Trump and Biden news live: Latest updates today
Trump and Biden news live: Latest updates today
Texas homes devastated by burst pipes in winter storm
The Biden administration is racing to meet its ongoing coronavirus vaccination targets following a delay caused by a severe winter storm that left millions of people in Texas without power this month.
Asked how the government was dealing with the delay, which saw the distribution of millions of vaccine doses put on hold, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the government was following a “contingency plan” to get back track.
Speaking on ABC News’ ‘This Week’, Ms Psaki said, at least 2 million of the 6 million delayed doses have already been distributed.
“We can’t control Mother Nature – no one can – but we can certainly contingency plan,” she said.
The White House press secretary said the government expected to “rapidly catch up this week” and make sure vaccines get out to communities “and also meet our deadlines and our timelines of the doses that are due to go out this upcoming week”.
Ms Psaki also said President Joe Biden is expected to visit Texas as early as this upcoming week after approving a major disaster declaration for the state following the severe winter storm.
Senior Republican still refuses to admit Biden won election
House minority whip Steve Scalise, a Louisiana Republican, has refused to admit that Joe Biden beat Donald Trump in November 2020’s presidential election.
During an appearance on ABC’s This Week on Sunday, Mr Scalise was asked about Mr Trump’s repeated false claims that there was widespread fraud in favour of the Democrats in last year’s election.
After a rambling answer where he said Mr Biden is the president, Mr Scalise was interrupted by the host, who asked: “Congressman, I know Joe Biden’s the president. He lives at the White House.
“I asked you, is he the legitimate president of the United States, and do you concede that this election was not stolen? Very simple question. Please just answer it.”
While not answering the question, the House minority whip replied: “Once the electors are counted, yes, he’s the legitimate president. But if you’re going to ignore the fact that there were states that did not follow their own … laws, that’s the issue at heart, that millions of people still are not happy with and don’t want to see happen again.
“You know, look … you can rehash the election from 2020 all day long, but there are people concerned about what the next election is going to look like. Are we going to finally get back to the way the rule of law works?”
James Crump21 February 2021 18:10
Ted Cruz’s wife and children back in US after controversial Mexico trip, as Biden plans visit
The wife and children of Texas senator Ted Cruz are back in the US after causing controversy by travelling to Mexico while millions of the state’s residents were without power and clean water.
Pictures obtained by the New York Post showed the senator’s wife Heidi Cruz, 48, and the couple’s children, Catherine and Caroline, at Cancun’s airport on Saturday afternoon, before dragging suitcases through a Houston, Texas, airport later in the day.
The holiday caused outrage in Texas, after Mr Cruz was pictured flying to the warm Cancun on Wednesday, while millions of Texans were struggling amid Winter Storm Uri, which caused mass power outages and water shortages along with freezing conditions.
Millions of Texans are still struggling to access clean water due to the cold conditions as of Sunday, as President Joe Biden declared a major disaster for the state on Saturday and said he will travel there next week.
Mr Biden said his visit to Texas will happen in the middle of the week, adding: “But I don’t want to be a burden. When the president lands in a city in America it has a long tail.”
Read more from James Crump here:
James Crump21 February 2021 17:55
Minnesota lawyer who brought election suit in five battleground states referred for discipline
A Minnesota judge was formally referred for possible discipline on Friday for filing a lawsuit attempting to overturn Joe Biden’s presidential victory in five battleground states.
US District Court Judge James Boasberg referred Erick Kaardal of Minneapolis on Friday, and said the suit he filed was so flimsy and legally flawed that the lawyer could face action from the court, Politico reports.
“The relief requested in this lawsuit is staggering: to invalidate the election and prevent the electoral votes from being counted,” wrote the judge.
“When any counsel seeks to target processes at the heart of our democracy, the Committee may well conclude that they are required to act with far more diligence and good faith than existed here,” he added.
The judge added that Mr Kaardal has not sufficiently explained why he filed the lawsuit on 22 December 2020, making a referral to a court attorney-conduct panel warranted.
James Crump21 February 2021 17:40
John Lewis remembered on anniversary of birthday
Tributes have started to pour in for the late senator and civil rights hero John Lewis, who would have turned 81 today.
Lewis, who served in the House of Representatives for Georgia’s 5th congressional district from the late 1980s until his death in 2020, died at the age of 80 after a battle with pancreatic cancer.
A number of tributes have been published on Twitter thanking Lewis for inspiring “good trouble” with his civil rights fight.
In a tweet published on Sunday, White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre wished Lewis a “happy birthday”, thanking him for “encouraging us to get into #GoodTrouble”.
Majority Whip in the House of Representatives Rep James Clyburn also remembered the man he considered a “good friend”.
“My good friend John Lewis would have turned 81 years old today,” he said. “Although I miss him dearly, I know that we are working hard to continue his legacy of fighting for what’s right and getting into a little bit of good trouble.”
“Last year we lost a legend,” Sen Cory Booker weighed in.
“Today, on what would have been his 81st birthday, we celebrate John Lewis—a hero to so many whose contributions to this nation will continue to benefit generations unborn.”
Chantal Da Silva21 February 2021 17:20
Sullivan says US has started communicating with Iran over detained Americans
The US has begun communicating with Iran over the country’s detention of American citizens, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan has said.
Earlier this month, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the government was committed to pursuing “the release of Americans held hostage or wrongfully detained abroad.”
He did not specifically mention Iran, however.
Asked if the Biden administration had started such negotiations with Iran, however, Mr Sullivan told CBS News’ “Face the Nation” that communications had begun.
Calling the situation a “complete and utter outrage”, he said: “We have begun to communicate with the Iranians on this issue”.
“We will not accept a long term proposition where they continue to hold Americans in an unjust and unlawful manner,” he said.
Chantal Da Silva21 February 2021 16:55
Americans may need to wear masks to combat Covid into 2022, Fauci says
Americans may need to continue wearing face masks to combat the spread of coronavirus well into 2022, Dr Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, has said.
As the Biden administration seeks to accelerate the effort to distribute vaccine doses across the country, Dr Fauci, Biden‘s top medical adviser, said that a drop in daily infection rates does not mean the US is near being “out of the woods”.
Asked if that means Americans can still expect to have to wear masks next year, he said: “I think it is possible that that’s the case”.
Dr Fauci said that the level of the virus in communities across the US and the presence of virus variants would have to be taken into consideration when deciding on future restrictions.
He did offer some words of hope, however, asserting: “I think we are going to have a significant degree of normality beyond the terrible burden that all of us have been through over the last year”.
Chantal Da Silva21 February 2021 16:24
White House security adviser says response to SolarWinds hack forthcoming
White house national security adviser Jake Sullivan said on Sunday that the US will respond to the SolarWinds hack that hit several government agencies last year in coming weeks.
Speaking on CBS’s “Face the Nation” program, Sullivan said a response would come in “weeks, not months”, as the US investigates the suspected Russian hack.
The sophisticated malware attack affected local, state and federal agencies across the country, as well as private companies.
Chantal Da Silva21 February 2021 16:17
Biden administration pushes to meet vaccination targets after storm delay
The Biden administration is pushing to meet its ongoing coronavirus vaccination targets following a delay caused by the severe winter storm that left millions of people in Texas without power.
Asked by ABC News Chief Washington Correspondent Jonathan Karl how the government was dealing with the delay caused by the storm, which saw the distribution of millions of vaccine doses pushed back, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the government was racing to ensure its deadlines will be met.
Already, Ms Psaki said, at least 2 million of the 6 million delayed doses have already been distributed, she said, with the White House following a “contingency plan” to get back on track to meet its targets.
“We can’t control Mother Nature – no one can – but we can certainly contingency plan and what our team has been doing and preparing to do is engage with and work with the postal service, work with FedEx and others to get those doses out to vaccination centres, to communities as quickly as they can handle them, because of course, they need to be at a level of refrigeration,” she said.
“We’ve been able to get about 2 million of those 6 million doses out,” she said. “We expect to rapidly catch up this week, fill that backlog, make sure they’re out to communities and also meet our deadlines and our timelines of the doses that are due to go out this upcoming week.
Chantal Da Silva21 February 2021 15:24
Biden administration hopes to see majority of schools open by April, Jen Psaki says
The Biden administration hopes to see the majority of schools across the country open by April, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki has said.
“That’s our goal, that’s our objective, that’s our plan,” she told ABC News Chief Washington Correspondent Jonathan Karl.
However, she suggested more “funding” was needed to make that happen.
“What we need and what the president said at the time we need is funding. That’s why he’s proposed $130 billion in the American Rescue plan,” she said.
“Many schools across the country don’t have the resources to be able to invest in improving facilities, on hiring more bus drivers, on hiring more temporary teachers so we can have smaller class sizes,” Ms Psaki continued.
The White House press secretary said “important steps” have bene taken to help facilitate the reopening of schools, including the introduction of “clear, science-based” guidelines for school districts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
However, she said: “Every school in the country does not have that funding and does not have the resources and we need to, from the federal government, help address that.”
Chantal Da Silva21 February 2021 15:03
Joe Biden could visit Texas ‘as soon as this week’, Jen Psaki says
As Texas continues to recover from a severe storm that left millions without electricity, President Joe Biden could pay a visit to the state “as soon as this week,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki has said.
Speaking with ABC News Chief Washington Correspondent Jonathan Karl on “This Week”, Ms Psaki said the president is “eager to go down to Texas and show his support”.
However, she said: “He’s also very mindful of the fact that it’s not a light footprint for a president to travel to a disaster area.”
“ He does not want to take away resources or attention,” she said.
Chantal Da Silva21 February 2021 14:53