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Two of Deshaun Watson’s accusers speak out publicly against Texans star

two-of-deshaun-watson’s-accusers-speak-out-publicly-against-texans-star

The first woman to accuse Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson of sexual assault and harassment in a lawsuit spoke publicly on Tuesday, alleging she was terrorized by her encounter with the NFL player and that he needs to be held accountable for his actions.

During a news conference, Ashley Solis said she was assaulted and traumatized when she tried to give Watson a massage in March 2020. The Associated Press usually does not name victims of sexual assault, but Solis has chosen to publicly identify herself.

“I come forward now so that Deshaun Watson does not assault another woman. … I am seeking justice not just on behalf of myself but for all survivors. … This is about having my voice heard,” a tearful Solis said as she read a statement, adding she was no longer afraid to speak out. Watson has been accused of sexual assault or harassment in lawsuits filed by 22 women.

Solis’ description of her encounter with Watson, in which he allegedly touched her with his penis during the massage session, mirrors the accusations made by the other women in their lawsuits. They accuse Watson of exposing himself, touching them with his penis or kissing them against their will while he got a massage. At least one woman has alleged Watson forced her to perform oral sex during a massage in December. All of the women who have sued Watson are either licensed massage therapists or worked in a spa or similar business. The first lawsuit – from Solis – was filed on 16 March and the most recent one was filed Monday.

Watson’s attorney, Rusty Hardin, has called the allegations “meritless” and questioned the claims against Watson, alleging they were made following a failed attempt to blackmail his client for $30,000.

The Houston police department said last week it was investigating Watson after a complainant had filed a report with the agency about Watson. Tony Buzbee, who represents the 22 women, said it was not Solis but another of his clients who filed the first report with police.

Solis said in her statement that since the alleged assault, she suffers from panic attacks, anxiety, depression and is no longer comfortable working as a massage therapist.

“I got into massage therapy to heal people, to heal their minds and bodies, to bring peace to their souls. Deshaun Watson has robbed me of that,” Solis said, adding that her lawsuit was not about seeking money.

But in a statement, Hardin, alleged that Buzbee sought “$100,000 in hush money” on behalf of Solis before she filed her lawsuit.

Hardin’s statement included copies of February emails between Buzbee’s firm and Scott Gaffield, an attorney for Watson, discussing the $100,000 settlement.

“My email exchanges … were very clear. We did not think that the facts showed that Deshaun did anything wrong with their client. We believed then – and fully believe now – that Deshaun learned a lesson about putting himself in this type of situation by interacting with people he does not know,” Gaffield said in a statement.

At Tuesday’s news conference, an attorney with Buzbee’s firm read a letter written by another of the women who has accused Watson of sexual assault and has also chosen to be publicly identified.

In the letter, Lauren Baxley called Watson “a predator with power” and alleged he touched her with his penis multiple times during a massage session. She said that after the session, she felt shame and terror that no one would believe her.

“There is trauma associated with unwanted sexual contact and assault in a place that’s meant to bring peace and therapy, but there are even deeper terrors that you have brought into my life,” Baxley said.

In a recent email to season ticket holders, Houston Texans chairman Cal McNair, whose family owns the team, said they were aware of the lawsuits against Watson and that the team takes “these allegations very seriously”.

“While we await the conclusion of these investigations, we express our strong stance against any form of sexual assault. Our family and the entire Houston Texans organization are deeply troubled by any form of abuse and we condemn this type of behavior,” McNair said.

The NFL has said it’s investigating the allegations against Watson.

Watson is one of the league’s top quarterbacks and led the NFL in yards passing last season. He signed a four-year, $156m contract extension with the Texans last offseason, but he became unhappy with the direction of the team as Houston sunk to 4-12. Watson requested a trade in January.

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Politics

Talks in Washington deadlocked as Biden meets UK PM Johnson – live

Summary

  • Joe Biden met with Boris Johnson in Cornwall while Jill Biden wore a “love” blazer.

ABC News
(@ABC)

First Lady Jill Biden, sporting a jacket with the words ‘love’ on the back, poses for a photograph looking out over the sea, at Carbis Bay, in Cornwall ahead of the G7 summit. https://t.co/EYoMGkWUu1 pic.twitter.com/cm3wx2Hha4

June 10, 2021

  • Meanwhile, talks deadlocked on, well, a lot of things – but mostly the bipartisan negotiations around the infrastructure plan. Lawmakers on both side were expressing frustration Thursday with the concept of bipartisanship, but Senator Mitt Romney hinted at a possible agreement.
  • Representative Ilhan Omar received death threats as members of her own party condemned her for saying that “we have seen unthinkable atrocities committed by the US, Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan and the Taliban.

Today in San Francisco, Rob Bonta, California’s attorney general, said that his office has filed an appeal of the recent federal court decision that struck down the state’s assault weapon restrictions.

Standing alongside Governor Gavin Newsom, San Francisco Mayor London Breed and representatives from Brady United and the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, Bonta said that while the opinion was of “great concern”, “we are not deterred by this ruling.”

This appeal comes after a 4 June ruling from Judge Roger Benitez that ruled that California’s 32 year-old restrictions were unconstitutional. The decision drew immediate criticism for Benitez’s comparison of assault weapons to “Swiss army knives” and false claim that more Californians have died from the Covid-19 vaccine than mass shootings.

Bonta is also extending the 30-day-stay, so that the current laws stay in effect throughout the appeal process.

Learn more about what Judge Benitez’s ruling mean for the state here:

Florida public schools ban teaching of critical-race theory

The Florida Board of Education has approved tougher guidelines for teaching US history in public schools that prohibits teachers from discussing critical-race theory or the 1619 Project.

The reactive push against the movement to teaching non-whitewashed versions of American history that don’t downplay the role of slavery and racism in the founding of the country has long been a conservative rallying point. Ron DeSantis, Florida’s governor, tweeted that critical-race theory was “state-sanctioned racism and has no place in Florida schools”.

Travis Akers
(@travisakers)

History classes in Florida now will just be students coloring in a picture of white Jesus carrying an American flag while gazing upon a bald eagle soaring through the fireworks-filled sky.

Class concludes with a rousing rendition of Lee Greenwood’s “Proud to be an American.”

June 10, 2021

Something may have happened. Or not. But that’s pretty much the state of it this week, isn’t it?

Seung Min Kim
(@seungminkim)

Some newsy developments: Per @MittRomney, the infrastructure Gang of 10 have reached an agreement on the overall size of the package, how much it’ll spend on each provision and how they’ll pay for it. He and other Rs will brief other Republicans, Ds will brief admin officials

June 10, 2021

We’re back on the infrastructure plan, and the hopes of a bipartisan agreement. Joe Biden ended negotiations with Republicans before he left on his first overseas trip, but said he planned to stay in touch. People on both sides are saying the time for bipartisanship is done, whether related to the infrastructure plan or otherwise.

But! Possibly an agreement, per Republican Utah Senator Mitt Romney. Except someone forgot to tell Montana Senator Jon Tester.

Seung Min Kim
(@seungminkim)

Well. Tester, a member of the Infra 10, said an agreement was “news to me”

June 10, 2021

So could there be an agreement? Unclear. We’ll see.

Updated

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio set Twitter ablaze today when he decided to preview a commercial for ranked-choice voting with a giant ballot of pizza toppings.

Ranked-choice voting is when you rank a number of candidates for each race. If none wins an outright majority in the first round of counting, the last-place candidate is eliminated, and then the second-place votes are counted, and this keeps going until someone earns at least 50% of the votes plus one.

It wasn’t the type of voting that stirred controversy, but de Blasio’s ranking: 1. Green peppers 2. Green olives 3. Sausage 4. Mushrooms 5. Pepperoni

AJ
(@ajchavar)

has the mayor eaten a pizza https://t.co/M3TKG13Lek

June 10, 2021

katie honan
(@katie_honan)

The mayor is now YELLING about pineapple on pizza. “THIS IS NOT CALIFORNIA,” he says, adding it’s offensive to his Italian ancestors.

Clams on pizza? “We’re not in New Haven,” he says. Life has certainly been strange over the last 15 or so months.

June 10, 2021

Brittny Pierre
(@sleep2dream)

TRASH! deblasio should stay in his lane. He eats pizza with a fork and knife AND he’s a red sox fan. https://t.co/EsUL17H8Ki

June 10, 2021

And also, there’s also the fact that pizza is not quite the right analogy for an election.

Ariel Edwards-Levy
(@aedwardslevy)

pizza toppings are an especially fitting choice of example for ranked-choice voting because, as everybody knows, a finalized pizza can only include precisely one (1) topping https://t.co/FIKWPS2pC6

June 10, 2021

The FBI director, Christopher Wray, is testifying before the House judiciary committee on oversight of the FBI. Hate violence and white supremacist ideology were large focuses, and Wray received a number of questions about the 6 January attack on the US Capitol.

House Judiciary Dems
(@HouseJudiciary)

“On the days leading up to the January 6th attack, did the FBI simply miss evidence, or did it see the evidence and fail to piece it together?”

Chairman @RepJerryNadler questions @FBI Director Wray pic.twitter.com/JdV3aXxWJ1

June 10, 2021

Josh Gerstein
(@joshgerstein)

FBI’s Wray says unaware of any investigation specifically looking at Trump’s rhetoric in advance of the storming of the Capitol on Jan. 6

June 10, 2021

Updated

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is apparently pretty done with bipartisanship too.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
(@AOC)

Pres. Biden & Senate Dems should take a step back and ask themselves if playing patty-cake w GOP Senators is really worth the dismantling of people’s voting rights, setting the planet on fire, allowing massive corporations and the wealthy to not pay their fair share of taxes, etc

June 9, 2021

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
(@AOC)

During the Obama admin, folks thought we’d have a 60 Dem majority for a while. It lasted 4 months.

Dems are burning precious time & impact negotiating w/GOP who won’t even vote for a Jan 6 commission. McConnell’s plan is to run out the clock.

It’s a hustle. We need to move now.

June 9, 2021

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who thinks “the era of bipartisanship is over”, doesn’t seem particularly phased.

Sahil Kapur
(@sahilkapur)

Mitch McConnell responds to AOC’s tweet on Fox News: “Well, to satisfy that particular member of Congress, I think the Democrats would have to have 60 votes in the Senate and all of them would have to be as far left as she is. I think her big complaint is with her own party.” https://t.co/mLGMGwjMxi

June 10, 2021

More Democrats are joining together to condemn Minnesota Ilhan Omar for saying that “we have seen unthinkable atrocities committed by the US, Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan and the Taliban.” Meanwhile, more of her allies are rallying behind her in support as well.

Tom Suozzi
(@RepTomSuozzi)

pic.twitter.com/uX2F9mwNHx

June 10, 2021

Mehdi Hasan
(@mehdirhasan)

Muslim Americans are fed up of constantly being accused of supporting terrorism – including by liberals and Democrats! – when they/we simply make factual points about international law or foreign policies or war crimes.

It’s cynical, dehumanizing, and, yes bigoted.

June 10, 2021

Jamil Dakwar
(@jdakwar)

Once again #IStandWithIlhan 👇🏽 https://t.co/QJOdvPFP91

June 10, 2021

Here’s our first look at the meeting between Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and First Lady Jill Biden and Carrie Johnson.

Steve Holland
(@steveholland1)

“It’s gorgeous, I don’t want to go home,” said President Biden of seaside view in Carbis Bay with PM Boris Johnson. pic.twitter.com/Sbv9uQCJRV

June 10, 2021

Howard Mortman
(@HowardMortman)

Biden and Boris Johnson pic.twitter.com/ZkVj3j74zw

June 10, 2021

The Recount
(@therecount)

First Lady Jill Biden sports a “LOVE” jacket while meeting with UK PM Boris Johnson and Carrie Johnson. pic.twitter.com/dGV5C62RVp

June 10, 2021

Updated

A lot has been hyped about bipartisanship this week. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said “the era of bipartisanship is over”, with every bill the Democrats have introduced in June including something he said Republicans could not support. Democratic West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin gave it as the reason why he wasn’t voting for the For The People bill that would voting rights, because he believed such legislation needed to be bipartisan.

Then there was the bipartisan negotiations between Joe Biden and Republicans over an infrastructure plan. On Tuesday, Biden ended negotiations. Despite his willingness to reduce his plan by more than $1 trillion, Republicans had increased their proposed new investments by only $150bn. And then there was the issue of tax increases.

Though Biden said he would stay in touch with Republicans during his trip, things aren’t looking great.

Manu Raju
(@mkraju)

“No,” Angus King, one of the bipartisan negotiators on infrastructure, said when I asked if he were confident a bipartisan deal could be reached among the group. Said he’s “hopeful”

June 10, 2021

About 90 advocacy groups have since called on Biden and the Democrats to use the partisan reconciliation process instead of relying on negotiations.

Reconciliation is a rule that allows Congress to pass new budget resolutions with new spending priorities with a simple 51-vote majority in the Senate without having to worry about a filibuster.

Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer said Democrats are already working on a plan to pass an infrastructure measure via the reconciliation process.

Omar receives death threats as lawmakers condemn her comments

Democratic Minnesota Representative Ilhan Omar is once again receiving death threats as 12 members of her own party condemn her for appearing to liken Hamas and the Taliban to Israel and the United States.

“We must have the same level of accountability and justice for all victims of crimes against humanity,” she tweeted in a question to Secretary of State Antony Blinken during a Foreign Affairs Committee hearing about the International Criminal Court on Monday. “We have seen unthinkable atrocities committed by the U.S., Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan, and the Taliban.”

Rep. Brad Schneider
(@RepSchneider)

Equating the U.S. and Israel to Hamas and the Taliban is as offensive as it is misguided. Ignoring the differences between democracies governed by the rule of law and organizations that engage in terrorism discredits one’s intended argument and reflects deep-seated prejudice. https://t.co/KOdgPqvQdT

June 10, 2021

Andrew Desiderio
(@AndrewDesiderio)

Group of House Democrats is out with a statement tonight condemning Ilhan Omar’s recent comments, saying they “give cover to terrorist groups.” pic.twitter.com/kDxSkb7OCi

June 10, 2021

Omar responded by calling out the “shameful” Islamaphobic tropes in her colleagues’ statement.

“The constant harassment and silencing from the signers of this letter is unbearable,” she tweeted.

Ilhan Omar
(@IlhanMN)

Citing an open case against Israel, US, Hamas & Taliban in the ICC isn’t comparison or from “deeply seated prejudice”. You might try to undermine these investigations or deny justice to their victims but history has thought us that the truth can’t be hidden or silenced forever.

June 10, 2021

Rashida Tlaib
(@RashidaTlaib)

I am tired of colleagues (both D+R) demonizing @IlhanMN. Their obsession with policing her is sick. She has the courage to call out human rights abuses no matter who is responsible. That’s better than colleagues who look away if it serves their politics. https://t.co/5n9OxZbK8Q

June 10, 2021

Biden to meet with Johnson as party clashes continue back home

Howdy, liveblog readers. Happy Thursday.

We begin today with President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden departing for Cornwall in the United Kingdom to meet with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his wife, Carrie Johnson.

It’s expected that everyone will use the meeting as a chance to reaffirm the “special relationship” between the US and the UK – though Johnson has confirmed that he thinks the term seems “needy and weak” and Biden has been quoted calling Johnson a “physical and emotional clone” of Donald Trump.

It’s also likely that Biden and Johnson will speak about the working groups the two governments have formed to look into lifting travel restrictions between the US and UK.

But in addition to these niceties, this meeting takes place with the US issuing a warning to the UK’s Brexit negotiator, Lord Frost, over negotiations over border checks in Northern Ireland.

The Guardian’s Patrick Wintour delves into the situation more here:

Meanwhile, back home, talks on a bipartisan infrastructure deal remained at an impasse, with Republicans refusing to raise taxes to pay for the plan and Biden insisting on it.

Ronald Klain
(@WHCOS)

Lots of discussion today on the Hill about how to pay for much needed infrastructure.

I’m just going to leave this here. pic.twitter.com/MwzLtUguNn

June 9, 2021

Updated

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Politics

US drugmaker Regeneron under fire for ‘excessive’ payouts to executives

The US drugmaker Regeneron, whose Covid treatment was hailed as a “cure” by Donald Trump last year, has come under fire from two influential shareholder advisory groups over “excessive” payouts made to its top executives ahead of its annual meeting on Friday.

The investor advisory group Glass Lewis said it was “highly concerned” at the New York-based firm’s decision last year to ditch annual stock options. Instead it will replace them with an upfront five-year grant of performance-restricted stock units worth $130m (£92m) for each of its top two executives – Leonard Schleifer, the Regeneron chief executive, and George Yancopoulos, the chief scientific officer.

While they are intended to lock down executives for the next few years, Glass Lewis questioned whether the upfront payouts were in the best interests of shareholders. It estimates that the annualised value of the grants is 51% higher than the previous year’s stock options.

Institutional Shareholder Services, another advisory group, also expressed concern: “The awards are excessive in value, replace annual grants for a relatively long period of time, and provide multiple opportunities for the same shares to be earned.”

Glass Lewis noted that the company’s executive payouts had met with “substantial opposition from shareholders” in recent years. Together, the two top bosses collected $270m in pay and bonuses last year. Schleifer was the best-paid chief executive in the global pharmaceutical industry last year with his $135m package.

At last year’s advisory vote on executive pay, which is held every three years, Regeneron’s plans received support from 70.1% of votes cast. At the time of the meeting, Schleifer owned 16.6% of the company while the French drugmaker Sanofi had a 20.6% holding, which it has since sold. When these stakes are excluded, less than 33% of votes were cast in favour of the company’s pay plans.

Regeneron is supplying the US government with millions of doses of its Covid antibody cocktail REGEN-COV, after receiving emergency authorisation for the treatment in November. It is a combination of two monoclonal antibodies designed to prevent the coronavirus spike protein attaching to receptors in the body, to prevent Sars-CoV-2 infection and to treat people who have contracted the virus.

The share price of the Nasdaq- and London-listed company soared in early October 2020, from $564 to over $600 a share, after then-president Trump touted the treatment in a video, claiming that it had cured his Covid. The shares have risen 41% since the start of 2020.

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Politics

Manchin unmoved on voting rights despite meeting Black civil rights leaders – live

manchin-unmoved-on-voting-rights-despite-meeting-black-civil-rights-leaders-–-live

A reporter asked about some progressives referring to Joe Manchin as the “new Mitch McConnell”.

Jen Psaki responded: “We’ll leave the name-calling to others.”

Updated

In today’s White House press briefing, White House press secretary Jen Psaki was asked about voting rights legislation, in light of senator Joe Manchin and his weekend oped about his decision not to vote for the For The People Act.

In response to a question about whether Joe Biden would push for pursuing the John Lewis Act before the For The People Act, she responded, “I think he is quite open to what Democratic leadership feels is the viable path forward.”

She followed up by saying it was “encouraging” to see Manchin meet with civil rights leaders this morning, and reiterated the administration’s support for voting rights legislation.

“We will continue to press for federal action to move forward on a bill that the president would love to sign into law,” Psaki said. “We certainly know we cannot do that with a magic wand, that is not how democracy works, for good reason. But the president also signed this executive action early on, a very expansive and powerful executive action, because he didn’t want to delay a moment in ensuring that we were taking more steps to assist states to modernize vote.gov, to increase federal employees’ access to voting, to analyze barriers to voting for people.”

Manchin: ‘I don’t think anybody changed positions’ on voting rights legislation

West Virginia senator Joe Manchin left his meeting with civil rights leaders unmoved on his decision to oppose the sweeping For the People Act, but called the conversation constructive.

“We had a constructive conversation. I think everybody pretty much knows the importance of what we’re doing,” Manchin said. “And I think I’m very much concerned about our democracy, protecting people’s voting rights.”

Civil rights leaders that met with Manchin – NAACP President Derrick Johnson, the Rev Al Sharpton, National Urban League President Marc Morial, National Council of Negro Women President Johnnetta Cole, Lawyers’ Committee President Damon Hewitt, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights interim President Wade Henderson and the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation President Melanie Campbell – were measured in their response. The readout from the meeting read:


In a very constructive meeting today, national civil rights leaders met with Senator Manchin to share our policy priorities and concerns related to voting rights and police reform. Specifically, the groups expressed their collective views on the need for Congress to pass both the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, and the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.

The two voting rights bills are a top priority and essential to protect the freedom to vote. There continues to be an unprecedented partisan wave of state legislative proposals that are aimed at denying the right to vote — particularly for Black and Brown people. The leaders also conveyed to Senator Manchin that a minority of senators must not be able to abuse the filibuster to impede much needed progress. Congress must act so all Americans have meaningful access to the ballot.

Eva McKend
(@evamckend)

NAACP President @DerrickNAACP on his meeting with @Sen_JoeManchin,

“Our meeting today with Senator Manchin was productive and insightful. We focused on finding common ground and building a relationship, and I believe we achieved that goal.” pic.twitter.com/xxXrv0xaQU

June 8, 2021

Updated

Vice-President Kamala Harris, who has been taking some criticism for her blunt speech in Guatemala to Central American migrants to “do not come” to US, is now getting some backlash from Republicans for an NBC interview she did on this same trip.

Reminder: Joe Biden tasked Harris in March with efforts to stem migration at the US-Mexican border. On her first foreign trip, NBC’s Lester Holt asked if she had any plans to visit the border.

“At some point, you know, we are going to the border,” Harris said. “We’ve been to the border. So this whole, this whole, this whole thing about the border. We’ve been to the border. We’ve been to the border.”

“You haven’t been to the border,” Holt responded.

“I, and I haven’t been to Europe. And I mean, I don’t – I don’t understand the point that you’re making,” Harris said with a laugh.

TODAY
(@TODAYshow)

“We have to deal with what’s happening at the border.”@VP Kamala Harris spoke exclusively with @LesterHoltNBC on her first trip overseas, how the administration is addressing the immigration crisis, and if she plans to visit the southern border herself. pic.twitter.com/sA4We7peeR

June 8, 2021

Harris has maintained that her focus is on

“the root causes of migration.”

“I care about this and I care about what’s happening at the border. I’m in Guatemala because my focus is dealing with the root causes of migration,” Harris said. “There may be some who think that that is not important, but it is my firm belief that if we care about what’s happening at the border, we better care about the root causes and address them.”

Zeke Miller
(@ZekeJMiller)

LESTER HOLT: You haven’t been to the border.

KAMALA HARRIS: And I haven’t been to Europe. pic.twitter.com/Vj6M261Nx3

June 8, 2021

Updated

Vice-President Kamala Harris is in Mexico now, meeting with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

Tamara Keith
(@tamarakeithNPR)

President Lopez Obrador shows Vice President Harris a Diego Rivera mural at the national palace. Asked if he will do more about border enforcement, Lopez Obrador said “We will touch on that subject but always addressing the fundamental root causes” pic.twitter.com/URiJdWaUM9

June 8, 2021

Reminder that the Senate report on the Capitol attack comes just weeks after Republicans blocked efforts to establish a bipartisan, 9/11-style commission to investigate the events of 6 January.

Frank Thorp V
(@frankthorp)

SCHUMER says of Joint Cmte report on Jan 6th: “The report did not investigate, report on, or hardly make any reference to the actual cause, the actual impetus for the attack on January 6.”

Says it “has strengthened the argument for an independent commission on January the 6th.”

June 8, 2021

Frank Thorp V
(@frankthorp)

MCONNELL then said: “Today’s report is one of the many reasons I’m confident in the ability of existing investigations to uncover all actionable facts about the events of January 6. I’ll continue to support these efforts over any that seek to politicize the process…”

June 8, 2021

Senate report on US Capitol attack finds broad failings

The first – and possibly the last – bipartisan review into the 6 January attack on the US Capitol uncovered failings on all fronts before the attack as well as breakdowns between intelligence agencies and a lack of preparation by the Capitol police.

Cristiano Lima
(@viaCristiano)

Senate Homeland report on Jan. 6 out today details how calls for violence on social media weren’t deemed credible by intel agencies ahead of the deadly riot https://t.co/GSmgYGOlvY pic.twitter.com/8xIfNEVpim

June 8, 2021

“This report is important in the fact that it allows us to make some immediate improvements to the security situation here in the Capitol,” said Michigan senator Gary Peters, the chairman of the homeland security and governmental affairs committee, which conducted the investigation along with the Senate rules committee. “But it does not answer some of the bigger questions that we need to face, quite frankly, as a country and as a democracy.”

Read more about the report’s findings here:

Joseph Blount Jr, president and CEO of the Colonial Pipeline Company, is testifying before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee about the ransomware attack last month that knocked out gas delivery up and down the East Coast.

The Justice Department announced yesterday that it recovered $2.3m of the roughly $4.4m that the company paid in a cryptocurrency ransom to a gang of criminal hackers known as DarkSide.

Dustin Volz
(@dnvolz)

Colonial Pipeline CEO Joseph Blount confirms in Senate testimony that investigators believe DarkSide hackers infiltrated the company’s IT systems through a legacy VPN system “not intended to be in use.”

He adds: “We are deeply sorry for the impact that this attack had.”

June 8, 2021

Eric Geller
(@ericgeller)

HSGAC RM Rob Portman: When did you pay the ransom?

Blount: We made the decision to negotiate on the evening of May 7, the day of the hack. But we didn’t make the payment until May 8.

June 8, 2021

Eric Geller
(@ericgeller)

Tom Carper: What’s the most important advice you can offer to other companies?

Blount: Look at your defenses, have an emergency response plan, and be transparent with the authorities.

June 8, 2021

It appears the meeting between Joe Manchin and civil rights leaders has come to an end.

Mike DeBonis
(@mikedebonis)

MANCHIN speaks to reporters post meeting w civil rts leaders:

“constructive conversation”

“very much concerned about our democracy”

“just an excellent meeting”

Did anyone changed their views?

“No, I don’t think anyone changed positions.”

June 8, 2021

Mike DeBonis
(@mikedebonis)

Manchin would not answer two direct questions:

-whether he’d vote to at least start debate on S.1

-whether he’s spoken to Biden in recent days

June 8, 2021

In more voting rights news: following the Sunday oped in which Democratic senator Joe Manchin committed against voting for the For The People Act, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is saying the House will move on the John Lewis Voting Rights Act.

Manu Raju
(@mkraju)

Pelosi says the House will move on the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, a proposal pushed by Manchin but stands little chance of passing the Senate. She says it won’t be ready til the fall. “It is not a substitute for H.R. 1.”

June 8, 2021

Some recap: the For The People Act would ensure automatic and same-day registration, place limits on gerrymandering and restore voting rights for felons. The John Lewis Act, named after the late Georgia Democratic congressman, would reauthorize voting protections established in the civil rights era but eliminated by the supreme court in 2013.

Manchin said he would support the John Lewis Act. His major concern with the For The People Act is that it was not bipartisan.

Pelosi made clear that the John Lewis Act is not a substitute for the For The People Act.

Sahil Kapur
(@sahilkapur)

.@SpeakerPelosi tells Democrats in a new letter that the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act “must be passed, but it will not be ready until the fall, and it is not a substitute for H.R. 1.” pic.twitter.com/uBYmRTN3sR

June 8, 2021

Former President Barack Obama went on CNN last night to criticize how Republicans have been “cowed into accepting” a series of positions that “would be unrecognizable and unacceptable even five years ago or a decade ago”.

In an interview with Anderson Cooper, Obama spoke of the 6 January attack on the US Capitol: “Suddenly you have large portions of the elected Congress going along with the falsehood that there were problems with the election.”

He expressed disappointment in Republican elected officials, saying that he understood that while it was politically difficult to go against the lies and conspiracy theories being peddled among their base, it was the right thing to do.

“I didn’t expect that there would be so few people who would say, ‘I don’t mind losing my office because this is too important. America is too important. Our democracy is too important’,” Obama said. “We didn’t see that.”

“I’m still the hope and change guy,” Obama said. “My hope is the tides will turn, but that does require each of us to understand that this experiment in democracy is not self-executing. It doesn’t happen just automatically. It happens because each successive generation says ‘these values, these truths, we hold self-evident. This is important. We’re going to invest in it and sacrifice for it, even when it’s not politically convenient’.”

Vice-President Kamala Harris travels to Mexico today to meet with the country’s president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador. But Harris is already drawing some criticism on her first official foreign trip.

In Guatemala yesterday, Harris was blunt in telling would-be migrants “do not come” to the US border.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
(@AOC)

This is disappointing to see.

First, seeking asylum at any US border is a 100% legal method of arrival.

Second, the US spent decades contributing to regime change and destabilization in Latin America. We can’t help set someone’s house on fire and then blame them for fleeing. https://t.co/vADyh5H0bw

June 7, 2021

Her spokeswoman, Symone Sanders, appeared to try to soften that statement today:

Craig Caplan
(@CraigCaplan)

Vice President Harris spox @SymoneSanders46: “The President and Vice President have been clear in dissuading people from making the dangerous and treacherous journey to the U.S./Mexico border.”

June 8, 2021

Craig Caplan
(@CraigCaplan)

VP spox Sanders: “We encourage those who do want to come to the US to do so legally and seek legal immigration options in their home countries. The Vice President is committed to addressing the root causes of migration, which also addresses why migrants are coming to our border.”

June 8, 2021

The Guardian’s Julian Borger looks into some other questions raised by the measures Harris announced in Guatemala:

Updated

Manchin to meet with Black civil rights leaders about voting rights

Hello, live blog readers. Hope you’re all doing well.

Two days after publishing an op ed on why he won’t vote for voting rights legislation for which he was a key vote, Democratic West Virginia senator Joe Manchin will meet with critics on the left today.

Black and civil rights leaders have long fought against what many Democrats have categorized as Republican efforts to restrict voter access in communities of color.

Astead
(@AsteadWesley)

A Hill person familiar tells me Joe Manchin’s previously reported Tuesday meeting w/ NAACP on HR1 will now also include

Al Sharpton, Sherrilyn Ifill of NAACP LDF, Urban League prez Marc Morial, and a couple more. A full court press

June 7, 2021

And they’re not happy.

Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II
(@RevDrBarber)

Please tell me Manchin wasn’t singing “We Shall Overcome” the same day he published an OpEd about why he won’t vote to defend the voting rights civil rights leaders fought & died for. This is why West Virginians are holding #MoralMonday March on Manchin’s office next Monday 6/14.

June 8, 2021

Manchin’s decision leave Democrats scrambling on what to do next on the For the People Act, which would ensure automatic and same-day registration, place limits on gerrymandering and restore voting rights for felons.

It comes as Joe Biden said he would “fight like heck” for voting protections, putting Vice-President Kamala Harris in charge of the White House’s efforts.

Our voting rights reporter Sam Levine takes a deeper look at the impact of Manchin’s decision here:

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