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A former Trump White House chief of staff says the latest January 6 hearing provided 'stunning' new evidence of potential criminality

Tue, 06/28/2022 - 4:57pm
Then-President Donald Trump and acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney listen to comments during a luncheon with representatives of the United Nations Security Council, in the Cabinet Room at the White House on December 5, 2019.
  • Mick Mulvaney served as the acting White House Chief of Staff from 2019 to 2020.
  • He resigned from a position as US Special Envoy for Northern Ireland after the January 6 insurrection.
  • Mulvaney said testimony from a former White House aide posed a "serious problem" for Trump.

A former White House aide's testimony that Donald Trump knew some protesters were armed before they marched to the US Capitol — and that his own top advisors asked for pardons after the January 6 riot — combined to make Tuesday's congressional hearing on the insurrection a "very, very bad day" for the former president, according to a onetime Trump loyalist.

"A stunning 2 hours," Mick Mulvaney posted on Twitter following the testimony of Cassidy Hutchinson, a former aide to Mark Meadows, who succeeded Mulvaney as Trump's White House chief of staff.

Mulvaney listed four reasons why the hearing by the congressional committee investigating January 6 was so damning, citing the sworn testimony of Hutchinson: that "Trump knew the protesters had guns"; that he grabbed the wheel of his presidential vehicle when told that Secret Service would not take him to the US Capitol; that there appeared to be "a line" connecting the Trump White House to the far-right Proud Boys; and that his own aides — including Meadows and personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani — sought pardons in the aftermath of the attack.

The very act of encouraging protesters to "fight" for Trump at the US Capitol and inciting a riot was itself sufficient to have White House staffers "charged with every crime imaginable," according to the former president's lawyers, as recounted by Hutchinson.

But most damning, Mulvaney said, was the evidence presented by the committee's vice chair, Rep. Liz Cheney, a Republican from Wyoming, suggesting possible witness tampering on the part of those close to the former president.

At the close of the hearing, Cheney shared messages — recalling mafia-style intimidation — that she said were sent to those called to testify before the January 6 committee.

"[A person] let me know you have your deposition tomorrow," one message stated. "He wants me to let you know that he's thinking about you. He knows you're loyal, and you're going to do the right thing when you go in for your deposition."

Per Mulvaney, while other claims were more "sensational," the "real bomb that was dropped was the implied charge of witness tampering." If "hard evidence" exists, he added, "that is a serious problem for the former president."

Mulvaney was still working for the White House when the insurrection unfolded, continuing to serve as the US special envoy for Northern Ireland weeks after Trump had refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power.

In a now-infamous piece for The Wall Street Journal, published days after the 2020 election, Mulvaney assured the public that Trump would — should he be found the loser — "participate in the peaceful transfer of power."

"I have every expectation that Mr. Trump will be, act and speak like a great president should — win or lose," he added.

Mulvaney ultimately resigned on January 7.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Companies are offering to cover workers' travel costs for abortions. But doing that could be difficult — and hard on workers.

Tue, 06/28/2022 - 4:53pm
Some states might seek to stymie employers that offer travel benefits for out-of-state abortions.
  • Some companies will cover travel so workers can seek abortions in states where they're allowed.
  • HIPAA, the privacy law, would offer little protection to those who circumvented anti-abortion laws.
  • The need to disclose intentions around abortion-related travel could put added strain on workers.

Even before the Supreme Court threw out constitutional protections for the right to an abortion, some large companies had lined up to say they would give employees time off and cover travel costs to facilitate the procedures.

But making good on those pledges could bring challenges for employers and for workers.

Companies' efforts to sort through the legal morass resulting from the decision to jettison Roe v. Wade after nearly 50 years is an urgent matter in about a dozen states, where legislatures have passed so-called trigger laws that banned abortion automatically when Roe fell. In eight states, abortion is already illegal; in another 10 it's on track to become illegal or face heavy restrictions. 

Some large employers, including Starbucks, Citi, Amazon, and CVS, have said they would reimburse employees' travel costs and allow time off for workers in trigger-ban states to seek abortions elsewhere. 

But it remains unclear how states might seek to limit pregnant people traveling to other states to get abortions or how states might make it difficult for employers to offer travel-for-care benefits. A group of lawmakers in Texas, for example, has proposed banning companies that offer to pay for their workers' abortion care. And even if travel is possible, experts say the potential need for some people seeking abortions to disclose their intentions to an employer could create added emotional strain. 

McKensie Mack, a consultant and the CEO of MMG Earth, which focuses on racial- and social-justice issues, said some companies offering travel benefits could face legal fights. "Legislation from state to state will differ," Mack said.

Insider spoke with experts about what a post-Roe America could look like. They offered insights on how employers should administer abortion benefits to maintain worker privacy, and how leaders could support employees seeking an abortion amid a fractious political environment.

What a post-Roe America means for workers

With the high court's reversal of Roe v. Wade, some conservative-leaning states could direct legal action toward people seeking abortions out of state, though it's not certain whether such measures would be feasible. And states such as New York and California are taking steps to protect in-state abortion providers from liabilities that other states might seek to impose. 

Texas and Oklahoma allow private citizens to sue people who provide abortions or who help a patient obtain one. Lawmakers in Idaho and Missouri have weighed similar legislation. Experts predict the tactic could gain traction now that Roe has been overturned. This could complicate matters for employers pledging to cover interstate travel for employees to obtain the procedure.

Political leaders could look to undercut abortion access in other ways, too. Fourteen Texas Republican lawmakers said they'd seek to ban companies that helped employees get abortions outside the state. This could create complications for companies like Goldman Sachs, which has agreed to cover travel expenses for abortion-seeking staff, and has plans to expand in Texas

Some states with rules in place that prohibit abortion could seek to limit medical abortions, which rely on pills to end a pregnancy. In some cases, a patient meets with a prescriber via telemedicine and, if a medical abortion is feasible, the prescription arrives in the mail. Some who are pregnant might even try to order pills from abroad

Companies that pay for employees to cross state lines for an abortion might not be the only ones penalized. Employers that offer abortion care in their health plans would be forced to retract those benefits in states that ban the procedure, said Thelma Duffey, the chair of the Department of Counseling at the University of Texas at San Antonio.

This complex patchwork of laws might inform women's employment choices and force families to make difficult decisions about where to live and work, Duffey said.

"In a post-Roe workforce, women will have to consider in which states they want to live and what companies or organizations they want to work for. Some businesses may even choose to relocate to other states," Duffey said. 

For employees unable to obtain a desired abortion, their well-being and work performance could suffer.

"Research has demonstrated that people who are denied abortions are likely to experience greater symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress," said Taunya Marie Tinsley, a leadership coach who serves as the chair of the American Counseling Association’s Antiracism Commission. "An abortion ban may also result in lower life satisfaction and self-esteem."

Administering abortion benefits with 'dignity and autonomy'

For companies pledging to cover travel expenses for employees living in places such as Arkansas, Tennessee, and Texas, it's uncertain how companies might administer these benefits, and how employees might access them.

Duffey said employers must be intentional to provide benefits in a way that maintains the "dignity and autonomy" of those who need it. "Employees should be entitled to complete privacy regarding all healthcare — including abortion," Duffey said.

But the federal health privacy law known as HIPAA would offer little protection to patients who circumvented state anti-abortion laws. Nevertheless, Mack said, this reality shouldn't lower the bar of confidentiality for employers. "Employers should offer expansive travel benefits for all medical procedures without the requirement of disclosure as to the specific procedure being conducted," Mack said. 

Many employer plans already cover workers' travel expenses for other out-of-state healthcare procedures that aren't locally available. Mack said that ideally abortion-related travel would be tucked into existing policies. 

"Employers should offer expansive travel benefits for all medical procedures without the requirement of disclosure as to the specific procedure being conducted," Mack said.

Supporting employee well-being in a complex environment 

Even before the Roe decision, some employees faced obstacles for obtaining reproductive health and well-being services. For example, only 10% of new mothers have designated breaks to support breastfeeding. And 17% have support for breastfeeding from supervisors or coworkers, a 2020 study found. 

Mack maintained that not requiring employees to disclose the care they're seeking is the best way to protect the well-being of an employee seeking an abortion — as another obstacle could emerge for women who have to come forward and talk to managers about the healthcare they're seeking.  

"It helps to model an approach to benefits at work that do not require surveillance of staff and employees. It also helps to completely bypass stigma relating to abortion in the event that an HR rep might deny a request for travel based on their own anti-abortion stance," Mack said.

Tinsley suggested that employers take several steps to protect the emotional, psychological, and physical well-being of employees in a post-Roe workplace:

  • Provide training for leaders, managers, and staff within the organization on mental health, the effect of an abortion ban on mental health, and the effect on different people, families, and groups.
  • Work with local professional counselors or state and national counseling organizations. 
  • Conduct info sessions on confidentiality, HIPAA, protected health information, and legal issues on employer-covered group health plans, including abortion.
  • Provide employee-assistance programs that include education, counseling, and legal support.

A post-Roe world will result in complex and even dangerous reverberations for employees bearing unwanted pregnancies, Mack said, adding, "It's time for leaders in workplaces across the United States to fight just as hard for their staff as their staff has worked for them."

Read the original article on Business Insider

How Wall Street firms from Goldman Sachs to JPMorgan are responding to the end of Roe v. Wade

Tue, 06/28/2022 - 4:52pm
The Supreme Court handed down a decision reversing Roe v. Wade, a nearly 50-year-old ruling guaranteeing abortion rights.
  • Citi, Bank of America, and Goldman Sachs responded to the Supreme Court's decision on Friday.
  • Goldman said it will cover travel costs for employees seeking abortions, Insider first reported.
  • In spite of these commitments, the industry has a history of donating to trigger law sponsors.

The largest US banks are responding to the US Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, in some cases telling their employees that they will cover costs if they must travel to seek abortion care. 

Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, Citi, and Wells Fargo sent emails to employees addressing the court's decision that ends the constitutional right to an abortion, according to memos viewed by Insider. JPMorgan, the largest US bank, said in a memo to employees that it would pay for travel to states where abortion is legal, CNBC reported.

Deutsche Bank, which is headquartered in Germany with operations in the US, is updating its employees' health benefits to cover travel and lodging costs for medical treatments that are 100 miles away or more from the employee, a person familiar with the matter said. 

The responses reflect the way powerful firms in Wall Street's orbit, from banks and asset managers to influential consulting firms, are under pressure to respond to societal issues, like racial inequity and LGBTQ rights.

And in an era of stakeholder capitalism, these firms walk a fine line, risking alienating shareholders, employees, and clients — and losing their business — if they appear to support one cause over another. 

The financial services industry has also played a role in advancing anti-abortion laws. Banks such as JPMorgan and Citi have long track records of donating to lawmakers who sponsored so-called trigger laws. These laws automatically criminalize abortion in 13 states, including Texas and Tennessee, now that Roe has been overturned.

Some firms have stayed mum on the issue. Spokespeople for Charles Schwab, which is headquartered in Westlake, Texas, and the wealth management giant UBS, which is based in Switzerland with operations across the US, did not return requests for comment. 

Here are how firms are responding.

BlackRock

BlackRock's healthcare plan will reimburse US employees for travel expenses associated with reproductive services starting on July 1, as it has done for other specialized care such as transplants and cancer treatment, according to a Yahoo Finance report late Monday that cited a memo to employees. A spokesperson declined to comment. 

"Through company-sponsored health insurance, we have long provided reproductive health care services, including coverage for birth control and abortion or miscarriage care," the asset management firm's global head of human resources Manish Mehta wrote in the email that Yahoo Finance viewed.

Wells Fargo

The third-largest US bank has updated its benefits for US employees so that starting on July 1, it will reimburse employees for transportation and lodging costs related to seeking abortion care, the bank said in a memo to employees on June 27 that Insider viewed. 

Wells Fargo said that if an employee is enrolled in a medical plan through the bank and healthcare services they are seeking are unavailable within 50 miles of the employee's home, Wells Fargo will reimburse for such costs for the employee and a companion traveling with them. 

Goldman Sachs 

The New York-based bank said in an internal memo on Friday that it would reimburse costs for employees to travel out of state to seek an abortion, Insider first reported

"We have extended our healthcare travel reimbursement policies to include all medical procedures, treatments and evaluations, including abortion services and gender-affirming care where a provider is not available in proximity to where our people live," Bentley de Beyer, the firm's global head of human capital management, wrote in the memo to staff on Friday afternoon.

Later on Friday evening, Goldman CEO David Solomon released a statement of his own backing up the firm's pledge to cover employees' costs tied to abortion-related travel.

"This morning, the US Supreme Court overruled Roe v. Wade, holding that the Constitution does not guarantee the right to choose to have an abortion," Solomon wrote in the statement posted to the company intranet which was seen by Insider. "Millions of women are right now grappling with a new legal reality. I know many of you are deeply upset, and I stand with you."

The bank's "top priorities are the health and wellbeing of our people and their families," he added.

Jefferies

Jefferies Financial Group told staffers on Monday that it will pay for the costs of abortion-related travel in a memo first reported by Insider.

"We have thought deeply these past few days about how to respond to the recent Supreme Court decision regarding women's rights. Jefferies will, of course, join other businesses around the US that will cover any employee-partners' costs should she decide to terminate a pregnancy and be forced to do so in a state other than the one in which she lives," CEO Richard Handler and President Brian Friedman wrote.

The investment bank's two top leaders added that they will independently donate a combined $1 million to "causes that champion women's rights." Read the full memo here.

Bank of America

Bank of America said in an email to employees on Friday that it would expand coverage for US healthcare-related travel starting on July 1, according to a copy of the memo Insider reviewed.

"For employees and their dependents who are enrolled in our US self-insured health plans, we are expanding the list of medical treatments that are eligible for travel expense reimbursement," the memo said, expanding this coverage to reproductive healthcare including abortion, cancer treatment, and hospital admissions for mental health conditions. 

BNY Mellon

A spokesperson for the New York-based money manager and custodian said late Monday that the firm has "expanded the travel benefits under our medical plan to apply to expenses associated with obtaining covered health services from in-network providers that are not available within the member's state of residence." 

Citi

Sara Wechter, Citi's head of human resources, sent a memo to employees on Friday afternoon addressing the Supreme Court's decision, according to a memo Insider viewed.

"While we are still assessing the impact of the Supreme Court decision and are aware that some states may enact new legislation regarding reproductive rights, we will continue to provide benefits that support our colleagues' family planning choices wherever we are legally permitted to do so," Wechter said. 

Wechter referred to the commitment the bank made in March to cover the costs of staff traveling to receive abortion care. At the time, it was the only such commitment on Wall Street. 

Deutsche Bank 

The German bank is updating health benefits to cover travel and lodging costs for medical treatments that are 100 miles away or more, a person familiar with the matter told Insider.

This applies to all healthcare treatments, including abortion care. The update is not effective immediately, but it is being rolled out imminently, the person said.

JPMorgan

The bank told employees that it would pay for travel to states that allow legal abortions, according to a memo CNBC viewed

Morgan Stanley

Starting on July 1, Morgan Stanley will incorporate coverage for travel costs tied to pregnancy care into its employee benefits offerings, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday, citing a person familiar with the company policy.

This story was published on June 24 and has been updated to reflect other companies' statements. 

Do you work for a financial services firm? How is your company responding to the reversal of Roe v. Wade? Contact these reporters. Rebecca Ungarino can be reached at . Reed Alexander can be reached at . Hayley Cuccinello can be reached out .

Read the original article on Business Insider

A Capitol Police officer injured on January 6 said 'our own president set us up' amid damning testimony by an ex-White House aide

Tue, 06/28/2022 - 4:43pm
US Capitol Police Sgt. Aquilino Gonell wipes his eye as he watches a video being displayed during a House select committee hearing on the Jan. 6 attack on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, July 27, 2021.
  • A Capitol Police officer said on Tuesday that "our own president set us up" on January 6, 2021.
  • "He wanted to lead the mob and wanted to lead the crowd himself ... he wanted to be a tyrant," Sgt. Aquilino Gonell told HuffPost.
  • Gonell attended the sixth public hearing of the House January 6 committee on Tuesday. 

A US Capitol Police officer injured during the January 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol told reporters on Tuesday "our own president set us up" during the sixth public hearing of the House commitee investigating the Capitol riot.

Sgt. Aquilino Gonell, an Army veteran who was in the room during Tuesday's hearing, testified before Congress last year about the injuries he suffered while defending the Capitol. Gonell underwent surgery and was moved to desk duty as a result of the injuries he sustained to his foot and shoulder while being physically attacked by rioters during the Capitol siege.

"I just feel betrayed," Gonell told HuffPost's Igor Bobic on Tuesday. "The president should be doing everything possible to help us and he didn't do it. He wanted to lead the mob and wanted to lead the crowd himself ... he wanted to be a tyrant." 

He later told Insider that he still remembers how him and his fellow officers tried to stop pro-Trump supporters from forcing their way inside of the US Capitol building on January 6. Gonell said the latest hearing has shown that Trump was actively "working against" the police officers that day.

"Even if you give him the benefit of the doubt that he didn't know, he still didn't do anything to help us," he told Insider.

His remarks come after Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, Cassidy Hutchinson, testified before the House panel investigating the January 6 insurrection.

She later testified that President Donald Trump was "furious" that people with weapons were prohibited from passing through metal detectors outside of his rally on January 6 because it kept the crowd size small.

Hutchinson said the former president ordered his aides to remove the metal detectors, also known as "mags," and said that he wasn't concerned that his supporters brought weapons, including assault rifles, to the rally, insisting they be allowed to march to the Capitol.

Hutchinson said, "I was in the vicinity of a conversation where I overheard the president say something to the effect of, 'I don't f-ing care that they have weapons. They're not here to hurt me. Take the f-ing mags away. Let my people in, they can march to the Capitol from here.'"

Read the original article on Business Insider

Eleven Madison Park owner responds to investigation and says the restaurant has been forced to raise workers' pay — but not to its originally proposed 'living wage'

Tue, 06/28/2022 - 4:37pm
Celebrity chef Daniel Humm responded to Insider's investigation into Eleven Madison Park at the 2022 Aspen Ideas Festival on Monday.
  • Celebrity chef Daniel Humm responded to Insider's investigation into Eleven Madison Park on Monday. 
  • He said they scrapped plans to pay workers $20/hr because they "didn't feel comfortable" raising menu prices.
  • He added that the restaurant has recently raised wages to between $17 and $18 an hour. 

Celebrity chef Daniel Humm responded to Insider's investigation into acclaimed restaurant Eleven Madison Park at the 2022 Aspen Ideas Festival on Monday, addressing a leaked op-ed draft that revealed management was fully aware it was underpaying its staff. 

The restaurant hired a journalist to ghostwrite the piece, which it hoped to publish in The New York Times, sources told Insider's Kate Taylor, who reviewed the op-ed draft as part of a series looking into the Michelin-star restaurant's chaotic shift to veganism

The op-ed draft read: "It is absurd and unjust that people working in the kitchens and dining rooms of some of the finest restaurants in the world can barely afford their own food and rent. We are going to ensure that everybody working at Eleven Madison Park will receive a living wage of at least twenty dollars per hour."

Eleven Madison Park continued to say in the draft that it would offset higher labor costs by raising the price of its tasting menu to $425, up from $335. Charging $335 was only possible, the op-ed draft said, because most kitchen workers were paid $15 an hour. However, the plans to increase worker pay were dropped after The New York Times wrote a scathing review of the restaurant's new vegan menu. 

After Humm was questioned by MSNBC correspondent Jacob Soboroff about the report on stage, he said the op-ed draft was written as an "exercise" to test out the restaurant's proposed increase in staff wages and menu prices. 

"This is not just a creative endeavor. It's also running a business in a very tough environment. And that is our livelihood," he said. "We didn't feel comfortable charging $480 for the meal to do this price increase, so we decided that we would move up there slower." 

"We wanted to pay people, I believe, $20," Humm continued. "Today we're paying $17, $18."

While the pay bump, according to Humm, is an improvement from the restaurant's original $15 an hour wage, it still falls short of the $20 an hour proposed in the unpublished op-ed. However, Eleven Madison Park did reverse its long-standing no tipping rule in February, which allows staff to accept gratuity. 

"You cannot get people to do the work that is required at Eleven Madison Park if you don't have a great culture, and if you don't treat them well," Humm told Soboroff on Monday. 

Current and former Eleven Madison Park employees previously told Insider that many quit the restaurant over the past year because long hours, low pay, and food waste. Former employees described juggling roles and working more than 80 hours a week. A representative for Eleven Madison Park dismissed these complaints, saying that the staffers Insider spoke with were "agenda-driven" and that their critiques of the restaurant were "flat-out erroneous."

Read Insider's original investigation into the past year at Eleven Madison Park.Read the original article on Business Insider

Bizarre Custom Cars That Actually Exist

Tue, 06/28/2022 - 4:30pm
  • We take a look at several bizarre custom-built vehicles that take transportation to a new level.
  • A Turkish company named Letvision turned a BMW 3 Series into a real-life Transformer.
  • Our most extreme car transformation is a Bugatti Chiron made out of 90% Lego pieces.

Following is a transcript of the video.

A.T Bianco: This is our first car of the day, and I kind of want one of these: a Teslonda. It's like if you gave a V-8 engine to Fred Flintstone and told him to power his Flintmobile. So, this one is from creator Jim Belosic, and he managed to get it to go 0 to 60 in just 2.48 seconds. And that's quicker than the Bugatti Veyron and the Lamborghini Huracán, which are both clocked in at 2.5 seconds.

Dan Gessner: For anyone wondering how he pulled it off with just one Tesla motor, it's all about weight. The Teslonda, it looks like, comes in at around 2,400 pounds. That's about half as much as any Model S you'll find.

A.T: This car also has a 1990s-video-game-style dashboard displaying the best 0-to-60 times as high scores, which is just the best feature ever, I think. Dan, are you ready for my favorite car?

Dan: I'm ready.

A.T: I just took out a loan for this one yesterday, and it's the one and only Barbie car with a dirt-bike engine. I'd just love to see the loan application that says "Malibu Barbie dream car" on it. How fast do you think this thing can go?

Dan: I'm guessing 40 to 45 at best.

A.T: It can actually drive up to 70 miles per hour. And these two friends that we see in the video here, Edwin and Ethan, they made this, and their reasoning was, "It just had to be done." And I couldn't agree more. It's truly a beautiful work of art. The Barbie car is made out of a used go-kart to make room for its rubber tires. They had to make a wide-body kit out of $5 paint buckets from Walmart.

Dan: I'll skip all the obvious jokes. I just love that they moved the engine from the rear of this car to the front.

A.T: Our next extreme car was named world's longest car by Guinness World Records, and interestingly enough, it's a limo from Dezerland Auto Park in Florida. Now, Dan, imagine this. Imagine driving a limo with 26 wheels, room for 75 people, a putting green for golf, a pool, and to top it all off, a helicopter pad. What are your thoughts on this?

Dan: First of all, I have no idea what street you could actually turn this thing on without at least scratching a hubcap, let alone causing a major accident. Also, 75 people in a car?

A.T: It seems like it could get real stuffy in there. I'd be chilling back by the pool or the Jacuzzi or whatever it's called. It looks pretty cool. So, this car was originally built by Jay Ohrberg and was the world's longest vehicle in the 1980s. Michael Manning found the original vehicle rotting behind a warehouse in New Jersey back in 2019. He later partnered with Michael Dezer, and they restored this vehicle after buying it at an auction. And now, after two years of restoration, this car is back to full health.

Dan: I have to congratulate Michael for such a job well done rebuilding it. However, the Cadillac fan in me can't help but see about a dozen Eldorados just massacred to build a limo you can't really drive anywhere. I can appreciate the helipad, though.

A.T: The next one is pretty funny. Let's start by both watching a video of this car in action.

Dan: I really just watched a BMW transform into an Autobot.

A.T: Yeah, I know, right? I was expecting Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox to come on screen and, yeah. This is a real-life Transformer here. It was made by a Turkish company called Letvision, and it took eight months to complete. It's named Letrons, and it was built successfully using a real BMW, which I find super interesting.

Dan: I mean, just tell me it's not drivable.

A.T: So, at the time of this video, the car wasn't drivable in traffic yet and functioned using a remote control. But the company did say that it might be possible to drive it if it had an electric engine.

Weighing in at 6,100 pounds with a 400-horsepower engine, made from nothing but semitruck parts and a motorcycle handle, we have the Semi Trike. Dan, would you drive this thing on an interstate?

Dan: I would definitely take it for a spin down the highway. I just don't know if I have room for it in my garage. That hood alone is, what, 11, 12 feet long?

A.T: The original semitruck hood made it into a canopy over the driver, as you can see there, you know, just in case you get a little rain, cloudy with a chance of meatballs, something like that, you got the nice hood overhead.

Our most extreme car is last but definitely not least. And it's the Bugatti Chiron made out of Legos, built by Lego Technic power function and pneumatic systems. The team over at Lego spent more than 13,000 hours making this. That means they spent around two years building this thing together.

Dan: Yeah, I think the most time I ever spent on a Lego set when I was younger was two hours.

A.T: They didn't even have any directions, which is crazy. They used over 1 million Legos to build the frame, and 90% of the car is built with Lego elements. And they even replicated the curved surfaces that are found featured on the original Chiron. So, Dan, as the car enthusiast here, how accurate do you think it looks in comparison to the actual Chiron?

Dan: I actually have been a fan of this since Lego revealed it several years ago. Its design details are extremely accurate, and I'm already a sucker for model cars. However, model car isn't even accurate, since you can actually drive it. It's got a full-sized engine inside made entirely out of Legos. Now, it may only make 5.3 horsepower for a top speed of about 18 miles per hour, but who needs a 1,500-horsepower hypercar when you can say you've been behind the wheel of a real-life Lego car?

A.T: And that was "A Gearhead's Dozen." We'll see you next time.

Read the original article on Business Insider

PepsiCo's world-class ESG agenda is centered on supporting people, communities, and the entire packaged goods industry

Tue, 06/28/2022 - 4:29pm

"Our governance starts at the top of PepsiCo," Anna Palazij, PepsiCo's vice president of ESG reporting and strategic investments, said.
  • For years, PepsiCo has been a leader in the ESG space.
  • The company has aggressive sustainability goals over the next decade.
  • Here's how the company is planning to bolster sustainability internally, and throughout the industry.
  • This article is part of the "Financing a Sustainable Future" series exploring how companies take steps toward funding and setting their own sustainable goals.

PepsiCo — the parent company of iconic brands like Pepsi, Lay's, Gatorade, and Quaker Old Fashioned Oats — has been committed to environmental, social, and governance, or ESG, initiatives for several years. In 2021, the consumer packaged goods company expanded that commitment with the debut of PepsiCo Positive, a strategic sustainability and governance plan focusing on three pillars: agriculture, value chain, and choices. 

"It's a strategic end-to-end transformation with sustainability and human capital at the center," Anna Palazij, PepsiCo's vice president of ESG reporting and strategic investments, told Insider. "What we're trying to do is transform the way we source our products in a more sustainable way, how we manufacture our products, and how we bring them to consumers." 

PepsiCo has been a leader in the ESG space. The company recently ranked second on the 2022 list of 100 Best Corporate Citizens by 3BL Media, and it's made the list every year since 2009. Palazij said PepsiCo Positive aims to drive growth internally and throughout the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry. 

Expanding its ESG commitment comes as investors, suppliers, stakeholders, and customers are asking for more commitments on sustainability. The CPG industry is also feeling strained through droughts and hotter temperatures. Governance is crucial to all of this because it ensures companies are setting goals, tracking performance, and reporting to stakeholders to ensure accountability.  

"We knew that now was the time to act, and we felt a responsibility and an opportunity," Palazij said. 

PepsiCo has been a leader in the ESG space.

PepsiCo Positive is a standalone ESG program to help the company grow and become more resilient for the future. It's embedded into the company's overall financial framework, Palazij said. PepsiCo issued a $1 billion green bond in 2019 to produce a more sustainable food system by focusing on better packaging, decarbonization of operations and supply chain, and water sustainability. At the end of 2020, PepsiCo had distributed $858 million of the bond, which had helped reduce greenhouse gas emissions and water use and improve energy efficiency. 

Here's a look at how PepsiCo is transforming its business operations to produce products more sustainably. 

Sustainability and governance are interconnected

Governance is intertwined with PepsiCo's ESG goal-setting and progress reporting.

PepsiCo aligns its sustainability efforts with the Science-Based Targets initiative, which ensures it's meeting ambitious goals that follow the latest climate science. For example, the company plans to reach net-zero emissions by 2040 — meaning the greenhouse gas emissions produced are balanced with emission reductions — and be net water positive by 2030, in which the company will replenish more water than it uses. In 2020, PepsiCo achieved 100% renewable electricity in its US operations, which is the company's largest market, and plans to expand that to 15 countries by the end of 2021. 

Progress on sustainability is reviewed by the Executive Council, which comprises members of the executive leadership team. "Our governance starts at the top of PepsiCo," Palazij said, adding that executive compensation is tied to sustainability performance and progress. 

PepsiCo regularly shares progress on ESG initiatives with stakeholders, including investors and consumers. The company provides updates on its website, where it lists details for more than 50 ESG topics, including environmental impact, people, product and nutrition, and ethics and governance.

"We continue to look at what's needed to be transparent and tell our story, but in an authentic and transparent way, and we align our reporting to that," Palazij said.

Supporting people and communities is central to the value chain commitment 

Creating a safe and equitable environment for employees, the communities it reaches, and everyone involved in its supply chain is a key part of PepsiCo's initiatives. 

"People are such an important part of PepsiCo and sustainability as a whole, and ultimately our PepsiCo Positive agenda looks at how we drive better outcomes for people and the planet," Palazij said. And that spans the full value chain from the farmers who grow the crops to the consumers who enjoy them. 

Anna Palazij is PepsiCo's vice president of ESG reporting and strategic investments.

PepsiCo plans to expand regenerative farming across 7 million acres and so far has rolled out regenerative farming on 345,000 acres. The company, Palazij said, is committed to improving the livelihood of the 250,000 people in its agriculture supply chain through partnerships with the National Black Growers Council and the US Agency for International Development. PepsiCo plans to sustainably source 100% of ingredients, like oats and potatoes — a goal it's already achieved in some countries. The company also hopes to provide safe water access to 100 million people by 2030, and Palazij said the company now delivers water to 68 million people globally. 

Building diverse, inclusive, and equitable workplaces across the company is part of its commitment to people. In 2020, PepsiCo launched the Racial Equity Journey with plans to invest $570 million in the next five years to support Black and Hispanic businesses and communities. PepsiCo also pledged $100 million through 2025 to support opportunities for women in the workforce. 

Driving ESG innovation to improve the packaged goods industry 

PepsiCo's recognition for its ESG initiatives helps validate the value of the company's work and shows that it's resonating with stakeholders and others in the industry, Palazij said.  

The company seeks to drive innovation in sustainability through its PepsiCo Labs program, which works with venture capital to identify new technology to help accelerate its sustainability agenda. PepsiCo champions innovation from competitors, which ultimately improves the CPG sector as a whole. 

"Consumers consume our products more than a billion times a day, so we have a unique opportunity from a size and scale standpoint to transform," Palazij said. "We think that is both an obligation and an opportunity to change the way business is done. It goes beyond the competition with others because we want everyone engaged in this collaboration." 

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Ex-White House aide said she wanted Mark Meadows to 'snap out of it' and pay attention to the Capitol riot as it was unfolding

Tue, 06/28/2022 - 4:27pm
Cassidy Hutchinson, a former top aide to Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, testifies before the January 6 committee in Washington, DC, on June 28, 2022.
  • An ex-aide to Meadows said she wanted him to "snap out it" and pay attention to the Capitol riot.
  • Cassidy Hutchinson said she asked Meadows if he could see what was transpiring on his TV on January 6.
  • She testified before the January 6 committee that she was "frustrated" by his reaction.

A former top aide to ex-Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows on Tuesday said she wanted him to "snap out it" and pay attention to the chaos unfolding at the Capitol building on January 6, 2021.

During her testimony before the January 6 committee, Cassidy Hutchinson said she sought to engage with Meadows on what was going on at the seat of the national government, as rioters upset about the certification of now-President Joe Biden's electoral victory breached the Capitol and sent lawmakers fleeing to secure spaces within the complex.

"I remember him being alone in his office for most of the afternoon. Around 2:00, 2:05, we were watching the TV and I could see that the rioters were getting closer and closer to the Capitol," she said.

Hutchinson continued: "Mark still hadn't popped out of his office or said anything about, and that's when I went into his office and saw that he was sitting on his couch, on his cell phone."

When she asked Meadows if he'd seen the television, his response was, "Yeah," per Hutchinson's testimony.

She responded: "The rioters are getting really close. Have you talked with the president?"

Meadows reportedly replied: "No, he wants to be alone right now."

She then spoke of her exasperation at his lack of urgency while the Capitol was being ransacked.

"I start to get frustrated because I sort of felt like I was looking at a bad car accident about to happen where you can't stop it but you want to be able to do something," she said. "I remember thinking in that moment, 'Mark needs to snap out of this and I don't know how to snap him out of this but he needs to care.'"

She proceeded to ask Meadows to reach out to Rep. Jim Jordan, one of the former president's most loyal political allies, who had spoken on the House floor about the 2020 election shortly before rioters broke into the Capitol. Meadows told her he would call the Ohio congressman, Hutchinson testified, adding that she was later asked to be on the lookout for any calls for Jordan.

About a minute later, then-White House counsel Pat Cipollone appeared and pressed Meadows to act on the events at the Capitol.

"I remember Pat saying to [Meadows], something to the effect of, 'The rioters have gotten to the Capitol, Mark, we need to go down and see the president now,'" Hutchinson said.

"And Mark looked up at and said, 'He doesn't want to do anything, Pat,'" she added.

Cipollone, per Hutchinson's testimony, told Meadows something to the effect that "something needs to be done or people are going to die and the blood's going to be on your effing hands."

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Rep. Ruben Gallego said a White House aide's testimony shows police were 'sent to be potentially slaughtered' by Trump

Tue, 06/28/2022 - 4:23pm
Rep. Ruben Gallego of Arizona speaks at the 2016 Democratic National Convention.
  • Rep. Ruben Gallego says police were 'sent to be slaughtered' on Jan. 6 by Trump.
  • An ex-aide testified that Trump knew there were not enough police at the US capitol. 
  • Gallego said the testimony of the former WH aide has shown Trump's involvement in the Jan 6 insurrection.

Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego said that 'US Capitol Police officers were sent to be potentially slaughtered' on January 6 after a former White House staffer testified that former President Donald Trump knew that protesters were armed and that there was not enough security at the US Capitol building. 

"If it wasn't because of this brave 25-year-old woman, we wouldn't even know what was happening," the Arizona lawmaker told reporters at the hearing on Thursday, referring to Cassidy Hutchinson. "This is a very sad moment in our country right now."

Gallego, a former US Marine who instructed fellow lawmakers in how to don gas masks during the Capitol attack, was one of several witnesses to the attack in the Cannon Caucus room who expressed shock at the aide's sworn account of that day.

His remarks came after Cassidy Hutchinson, an aide to former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, testified that Trump and his White House advisers were informed that protesters on the National Mall were armed and heading to the US Capitol building on Jan. 6 where lawmakers were formalizing the victory of Trump's political opponent.

In gripping testimony before the House Jan. 6 select committee, Hutchinson testified that Meadows and Trump seemed indifferent about the armed and angry crowd and that Trump was "furious" that the crowd area for his speech wasn't filled with people, which he attributed to metal detectors that would deter people carrying weapons.

At one point, she recalled Trump saying, "I don't effing care that they have weapons. They're not here to hurt me. Take the effing mags away. Let my people in; they can march to the Capitol from here. Let the people in."

During that same period, she also recalled the White House staffers being informed that there was not enough security on Capitol Hill to handle the hundreds of protesters making their way into the building. 

US Capitol Police Sgt. Aquilino Gonell.US Capitol Police Sergeant Aquilino Gonell told Insider that he felt betrayed after hearing Hutchinson recount how Trump and his staffers knew that the Capitol Police were outnumbered and how Trump wanted to march with his supporters.

"Even if you give him the benefit of the doubt that he didn't know, he still didn't do anything to help us," he told Insider. "We wanted to lead the crowd according to the evidence put out today."

Gonell was one of the many officers injured during the January 6 insurrection while attempting to stop the pro-Trump supporters from forcing their way into the US Capitol. An Army veteran who served in Iraq, Gonnell testified in 2021 before the same committee thinking, as he struggled to breath from the crowd's press: "This is how I'm going to die."

More than 140 law enforcement officers were injured during the insurrection.

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Mega-cap tech stocks drag Nasdaq down 3% as bear market rally fizzles out

Tue, 06/28/2022 - 4:05pm
A trader works on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., March 5, 2020.
  • The Nasdaq 100 fell 3% on Tuesday as mega-cap tech stocks resumed their months-long sell-off.
  • Tuesday's decline makes it more likely that the recent 6% gain in the S&P 500 was nothing but a bear market rally.
  • Stocks were initially higher on Tuesday after China eased its COVID-19 lockdown restrictions.

US stocks resumed their months-long sell-off on Tuesday, with mega-cap tech stocks dragging the Nasdaq 100 down 3%.

The decline makes it more likely that the 6% gain in the S&P 500 over the past week was nothing more than a bear market rally, drawing in hopeful bulls searching for a bottom only to reveal further downside ahead. The decline came on a day when interest rates were rather stable and investors continued to guess if an economic recession is imminent.

New York Fed President John Williams was the latest figure to weigh in on the potential for a recession, telling CNBC that a US recession is not his base case, and that the country could avoid a period of declining economic growth even in the face of higher interest rates.

Here's where US indexes stood at the 4:00 p.m. ET close on Tuesday:

Meanwhile, Ark Invest's Cathie Wood told CNBC on Tuesday that she believes the US is currently in a recession, implying that second-quarter GDP growth will be negative after first-quarter US GDP growth experienced a contraction of more than 1%.

Potentially fueling an economic rebound could be the full reopening of China after months of COVID-19 lockdowns hampered supply chains around the globe.

China said it would cut in half the isolation time required by new arrivals to its country, in a sign that the government is getting serious about driving a rebound in the growth of its economy. Additionally, Shanghai and Beijing both reported no new infections, an encouraging sign that supply chain bottlenecks should continue to ease.

"The COVID crisis appears to be rapidly retreating in China, with no major cities in widespread lockdown and a rapid drop in cases being reported," Susannah Streeter, a market analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said.

Robinhood stock fell on Tuesday after Sam Bankman-Fried said FTX is not in active talks to acquire the brokerage firm. Robinhood surged as much as 22% on Monday following a Bloomberg report of a potential merger between the two companies. 

Warren Buffett continues to view Occidental Petroleum as an attractive investment, with SEC filings showing that Berkshire Hathaway added another $44 million to its more than $9 billion stake in the oil and gas producer.

West Texas Intermediate crude oil rose as much as much as 1.89% to $111.64 per barrel. Brent crude, oil's international benchmark, jumped as much as 2.37% to $117.82. 

Bitcoin fell 2.43% to $20,214. Ether prices fell 2.35% to $1,152.

Gold fell as much as 0.23% to $1,820.60 per ounce. The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell two basis points to 3.20%.

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I flew out of what was once considered the worst airport in the world. Except for a few hiccups, it was a smooth experience.

Tue, 06/28/2022 - 2:57am
Flying with Philippine Airlines via business class from Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
  • For years, Manila's Ninoy Aquino International Airport was ranked the world's worst airport.
  • Local officials said "significant improvements" were made under the Duterte administration.
  • I flew business class from the airport and was surprised by its quality lounge and delicious food.
Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) is the main airport of Manila, the capital of the Philippines.Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

NAIA was named after Benigno Aquino Jr., a politician who was killed on the tarmac in August 1983. It had previously been known as Manila International Airport. NAIA served over 48 million people in 2019, with some 42 passenger airlines operating at the airport, an airport representative told Insider.

For years, NAIA ranked consistently among the worst airports in the world. It was named the world's worst airport from 2011 to 2013 by widely cited travel website Guide to Sleeping in Airports, which wrote that NAIA is "large and frustrating," and advised travelers to "expect to wait in numerous long lines as you make your way to your flight."

In early 2016, the airport had a 40% on-time performance OTP, according to a report by the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA).

NAIA has since worked to clean up its image. It's undergone a series of upgrades and renovations, and in September 2019, it recorded an 83% OTP from national carriers.

"Despite challenges, setbacks, and criticisms, it is undeniable that the country's main gateway – the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) – has come a long way from where it was before," the MIAA said in a May 2022 statement seen by Insider. The authority added that it aims to give passengers a "safe, reliable, convenient, and comfortable travel."

Even so, NAIA currently has a 3/10 rating on UK-based airline- and airport-customer review site Skytrax from over 360 reviews. Skytrax describes the airport as "congested" with "excessive" immigration and security queues.

"The floors in the transit waiting area looked like they hadn't been mopped or cleaned in days,"a South Korean passenger wrote on Skytrax in March 2020. "By far the worst airport in Asia I have been to," she added.

I've been flying in and out of NAIA since I was a child, and I remember how chaotic my experiences at the airport were in the mid and late 2000s.Terminal 2 at NAIA.

Curious to experience it now, as an adult, I recently booked a business class flight from Manila to Singapore via the country's national carrier, Philippine Airlines (PAL).

I spent around 1,600 Singapore dollars (around $1,152) for a return ticket. In comparison, a return economy ticket cost around S$650 ($470). The flight from Manila to Singapore takes around three-and-a-half hours.

It took about 40 minutes to drive to NAIA's Terminal 2 from Makati, the country's financial and economic center. There was minimal traffic and the initial security checks were a breeze. 

Terminal 2 is exclusive to PAL international and domestic flights.

It didn't take long before I encountered the first problem: I tried to check in via the business class counter, but there was nobody there.The business class counter at Philippine Airlines.

There were several economy class counters. Snaking queues led up to them.

There was only one counter allocated for business class. It had a red carpet laid out in front of it, but there was no one manning the counter. When I asked another staff member for help, he told me to check in via economy.

I waited for staff to show up at the counter for 15 minutes, and when nobody did, I joined the long line at economy.The economy counters at Philippine Airlines.

The economy counter was fully staffed and the line was surprisingly speedy. 

The staff members were efficient: After checking my passport, travel details, and vaccination certificates, I was told to make my way through immigration. 

But the security ended up stopping me as I was missing a departure card. I had to double back and request one from the ticketing counter.

After filling out the form, I made my way through immigration and security, which took less than 10 minutes. I spotted the Mabuhay Lounge, PAL's business class lounge, at the corner of the terminal.The Mabuhay Lounge.

The lounge was spacious and had simple furnishings. There were fewer than five people at the lounge, which meant that service was prompt and attentive. 

I took a seat near the bar, where I perused the menu. Unlike other lounges that serve food buffet-style, Mabuhay Lounge offers unlimited a la carte orders. It had Asian, Western, and Filipino fare.

The food was made to order, and it was delicious.Food at the Mabuhay Lounge.

I had the fish sisig, which is a sizzling hot plate dish, a chicken kebab, and toast. The sisig was one of the best I've ever had — it tasted better than many of the Filipino restaurants I've dined at. I topped off my order with Japanese potstickers and a muffin, which were also delicious. 

The bar had a dedicated staff member who was mixing drinks on demand. The lounge's margarita and long island iced tea were on par with drinks from some of my favorite bars. 

My flight ended up being delayed by 40 minutes. I didn't even mind, because the lounge was so comfortable.

When I made my way to the gate, I found a chaotic scene and long lines of people behind the counters.The gates at NAIA Terminal 2.

I took a seat outside the airport's dedicated vape room. In around 20 minutes, boarding began and, as always, business class passengers were the first to be called. The experience was efficient and hassle-free.

The airport might have a ways to go before it can fully shed its negative reputation, but it's come a long way since it was crowned the worst airport in the world.Business class in Philippine Airlines.

While my flight was delayed, I found the airport's immigration and security queues efficient. The business class lounge had decent amenities and great service. The lounge was quiet, and it felt like the perfect place to relax in the midst of a busy airport.

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Putin's Chechen warlord ally plans to bolster Russia's forces in Ukraine with 4 new battalions

Tue, 06/28/2022 - 1:05am
Ramzan Kadyrov, head of the Chechen Republic, claimed he fought in the early days of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
  • Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov said he is assembling four military battalions to aid Russia.
  • Per Kadyrov, the battalions will comprise an "impressive number" of troops.
  • Their purpose would be to help "replenish" Russia's forces in Ukraine, Kadyrov said.

Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov said on Sunday that he would be sending more troops to aid the Russians in their fight against Ukraine. 

Kadyrov announced the move in a Telegram post, stating that four battalions featuring an "impressive number" of soldiers would be formed to aid Russia. 

"The military contingent will include only Chechen guys," Kadyrov wrote. "They will replenish the composition of the troops of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation."

He said the four battalions would be named "North-Akhmat", "South-Akhmat", "West-Akhmat," and "Vostok-Akhmat," and would be deployed from the Chechen Republic. 

"The desire to form new battalions with fully equipped personnel is caused by an extremely patriotic mood among the youth of the region," Kadyrov wrote.

"The number of people wishing to defend the Motherland is growing exponentially, and our task is to provide them with such an opportunity," the warlord added. 

Kadyrov, a key ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, previously claimed that he fought in Ukraine in the early days of Russia's invasion. According to Ukrainian officials, Kadyrov and Chechen fighters also plotted to assassinate Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Despite his troops sustaining heavy casualties in the conflict, Kadyrov said in March that he viewed peace talks between Ukraine and Russia as pointless, adding that he wished to keep on fighting. 

However, Kadyrov has also admitted that Russia is "finding it difficult" to sustain its onslaught on Ukraine

Russia's invasion of Ukraine has fared more poorly than expected, especially in light of the "devastating losses" of its junior officers and generals alike.

Ukraine estimates that Russia has sustained heavy losses in the war, pegging its losses at around 31,500 troops killed since the invasion began on February 24. Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelenskyy has also claimed that Russia has lost at least 200 aircraft in the Ukraine war.

This week, Russia launched a massive missile attack on Ukraine, in what appeared to be a deliberate escalation of the conflict meant to coincide with the G7 meeting in Germany. The assault also led to a missile strike on a Ukrainian shopping mall with 1,000 people inside it.

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An American Airlines' regional carrier is offering triple pay for pilots who pick up open trips in July: CNBC

Tue, 06/28/2022 - 12:58am
Envoy Air is tripling the pay of pilots who pick up open trips on their days off in July.
  • Envoy Air — an American Airlines' subsidiary — is tripling pay for pilots who pick up trips in July.
  • Envoy said it aims to run a reliable schedule during the peak summer travel season.
  • Airlines are struggling with a staff shortage as travel demand returns to pre-pandemic levels.

Envoy Air — a regional carrier under American Airlines — is tripling the pay of pilots who pick up trips from July 2 to July 31, according to CNBC.

The airline has declared "super critical coverage" for all bases over the period and "any open time flown during this time frame will be paid at 300%," CNBC reported, citing a note to pilots.

"As part of the proactive strategy to run a reliable schedule during the peak summer travel season, Envoy is offering pilots triple pay to pick up uncovered trips on their days off in the month of July," said the airline, per CNBC. The bonus will only be offered if there are open trips available.

Envoy's move comes amid a messy summer travel season with flight delays and chaos across the industry as demand returns to pre-pandemic levels. Issues faced by airlines include staff — including pilot — shortages and bad weather.

"There are not enough people working to handle the number of people flying," Helane Becker, a senior research analyst at the investment bank Cowen, told Insider's Marguerite Ward on Monday.

With the long Fourth of July weekend coming up, the industry is bracing itself for another round of disruptions. Over the Juneteenth and Father's Day weekends, US airlines canceled or delayed more than 35,000 flights collectively.

Almost 900 flights across the US were canceled on Sunday alone, according to data from flight tracking website, FlightAware.

Envoy Air did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment that was sent outside regular business hours.

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Grocery store employee accused of attacking Rudy Giuliani released on reduced charges

Mon, 06/27/2022 - 11:14pm
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani railed against the court's decision during a Facebook live stream on Monday.
  • Daniel Gill, 39, had his charges downgraded from a felony to a misdemeanor charge.
  • Gill is accused of slapping former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani on the back.
  • Gill's lawyers and Giuliani have given differing accounts of the incident. 

The grocery store employee accused of assaulting Trump ally and former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani has been released on reduced charges. 

Daniel Gill, 39, was initially charged with second-degree assault, a felony charge. This was reduced on Monday to a third-degree assault misdemeanor charge, along with two additional charges of third-degree menacing and second-degree harassment. 

Gill's release came after CCTV footage appeared to show him slapping Giuliani on the back while the latter was in a Staten Island ShopRite store on Sunday.

Following the incident, Giuliani claimed that he had been hit so hard by Gill that it felt like a "gunshot." 

"I feel a shot on my back like somebody shot me. I went forward, but luckily I didn't fall down," Giuliani said on a radio show.

However, footage the New York Post released of the incident did not appear to show Giuliani lurching forward or falling after Gill's hand came into contact with the former New York mayor's back.

—Ron Filipkowski

Biological daughter of 'Jane Roe' slams Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, saying it has been 'too many times' that a woman's choice 'has been decided for her by others'

Mon, 06/27/2022 - 9:49pm
Attorney Gloria Allred and Norma McCorvey during a Pro Choice Rally, July 4, 1989 in Burbank, California.
  • The woman whose conception was central to the Roe v. Wade ruling spoke out against the Supreme Court's reversal.
  • Shelley Lynn Thornton told ABC News that she worries about what lies ahead.
  • "Too many times has a woman's choice, voice and individual freedom been decided for her by others," she said.

The woman whose conception sparked Roe v. Wade released a statement this week speaking out against the Supreme Court's Friday decision to overturn the 1973 landmark case which previously protected federal abortion rights.

Shelley Lynn Thornton, the biological daughter of Norma McCorvey, who used the pseudonym "Jane Roe" during litigation, told ABC News on Monday that she worries the SCOTUS ruling could portend future disquiet.

"Too many times has a woman's choice, voice and individual freedom been decided for her by others. Being that I am bound to the center of Roe v. Wade, I have a unique perspective on this matter specifically," Thornton told the outlet via a spokesperson.

"I believe that the decision to have an abortion is a private, medical choice that should be between a woman, her family, and her doctor," she added. "We have lived in times of uncertainty and insecurity before, but to have such a fundamental right taken away and this ruling be overturned concerns me of what lies ahead."

Thornton's identity was unknown for decades following Roe v. Wade, but she came forward last year and identified herself as the baby at the heart of the case. McCorvey never had the abortion she was fighting for as litigation in the case lasted long after she had given birth and subsequently given her child up for adoption.

In a 2021 article in The Atlantic, as well as journalist Joshua Prager's book "The Family Roe: An American Story," Thornton opened up about her life after finding out she was the child at the center of Roe. She said knowing she was supposed to be terminated had affected her mental health, making her anxious and depressed. But she also said that she didn't want to be used as an anti-abortion symbol. 

"I guess I don't understand why it's a government concern," Thornton told The Atlantic.

McCorvey died from heart failure at the age of 69 in 2017.

Thornton's statement echoed similar comments made by Melissa Mills, the eldest daughter of McCorvey. Mills told CNN that her mother would be "devastated" by the Supreme Court's Friday decision.

"I was in disbelief. I was devastated," Mills said on CNN's "New Day." "I knew it was coming, but it was just too real that it really happened."

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Eric Trump thought inciting violence was 'fair game' because he believed false claims that the 2020 election was 'stolen,' according to filmmaker subpoenaed by January 6 committee

Mon, 06/27/2022 - 9:34pm
Eric Trump pre-records his address to the Republican National Convention at the Mellon Auditorium on August 25, 2020 in Washington, DC.
  • A documentarian said Eric Trump was unbothered by possible violence ahead of the January 6 attack.
  • Alex Holder told The Independent that Eric Trump was unconcerned by his family's inciting rhetoric.
  • According to Holder, Eric Trump thought violence was "fair game," citing 2020 election lies. 

A documentary filmmaker who interviewed then-President Donald Trump and several members of his family ahead of the January 6, 2021, Capitol riot said some of the Trumps were unconcerned that their ongoing lies about the sanctity of the 2020 presidential election would eventually lead to political violence. 

Alex Holder, the British documentary filmmaker whose footage was subpoenaed by the January 6 committee earlier this month, told The Independent that Trump's second eldest son, Eric Trump, suggested in interviews that violence from Trump supporters could be an appropriate response to his father's loss to President Joe Biden, citing baseless and disproven claims of election fraud.

"When I asked Eric about the potential danger of sort of rhetoric and the sort of the belligerence, he felt that it was … fair game in that it … was sort of the equivalent on the other side of the political discourse, or he felt that it was the right thing to do … because the election was stolen," Holder told the outlet.

A spokesperson for Eric Trump did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment. 

Trump's rhetoric in the aftermath of the election — including inviting his supporters to Washington, DC, and telling them to "fight like hell — preceded the January 6, 2021 insurrection, which resulted in five deaths and hundreds of arrests.

Holder told The Independent that, as he interviewed members of the Trump family in the months following the November election, he grew increasingly concerned that Trump's lies about a "stolen election" would lead to violence. 

"The idea of violence, to me, seemed likely because of the fact that when you tell 75 million people that their vote didn't count, and the person that's telling you that is not just the guy you voted for, but also the incumbent president of the United States, the chance of violence was always there," he told the outlet.

Holder's final film, which is titled "Unprecedented" is set to be released on Discovery+ later this summer. Holder told The Independent that the film focuses on the events leading up to the Capitol siege, while also offering "fascinating insight" into the Trump family's dynamic. 

Holder has become a key figure in the House select committee's probe into the insurrection after lawmakers subpoenaed nearly 11 hours of his footage. Last week, the filmmaker privately testified before the panel. 

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Kamala Harris said she commended her vice presidential predecessor Mike Pence for 'courage' in certifying Biden as president despite Trump's pressure

Mon, 06/27/2022 - 9:00pm
Then-Vice President Mike Pence and then-Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris at the vice presidential debate in Kingsbury Hall at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City on October 7, 2020.
  • In a CNN interview, Harris praised Pence for having the "courage" to certify Biden's win.
  • Details about Pence's role in January 6 have emerged during public hearings this month. 
  • Harris said Pence was in a situation under Trump that he "should have not had to face." 

Vice President Kamala Harris said Monday that she commended former Vice President Mike Pence for certifying Joe Biden as president on January 6 despite him facing tremendous pressure by former President Donald Trump to overturn the election. 

"I think that he did his job that day," Harris said in a CNN interview after reporter Dana Bash asked her whether her opinion of Pence had changed. "And I commend him for that because clearly it was under extraordinary circumstances that he should have not had to face. And I commend him for having the courage to do his job."

This month the House Select Committee probing the January 6 Capitol attack has detailed how Trump tried to push Pence not to recognize Biden's victory in the days leading up to January 6, 2021. Trump wanted Pence to "send back" slates of electors for Biden back to their states in order to overturn his election loss. 

But Pence put out an open letter saying he didn't have the authority to take such actions, and his role in the certification process was largely ceremonial.

In a phone call that morning, Trump called Pence a "wimp" and the "p-word," witnesses revealed during the House hearings. Some of the rioters at the Capitol that disrupted the certification chanted "hang Mike Pence" 

New photos also showed Pence was within 40 feet of the pro-Trump mob before he was moved to safety in a loading dock beneath the Capitol, where he remained for up to five hours until the riot was over because he refused to evacuate the premises.

When the riot was over, Pence certified Biden's win. 

During the January 6 hearings, witnesses and lawmakers outlined how Pence might have caused the "first constitutional crisis since the founding of the Republic" if he had given in to Trump. 

On CNN, Harris' was complimentary of Pence even though the two of them had a testy debate during the 2020 presidential election, with Pence interrupting Harris 10 times, CBS News found

"Mr. Vice President, I am speaking," Harris said after Pence interrupted one of her responses on the coronavirus pandemic.

On Monday, the select committee investigating the Capitol attack unexpectedly announced it would hold a sixth public hearing on Tuesday. The hearing will reveal "recently obtained evidence" as well as testimony from witnesses, according to an advisory sent to reporters.

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Wisconsin's Democratic governor vows to grant clemency to any doctors charged under the state's near-total abortion ban following fall of Roe v. Wade

Mon, 06/27/2022 - 8:20pm
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers addresses a joint session of the Legislature in the Assembly chambers at the state Capitol in Madison, Wis. on Feb. 15, 2022.
  • Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers vowed to grant clemency to doctors charged under the state's abortion ban.
  • The first-term Democrat slammed the Supreme Court's Friday ruling which overturned Roe v. Wade.
  • Wisconsin's law dates back to 1849 and triggered back into effect following the court's decision. 

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers said this weekend that he would offer clemency to any doctors charged under the state's antiquated law banning nearly all abortions, which dates back more than a century.

The 1849 law was enacted long before Roe v. Wade was instated and remained a Wisconsin statute even after the landmark 1973 Supreme Court case rendered it moot. But after the nation's top court overturned Roe on Friday in a 5-4 majority decision, Wisconsin's 173-year-old abortion ban triggered back into effect. 

The state's ban makes performing abortions a felony and doctors charged under the statute face up to six years in prison, as well as fines up to $10,000. The law's only exception allows for abortion if it is needed to save the life of the mother. The law does not offer exceptions in instances of rape, incest, or the mother's general health. 

While state lawmakers could ostensibly repeal or supersede the old law, Wisconsin's Republican-controlled Legislature has offered no indication they will do so. 

During a Saturday rally at the Wisconsin State Democratic Party convention, Evers, a first-term Democratic governor, slammed the Supreme Court's "bullshit" ruling and vowed to grant clemency to any doctors who find themselves prosecuted under the law.

The convention was delayed following an impromptu abortion rights rally, according to Wisconsin Public Radio, during which Evers reportedly became emotional and decried the effect Friday's SCOTUS decision could have on his seven granddaughters.

"The 1849 law says that anybody that provides an abortion is subject to a felony, one to six years," Evers said in a speech. "Did you ever think about the word clemency? I will provide clemency to any physician that is charged under that law."

"I don't think that a law that was written before the Civil War, or before women secured the right to vote, should be used to dictate these intimate decisions on reproductive health," the governor added.

Evers also used the platform to warn of further attacks on reproductive rights in the state if he should lose the upcoming November election to one of four Republicans currently running to unseat him in a hotly-contested race. All four candidates have said they would let the 1849 law stand, according to NBC News. 

"You think it's bad now? The four Republicans that are going after me, one of them we're going to beat, they are going to make it worse," Evers said, according to Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, which was first to report the governor's comments. 

The governor's statement comes after several local and state Democratic officials already pledged not to enforce the abortion ban, including Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul and multiple other district attorneys at the county level. Kaul also faces reelection later this year. 

Wisconsin's Planned Parenthood clinics temporarily suspended abortion services following the Friday decision. 

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Utah judge blocks state's abortion 'trigger law' ban for 14 days after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade

Mon, 06/27/2022 - 7:22pm
People attend an abortion-rights rally at the Utah State Capitol Thursday, May 5, 2022, in Salt Lake City.
  • Planned Parenthood of Utah and the ACLU chapter in Utah filed a lawsuit after SCOTUS overturned Roe v. Wade.
  • Judge Andrew Stone granted a temporary restraining order, blocking the state's "trigger" law to ban abortion for two weeks.
  • Utah's ban would make abortions a second-degree felony with few exceptions.

A Utah judge granted a restraining order that will temporarily block the state's abortion ban from immediately going into effect, allowing doctors to provide abortions for the next 14 days.

The ruling comes after the Supreme Court overturned the 1973 landmark Roe v. Wade decision that granted women the constitutional right to an abortion.

Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union chapter in Utah filed a lawsuit over the weekend in a bid to block the state's "trigger law," which was set to immediately ban abortion in the state following the SCOTUS ruling, which was leaked last month.

In a hearing on Tuesday, Judge Andrew Stone of the 3rd District Court in Utah issued the directive in response to the lawsuit filed by the organizations on Saturday.

"The immediate effects that will occur outweigh any policy issues of the state," Stone said during the virtual hearing, according to Fox 13, adding that doctors could face felonies and women have medical needs if the ban were enacted.

In the lawsuit, Planned Parenthood and the ACLU called Utah's trigger law "unconstitutional." Abortions for about a dozen patients were canceled, Planned Parenthood of Utah wrote in its filing.

"Planned Parenthood of Utah has more than 55 patients scheduled for abortion appointments in the next week, including 12 on Monday, 19 on Tuesday, and 19 on Wednesday," the lawsuit stated.

Utah passed a law in 2020 that banned all elective abortions with exceptions in cases of rape and incest, the health of the woman, and if there are lethal birth defects. In any other case, the law would make abortions performed at any stage in pregnancy a second-degree felony.

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A mystery rocket crashed into moon and left a 'double crater,' NASA says

Mon, 06/27/2022 - 7:10pm
An identified rocket body hit the moon on March 4, 2022, creating a double crater. The image was taken with NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter on May 25.
  • On March 4, a rocket booster slammed into the moon and left behind a double crater.
  • NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter later spotted the unusual crater on the far side of the moon.
  • So far, no country has taken responsibility for the rocket and the resulting collision.

NASA has spotted the crash site of a mystery rocket that slammed into the far side of the moon in March, leaving behind a double crater.

New images taken May 25 and shared by NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter on June 24 showed the unusual crater. The collision resulted in two overlapping impact sites — an eastern crater measuring 59 feet (18 meters) across and a western crater spanning 52.5 feet (16 meters). 

Astronomers expected the impact after discovering that an unidentified piece of space junk was on a collision course with the moon late last year. But "the double crater was unexpected," the space agency said in a press release. "No other rocket body impacts on the moon created double craters." 

NASA says two large masses on each end of the rocket may have caused the two craters, but that would be unusual, since spent rockets tend to have a heavy motor at one end and a lighter empty fuel tank at the other.

According to 2016 data from Arizona State University, at least 47 NASA rocket bodies have created "spacecraft impacts" on the moon.

Craters formed by impacts of the Apollo S-IVB stages. At least 47 NASA rocket bodies have created "spacecraft impacts" on the moon, but none are double craters.

"I must confess that I'd naively thought it would be easier to find and would have been located shortly after impact," Bill Gray, the astronomer who first discovered the mysterious object and alerted NASA about its eventual collision, wrote on his blog Project Pluto, where he uses software to track near-Earth objects. 

He pointed to efforts to find the booster for Apollo 16, which NASA shot at the moon in 1972 to study moonquakes. But before the Apollo 16 booster could hit the moon, NASA lost contact with it. The impact location remained elusive for years.

"Finding one small crater among hordes of craters isn't all that easy," Gray wrote of the Apollo 16 crater, adding, "That crater was found about six years after the other Apollo booster impacts. Compared to that, having to wait about three months looks pretty good."

So far, no spacefaring nation has taken credit — or blame — for the mysterious rocket, reports Universe Today. "Since the origin of the rocket body remains uncertain, the double nature of the crater may indicate its identity," NASA said in a press release.

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