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Biden rips Trump over Woodward revelations: "A life-and-death betrayal of the American people"

Joe Biden responded Wednesday to reporting in Bob Woodward's new book that shows President Trump intentionally downplayed the threat of the coronavirus in February and March, accusing him of a "life-and-death betrayal of the American people."

Why it matters: It was one of Biden's harshest attacks yet on Trump's handling of the coronavirus pandemic, coming shortly after taped interviews with the president revealed him telling Woodward on March 19, "I wanted to always play it down. I still like playing it down, because I don't want to create a panic."


What he's saying:

"He knew how deadly it was. It was much more deadly than the flu. He knew, and purposely played it down. Worse, he lied to the American people. He knowingly and willingly lied to the threat it posed to the country for months. He had the information. He knew how dangerous it was.
Now while this deadly disease ripped through our nation, he failed to do his job on purpose. It was a life-and-death betrayal of the American people. Experts say that if he had acted just one week sooner, 36,000 people would have been saved. If he acted two weeks sooner, back in March, 54,000 lives would have been spared in March and April alone.
You know, his failure is not cost lives, it sent our economy in a tailspin. It cost millions more in American livelihoods. This is a recession created by Donald Trump's negligence, and he is unfit for this job as a consequence of it.
And how many families are missing loved ones at their dinner table tonight because of his failures. It's beyond despicable. It's a dereliction of duty. It's a disgrace."

Between the lines: An analysis from Columbia University in May, which was not peer-reviewed at the time, found that the U.S. could have prevented approximately 36,000 COVID-19 deaths if broad social distancing measures were enforced earlier in March.

  • The same study found that nearly 54,000 deaths could have been avoided if social distancing restrictions were enforced two weeks earlier.

Biden will reverse Trump's attempt to lift travel restrictions from Europe and Brazil

The incoming Biden administration will reverse President Trump's last-minute order to lift COVID-19 related travel restrictions, Jen Psaki, the incoming White House press secretary, tweeted.

Why it matters: President Trump ordered entry bans lifted for travelers from the U.K., Ireland, Brazil and much of Europe to go into effect Jan. 26, but the Biden administration will "strengthen public health measures around international travel in order to further mitigate the spread of COVID-19," Jen Psaki said. Biden will be inaugurated on Wednesday, Jan. 20 and Trump will no longer be president by the time the order is set to go into effect.

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Dominion sends cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell

Dominion Voting Systems on Monday sent a cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell over his spread of misinformation related to the 2020 election.

Why it matters: Trump and several of his allies have pushed false conspiracy theories about the company, leading Dominion to take legal action. It's suing pro-Trump lawyer Sydney Powell for defamation and $1.3 billion in damages, and a Dominion employee has sued Trump himself, OANN and Newsmax.

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Off the rails: Inside Trump’s aborted plan to control the CIA

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 5: President Trump becomes increasingly rash, and devises a plan to tamper with the nation's intelligence command.

In his final weeks in office, after losing the election to Joe Biden, President Donald Trump embarked on a vengeful exit strategy that included a hasty and ill-thought-out plan to jam up CIA Director Gina Haspel by firing her top deputy and replacing him with a protege of Republican Congressman Devin Nunes.

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Biden Cabinet confirmation schedule: When to watch hearings

The first hearings for President-elect Joe Biden's Cabinet nominations begin on Tuesday, with testimony from his picks to lead the departments of State, Homeland and Defense.

Why it matters: It's been a slow start for a process that usually takes place days or weeks earlier for incoming presidents. The first slate of nominees will appear on Tuesday before a Republican-controlled Senate, but that will change once the new Democratic senators-elect from Georgia are sworn in.

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Kamala Harris resigns from Senate seat ahead of inauguration

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris submitted her resignation from her seat in the U.S. Senate on Monday, two days before she will be sworn into her new role.

What's next: California Gov. Gavin Newsom has selected California Secretary of State Alex Padilla to serve out the rest of Harris' term, which ends in 2022.

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Putin foe Navalny to be detained for 30 days after returning to Moscow

Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny has been ordered to remain in pre-trial detention for 30 days, following his arrest upon returning to Russia on Sunday for the first time since a failed assassination attempt last year.

Why it matters: The detention of Navalny, an anti-corruption activist and the most prominent domestic critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, has already set off a chorus of condemnations from leaders in Europe and the U.S.

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Biden picks Warren allies to lead SEC, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

President-elect Joe Biden has selected FTC commissioner Rohit Chopra to be the next director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and Obama-era Wall Street regulator Gary Gensler to lead the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Why it matters: Both picks are progressive allies of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and viewed as likely to take aggressive steps to regulate big business.

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Why it's harder for the far right to organize underground

Researchers see one bright spot as far-right extremists turn to private and encrypted online platforms: Friction.

Between the lines: For fringe organizers, those platforms may provide more security than open social networks, but they make it harder to recruit new members.

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