Republican Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Lindsey Graham on Thursday brazenly flouted the rules of his own panel by scheduling a vote on Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett for next week without the required number of Democratic members present, a move Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer condemned as further evidence of “the illegitimacy of this sham process.”
Under committee rules, at least two members of the minority party must be present for a vote to take place. But on Thursday morning, with Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) the only Democrat in attendance, Graham moved forward with a motion setting Barrett’s Judiciary Committee vote for 1:00 pm ET on October 22.
Source: ‘This Is Unprecedented’: Lindsey Graham Openly Violates Committee Rules to Schedule Vote on Barrett Nomination | Common Dreams News
Intelligence officials warned President Trump that his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani was the target of an influence campaign conducted by Russian intelligence, The Washington Post reported Thursday.
Four former officials familiar with the matter told the Post that the intelligence officers were worried that the president’s personal lawyer was being used to pass Russian misinformation to Trump.
Source: Intelligence officials warned Trump that Giuliani was target of Russian influence campaign: report | TheHill
“I believed when I entered the White House grounds, that I had entered a safe zone, due to the testing that I and many others underwent every day,” Christie said in a statement obtained by the newspaper. “I was wrong. I was wrong not to wear a mask at the Amy Coney Barrett announcement and I was wrong not to wear a mask at my multiple debate prep sessions with the president and the rest of the team.” “I hope that my experience shows my fellow citizens that you should follow [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] guidelines in public no matter where you are and wear a mask to protect yourself and others,” he said.
Source: Chris Christie says he ‘was wrong’ not to wear face mask at White House | TheHill
Europe’s cases soar to weekly pandemic high
Europe’s fall and winter surge continues to unfold, with exponential increases in daily cases and matching percentage increases in daily deaths, Hans Henri Kluge, MD, MPH, director of the World Health Organization (WHO) European regional office, said today at a briefing.
He added that the region just registered its highest weekly incidence since the start of the pandemic, adding about 700,000 cases.
The region isn’t in the same situation as it was in March, because deaths are five times fewer and hospitalization doubling time is still two to three times longer, Kluge said. Lower mortality could reflect higher testing rates among younger, healthier people, but he warned that the situation could worsen dramatically if the disease spreads back into older age-groups with more indoor multigenerational social gatherings.
Epidemiological models show that simple measures like greater use of masks and stricter social distancing measures could save up to 281,000 lives across the region by Feb 1. “These projections do nothing but confirm what we always said: the pandemic won’t reverse its course on its own, but we will,” Kluge said.
Source: COVID-19 cases climb in the US and Europe | CIDRAP
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce urged President Trump to withdraw his executive order that extended his administration’s ban on race- and sex-based discrimination training to include federal contractors.
The Chamber, joined by more than 150 state and local chambers, trade associations and nonprofits, wrote a letter to Trump on Thursday, saying the order creates significant obstacles for employers.
“Many of our members are federal contractors and subcontractors that will be covered by this E.O. As currently written, we believe the E.O. will create confusion and uncertainty, lead to non-meritorious investigations, and hinder the ability of employers to implement critical programs to promote diversity and combat discrimination in the workplace,” the groups wrote.
Source: Chamber of Commerce pushes back on Trump extending ban on racial discrimination training | TheHill
An outgoing Republican congressman blasted President Trump for amplifying a baseless conspiracy theory that the Navy SEALs who killed Osama bin Laden actually killed a body double and were later murdered to cover it up.
“It’s a dangerous tweet, and it’s the kind of thing we cannot do,” Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-Va.) told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Wednesday. He went on to note that the since-suspended account the president retweeted linked to a YouTube video calling for the hanging of former President Obama and former Vice President Joe Biden.
“That is the language of radicalization,” Riggleman told Tapper. “People go down these rabbit holes and I think the people that believe this … are the same people that believe Lord of the Rings was a documentary and that’s how crazy they are.”
Source: GOP congressman condemns Trump-promoted theory that Bin Laden killing was a hoax | TheHill