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Samsung heir Jay Y. Lee ordered back to prison over bribery charges

Mon, 01/18/2021 - 6:02am
Samsung Electronics' vice chairman, Jay Y. Lee, arriving at court in Seoul, South Korea.
  • Jay Y. Lee, the vice chairman and de facto leader of Samsung, has been sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison.
  • Lee was originally given a five-year sentence in 2017 — and spent a year in jail — but that punishment was cut short and suspended in 2018.
  • He was accused of bribing a friend of a South Korean president to win support for his succession at Samsung.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Samsung's vice chairman and de facto leader, Jay Y. Lee, on Monday was sent back to prison with a 2-1/2-year sentence over bribery charges.

Lee has been the de facto head of Samsung Electronics since his father, Lee Kun-hee, was hospitalized following a heart attack in 2014. The elder Lee died in October.

The younger Lee was initially sentenced to five years in prison in 2017 for his part in a corruption scandal that brought down South Korean President Park Geun-hye.

Lee, 52, was accused of offering horses and other bribes to a friend of Park's with the hope of winning government support for his succession at Samsung. He was also found guilty of embezzlement.

Park is serving a 20-year prison sentence in connection to the case as well as other charges.

Lee served a year in jail before being released in February 2018, after the Seoul High Court cut his five-year sentence in half and suspended it.

Monday's ruling is a result of the country's Supreme Court overturning the lower court's decision to suspend Lee's sentence and ordering a retrial in 2019. Returning to prison could mean Lee is forced off the Samsung board and would not be considered in major decisions at the company.

Samsung didn't immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider about future leadership at the company.

Read more: One of Tesla's key suppliers is making the best electric-car battery cell on the market today, beating those made by Samsung and other rivals

Shares of Samsung Electronics dropped 3.4% Monday after Lee's sentencing.

"This case is, in essence, a violation of corporation's rights to freedom and property by the former president abusing her power," Injae Lee, the lawyer leading the vice chairman's defense team, told CNN. "I find the court's decision regrettable."

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The Trump administration is revoking the licenses of companies that supply to Huawei, as a final blow to the Chinese tech giant

Mon, 01/18/2021 - 5:30am
The Huawei booth at the 2020 World 5G Convention.
  • The White House is revoking the licenses of companies that do business with the Chinese tech giant Huawei, Reuters reported Sunday.
  • Huawei has long been a target of President Donald Trump's administration, which views the firm as spies for the Chinese government.
  • Huawei has repeatedly denied it intends to use its networks to spy.  
     
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

President Donald Trump's administration is taking what will likely be its final stab at weakening Huawei by revoking the licenses of companies that supply materials to the Chinese tech giant, according to a new report from Reuters

Companies including Intel and the Japanese chip maker Kioxia were informed that they would no longer be able to sell to Huawei, Reuters reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

The administration plans to revoke several dozen more such licenses, Reuters said.

The Trump administration has long considered Huawei's dominance in the telecommunications world to be a threat to national security.

In May 2019, Trump declared a national emergency over the company's increasing encroachment on the US market. 

As a result, the company was put on an "entity list," which meant that US companies could not sell or transfer technology to Huawei without a license issued by the Bureau of Industry and Security Entity List. 

In a statement to CNBC at the time, Huawei said: "Restricting Huawei from doing business in the US will not make the US more secure or stronger; instead, this will only serve to limit the US to inferior yet more expensive alternatives, leaving the US lagging behind in 5G deployment, and eventually harming the interests of US companies and consumers."

The Trump campaign has continued its attacks on Huawei, with the president telling "Fox and Friends"in August 2020: "We don't want their equipment in the United States because they spy on us. And any country that uses it, we're not going to do anything in terms of sharing intelligence."

"Huawei? I call them Spy-Wei. They're a disaster," Trump continued. 

Read more: Privacy and antitrust experts described Google's $2.1 billion Fitbit deal as sinister: 'It's crazy this has been allowed to happen'

On August 17, the Commerce Department announced that the administration had further restricted tech companies from selling technologies made in the US to Huawei - or any of its affiliates - without acquiring a special license. 

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said at the time that the move was made to prevent Huawei from using US technology to "fulfill the objectives of the Chinese Communist Party."

"As we have restricted its access to US technology, Huawei and its affiliates have worked through third parties to harness US technology in a manner that undermines US national security and foreign policy interests," he continued.

The restriction prevented Huawei from accessing chips it designed but that were manufactured by other companies.

The UK agreed to allow Huawei to help build its 5G system in 2019, but reversed course in July 2020 over security concerns about China. The British government banned the purchase of new Huawei 5G equipment after December 31, 2020, and vowed to remove all Huawei equipment from 5G networks by the end of 2027.

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Parler's CEO John Matze is 'confident' the controversial social-media platform will fully return by the end of January, after Amazon booted it offline

Mon, 01/18/2021 - 4:54am
Parler's CEO John Matze.
  • Parler's CEO John Matze said the social media site will likely be back up and running before the end of January.
  • It went offline after being dropped by Amazon, and has since returned — but only a static webpage.
  • The social-media platform managed to retrieve its data from Amazon on Friday, Matze told Fox News.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

John Matze, the CEO of the controversial social-media platform Parler, is "confident" the site will be live again by the end of January.

Parler was dropped by its website host Amazon Web Services (AWS) on January 11. AWS said the platform "poses a very real risk to public safety."

The site has since registered its domain with Epik and returned on Sunday as a static page containing a brief note from Matze, alongside an update on the site's "technical difficulties."

"I'm confident that by the end of the month, we'll be back up," Matze told Fox News Sunday night.

Parler, which describes itself as a "nonpartisan" haven for free speech, had become a hub for President Donald Trump's supporters after many of their Twitter accounts were purged from the social media site, alongside Trump's own.

Read more: Parler reportedly spent $300,000 a month on Amazon's cloud before it got banned, and it's a sign that it won't be so easy for the far-right social app to come back online

In the days after the Capitol siege on January 6, it became a haven for far-right activity and misinformation because of its lax stance on moderating content. Some users called for further violence.

Google and Apple barred the app from their app stores, citing  "continued posting in the Parler app that seeks to incite ongoing violence in the US" - but on Sunday Apple CEO's Tim Cook said Parler could be restored to the app store "if they get their moderation together."

"We're making significant progress," Matze told Fox News. "When you go into Parler.com it doesn't go into the void now, it hits a server, and it returns just one piece of information."

Parler's website now takes users to a static page with an update from the company

After AWS took Parler offline, Parler hit the tech giant with an antitrust lawsuit, disputing Amazon's claims that it repeatedly warned Parler about violent content.

Parler is now on the road to returning, Matze told Fox News, and will post updates on its progress to the website every day.

The platform managed to retrieve its data from Amazon on Friday, he added, without elaborating.

Read more: Trump wanted to join Parler and call himself 'Person X' before it shut down, according to the CEO of the social-media app

"Now we can actually rebuild Parler," he said. "It's critically important."

Matze has reportedly fled his home and gone into hiding following death threats and security breaches.

None of the site's staff have resigned, he said.

"We haven't even had one employee quit," he said. "Not one, even with them being harassed and threatened, no one has quit … we've got such a strong team, this has just made them believe in us more."

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Rudy Giuliani realized he can't actually be Trump's impeachment lawyer because he's a witness in the case

Mon, 01/18/2021 - 4:52am
Rudy Giuliani with Donald Trump in November 2016, when Trump was president-elect.
  • Rudy Giuliani told ABC News that he would not be able to represent President Donald Trump during Trump's second impeachment trial because he was a witness in the case.
  • Giuliani appeared with Trump at the January 6 "Save America" rally where Trump is accused of inciting an insurrection — and where Giuliani called for "trial by combat."
  • It was widely expected that Giuliani, who served as lead counsel on the president's various challenges to the 2020 election, would head up Trump's impeachment legal team.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Rudy Giuliani now says he won't be a part of President Donald Trump's impeachment defense team.

Calling himself a "witness," the president's personal attorney told ABC News' chief White House correspondent, Jonathan Karl, that he could not defend Trump against the charge of inciting an insurrection because he attended - and spoke at - the event at the center of the allegation.

Giuliani appeared at Trump's "Save America" rally on January 6 near the White House, where the lawyer told the crowd it was time for "trial by combat." The aggressive rhetoric at the rally is under scrutiny after many of the attendees marched straight to the Capitol in what became a riot that resulted in five deaths.

"If we are wrong, we will be made fools of," Giuliani said. "But if we're right, a lot of them will go to jail. So let's have trial by combat." (He later said he was simply making a reference to "Game of Thrones.")

Read more: How Silicon Valley banished Donald Trump in 48 hours

The New York State Bar Association has launched a formal investigation into whether Giuliani should be expelled over his comments at the rally.

Two sources close to the White House had previously told Reuters that Giuliani was on the shortlist to represent Trump during the president's second impeachment trial.

The former New York City mayor led the president's challenges to the certification of electoral votes in the 2020 election.

Giuliani is one of the few constants in the president's life, though last week The Washington Post reported that Trump had instructed his aides not to pay Giuliani's legal fees. The president was said to be outraged over Giuliani's reported $20,000-a-day fees and had stopped taking his calls.

The former Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz was also said to be among Trump's top picks for his impeachment defense team. He told The Boston Herald, however, that he would defend Trump in the "court of public opinion" but would not be a part of his legal team.

Read the original article on Business Insider

China's GDP grew 6.5% in the final quarter of 2020, making it the only major economy to expand last year

Mon, 01/18/2021 - 4:42am
China's factory production helped its economy to grow in 2020 despite the coronavirus pandemic.

The Chinese economy beat expectations to grow 6.5% in the final quarter of 2020, according to official figures on Monday, capping off a rapid recovery from the coronavirus lockdowns in the first few months of the year and further cementing China as an economic powerhouse.

The final-quarter figures meant gross domestic product grew 2.3% over 2020 as a whole. It was China's slowest expansion since the 1970s, but nonetheless made it the only major economy to grow last year.

China's National Bureau of Statistics said: "The national economy recovered steadily, employment and living standards were ensured forcefully, and the main goals and tasks of economic and social development were accomplished better than expectation."

Read More: Bank of America says the warning signs that stocks are hurtling into bubble territory are growing - and pinpoints 6 that could signal a bear market is beginning

In the first three months of 2020 China's economy shrank 6.8% as the new form of coronavirus took hold in Wuhan and the government ordered stringent lockdowns.

But China's hugely powerful state clamped down on COVID-19, allowing the economy to grow 3.2% in the second quarter and 4.9% for the third.

The country's overall economic growth of 2.3% in 2020 compares to World Bank forecasts of a 3.6% contraction in the US and a 7.4% fall of in the Eurozone. Advanced economies as a whole are expected to have contracted by 5.4% in 2020, the World Bank said earlier this month.

China's industrial production - heavily supported by the state - has been at the heart of its recovery. Factory output jumped a further 7.1% in the final three months of 2020, after growing 5.8% in the previous quarter.

Domestic consumption has been weaker, with retail sales growing 4.6% in the final quarter, but falling 3.9% across the year as a whole.

But China increased the value of its exports by 4% across the year, helping it hit a new record trade surplus in December, thanks to the appreciation in the yuan.

Commerzbank economist Hao Zhou said: "As the developed countries have re-imposed lockdown measures due to virus resurgence, the supply chain has been disrupted which forced many orders to shift to China as the economy has been normally operating.

"In our opinion, the strong exports have significantly contributed to China's economic outperformance."

Read More: GOLDMAN SACHS: Buy these 25 stocks best-positioned to juice profits in 2021 as stimulus and vaccine progress spur economic growth

Despite its success in containing coronavirus after the initial outbreak, China has recently suffered a new flare-up in the north east and last week reported its first death since the spring.

Tommy Wu, lead economist at consultancy Oxford Economics, said: "Following new restrictions announced due to COVID-19 outbreaks in two provinces, it is possible that reduced confidence and travel during the Chinese New Year holidays hamper Q1 growth.

"But for now, we think that the risk of major economic impact is low, given China's track record in containing COVID."

The World Bank earlier this month predicted China's economy would grow 7.9% in 2021. Oxford Economics previously predicted growth of 8.1% in 2021, but on Monday said it would upgrade its forecasts.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Goldman Sachs lifts US GDP forecast to 6.6% in 2021 on Biden's $1.9 trillion stimulus package

Mon, 01/18/2021 - 4:04am
  • Goldman Sachs raised its US GDP forecast to 6.6% on Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion stimulus plan.
  • Bank economists now project a lower US unemployment rate of 4.5%, down from 4.8%.
  • Biden's $1,400 stimulus checks will cause a "large spike" in disposable income, they said.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Goldman Sachs has turned even more optimistic on the outlook for the US economy this year under President-elect Joe Biden. 

In a weekend note to clients, economists at the bank raised their forecast for US GDP to 6.6% in 2021 from 6.4%. Goldman now expects a lower US unemployment rate of 4.5% at the end of 2021, down from 4.8%.

The projected economic expansion will be fueled by a boost in disposable incomes and government spending, the bank said, as Biden's $1.9 trillion stimulus plan accentuates his intent to shore up the slumping US economy.

"We do not expect all of the elements of the $1.9 trillion proposal to pass, but we have raised our expectations for state fiscal aid, education and public health spending, unemployment insurance benefits, and several smaller items," Goldman economists wrote.

Read More: GOLDMAN SACHS: Buy these 25 stocks best-positioned to juice profits in 2021 as stimulus and vaccine progress spur economic growth

Biden's economic rescue package that includes a $1,400 boost to stimulus checks, on top of a December measure of $600 per person, will cause a "large spike" in disposable income in the first quarter of 2021, the bank said.

"We now forecast nominal disposable income will grow in 2021 by +4.5%," up from a prior estimate of 3.8%, the economists wrote.

After the Democrats won control of the Senate in the first week of this year, the bank raised its US GDP forecast to 6.4% because of the prospect of more fiscal stimulus to combat the fallout from coronavirus. Goldman expects a 4.3% growth for the US economy in 2022 and 1.6% growth in 2023. 

Read More: Bank of America says the warning signs that stocks are hurtling into bubble territory are growing - and pinpoints 6 that could signal a bear market is beginning

Read the original article on Business Insider

10 things in tech you need to know today

Mon, 01/18/2021 - 3:02am
Apple's CEO Tim Cook.

Good morning! This is the tech news you need to know this Monday. Sign up here to get this email in your inbox every morning.

Have an Amazon Alexa device? Listen to this update by searching "Business Insider" in your flash briefing settings.

    1. Tim Cook said Parler could return to the App Store. Apple removed Parler from its platform in the wake of the deadly Capitol siege.

    2. Deliveroo raised a $180-million funding round. The Amazon-backed startup is preparing to go public later in 2021.

    3. Selena Gomez warned Facebook's COO Sheryl Sandberg about misinformation months ago. The star said she was frustrated tech platforms failed to heed warnings in the wake of the Capitol riots.

    4. Critics want populists like Bolsonaro and Modi kicked off social media. It comes after President Donald Trump was banned from Twitter on January 8, and heavily restricted on other platforms.

    5. Apple, Google, and Spotify are still hosting pro-Trump conspiracy podcasts. Insider found podcasts easily available on all three platforms that claimed President-elect Joe Biden's win was "a fraud."

    6. US election misinformation fell 73% after Trump's social media ban. Zignal Labs said conversations fell from from 2.5 million mentions to 688,000 across social media.

    7. WhatsApp says you shouldn't worry about it sharing personal data with Facebook. But experts say you should switch to 'highly trusted' Signal.

    8. Opinion: The Trump ban across social media wasn't censorship. It was a series of editorial decisions by media companies that call themselves social platforms, writes Becca Lewis.

    9. Exclusive: How Silicon Valley banished Trump in 48 hours. Insider spoke to numerous people involved in the frenetic days in which the decisions were made.

    10. Premium: Antitrust experts described Google's $2.1 billion Fitbit deal as sinister. They fear Google could funnel off the data to its other business units.
Read the original article on Business Insider

The FBI is investigating whether a woman stole a laptop from Pelosi's office to sell it to Russia, after receiving a tip from someone claiming to be her ex

Mon, 01/18/2021 - 2:51am
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sanitizes the gavel after Vice President Mike Pence walked off the dais during a joint session of Congress to certify the 2020 Electoral College results on January 6, 2021 in Washington, DC.
  • The FBI is investigating whether a woman stole a laptop from Nancy Pelosi's office to sell it to Russia, an affidavit said.
  • The tip came from someone who claimed to be a former romantic partner of the woman, Riley June Williams. 
  • Williams faces charges of entering a restricted building and disorderly conduct tied to her alleged involvement in the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is investigating whether a Pennsylvania woman stole a laptop from Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's office during last week's Capitol siege to sell it to Russia, a new affidavit said. 

The affidavit, which is part of the criminal case against Riley June Williams, said in the days after the siege the FBI received calls from an individual who claimed to be a former romantic partner of Williams.

The tipster said they saw Williams inside the Capitol Building and claimed that friends showed them a video of Williams stealing either a laptop or hard drive from Pelosi's office. 

"[Witness 1] stated that WILLIAMS intended to send the computer device to a friend in Russia, who then planned to sell the device to SVR, Russia's foreign intelligence service," the affidavit said. "According to [Witness 1], the transfer of the computer device to Russia fell through for unknown reasons and WILLIAMS still has the computer device or destroyed it."

Special Agent Jonathan Lund said in the affidavit he reviewed footage that showed a woman believed to be Williams directing rioters to go "upstairs" from inside the building, and that she was also seen in the "Small House Rotunda," near a staircase that leads to Pelosi's office. 

Read also'It was degrading': Black Capitol custodial staff talk about what it felt like to clean up the mess left by violent pro-Trump white supremacists

Lund said local law enforcement officials in Harrisburg told him that Williams' mother said that she had packed a bag, left, and said she wouldn't be back for a couple of weeks but did not say where she would go. 

"It appears that WILLIAMS has fled," the affidavit said. 

Williams faces charges of entering a restricted building and disorderly conduct tied to her alleged involvement in the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol.

Last week, it was reported that a laptop belonging to Pelosi's aide was stolen, among other equipment from several lawmakers' offices. Pelosi's aide said that laptop was "only used for presentations" and was taken from a conference room. It is not clear if it is the same laptop discussed in the affidavit.

Several conspiracy theories have surfaced on the contents of the aide's laptop, including false assertions that it was taken by US Special Forces because it contained evidence of election fraud. 

Pelosi's office did not respond to Insider's request for comment at the time of publication.

Read the original article on Business Insider

A new coronavirus variant has been tied to at least 90 infections in a deadly outbreak at a medical center in San Jose, California

Mon, 01/18/2021 - 12:45am
Co-director of the intensive care unit at CommonSpirit's Dignity Health-California Hospital Medical Center, Dr. Zafia Anklesaria, attends to a COVID-19 patient in the hospital where she works in Los Angeles, California on May 18, 2020.
  • A new coronavirus variant is linked to a deadly COVID-19 outbreak at Kaiser Permanente San Jose Medical Center. The outbreak has resulted in at least 90 infections and one death. 
  • The variant called L452R was discovered in other countries and states last year. 
  • It's different than another, more transmissible variant that was initially discovered in the UK. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

A new coronavirus variant has been linked to multiple outbreaks in Santa Clara County, located southeast of San Francisco. One of the outbreaks has led to at least 90 infections and one death at the Kaiser Permanente medical center in San Jose, public health officials said. 

The variant known as L452R has been discovered in other states and countries, but is now spreading rapidly through California. It's different than the B.1.1.7 variant, which was first found in the UK. 

"The fact that this variant was identified in several large outbreaks in our county is a red flag and must be investigated further," Santa Clara County Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody said in a statement. "This virus continues to mutate and adapt, and we cannot let down our guard."

California is working with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, local public health departments, and laboratory sequencing partners to learn more about the variant and how it spreads, according to the joint statement from the California Department of Public Health, Santa Clara County, and the University of California San Francisco.

Read also: Biden's incoming chief of staff says the administration is prepared to tackle the 'huge mess' it's inheriting in COVID-19 vaccine rollout

"It's too soon to know if this variant will spread more rapidly than others, but it certainly reinforces the need for all Californians to wear masks and reduce mixing with people outside their immediate households to help slow the spread of the virus," Dr. Erica Pan, state epidemiologist for the CDPH, said.

The statement said the variant was linked to the Kaiser Permanente outbreak, which resulted in the death of one staff member. County health officials have fined the medical center $43,000 for alleged delays in reporting cases, NBC reported. The facility denied the delay. 

The cases are believed to be tied to an employee who wore an inflatable costume on Christmas to cheer patients up. The fan on the "air-powered costume" could have spread droplets to 77 staff members and 15 patients. 

This variant has been found in several other counties, including Los Angeles and San Francisco, however, how prevalent it is across the state or country is not yet known since genomic sequencing is not done equally across the state.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Lindsey Graham asked Chuck Schumer, the next Senate majority leader, to dismiss a Trump impeachment trial in the name of 'national healing'

Sun, 01/17/2021 - 11:05pm
  • Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham asked Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer in a letter on Sunday to hold a vote in the Senate to dismiss the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.
  • Graham, a close ally of the president, briefly broke with the president after the January 6 insurrection, but has since returned to defending him.
  • In the letter to Schumer, Graham argued that if the trial is not dismissed "we will be delaying indefinitely, if not forever, the healing of this great nation."
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Sen. Lindsey Graham asked Sen. Chuck Schumer in a letter on Sunday to hold a Senate vote rejecting the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.

"The Senate should vote to dismiss the article of impeachment once it is received in the Senate," Graham, a Republican from South Carolina, said in the letter. "We will be delaying indefinitely, if not forever, the healing of this great nation if we do otherwise."

Trump was impeached by the House of Representatives last week for "incitement of insurrection" over his role in the January 6 attack on the US Capitol, when his supporters tried to stop the certification of the 2020 election results. Five people were left dead.

The Senate is set to hold a trial and vote on whether to convict the president. Current Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky, has said that trial will likely not start until after Inauguration Day, by which time Schumer, a Democrat from New York, will be the new majority leader.

Read more: Mitch McConnell is telling GOP senators their decision on a Trump impeachment trial conviction is a 'vote of conscience'

Graham, a frequent ally of the president, briefly broke from Trump after the Capitol siege and acknowledged President-elect Joe Biden had won the election.

However, in the letter to Schumer, he argued in that the impeachment was "unconstitutional" because Trump will already be out of office when the trial begins.

He also praised Vice President Mike Pence for refusing to heed calls, including from the president, to break from the Constitution by attempting to overturn the election results. Graham compared that decision to Schumer's.

"But now, in your first act as Majority Leader, rather than begin the national healing that the country so desperately yearns for, you seek vengeance and political retaliation instead," he said.

Graham also said Senate Republicans "rejected unconstitutional actions," in regards to the election certification.

"Virtually all of us rejected further challenges to the 2020 election," he said.

However, in the days before the certification, about a dozen GOP senators said they would object to certifying some electoral college votes, with some only reversing course after the violence at the Capitol had already ensued.

Eight of them ended up objecting, including Sens. Josh Hawley of Missouri and Ted Cruz of Texas.

Graham himself also pressured Georgia's top elections official to throw out largely Democratic mail-in ballots.

Days before the letter to Schumer, Graham spoke out against the impeachment and implied McConnell, who has said he will wait to hear the evidence presented at the trial, is "making the problem worse."

Read the original article on Business Insider

Tommy Hilfiger just sold his sprawling Greenwich estate for $45 million. Take a look at the historic 22-acre property.

Sun, 01/17/2021 - 10:55pm
Hilfiger said in September that he and his wife were moving to Palm Beach, Florida.

Greenwich, Connecticut, has been one of the most coveted real-estate destinations during the pandemic for wealthy New Yorkers in search of more space.

But one affluent New Yorker -  fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger - is giving up his Greenwich property and moving to sunnier climes. Hilfiger just sold his 22-acre estate for $45 million, after putting it on the market in September for $47.5 million, Sotheby's International Realty told Insider.

Hilfiger and his wife, Dee Ocleppo Hilfiger, bought the property in 2010 for $31.4 million, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The lavish estate includes a 13,344-square-foot main residence built in 1939, rose and water gardens, a swimming pool, tennis court, guest cottage, greenhouse, and detached four-bay garage. Janet Milligan of Sotheby's International Realty held the listing.

Take a look at the property.

Fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger just sold his 22-acre estate in Greenwich, Connecticut, for $45 million, listing brokerage Sotheby's International Realty told Insider. Tommy Hilfiger and his wife, Dee Ocleppo Hilfiger, at a Paris Fashion Week event in February 2020.

"I hear from my friends in real estate that the market is very strong, and it hasn't been this strong in years," Hilfiger told the Wall Street Journal in September, when he put the property up for sale for $47.5 million.

Indeed, affluent New Yorkers have been moving to Greenwich in droves during the pandemic.

Hilfiger told the Journal that the couple is moving to Palm Beach, Florida, which they had been planning for some time.

The Hilfigers bought the expansive property in 2010 for $31.4 million, according to the Journal.

Hilfiger told the Journal that he and his wife loved the "Old World charm of the house," which was built in 1939. The couple spent three years restoring the historic home.

And it's not the first renovation project Hilfiger has undertaken over the years; he's renovated and sold seven other properties in Greenwich over the past 35 years, per the Journal.

A long driveway and a gated entrance lead to the estate's main residence.

Source: Sotheby's International Realty

The 81-year-old home sprawls over 13,344 square feet and is surrounded by landscaped gardens and hedges.

Source: Sotheby's International Realty

The castle-like home was influenced by English and French design, with turrets, Holland Brick, and granite covered in ivy.

Source: Sotheby's International Realty

The grounds appear to be meticulously maintained.

Source: Sotheby's International Realty

There are sculptural hedges, a rose garden, a topiary garden, and water fountains.

Source: Sotheby's International Realty

The estate sits on the highest point in Greenwich, with views of the Long Island Sound and even the Manhattan skyline, according to the listing.

Source: Sotheby's International Realty

The home was originally designed for real-estate tycoon Charles V. Paterno in the 1930s.

Later, it was the home of financier and art collector Joseph H. Hirshborn.

Inside, the home features six fireplaces and wood paneling.

Source: Sotheby's International Realty

In the reception space, an Elizabethan-style staircase spirals upward in a bay surrounded by windows.

Source: Sotheby's International Realty

The kitchen features a massive center island and an antler chandelier.

Source: Sotheby's International Realty

A formal dining room with wood-paneled walls and ceiling can seat at least 10 people.

Source: Sotheby's International Realty

Another dining nook can be seen with a smaller, round table that seats seven.

Source: Sotheby's International Realty

One room is fashioned as an entertainment area, with a billiards table and seating clustered around a fireplace.

Source: Sotheby's International Realty

Most of the first-floor rooms open up to the outside for an indoor-outdoor lifestyle.

Source: Sotheby's International Realty

There's also a home bar.

Source: Sotheby's International Realty

The master bedroom is home to one of the residence's six fireplaces.

Source: Sotheby's International Realty

The listing photos show a glamorous master bathroom with a massage table ...

Source: Sotheby's International Realty

... and a spacious walk-in shower.

Source: Sotheby's International Realty

The master suite also includes dual dressing rooms.

Source: Sotheby's International Realty

The home theater room was styled with Turkish-inspired finishes, according to the listing.

Source: Sotheby's International Realty

Another room is set up as a children's play room, with a drawing easel and a play castle.

Source: Sotheby's International Realty

The home gym includes weights, a treadmill, exercise ball, and other equipment.

Source: Sotheby's International Realty

The property's outdoor amenities include a resort-like swimming pool and an all-weather tennis court.

Source: Sotheby's International Realty

The property's guest house includes a living room, kitchen, two bedrooms, two baths, and a two-bay garage.

Source: Sotheby's International Realty

A turreted "tea house" has been converted into a security pavilion, per the listing.

Source: Sotheby's International Realty

Hilfiger wasn't the only one to list his massive Greenwich estate during the pandemic.

Last July, the 260-acre Hillandale Estate that straddles both Connecticut and New York hit the market for $49.5 million. And a few months later, a 24-room mansion with a secret tunnel to the pool house listed for $32.5 million.

Even before the pandemic, the Greenwich market had been picking up steam after a several-year slump, Compass real-estate agent Robin Kencel told Mansion Global. In the spring of 2019, a Georgian colonial-style waterfront mansion sold for $48 million

The most expensive home ever to sell in Greenwich — and Connecticut — was back in 2014, when the 51-acre Copper Beech Farm traded hands for $120 million.

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The National Guard is doing background checks on its own soldiers to shore up security during the inauguration

Sun, 01/17/2021 - 10:52pm
Members of the National Guard walk through the Rotunda of the US Capitol in Washington, DC, January 13, 2021, ahead of an expected House vote impeaching US President Donald Trump.
  • The National Guard revealed it would be doing additional vetting of guardsmen serving as security during President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration.
  • The group made the move following the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol Building in which several members of law enforcement, and at least one National Guardsmen, were charged with participating in the insurrection.
  • A spokesperson for the Guard said guardsmen are being told, "if they see or hear something that is not appropriate, they should report it to their chain of command."
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The National Guard is running additional background checks on its guardsmen ahead of President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration on Wednesday, in an attempt to weed out potential extremists. 

The move comes following the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol Building in which a corporal in the Virginia National Guard, Jacob Fracker, was one of several members of law enforcement arrested in connection with the riots.

National Guard spokesperson Major Matt Murphy, USAF, told Insider the reserve branch was working with the Secret Service and the FBI to determine "which service members supporting the national special security event for the Inauguration require additional background screening."

Read more: National Guard asks people to please stop trying to give it donations, after photos of National Guardsmen sleeping on the floor of the Capitol spread on social media

Murphy said the Guard is also conducting additional training "that if they see or hear something that is not appropriate, they should report it to their chain of command."

Fracker, a National Guard reservist, and his Rocky Mount Police Department co-worker Thomas Robertson were both charged with federal offenses after they took a selfie at the riots, and posted it on social media. While neither man was on-duty at the time of the insurrection, both have been placed on administrative leave.  

The FBI continues to review footage from the insurrection to identify additional participants with law enforcement and military ties.

Read more: A corporal in the Virginia National Guard was arrested in connection with the assault on the Capitol last week by a mob of Trump supporters.

While the Secret Service is overseeing the security logistics for the inauguration, the Guard, along with local law enforcement and military groups, will be taking part in providing the actual muscle for the event.

In previous years, inauguration ceremonies have been threatened by foreign terrorist groups and sympathizers, but this year, said Murphy, the focus is on continuing to identify people who participated in or were sympathetic to the attack at the capitol.

"Any type of activity that involves violence, civil disobedience, or a breach of the peace may be punishable under the Uniform Code of Military Justice or under state or federal law," he said.

Gen. Daniel R. Hokanson, chief of the National Guard Bureau, told the AP that "If there's any indication that any of our soldiers or airmen are expressing things that are extremist views, it's either handed over to law enforcement or dealt with the chain of command immediately."

Expanded Coverage Module: capitol-siege-module

 

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Armed protesters rallied at state capitols as cities and states ramp up security ahead of Biden's inauguration

Sun, 01/17/2021 - 10:35pm
Trump supporters stand outside of the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus, Ohio January 17, 2021 during a nationwide protest called by anti-government and far-right groups supporting US President Donald Trump and his claim of electoral fraud in the November 3 presidential election.
  • Small groups of armed protesters showed up at the state capitols in Ohio, Texas, Oregon, and Michigan on Sunday. 
  • There were no reports of violence or arrests at any of the protests. 
  • The protests come as states and cities ramp up security ahead of President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration next week. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Armed protesters showed up to the state capitol buildings of Ohio, Texas, Oregon, and Michigan on Sunday ahead of President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration. 

Cities and states are gearing up security after an FBI bulletin warned that in the days leading up to the inauguration, "armed protests" are expected to take place at the US Capitol and state capitols across the country.

The violence comes after supporters of President Donald Trump breached the US Capitol and clashed with law enforcement, halting the joint session of Congress as lawmakers were debating challenges to electoral votes on January 6. The clashes resulted in the deaths of five people. 

The New York Times previously reported that National Guard troops were deployed to the capitols of at least 19 states following the FBI memo. 

More than 50 armed protesters, including members of the "boogaloo" movement, a far-right anti-government extremist group, showed up at the Ohio statehouse, the Columbus Dispatch reported. The paper reported that no violence ensued. 

Read also'It was degrading': Black Capitol custodial staff talk about what it felt like to clean up the mess left by violent pro-Trump white supremacists

In Michigan, no more than 20 protesters, most of whom identified as part of the boogaloo movement, showed up at the State Capitol in Lansing, the Detroit Free Press reported. 

In Oregon, a "handful" of protesters showed up at the statehouse in Salem, including some who donned Hawaiian shirts, symbolic of the boogaloo movement, The Oregonian reported. 

A small group of protesters, including some who were armed, also showed up at the state capitol in Austin, Texas, KXAN reported. 

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Federal prisons will be on lockdown as a security measure ahead of Biden's Inauguration

Sun, 01/17/2021 - 9:38pm
A no trespassing sign is displayed outside the federal prison complex in Terre Haute, Indiana.
  • All federal prisons will go on lockdown ahead of Joe Biden's Inauguration on Wednesday. 
  • The US Bureau of Prisons said the move was a preventative measure not prompted by any events inside their facilities. 
  • States and cities across the country are also ramping up security ahead of the inauguration. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

All federal prisons in the country will be under lockdown ahead of Wednesday's presidential inauguration, according to US authorities

In a press release the US Bureau of Prisons said: "In light of current events occurring around the country, and out of an abundance of caution, the decision has been made to secure all institutions. This measure is being taken to maintain the security and orderly running of our institutions, as well as to ensure the continued safety of staff, inmates, and the public."

The bureau added that the decision is not in response to anything happening inside of their facilities but is merely a precaution. 

Cities and states are also bracing for more civil unrest ahead of Biden's inauguration.

On January 6, supporters of President Donald Trump breached the US Capitol and clashed with law enforcement, halting a joint session of Congress as lawmakers were set to formalize President-elect Joe Biden's victory in the 2020 election. The riot lead to the deaths of five people.

Read also'It was degrading': Black Capitol custodial staff talk about what it felt like to clean up the mess left by violent pro-Trump white supremacists

An FBI bulletin later warned that in the days leading up to the inauguration, "armed protests" are expected to take place at the US Capitol and state capitols across the country.

The US Postal Services also said it will remove mailboxes in several major cities ahead of the Inauguration, also as a safety measure. 

As for the prisons, the Bureau of Prisons said that its hopes the measure is only for "a short period and that operations will be restored to their prior status as soon as practical." The bureau added that inmates would still be able to communicate with their families, subject to unspecified limitations.

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President-elect Joe Biden plans to issue an executive order canceling the Keystone XL pipeline permit, report says

Sun, 01/17/2021 - 9:38pm
People protest against President Donald Trump's executive order fast-tracking the Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil pipelines in Los Angeles.
  • President-elect Joe Biden will issue an executive order on his first day in office to rescind the Keystone XL pipeline project.
  • The Keystone XL is part of a multi-phase construction project aimed at creating a direct oil pipeline to the US from the oil sands of Alberta.
  • President Barack Obama had previously rejected the project because of the environmental threat the pipeline would create to native species and lands.
  • President Donald Trump fought during his term to get the project in gear, but had little success in countering US court rulings on it. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

President-elect Joe Biden plans on canceling the controversial Keystone XL pipeline permit via executive order on his first day of office, sources told CBC News

According to CBC, the order was part of a larger planned list of executive actions meant to reverse some of President Donald Trump's key policies. They include re-joining the Paris Climate Accord and reversing the Muslim travel ban Trump instituted in his first days in office. Biden also plans on instituting a 100-day mask-wearing mandate. 

"These executive actions will deliver relief to the millions of Americans that are struggling in the face of these crises," Ron Klain, Biden's incoming chief of staff, said in the memo released over the weekend seen by the AP. "President-elect Biden will take action - not just to reverse the gravest damages of the Trump administration - but also to start moving our country forward."

Insider has reached out to the Biden transition team for further comment.

The proposed Keystone XL pipeline has been in development for more than ten years, and was approved by the Canadian National Energy Board in 2010. As planned, it would be a 1,179-mile pipeline running from Alberta, Canada, to Nebraska, carrying more than 800,000 barrels of oil a day. 

But the project failed to get off the ground during President Barack Obama's administration. Obama balked at the plan, arguing that the environmental devastation the pipeline would cause would be too high a price to pay.

Read more: At one end of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, there is a scene you must see to believe

"America is now a global leader when it comes to taking serious action on climate change," Obama said in 2015. "Frankly, approving that project would have undercut that global leadership, and that is the biggest risk we face: not acting."

When Trump entered office in 2017, he almost immediately revived conversation around the pipeline, fast-tracking the project because he said it would create nearly 30,000 US jobs, a number the Washington Post disputed at the time, and ABC News noted that the vast majority of those roles would be temporary.
 

Environmental lobbyists were able to successfully stanch the project for several years, and by 2020, enthusiasm for the project had begun to wane. In June 2020, Trump took the Keystone XL case to the Supreme Court to dispute a lower court ruling that prevented work on the pipeline to continue because of the environmental damage it was causing. The Supreme Court sent the case back down to the lower courts. 

Read more: Keystone XL does not make sense. 

The reported rescission of the Keystone XL permit is among several climate change-related changes Biden's team plans to make in the early days of his administration. 

Jason Kenney, the premier of Alberta, said in a statement posted to Twitter he was concerned that rescinding the permit would "kill jobs on both sides of the border, weaken the critically important Canada-US relationship, and undermine US national security by making the United States more dependent on OPEC oil imports in the future."

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said that he would press for a continuation of the pipeline project with the new administration.

"It has been a long position of mine that we need to get our resources to new markets safely and securely, and that's why I've always advocated for the Keystone XL pipeline," Trudeau said in a May 2020 press conference.

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Trump planning to raise $2 billion for a presidential library, likely in Florida: report

Sun, 01/17/2021 - 7:48pm
President Donald Trump returning to the White House from his Mar-a-Lago property in Florida.
  • President Donald Trump is telling supporters and GOP donors that he wants to raise $2 billion for a presidential library and museum, according to The Washington Post.
  • No official announcements have been made, but the presidential library is "likely" to be in Florida, home of his Mar-a-Lago resort.
  • After the Jan. 6 Capitol riots, where five people were killed, several former Trump advisors are skeptical of the president's expensive proposal.
  • "I thought to myself, what is this alternative fantasy life you're living?," a Trump fundraiser told The Post. "I have no clue where they think they'll get this money raised. Anyone who gives to him will be radioactive."
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

President Donald Trump is relaying to supporters and GOP donors that he wants to raise $2 billion for a presidential library and museum, according to The Washington Post.

No official announcements have been made, but the presidential library is "likely" to be in Florida, home of the outgoing president's Mar-a-Lago resort and the most probable political base for the his eldest daughter and son, Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr.

The Post reported that Trump wants Dan Scavino, social media director and White House deputy chief of staff for communications, to lead the ambitious effort. The president is reportedly convinced that he can raise the necessary funds through small-dollar donations from his political base.

The reported goal is far in excess of the price tag for other presidential libraries. Former President George W. Bush raised just over $500 million for his "Presidential Center" in Dallas, which is expected to be the same amount it will to cost to build former President Barack Obama's own library in Chicago.

However, after the January 6 Capitol riots, where five people were killed, several former Trump advisors are skeptical of Trump's expensive proposal. After being impeached for the second time, with 10 House GOP members voting for his removal from office, Trump is mired in a unforgiving position.

Read more: Trump could go full MAGA with a presidential library that glorifies his presidency and attacks his enemies

"I thought to myself, what is this alternative fantasy life you're living?" a Trump fundraiser told The Post. "I have no clue where they think they'll get this money raised. Anyone who gives to him will be radioactive."

When asked about fundraising for the library, another Trump donor called the effort "insane," saying that, "except for the wackos, everybody's running for the hills," according to The Post.

In the wake of the riots, GOP fundraising has taken a hit. Sens. Josh Hawley of Missouri and Ted Cruz of Texas, who both sought to overturn the 2020 election results, have seen their political capital and 2024 presidential buzz tank.

Trump himself will leave the White House for Florida before President-elect Joe Biden's January 20 inauguration, shunning the normal transfer of power between US presidents.

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'Cowboys for Trump' leader detained by FBI after pledging to bring guns to DC

Sun, 01/17/2021 - 7:23pm
Otero County Commissioner Couy Griffin speaks Friday, Jan. 31, 2020, in Santa Fe, N.M., as hundreds of advocates for gun rights rallied at the New Mexico Statehouse against a proposed red-flag gun law that has the support of Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.
  • Couy Griffin, the founder of "Cowboys for Trump," was arrested Sunday in Washington, DC, after pledging to bring guns to the city on the day of President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration.
  • Griffin, an ally of President Trump with a history of inflammatory and racist remarks, is an elected Republican county commissioner in New Mexico.
  • The FBI's Washington Field Office told Insider that Griffin was detained by US Capitol Police due to an arrest warrant over his participation in the January 6 insurrection.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The far-right leader of "Cowboys for Trump" has been arrested in Washington, DC, after last week pledging to bring guns to the nation's capital on the day of President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration.

In a statement, the FBI's Washington Field Office told Insider that Couy Griffin, an elected Republican county commissioner in New Mexico, was detained Sunday afternoon by US Capitol Police, who then notified the bureau. Griffin "was the subject of an arrest warrant for his role in the January 6 Capitol riots," the FBI said.

A criminal complaint, dated January 15, accuses Griffin of entering restricted grounds without lawful authority.

A police affidavit in support of the complaint cites videos posted to Griffin's Facebook page - since deleted - where he boasts of attending the January 6 insurrection and pledges to return in order to plant a US flag on the desk of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

"We could have a 2nd Amendment rally on those same steps that we had that rally [on January 6]," Griffin said in another video. "You know, and if we do, then it's gonna be a sad day, because there's gonna be blood running out of that building."

As Insider reported last week, Griffin reaffirmed his intent to travel again to Washington, DC, for Biden's inauguration, stating at a January 14 Otero County commissioners hearing that he would be bringing two guns in his car along with him. One, he said, would be placed under the front passenger seat - a violation of DC law, which prohibits keeping any firearm within reach of a vehicle's occupant.

"I embrace my Second Amendment, I will keep my right to bear arms, my vehicle is an extension of my home in regard to the constitution law, and I have a right to have those firearms in my car," he asserted. Those remarks are cited in the police affidavit used to request a warrant for his arrest.

Griffin has a history of making inflammatory and racist remarks. Last year, he declared that "the only good Democrat is a dead Democrat" in a video that was shared on Twitter by President Donald Trump; he also declared that supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement should "go back to Africa."

Democrats are calling for him to leave public office.

"I am demanding that Couy Griffin immediately resign from the Otero County Commission or my office will seek his removal," New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas said Sunday.

The local Republican Party, for its part, is distancing itself from Griffin.

"Mr. Griffin does not represent The Republican Party of New Mexico nor does he speak for the party," Mike Curtis, a party spokesperson, told Insider. The state GOP "does not endorse or condone the statements made by [the] Cowboys for Trump founder," he said, and "condemns violence and any threats of violence against any person or group."

Griffin could not immediately be reached for comment.

Have a news tip? Email this reporter: cdavis@insider.com

 

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An associate of Rudy Giuliani told a former CIA officer that a Trump pardon would 'cost $2 million': report

Sun, 01/17/2021 - 5:01pm
Giuliani disputes the Times' account of events.
  • An associate of Rudy Giuliani's told a former CIA operative seeking a pardon that it would cost $2 million, The New York Times reported. 
  • Giuliani disputed the ex-CIA officer's account, telling the Times he doesn't remember the meeting and that helping someone obtain a pardon would be a conflict of interest.
  • The Times reported that several people with connections to Trump have accepted large sums of money from people seeking pardons. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

An aide to Rudy Giuliani, President Donald Trump's personal lawyer, told an ex-CIA officer seeking a presidential pardon that it would "cost $2 million," The New York Times reported Sunday. 

The revelation came as part of a wide-ranging Times report that describes how several people close to the president have collected large sums in exchange for helping people seek pardons. 

John Kiriakou, the former CIA operative, was sentenced to 30 months in prison in 2012 for disclosing the identity of a fellow officer involved in waterboarding. Kiriakou told the Times he had sought a pardon through other people with connections to the president - in order to carry a handgun and access his pension - but the topic came up during an unrelated boozy meeting with Giuliani and his associates at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC. 

When Giuliani went to the restroom during the meeting, one of his associates said Giuliani could help, but "it's going to cost $2 million - he's going to want two million bucks," Kiriakou told the Times. 

Kiriakou did not take them up on the offer, according to the Times. 

"I laughed. Two million bucks - are you out of your mind?" Kiriakou told the outlet. "Even if I had two million bucks, I wouldn't spend it to recover a $700,000 pension."

Read more: Biden's inauguration is raising tens of millions of dollars but won't say how it's spending the money

A friend of Kiriakou's reported the meeting to the FBI, disturbed that Giuliani may be selling presidential pardons, the Times reported. But Giuliani disputed the Times' reporting, telling the outlet that he did not recall the meeting and that working on clemency cases while working as the president's lawyer would constitute a conflict of interest. 

The Times reported that multiple people with connections to Trump, including his former lawyer John Dowd and former campaign adviser Karen Giorno, had accepted tens of thousands of dollars in payments from people seeking pardons. 

Presidents routinely embark on a pardoning frenzy as they prepare to leave office, but Trump, rarely one to follow norms, has caught heat for using pardons primarily to reward his allies, fellow Republican politicians, and people close to his family. 

Read more: Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID stimulus plan has $10 billion for cybersecurity and IT hidden at the end - and experts say it's critical for the nation's recovery

Trump has pardoned several people who were charged in connection to special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. They include his former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, who was convicted of tax and bank fraud and was serving a 7 1/2 year prison sentence.

Roger Stone, a longtime Trump associate who was convicted of obstruction of justice, witness tampering, and lying to investigators in connection to the special counsel's investigation, also received a pardon. Trump also pardoned Charles Kushner, the father of his son-in-law Jared Kushner, who pleaded guilty to charges including witness tampering and tax evasion, and served two years in prison. 

Trump has also reportedly floated pardoning his family members, Giuliani, and himself

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GOP Rep. Nancy Mace said that Trump 'put all of our lives at risk' during the Capitol riots, but rejected impeachment, calling the process 'rushed'

Sun, 01/17/2021 - 4:53pm
Rep. Nancy Mace (R-South Carolina).
  • Freshman GOP Rep. Nancy Mace of South Carolina said on Sunday that President Donald Trump's actions related to the Jan. 6 Capitol riots "put all of our lives at risk."
  • "We feared for our lives, many of us that day, and our staff," she said. "My children were supposed to be up there. If they had been there like they were supposed to be, I would have been devastated, so we do need to find a way to hold the president accountable."
  • Despite calling out Trump's conduct, Mace voted against impeachment, calling the process "rushed."
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Freshman GOP Rep. Nancy Mace of South Carolina, who has been sharply critical of President Donald Trump's handling of the Jan. 6 Capitol riots, said on Sunday that his actions related to the deadly attack "put all of our lives at risk."

On NBC's "Meet the Press," Mace brought up a bipartisan push to censure Trump that could have been an alternative to the second impeachment of the president, which cleared the House of Representatives 232-197, with ten Republican votes.

Despite calling out Trump's conduct, she voted against impeachment, describing the process as "rushed" and saying it didn't give the president due process.

"With censure, that was one of the things that I believe we should have had up for debate," Mace said. "It's complex, constitutionally, but there were folks in both chambers and in both parties having the ability to look at that as an option, but we couldn't even bring it up for debate or look at that as an option because we were really trying hard to figure out how do we hold a president accountable that put all of our lives at risk?"

She described the riots, which resulted in the deaths of five people, as "a traumatic event" for many members.

Read more: Mitch McConnell is telling GOP senators their decision on a Trump impeachment trial conviction is a 'vote of conscience'

"We feared for our lives, many of us that day, and our staff," she said. "My children were supposed to be up there. If they had been there like they were supposed to be, I would have been devastated, so we do need to find a way to hold the president accountable."

Mace was then asked about members who continued to object to the presidential election results after the riots, including the top two GOP leaders in the House, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California and Minority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana.

"I will tell you for me, as a new member, it was enormously disappointing," she said. "I literally had to walk through a crime scene where that young woman [Ashli Babbitt] was shot and killed to get into the chamber to vote that night to certify what was supposed to be a ceremonial vote to certify the Electoral College. Yet my colleagues continued to object, and they knew this was a failing motion."

On Jan. 7, Mace said on CNN that that Trump's "entire legacy was wiped out" in the aftermath of the Capitol riots.

"We've got to start over," she stressed at the time. "We don't have the ground that we need to push forward and do the things that we need to do to be successful and work for and be the voice for hard-working Americans that believed in his message. We cannot condone the violence ... We've got to rebuild our nation and rebuild our party."

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All US special operators train for combat diving, but Navy SEALs take it to another level

Sun, 01/17/2021 - 4:37pm
Navy SEALs.
  • Special-operations units from each US military service branch train to conduct combat diving as a part of their missions.
  • Navy SEALs take that capability further, however, practicing not only to travel through the water but to conduct underwater missions as well.
  • With the military refocusing for a potential conflict in the vast Pacific region, that diving capability is taking on new importance.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Water covers more than 70% of the earth, making maritime operations a must-have capability for any competent military.

Besides having the strongest Navy in the world, the US military possesses potent maritime special-operations resources, with the majority of its special-operations units having some combat diving capability.

Marine Raiders and Reconnaissance Marines have different training pipelines but go through the same dive school in Panama City.

A Navy special amphibious reconnaissance corpsman, left, and a reconnaissance Marine in underwater gear during a Marine combat diving course in Okinawa, May 20, 2020

Army Green Berets have dedicated combat diver teams, and some Rangers go through the arduous Special Forces Underwater Operations School in Key West, Florida, one of the most challenging courses in the Army, where even special operators wash out.

Air Force Combat Controllers, Pararescuemen, and Special Reconnaissance operators also go through dive school in Panama City before finishing their own training courses. Those units often send students to the Army's course.

With some exceptions, such as Special Forces dive teams who teach combat diving to foreign troops, for these units combat diving is primarily an insertion method - a way to the job rather than the job itself.

However, Navy SEAL Teams take maritime special-operations to another level.

Frogmen Office of Strategic Services Special Maritime Unit Group A frogmen on Santa Catalina Island, California, December 1943.

Navy SEALs trace their lineage to the Underwater Demolition Teams (UDT) of World War II.

These frogmen were tasked with amphibious reconnaissance and clearing beaches before the Marine Corps or the Army landed. They saw action in Normandy during D-Day and in almost every major operation in the Pacific.

Since then, the combat diver capability (or combat swimmer, as SEALs call it) is part of every SEAL's DNA. SEAL students receive combat diving training during the initial and the advanced portions of the SEAL pipeline.

Aspiring SEALs learn the basics of combat diving during the Second (or Dive) Phase of the six-month Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) training course. This portion of the training contains Pool Competence, the pipeline's second most difficult event after First Phase's Hell Week.

During Pool Comp, students go through increasingly stressful underwater tests in a monitored environment. The goal is to see if they can follow basic procedures that could save their lives in a real-world operation while under extreme physical and mental stress.

During the SEAL Qualification Training (SQT) course, which comes after BUD/S, aspiring SEALs receive additional and more advanced combat diving training.

A Navy SEAL assigned to Naval Special Warfare Group 2 during military dive operations in the Gulf of Mexico, October 11, 2018.

The reason for the additional training is that SEALs are the only special-operations unit tasked with underwater special operations, such as placing limpet mines on enemy ships or conducting reconnaissance of an enemy harbor.

One of their better-known underwater missions took place in 1989 during Operation Just Cause. A four-man SEAL element was tasked with sinking Manuel Noriega's personal boat to prevent the Panamanian dictator's escape. Despite some resistance from a few vigilant guards, the SEALs were able to plant limpet mines and destroy the vessel.

Although the SEAL Teams' missions might be different than those of other US special-operations combat diver units, the basic training isn't.

"Actually, the military's combat diver communities are all very similar in the curriculums being taught," a highly seasoned Special Forces combat diver told Insider. "We all fall under SOCOM [US Special Operations Command], and the Navy is the proponent for all diving operations. They approve and monitor tasks being taught at each school."

"We all use [combat diving] for the same reason - clandestine infiltration using an oxygen rebreather," the operator said, referring to the MK25 MOD2, made by Dräger.

"[We all] get to work using our fins," added the operator, who has taught at the Army's combat diver school and at BUD/S.

A potential conflict in the Pacific is a reason for all services to maintain or even improve their combat diver capabilities. However, there is still a lot to be done on that front, especially for Army special-operations units, where the capability has been neglected to a dangerous extent.

Diving into the future A combat diver assigned to 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) off the coast of Washington, August 14, 2014.

With the Pentagon focused on great-power competition, maritime special-operations are increasingly relevant and important, and that's where the SEAL Teams can shine.

"The Teams can do so much in conflict with China," a former SEAL officer told Insider. "We have the ability to conduct small unit surveillance and reconnaissance during over-the-beach ops; place sensors to aid intelligence gathering, again during over-the-beach ops; train foreign forces (for example, training the Taiwanese in all manner of stuff to balance Chinese capabilities); and also do direct action (an extreme example, but doable if so required)."

Unlike other special-operations units, in the SEAL Teams everyone is combat diver qualified. As a result, there is a vested interest in the capability, both from an operational and budgetary standpoint.

SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team Two members prepare to launch a SEAL Delivery Vehicle from Los Angeles-class attack sub USS Philadelphia during an exercise.

"Compared to other special-operations commands, NSW [Naval Special Warfare] as a whole will be more relevant in a great-power competition setting, at least in the Pacific, because of the maritime nature of the environment," a SEAL officer told insider. "We might see platoons diving but not to place a limpet mine on a Chinese warship but a sensor on a ship of interest."

Aside from traditional combat diving operations, the SEAL Teams also possess the SEAL Delivery Vehicle (SDV) capability.

There are two SDV Teams that are manned by SEALs who undergo even more combat diving training and operate the mini-submarines. Although much of their mission-set is classified, they are known to conduct special reconnaissance and stealthily transport SEALs closer to a target.

Stavros Atlamazoglou is a defense journalist specializing in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (National Service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate.

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