The Journal Gazette
 
 
Wednesday, July 21, 2021 1:00 am

Politics

More test positive among Texas group

Associated Press

Texas lawmakers who hightailed it to the nation's capital in a faceoff over voting rights said Tuesday that they're pressing on with their mission to get Democrats in Washington, D.C., to bolster their cause, even as COVID-19 spreads through their ranks.

Six of the more than 50 Texas state representatives who decamped to Washington last week have since tested positive for the coronavirus, along with two Washington staffers associated with the group.

Asked about the prospects of a meeting between President Joe Biden and the Texas delegation now that several members have become infected, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said it was unlikely.

One of the two Washington staffers who tested positive works in the office of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

A vaccinated White House staffer tested positive for the virus after interacting with the Pelosi aide, according to a White House official. The infected person has not been in close contact with Biden.

Ex-Trump inaugural chair charged

The chair of former President Donald Trump's 2017 inaugural committee was arrested Tuesday on charges alleging he secretly conspired to influence U.S. policy to benefit the United Arab Emirates, even while he was seeking a position as an American diplomat.

Tom Barrack, 74, of Santa Monica, California, was among three men charged in federal court in Brooklyn, New York, with acting as unregistered foreign agents as they tried to influence U.S. policy on the UAE's behalf while Trump was running in 2016 and later while he was president.

Fauci, Paul clash on virus origins

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, angrily confronted Kentucky GOP Sen. Rand Paul on Tuesday in testimony on Capitol Hill, rejecting Paul's insinuation that the U.S. helped fund research at a Chinese lab that could have sparked the COVID-19 outbreak.

Paul suggested that Fauci had lied before Congress when in May he denied that the National Institutes of Health funded so-called “gain of function” research – the practice of enhancing a virus in a lab to study its potential impact in the real world – at a Wuhan virology lab. U.S. intelligence agencies are currently exploring theories that an accidental leak from that lab could have led to the global pandemic.

“Sen. Paul, you do not know what you're talking about, quite frankly,” Fauci said. “And I want to say that officially. You do not know what you're talking about.”

DEA agent charged in Jan. 6 riot

An off-duty Drug Enforcement Administration agent posed for photographs in which he flashed his DEA badge and firearm outside the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6 riot, according to a court filing Tuesday following the agent's arrest.

A video posted on the internet also showed Mark Sami Ibrahim carrying a flag bearing the words “Liberty or Death” outside the Capitol, about 12 minutes before a mob of people pulled apart a nearby set of barricades, authorities said.

Ibrahim, of Orange County, California, was a probationary employee of the DEA and was on personal leave from the agency when he traveled to Washington on Jan. 6. Several weeks before the riot, he had given notice of his intention to resign.

Greene blasts Twitter timeout

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene blasted social media companies over her temporary suspension from Twitter on Tuesday, calling it “a Communist-style attack on free speech.”

Twitter imposed the 12-hour timeout Monday, saying some of her tweets violated its policy against spreading misinformation that could cause harm during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Twitter, Facebook, and the rest of the Silicon Valley Cartel are working hand in hand with the White House to censor Americans,” the Georgia Republican said in a statement.

Liz Cheney opponents to meet Trump

Donald Trump will meet with Republicans running against Rep. Liz Cheney next week and endorse one in the next few months, the former president said in a statement Tuesday.

Trump will meet with them in Bedminster, New Jersey, home of the Trump National Golf Club Bedminster, where he has moved for the summer. He didn't specify who would be there.


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