassers tampered with it next to a picture of one of the dead rodents left in her driveway.
A photo of Carolyn Waibel's AC unit after she said harassers tampered with it next to a picture of one of the dead rodents left in her driveway.
  • An Illinois school board member resigned this month following months of "unrelenting harassment."
  • Carolyn Waibel told Insider someone trespassed on her property and vandalized her home.
  • She believes her aversion to extremism made her a target among angry community members.

When the vitriolic emails began arriving in her inbox this summer, Carolyn Waibel hardly flinched.

Unpleasant feedback has become "par for the course" for locally-elected school board officials in recent months, and members of the St. Charles School Board in St. Charles, Illinois, found they were not exempt from receiving such displays of anger.

Parent concerns, first about remote learning, then critical race theory, and finally regarding masking in classrooms, dominated community school board meetings and message boards for months amid the pandemic, Waibel told Insider

Even when the emails became more ominous - Waibel said the board received one message telling members: "Your days are numbered" - she reported the threats to local authorities and continued to do her job.

The Illinois mother said she endured social media attacks, comparisons to Hitler, the publishing of her personal information, and even vandalism at her home in the form of a tampered-with AC unit and multiple dead rodents left on her property, all while continuing to serve the community, she said.

Waibel initially thought the two dead chipmunks, dead rat, and dead mouse, which all appeared in her driveway in the span of one week, might have been victims of a particularly vicious cat. But when she readjusted her home security camera in hopes of catching the culprit, the rodents stopped appearing.

The last straw didn't come until this fall, when Waibel said she heard someone come onto her property while she was home and discovered her garage refrigerator and freezer had been unplugged.

As she had previously done with the online harassment and AC vandalism, Waibel reported the trespassing to local police. But according to Waibel, she was told the incidents would be difficult to prosecute because her status as an elected official left her open to such action.

The St. Charles Police Department did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

"It's terrorizing events meant to build fear so you are afraid to leave your home," Waibel told Insider. "You're afraid to do your volunteer job to help the kids and community."

Following the incident, Waibel went to her fellow board members asking for protective measures to be instituted, such as a no trespassing order for particularly aggressive community members. The board declined, Waibel said.

During her final school board meeting earlier this month, Waibel criticized the district for failing to protect school board members, the Daily Herald reported.

"This board and this district has not protected its own," she said during the meeting. "I call for immediate action. There are other boards in this state that have the courage to take care of their own people. This board is not one of them. I'm ashamed to be on it."

Later that night, she resigned.

"I had to put the safety of myself and family first," she told Insider.

The St. Charles School Board did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

Waibel is the latest casualty in the newest culture war; one that is being fought at explosive school board meetings across the country, where passionate parents debate the merits of proven COVID-19 mitigation methods, such as masks and vaccines, as well as other hot-button topics like critical race theory and mental health resources.

"Somewhere along the line we've lost the civility and professionalism to communicate our unhappiness as parent advocates," the former two-term school board member said.

Waibel, who was first elected in 2017, said her first term was a success. As an ideological moderate, she worked across the aisle with members of both political affiliations to promote a collaborative environment and address the issues facing the districts' nearly 13,000 students.

Even when COVID-19 struck in early 2020, Waibel said the board was diligent in keeping parents up to date and handling pandemic-related challenges.

But students' return to the classroom this year, which coincided with the start of Waibel's second term, sparked growing discontent in the community. As the new school year approached, Waibel said a small group of outspoken parents became less manageable, especially as masking in schools became a contentious topic.

In August, Illinois implemented a statewide mask requirement for all public and non-public K-12 schools, making school board decisions on the matter fairly easy: Comply with the mask mandate or risk losing funding.

Waibel said the St. Charles School Board agreed to uphold the governor's executive order.

But the statewide requirement didn't stop a small minority of vocal parents from directing their anger toward school board members, Waibel said. She believes her harassers are primarily community members who are being supported by a larger, statewide parents' rights organization focused on "protecting liberties."

Though she wasn't the only member who dealt with harassment in recent months, she said the brunt of the aggression landed at her feet.

"I'm center," Waibel said. "I think it bothers people that I'm not extreme. These people are very interested in polarizing our community."

Eventually, after what she described as months of online attacks and in-person intimidation, she reached her breaking point.

"That's their goal," she said. "Their goal is to get people to resign."

Knowing her departure would be celebrated by the same people who drove her out made the decision incredibly difficult, Waibel said. She is still afraid one of her harassers may end up taking her spot on the board.

But Waibel believes her experience is representative of a larger dilemma that school boards across the country are facing as instances of violence and harassment become more commonplace in an increasingly polarized world.

"I think boards, in general, feel that they can't take action because it will infringe on people's First Amendment rights," she said.

"But if not, people who want to do altruistic work aren't going to run for these positions anymore," she added.

Waibel said she is pursuing further action with local authorities to protect her safety and has already talked to local politicians about possible legislation to protect officials at the local level moving forward.

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Trump bemoaned being banned from Twitter in his announcement for new social network: TRUTH Social

donald trump rally
Former U.S. President Donald Trump.
  • Donald Trump announced plans to launch a new social media site in 2022 called TRUTH Social.
  • The former president said he created the site to "fight back" against Big Tech.
  • Trump cited the Taliban's Twitter presence while bemoaning his own permanent ban from the site.

Donald Trump deemed himself America's "favorite President," in a press release announcing plans for his own social media platform called TRUTH Social.

The former president on Wednesday announced the app while reaffirming his longstanding hostility toward "Big Tech" - specifically mentioning his permanent ban from Twitter.

"We live in a world where the Taliban has a huge presence on Twitter, yet your favorite American President has been silenced," he wrote. "This is unacceptable."

In a lawsuit filed against Twitter, Trump's lawyers have made a similar argument as to why the former president should be reinstated on the social media platform.

While members of the Taliban government do have Twitter accounts, the site, along with Facebook and YouTube, has enforced varied bans against specific Taliban content in the wake of the group's August takeover in Afghanistan. But as the extremist group begins a new reign, eager to prove themselves as a legitimate government on the world stage, the rules aren't clear as to who or what should be banned, as Insider's Hannah Towey and Heather Schlitz reported earlier this year.

Prior to August, the Taliban was banned from most social media platforms because it posted content primarily focused on attacks against the US, Emerson Brooking, a senior fellow studying social media and international security at the Atlantic Council's Digital Forensic Research Lab told Recode earlier this year.

But now that the war with the US is over, the Taliban has adjusted their social media habits, instead focusing on using platforms to make press statements and provide information to citizens.

Trump, meanwhile, had his Twitter account permanently suspended in January, following the January 6 Capitol riot. The company cited a risk of "further incitement of violence" if the former president was allowed to keep his account.

The former president's Wednesday announcement comes after months of speculation regarding his plans to create his own media operation in the wake of his suspension from Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

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At least 5 Capitol riot defendants are representing themselves, including one who sent a billing schedule to the court

Brandon Fellows in the US Capitol on January 6 with his feet up on a table.
Brandon Fellows in the US Capitol on January 6. Fellows is representing himself.
  • At least five Capitol riot defendants are representing themselves, despite no legal training.
  • One New York man who is defending himself admitted to two new felonies while testifying last week.
  • Judges have offered warnings to those requesting to represent themselves about possible consequences.

Several Capitol riot defendants are betting on themselves as they head to trial, despite a lack of legal expertise and warnings from judges, both implicit and explicit.

At least five people charged in relation to the January 6 Capitol attack have waived their right to a formally-trained attorney in favor of defending themselves, according to The Associated Press.

  1. Alan Hostetter charged with conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of an official proceeding and aiding and abetting, knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds, knowingly engaged in disorderly or disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds
  2. Brandon Fellows charged with knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds, violent entry or disorderly conduct
  3. Pauline Bauer charged with obstruction of justice/Congress, knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds, knowingly engaged in disorderly or disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds, violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds
  4. Eric Bochene charged with knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds, violent entry or disorderly conduct
  5. Brian Christopher Mock charged with assaulting, resisting or impeding certain officers, knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority; disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds, obstruction of law enforcement during civil disorder, acts of physical violence in any of the Capitol buildings or grounds

Just last week, US District Judge Royce Lamberth advised former California police chief Alan Hostetter that he had never before seen someone successfully represent him or herself since he was appointed to the bench in 1987. Lamberth approved Hostetter's request to represent himself, but warned that those who do so have "a fool for a client."

The choice to represent oneself is a Constitutional right, and the judge's warning did not stop Hostetter, or others who received similar judicial guidance, from going it alone in their legal defense.

One Capitol riot defendant made a massive blunder while representing himself in court earlier this month. Brandon Fellows, a New York man facing a litany of charges stemming from the Capitol riot, not only failed to win his release in a recent bond hearing, but also likely admitted to two new felonies in the process of defending himself, a federal judge said last week.

Ahead of the hearing, US District Judge Trevor McFadden issued Fellows a warning similar to the one Hostetter received, but Fellows told the court he had spent two weeks studying in DC Jail's law library and felt confident in his approach.

Fellows took the stand during the hearing and admitted to climbing into the Capitol through a broken window without permission from authorities, as well as previously using a judge's wife's phone number to get a new judge in a past case.

Hostetter, meanwhile, told the court he wanted the chance to represent himself in order to expose what he believes is far-reaching "corruption" within the FBI investigation into the Capitol attack.

Pauline Bauer of Pennsylvania has also opted to represent herself. Judge McFadden jailed the restaurant owner, who is accused of threatening to hang House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and who made headlines earlier this year for mounting an unusual defense against the Capitol riot charges, claiming she was "divinely immune" from the court's laws.

Screenshots of Pauline Bauer in the Capitol Rotunda on January 6.
Pauline Bauer in the Capitol Rotunda on January 6.

In a July hearing, Bauer demanded the removal of "any and all" defense attorneys on her behalf, arguing that she didn't want "any lawyering from the bench."

In perhaps the most brazen move by a self-represented defendant yet, Eric Bochene of New York submitted a "fee schedule," in which he attempted to collect payment from the court for working on his own case, The AP reported.

Bochene wanted to charge up to $250,000 for up to two hours in court if he is feeling under "duress," and $50,000 for showing up voluntarily, the outlet reported. Should the court force him to give any bodily fluids, Bochene attempted to demand a payment of $5 million under the billing schedule.

US District Judge Randolph Moss, who ruled last month that Bochene could represent himself, denied the defendant's request for payment, according to The AP.

Brian Christopher Mock, a Minnesota man, is the fifth defendant to begin representing himself last month, the outlet reported. Court records allege that Mock bragged about assaulting police officers at the Capitol following the insurrection.

Nearly 700 people have been charged in the Capitol riot thus far, and nearly 100 have pleaded guilty.

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Former police chief charged in Capitol riot requests to defend himself in order to expose ‘corruption’ of FBI investigation into attack

Capitol riot
Trump supporters clash with police and security forces on January 6, 2021.
  • A former California police chief requested to represent himself as he faces charges related to Jan. 6.
  • A US District Judge said he would allow Alan Hostetter to defend himself but offered a warning.
  • Judge Royce Lamberth said those who represent themselves have "a fool for a client."

A former California police chief with alleged ties to a far-right militia group requested to represent himself on Thursday against felony charges stemming from the January 6 Capitol riot.

Alan Hostetter, 56, former police chief in La Habra, California, was indicted in June. Prosecutors allege Hostetter is one of six California men charged in connection to the riot who have ties to the extremist group known as the Three Percenters.

The group takes its name from the myth that only three percent of colonists took up arms during the Revolutionary War.

In court on Thursday, Hostetter requested to defend himself, telling US District Judge Royce Lamberth that he wants to expose what he called the "corruption of this investigation," referring to the vast FBI probe into the attack, according to Reuters.

Lamberth reportedly responded to Hostetter's request by proclaiming that those who represent themselves in court have "a fool for a client." But the judge said he would allow Hostetter the opportunity to represent himself after he received an affidavit from the defendant.

Prosecutors allege that Hostetter, in addition to having ties to the Three Percenters, also started his own far-right group called the American Phoenix Project, which put on anti-COVID lockdown protests and backed former President Donald Trump's election fraud lies following the 2020 vote.

According to court documents, the group became a way to advocate for violence against government leaders.

An attorney listed for Hostetter did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

Earlier this week, a Capitol riot defendant admitted to two new felonies while representing himself.

Nearly 700 people have been charged in connection with the deadly Capitol attack, and almost 100 have now pleaded guilty.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Elizabeth Warren calls Amazon a ‘monster that has to be fed every minute’ as she pushes to break up the company

Elizabeth Warren
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) speaks during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on September 28, 2021.
  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren slammed Amazon in a recent CNN interview, renewing her calls to break it up.
  • The lawmaker accused the company of "smashing little businesses before they ever get a foothold."
  • She cited a Reuters report that revealed Amazon used third-party sellers' data to copy products.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren castigated Amazon in a recent CNN Business interview, accusing the retail behemoth of crushing smaller businesses as the Massachusetts lawmaker ramps up her bid to break up the $1.7 trillion company.

Warren has made a name for herself as a reliable antagonist toward big tech and its leaders, most recently going after Amazon for its labor troubles.

But in an interview this week, the senator redirected her animosity at the company's tilt toward monopolization.

"Amazon has the power and uses it to smash little businesses before they ever get a foothold," Warren told CNN.

She criticized the website for selling everyday products while simultaneously controlling the primary platform people use to purchase such products.

"You can either be the umpire or a player on the field. But you can't be both. That's what Amazon does," Warren told the outlet. "What's the solution here? Break Amazon up."

Warren reportedly took specific umbrage with a recent Reuters investigation that revealed Amazon ran a "systemic campaign of creating knockoffs and manipulating search results" in order to boost its own product lines in India, one of its top growing markets.

The outlet reported that Amazon used third-party sellers' data to copy products and promote them to shoppers. The company rejected the allegations, denying that it gives preferential treatment to any seller or marketplace and emphasizing that its search result display doesn't favor its own private-brand products.

But Warren reportedly doesn't trust that response.

"How was Amazon able to build a huge clothing presence? The answer is they had inside information about what Indians were buying," Warren said. "Most people think of antitrust as simply the area a company is in. But what Amazon has shown is how a company can dominate in one area and then leverage that into dominance across multiple areas."

Following the report's publication earlier this week, Warren renewed her calls to break up the company,

A spokesperson with Amazon declined to comment directly on the senator's remarks, and instead, pointed Insider to two blog posts from last year that rejected calls to break the company up.

In one, the company argues that "fringe notions on antitrust would destroy smaller businesses and hurt consumers." The second explains that while Amazon is a large company, it operates in a competitive, "highly fragmented" global market.

"Amazon starts off as the dominant book delivery service," she told CNN. "And then it starts morphing into other products and becomes the dominant delivery service. Now it's like a monster that has to be fed every minute."

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Mike Lindell is still spreading lies about the 2020 election. He most recently claimed 23,000 dead people voted in Wisconsin using a prison address.

mike lindell
MyPillow CEO Michael Lindell laughs during a press conference in Des Moines, on February 3, 2020.
  • MyPillow CEO and Trump loyalist Mike Lindell is back with another lie about the 2020 election.
  • Lindell is falsely claiming that 23,000 dead people voted using the same address in Wisconsin.
  • The businessman made the claims during an interview on his personal website.

Nearly one year after former President Donald Trump lost the 2020 election to President Joe Biden, MyPillow CEO and fierce Trump loyalist Mike Lindell is still espousing a string of bizarre - and false - claims about the election results.

This time, the right-wing businessman trumpeted a conspiracy theory that tens of thousands of people voted using a fake address and phone number in Wisconsin to help Biden win the battleground state that Trump took in 2016.

Without offering any evidence, Lindell, during an interview on his own website, michaeljlindell.com, suggested 23,000 people voted using the same prison address in the state and claimed "a lot of them" weren't even alive.

"If you can pull up, I'm gonna show you guys in Wisconsin, just an example, how 23,000 people voted using a prison address and used the same phone number," he said. "And a lot of them were people that turned out, as we dove into it, they're not alive anymore, they just used their names obviously, and they don't live in Wisconsin."

Lindell, 60, did not offer any additional specifics about which alleged prison was the site of widespread fraud or how 23,000 people would even be able to register using the same phone number.

The lie is just the latest in Lindell's attempts to convince Americans that widespread voter fraud led to a "stolen" election. The CEO has previously blamed "rigged" voting machines and Chinese interference for Trump's loss.

He also helped finance several failed lawsuits aiming to overturn the election results and now faces his own lawsuit, with Dominion Voting Systems suing him and Trump attorneys Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell for defamation over their lies about the company's machines.

Official audits and election experts have concluded that there was no widespread fraud in the 2020 election. Trump's own attorney general, William Barr, even confirmed the legitimacy of the results in the weeks following the vote.

The Department of Homeland Security declared the 2020 election the "most secure in American history."

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A Texas civics teacher in the US on asylum was sentenced to 12 month probation for his role in the Capitol riot

Eliel Rosa can be seen in the lefthand corner wearing a red hat.
Eliel Rosa can be seen in the lefthand corner wearing a red hat.
  • A Texas man who turned himself in 3 days after the Capitol riot was sentenced to one year probation.
  • Eliel Rosa, 53, is a civics teacher in the US on asylum as he pursues US citizenship.
  • By pleading to a misdemeanor, Rosa avoided a felony, which would have threatened future citizenship.

A Texas civics teacher charged in the January 6 Capitol attack narrowly avoided jail time after he struck a plea deal - but the man's delicate immigration status could still be in jeopardy, despite his lenient sentence.

Eliel Rosa, 53, pleaded guilty to one count of parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a Capitol building earlier this year after he admitted to entering the US Capitol on January 6. Rosa had previously been indicted on five counts, including a felony obstruction charge that carried a possible sentence of 20 years.

On Tuesday, US District Court Judge Trevor McFadden in DC sentenced Rosa to one year of probation, 100 hours of community service, and $500 in damages. Federal prosecutors had requested one month of home confinement.

According to a criminal complaint reviewed by Insider, Rosa, along with his friend, Jenny Cudd, entered the US Capitol on January 6 after attending then-President Donald Trump's "Stop the Steal" rally. The two friends had originally returned to their hotel after the rally, but made their way back to the Capitol when they learned that former Vice President Mike Pence had refused to overturn the election, court documents said.

Rosa told authorities that he was so close to the Speaker's Lobby during the insurrection that he heard the shot that killed Ashli Babbitt.

On January 9, Rosa walked into his local FBI office and turned himself in for his participation in the attack, court documents said.

During sentencing, McFadden said he had never heard of someone turning themself over to authorities before they had even been named a suspect in a crime, local CBS affiliate WUSA reported.

But McFadden, a former federal prosecutor and deputy assistant attorney general, did admonish Rosa for his actions given his unique circumstances as both a civics teacher and an immigrant in the US on asylum. According to court documents, Rosa and his wife fled political persecution in Brazil and arrived in the US in 2016. The couple was granted asylum in 2018 and they are currently pursuing US citizenship.

Rosa's public defender, Michelle Peterson, reportedly cited possible consequences to his pending immigration status as a reason for both his confession and requests for leniency. Peterson did not immediately return Insider's request for comment on behalf of Rosa.

By pleading to the misdemeanor charge, Rosa avoided a felony, which would have resulted in a significant threat to any future citizenship. But a US statute that requires citizenship-seekers to demonstrate "good moral character" may still come into play.

Rosa's co-defendant, Cudd has not yet reached a plea deal. She is currently set to head to trial in February.

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Britain’s largest port, which handles nearly 40% of all containers, is facing a massive backlog of ships as it approaches its busiest time of year: the holiday season

Shipping containers lined up at the Port of Felixstowe.
The Port of Felixstowe.
  • The busiest container port in the UK is dealing with major traffic due to a shortage of drivers.
  • The Port of Felixstowe handles nearly 40% of all containers sent to and from the UK.
  • ITV News reported that some companies are already starting to feel the impacts of the congestion.

The largest container port in the UK is taking steps to address increasing cargo congestion but may begin turning incoming ships away if the problem persists, according to ITV News.

The Port of Felixstowe, which handles nearly 40% of all containers sent to and from the UK, is facing a massive backlog of ships as the site approaches its busiest time of year: the holiday season.

According to ITV, the average shipping container that arrives at the port is currently spending more than nine days - two times the average "dwell time" of 2020 - sitting at Felixstowe.

The logjam is in part, due to a shortage of drivers to operate heavy goods vehicles, known as HGV drivers, the outlet reported. The port's management is reportedly working to ease the traffic but could restrict access to incoming vessels if the situation continues to deteriorate.

The HGV driver shortage has led to a major decrease in unloadings and reloadings of ships and has meant fewer containers are being collected. Haulers at the port told ITV they estimated collections in September were down 15% to 20%, leaving between 5,000 and 7,500 containers stacked at the port.

As a result, the port has exceeded its "empty storage capacity," and has nearly 50,000 empty containers on site, according to the outlet.

Major brand names are starting to be affected by the congestion, with IKEA telling ITV that is has faced "some challenges in returning containers" to the port, but has only seen "minimal impact" thus far. The furniture giant did not immediately return Insider's request for comment.

Nestle and General Foods also told the outlet they've felt the effects of the shortage.

Some shipping companies have already had empty containers redirected to other UK ports, according to ITV, including Maersk, Evergreen Marine Corp, and CCMA-CGM. But import volume levels are still rising, and the port has reportedly started telling customers that it's "at capacity.

The traffic comes as ports in California deal with similar record-breaking log jams. Last month, 56 cargo ships were stuck at anchor or in drift areas off of Los Angeles and Long Beach ports.

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Kyrsten Sinema’s office denies report that the senator wants to cut $100 billion in proposed climate programs from Dem spending

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema.
  • Sen. Kyrsten Sinema's office denied reports that she wants billions cut in proposed climate programs.
  • The New York Times reported she wants $100 billion in climate provisions slashed from the spending package.
  • Sinema and Sen. Joe Manchin are holding out for a less expensive price tag on the economic agenda.

The office of Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, who got her start in politics as a progressive activist in the Green Party, denied reports that she wants at least $100 billion in climate programs cut from the Democrats' massive spending legislation currently stalled on Capitol Hill.

On Friday, The New York Times reported that Sinema is demanding significant cuts to proposed climate provisions in order to lower the price tag on President Joe Biden's spending agenda, which includes a $1 trillion infrastructure bill and a $3.5 trillion budget bill.

The Arizona lawmaker is one of two moderate holdouts sparring with fellow Democrats over the package's final price, with Sinema and Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia both repeatedly rejecting Biden's proposed price tag on the Build Back Better legislation.

Manchin has vowed not to support a bill that costs more than $1.5 trillion, and both centrists are crucial voices in the fight, as all 50 Democratic senators must support the legislation in order for it to pass.

In a statement to Insider, a spokesman for Sinema's office said reports that she wants climate provisions cut are not true.

"Neither Senator Sinema nor our office have requested or demanded such cuts, nor have we ever heard of any such demands," John LaBombard tweeted in response to the Times article. "Once again, the NY Times relies on anonymous sources and gets it flat wrong. Do better."

Party leaders have previously promised to safeguard two significant climate change programs costing $450 billion in total: the Clean Electricity Program, which incentivizes electric utilities to use wind, solar, and nuclear power, and a general climate package of tax incentives meant to encourage the use of clean energy.

But there are several other climate-focused programs that could theoretically be cut in order to shrink the bill, including multiple provisions aimed at helping poor people adapt to the effects of climate change, as well as a $30 billion "Green Bank," that would fund construction of community solar panels and electric vehicle charging stations.

Also on the table is $30 billion to create a "Civilian Climate Corps," encouraging young adults of color to pursue climate work, as well as a $10 billion program to incentivize rural electric cooperatives to switch from coal to wind and solar.

Climate scientists told The Times that such cuts could have a particularly harmful impact on Sinema's own constituents.

"Annual average temperatures in Arizona have already increased a couple of degrees due to climate change, which may not sound like much, but it has increased heat waves and droughts, it has lowered the snowpack which is essential to our water supply, and which flows in streams that are important to the health of wildlife, which is important to our ranchers and farmers," Gregg Garfin, a University of Arizona climatologist told the outlet.

"We need the work force," he added. "We need the funding. Many communities in Arizona lack the budget or expertise to do this. It requires real money. And it's super important for Arizona."

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