Biden pushes back against progressive criticism over renominating Powell as Fed chair – live – The Guardian

Today so far

That’s all from me here on the West Coast. Here are some of the biggest news moments of the day:

  • Five more political operatives have been subpoenaed by the House select committee investigating the 6 January Capitol attack. The chairman of the select committee, Bennie Thompson, said the subpoenas aimed to uncover “who organized, planned, paid for, and received funds related to those events.”
  • A circuit court judge in Lake County, Florida, cleared the charges against four Black men accused of rape in 1949. The then teenagers were accused of raping a white teenager at gunpoint and were pardoned by Ron DeSantis in 2019.
  • An eight-month investigation by the New York assembly backs up the state attorney general’s misconduct allegations against Andrew Cuomo. The 46-page report also detailed Cuomo’s use of state workers and other public resources to write, publish and promote his memoir.
  • At least three Senate progressives have indicated they will oppose Joe Biden’s nomination of Jerome Powell as chair of the Federal Reserve board of governors. Democratic Senators Elizabeth Warren, Jeff Merkley and Sheldon Whitehouse have said they will vote against Powell’s nomination, but the chairman appears to have enough Republican support to overcome progressive opposition.
  • Sean Parnell, a Republican Senate candidate in Pennsylvania who received Donald Trump’s endorsement, is dropping out of the race. Parnell’s announcement came after the candidate lost a custody battle with his estranged wife, Laurie Snell, who has accused him of physical and verbal abuse.

Updated

Roger Stone and Alex Jones among five to receive Capitol attack subpoenas

The House select committee investigating the Capitol attack on Monday issued new subpoenas to five political operatives associated with Donald Trump. They are:

  • Roger Stone, a veteran political operative and Trump advisor who was pardoned by the former president in 2020
  • Alex Jones, a far-right talk show host
  • Dustin Stockton and Jennifer Lawrence, a pro-Trump husband and wife pair
  • Taylor Budowich, a spokesman for Donald Trump

The chairman of the select committee, Bennie Thompson, said the subpoenas aimed to uncover “who organized, planned, paid for, and received funds related to those events, as well as what communications organizers had with officials in the White House and Congress.”

Steve Bannon a former strategist for Trump has refused to cooperate with his subpoena and was indicted for contempt of congress earlier this month. And last month Trump sued to stop the select committee from receiving White House documents from the National Archives, over executive privilege claims.

Read the Guardian’s coverage of the newest subpoenas here.

An eight-month investigation by the New York Assembly has backed up much of what a previous inquest by the state attorney general that revealed that the former New York governor sexually harassed at least 11 women.

In addition to the sexual misconduct, the 46-page report also detailed Cuomo’s use of state workers and other public resources to write, publish and promote his memoir about his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, which could be an ethical violation.

The report also revisits Cuomo’s dealings with nursing homes early in the pandemic. It found that he, “was not fully transparent regarding the number of nursing home residents who died as a result of Covid-19,” the report stated.

Cuomo’s attorney argues that the newest report from the assembly just regurgitates what the attorney general said in an investigation Cuomo’s attorney described as “flawed” to the New York Times.

The read the full report alongside the New York Times’ coverage is here.

The state of Florida has admitted its justice system failed in the case of four men who were accused of rape as teenagers in the 1940s. The then-teenagers, who became known as the Groveland Four, were accused of raping a white teenager at gunpoint. The accusation led to a violent manhunt during which one of the accused was killed and several Black people injured in Groveland, a rural Florida town.

The four men received a posthumous pardon from Governor Ron DeSantis in 2019. And today, a circuit court judge in Lake County cleared the charges against the men and issuing a ruling that effectively exonerated them of the crime.

“We are blessed. I hope that this is a start because a lot of people didn’t get this opportunity. A lot of families didn’t get this opportunity. Maybe they will,” said Aaron Newson, the nephew of Ernest Thomas, one of the Groveland Four. “This country needs to come together.”

The Guardian has a full story of the case’s dismissal here.

Updated

Joe Biden plans to run for re-election in 2024. Jen Psaki, the White House spokesperson told reporters earlier today. As Biden flew to Fort Bragg for an early Thanksgiving celebration with military members, Psaki said, “He is. That’s his intention.”

Biden’s intentions remained unclear as he faced a dip in his approval ratings and his party suffered hard losses in Virginia’s recent state election.

Read the rest of Reuter’s report on the announcement here.

Updated

Brit Awards to scrap gendered awards categories

The organizers of the Brit Awards say they are going to do away with gender-specific categories and will instead introduce the British and international artist of the year, which will replace the respective male and female awards for each category.

This excerpt from the Guardian’s coverage of the shake-up puts this move into context with the Brit Awards’ own history as well as changes across the industry:

At 2021’s ceremony, the non-binary British pop singer Sam Smith was left out of the gendered categories for solo artist. They responded: “I look forward to a time where awards shows can be reflective of the society we live in. Let’s celebrate everybody, regardless of gender, race, age, ability, sexuality and class.”

The MTV VMA awards have been gender neutral since 2017. The Television Critics Association awards in the US also uses mixed-gender categories, and literary prizes have long been primarily mixed. This year’s Emmy awards acknowledged non-binary actors by allowing them to be named a “performer” rather than an actor or actress, though they would still ultimately appear in a gendered category.

The 2022 Brit Awards ceremony will be held on 8 February at London’s O2 Arena.

Read the rest of Ben Beaumont-Thomas’ article here.

Updated

Hello, blog readers. I’m Abené Clayton blogging from Los Angeles. Here’s one of the national politics stories on my radar.

Lucy McBath will be running for congress in a nearby district after Georgia Republicans redrew her district map. McBath currently represents the state’s sixth district, which was recently “drawn specifically to win back one of the two suburban Atlanta US House seats that Republicans lost during Donald Trump’s presidency”, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

So McBath will be moving to the more suburban seventh district where she will run against Democratic incumbent Carolyn Bourdeaux.

“As a Black woman, too often I’ve been told to stand down. I refuse to let our voices be silenced in Congress. And people in that district need a voice…It’s not about power to me. It’s about keeping promises,” McBath told the Atlanta newspaper.

Brian Kemp, Georgia’s governor is expected to sign off on the newly drawn district maps soon.

Read the rest of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s coverage of McBath here.

Updated

Today so far

That’s it from me today. My west coast colleague, Abené Clayton, will take over the blog for the next few hours.

Here’s where the day stands so far:

  • Joe Biden announced he will renominate Jerome Powell as chair of the Federal Reserve board of governors. The president will also nominate Dr Lael Brainard to serve as vice-chair of the Fed board, on which she has served since 2014.
  • At least three Senate progressives have indicated they will oppose Powell’s renomination. Democratic Senators Elizabeth Warren, Jeff Merkley and Sheldon Whitehouse have said they will vote against Powell’s nomination, but the chairman appears to have enough Republican support to overcome progressive opposition.
  • Biden pushed back against the progressive criticism of Powell’s renomination, saying the Fed needs “stability” as the US economy continues to recover from the coronavirus pandemic. “At this moment of both enormous potential and enormous uncertainty for our economy, we need stability and independence at the Federal Reserve,” Biden said at an event with Powell and Brainard.
  • Biden’s social spending package faces challenges in the Senate, after the House passed the Build Back Better Act on Friday. Senate Democrats are expected to make changes to the House version of the bill in the weeks to come, with the hopes of winning the support of centrists like Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema.
  • Sean Parnell, a Republican Senate candidate in Pennsylvania who received Donald Trump’s endorsement, is dropping out of the race. Parnell’s announcement came after the candidate lost a custody battle with his estranged wife, Laurie Snell, who has accused him of physical and verbal abuse.

Abené will have more coming up, so stay tuned.

Trump-endorsed Senate candidate drops out amid abuse allegations

Sean Parnell, a Republican Senate candidate in Pennsylvania who received Donald Trump’s endorsement, is dropping out of the race.

Parnell made the announcement after losing a custody battle with his estranged wife, Laurie Snell, who has accused him of physical and verbal abuse.

A judge ruled that Snell would be awarded sole legal custody of the couple’s three children, while Parnell will have physical custody three weekends a month, per the Associated Press.

“I strongly disagree with the ruling today and I’m devastated by the decision,” Parnell said in a statement.

“There is nothing more important to me than my children, and while I plan to ask the court to reconsider, I can’t continue with a Senate campaign. My focus right now is 100% on my children, and I want them to know I do not have any other priorities and will never stop fighting for them.”

Parnell, who was running to replace retiring Senator Pat Toomey, had been considered the frontrunner in the Republican Senate primary after receiving Trump’s endorsement.

Updated

Joe and Jill Biden are now en route to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, where they will have an (early) Thanksgiving celebration with US troops and their families.

“Our troops and their families give so much to this country – and we’re thankful for their service each and every day,” the president said on Twitter earlier today.

Biden did not stop to take any questions from reporters as he left the White House to start the short trip to North Carolina.

Bryan Lowry (@BryanLowry3)

.⁦@POTUS⁩ and ⁦@FLOTUS⁩ depart White House. They will head to Fort Bragg in NC for an early Thanksgiving dinner with service members. pic.twitter.com/LsTbjWJIAH

November 22, 2021

Updated

It must be the holiday season: Jill Biden was at the White House today to oversee the delivery of the first family’s Christmas tree.

“It’s beautiful. It’s magnificent actually,” Biden told reporters as the tree arrived at the White House.

ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics)

First lady Jill Biden receives this year’s White House Christmas tree as it is delivered, gives small branch to her grandchild.

“Look how beautiful this is!” https://t.co/1SlS2LIyjK pic.twitter.com/A76ZHI7vM3

November 22, 2021

The first lady cut off a small branch of the tree and offered it to one of her grandchildren, Hunter Biden’s son Beau, who was at the White House for the occasion.

According to the White House, the 18 ft Fraser fir was grown in North Carolina by Rusty and Beau Estes, who are three-time winners of the National Christmas Tree Association’s 2021 grand championship.

Updated

Today, a United Nations human rights expert said that electoral laws in some parts of the US have deprived millions of citizens, namely from minority groups, of having the equal right to vote, reported Reuters.

Fernand de Varennes, the U.N. special rapporteur on minority issues, speaking on the final day of a two-week visit to the United States, decried a Texas law that he said resulted in “gerrymandering” and dilution of voting rights of minorities in favour of white Americans.

“There is in fact what could be described as an undermining of democracy with a phenomenal number of legislative measures in different parts of the country … which certainly have the effect of making the exercise of the right to vote more difficult for certain minorities,” he told a news briefing.

“It is becoming unfortunately apparent that it is almost a tyranny of the majority where the minority right to vote is being denied in many areas,” he added.

De Varennes called for a “New Deal” to overhaul legislation. There was no immediate U.S. reaction to his preliminary observations which de Varennes said he had shared with U.S. State Department officials earlier in the day.

The Guardian’s Sam Levine also wrote about key voting rights legislation being blocked by Republicans in the Senate and if Democrats could address legislative obstacles:

No, it’s not deja vu: Senate Republicans once again used the filibuster on Wednesday to stymie Democratic efforts to pass a significant voting rights bill. It’s the fourth time it’s happened this year, the most recent coming just two weeks ago.

But Democrats and other voting rights advocates hope that this time is different.

They never really expected 10 Republicans to sign on to the bill and advance it. Instead, they hoped to use the vote as a final chance to show the West Virginia senator Joe Manchin and Arizona senator Kyrsten Sinema, two of the staunchest filibuster defenders, that there is no hope of passing a voting rights bill while the filibuster remains in place.

Read the full report here.

Read the Guardian article here.

Updated

Vermont’s only US representative is running for US Senate

Vermont’s only member of the US House, Democratic representative Peter Welch, announced today that he will run for the US Senate.

“I’m running for the United States Senate to work for you, for Vermont, for our country, and for our imperiled democracy,” said Welch in an announcement video shared to Twitter.

Rep. Peter Welch (@WelchForVT)

I’m running for the United States Senate to work for you, for Vermont, for our country, and for our imperiled democracy.

Join us: https://t.co/ReVLvWEM4T pic.twitter.com/lGKX7ZJJgP

November 22, 2021

One week after 81-year-old Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy revealed that he will not be running for re-election, Welch, who is 74, announced that he will run for Leahy’s senate seat.

“It’s just a critical moment in our democracy and in our country,” said Welch to the Associated Press today. “Are we going to continue to make progress facing climate change? Are we going to fight for reproductive rights and racial justice? Are we going to help working families?”

Welch, who was elected to Congress in 2007, said that he promises to use his experience in the House to work across the aisle and get progressive policies like the Green New Deal passed.

Welch has already been endorsed by Vermont senator Bernie Sanders who said he “has the knowledge and experience to hit the ground running as a strong advocate for Vermont’s working families.”

Leahy’s retirement and Welch’s senate run would create the first open seats in Vermont’s congressional delegation since 2006 when Sanders became a senator and Welch took his seat in the House.

Updated

Later today, Kamala Harris will announce that the Biden administration will be giving $1.5bn of coronavirus aid to address health care worker shortages in underserved communities, reports the Economic Times.

The funding will go to the National Health Service Corps, Nurse Corps and Substance Use Disorder Treatment and Recovery programs, all federal programs that offer scholarship and loan repayments for health care students and workers if they pledge to work in underserved and high-risk communities.

The money, which includes funds from the American Rescue Plan and other sources, will support more than 22,700 providers, marking the largest number of providers enrolled in these programs in history, according to the White House.

It comes in response to recommendations laid out earlier this month by the White House’s COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force, which issued a report outlining how the administration could address systemic inequality in the health care system.

The COVID-19 pandemic has both highlighted and exacerbated health care disparities for minority and underserved communities.

Read more here.

Updated