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Psaki: Biden will not invoke executive privilege to block access to Capitol riot records – live

Psaki: Biden will not invoke executive privilege to block access to Capitol riot records – live thumbnail

White House says Biden will make ‘case-by-case’ decision on executive privilege

Earlier today, we reported that Joe Biden had decided not to invoke executive privilege over Trump White House documents subpoenaed by the select committee investigating the Capitol insurrection, based on comments White House press secretary Jen Psaki made in her daily briefing.

But the Biden White House told reporters later in the day that it would make decisions about executive privilege over Trump White House documents “on a case-by-case basis.”

Psaki had said earlier today that “The president has already concluded it would not be appropriate to assert executive privilege,” but the White House noted she also said this represented the president’s “overarching view,” and declined to get into hypotheticals about what the administration would or would not release.

The Biden administration’s clarification:

The Administration believes strongly in the vital role this Committee is playing and will continue to work closely with it moving forward. Jen was referring to the Administration’s previous decision not to assert executive privilege in the matter of certain former DOJ officials who had been called to testify before Congress. The Administration will determine any future questions of executive privilege involving documents and testimony on a case-by-case basis, as Jen noted.”

Hugo Lowell
(@hugolowell)

Just in: White House says now that decision on executive privilege for Jan. 6 committee-requested materials and testimony has NOT been made, per source — Psaki was referring to previous privilege requests.

September 24, 2021

Hugo Lowell
(@hugolowell)

White House: “Jen was referring to the Administration’s previous decision — will determine any future questions of executive privilege involving documents and testimony on a case-by-case basis, as Jen noted.”

September 24, 2021

Evening Summary

We’re wrapping up our live US politics coverage for tonight. Some highlights from today’s news:

  • The sham election “audit” in Maricopa county found that Biden defeated Trump by 360 more votes than previously thought. A draft report of the audit’s findings affirmed that Biden won Arizona’s most populous county last year. The investigation, which was overseen by a firm whose CEO had promoted lies about election fraud, had attracted many allegations of political bias.
  • But the lack of substantive findings did not stop the leaders of the “audit” from raising unsubstantiated concerns they claimed needed further investigation, even as journalists and officials factchecked their claims in real time.
  • Meanwhile, experts in US election law and democratic norms warned of the likelihood of attempted “election subversion” from Republicans in 2022 and 2024, and cautioned that “You can’t have a democracy if one of the two major parties cannot accept an election defeat.” The current behavior of many Republican politicians was anti-democratic, multiple political scientists cautioned, and “The US faces a serious risk that the 2024 election, and other future US elections, will not be conducted fairly,” a leading election law expert said.
  • House Democrats passed a bill to establish a federal right to abortion. The nearly party-line vote came weeks after a highly controversial six-week abortion ban went into effect in Texas, leading to copycat bills in other states. The House-approved legislation is considered dead on arrival in the evenly divided Senate.
  • Biden promised there would be “consequences” for border agents accused of mistreating Haitian migrants. Taking reporters’ questions after delivering prepared remarks on vaccination efforts, Biden said the footage of border agents on horseback confronting migrants was “horrible”. “It’s outrageous. I promise you, those people will pay,” the president said.
  • The homeland security secretary said there are no remaining migrants in the Del Rio border encampment that sparked outcry. Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas also pledged that the findings of the investigation into border agents’ actions toward Haitian migrants would be made public.

Updated

‘An existential threat to American democracy.’ Experts warn of GOP ‘election subversion’

The United States faces significant risks to its democracy in the 2022 and 2024 elections, experts on democracy and election law warned at a conference on Friday.

“You have a significant portion of one of the two major political parties that is no longer committed to democratic norms,” political scientist Larry Diamond, a fellow at the conservative Hoover Institute, warned as part of a conference on “election subversion” hosted by the University of California, Irvine. “We are facing an existential challenge to American democracy.”

“It’s not just the crazies that kill democracy, it’s not just the people who storm the Capitol on 6 January,” said Steve Levitsky, one of the authors of How Democracies Die. “It is the mainstream Republican party not breaking with democratic extremists that is most dangerous at this moment.”

“The US faces a serious risk that the 2024 election, and other future US elections, will not be conducted fairly, and that the candidates taking office will not reflect free choices made by eligible voters under previously announced election rules,” Rick Hasen, a leading US election law expert and the host of the conference, said.

The decision by many Republican politicians to continue to back Donald Trump’s claims that he lost because of election fraud, and their continued willingness to undermine confidence in elections rather than admit defeat, was a serious blow to American democracy, Levitsky said.

“You can’t have a democracy if one of the two major parties cannot accept an election defeat,” Levitsky said.

“In most cases where we lose a democracy, you can get it back, but it often takes, ten, fifteen, twenty years,” he added later. “Better to prevalent backsliding than to try to reverse it.”

Updated

Survivors seek healing as first details emerge in Tennessee grocery shooting

Two women who had been strangers prior to Thursday’s mass shooting at a Tennessee supermarket clenched each other’s hands and fought back tears Friday, as they gathered at a vigil to pray for healing from the previous day’s rampage at a Kroger where the shooter worked, the Associated Press reports.

Hollie Skaggs and Sara Wiles happened to be running errands at the same Kroger in Collierville. A day later, after a gunman killed one person and himself and wounded 14 others, Skaggs called Wiles her guardian angel.

The gunman worked in a sushi business at the store, as a “third-party vendor” who worked on a daily basis, police have said. He died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound within a couple of minutes of officers arriving at the Kroger in the upscale suburb outside of Memphis.

The victims included 10 employees and five customers, police said. The shooter, acting alone, did not appear to target anyone specifically as he rampaged through the building on a sunny Thursday afternoon, police said. The entire shooting was over within minutes as first responders swarmed the scene.

“We all want to know the why,” Collierville Police Chief Dale Lane said of the shooter’s motive. “But today, less than 24 hours (after the shooting), we’re not ready to tell you that.”

A friend of the shooter’s family said his parents were “very upset” about their son’s involvement and were praying for all the people involved.

‘We will not boost our way out of this pandemic,’ CDC official warns

The U.S. launched a campaign to offer boosters of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine to millions of Americans on Friday even as federal health officials stressed the real problem remains getting first shots to the unvaccinated, the Associated Press reports.

“We will not boost our way out of this pandemic,” warned Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — even though she took the rare step of overruling the advice of her own expert panel to make more people eligible for the booster.

The vast majority of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are among the unvaccinated, Walensky noted. And all three COVID-19 vaccines in the U.S. offer strong protection against severe illness, hospitalization and death despite the extra-contagious delta variant that caused cases to soar. But immunity against milder infection appears to wane months after initial vaccination.

‘They wasted $6m to tell us what we already knew.’ Reactions to AZ ballot review

What did the Arizona Cyber Ninjas review of 2020 election results accomplish?

“They wasted nearly $6 million to tell us what we already knew, meanwhile exacerbating an already unhealthy political environment,” Arizona state Sen. Paul Boyer (R) told The Hill in a text message.

The Hill
(@thehill)

NEW: Five takeaways from Arizona’s audit results https://t.co/0C65VEXfVg pic.twitter.com/meOJoLqWGz

September 24, 2021

But by other measures, focused on the way the review continues to feed doubt and conspiracy theories about election measures, it may have accomplished a lot.

Martin Pengelly

Rudy Giuliani has reportedly been banned from Fox News.



Rudy Giuliani.


Rudy Giuliani. Photograph: Jim Bourg/Reuters

“Rudy is really hurt,” Politico quoted a source “close to Giuliani” as saying.

According to the website, the prominent Trump ally learned of his expulsion on the eve of the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, after which, as New York mayor, he became a national figure.

Fox News declined to comment.

Politico quoted its source as saying Giuliani was hurt was “because he did a big favour for Rupert [Murdoch]. He was instrumental [in 1996] in getting Fox on Time Warner so it could be watched in New York City.”

Giuliani’s apparent expulsion may also be linked to Fox News business. Both network and sometime personal attorney to Donald Trump have been sued by Dominion Voter Systems over false claims about supposed electoral fraud in the 2020 presidential election.

Fox News has filed to dismiss, citing first amendment protections of free speech and saying Dominion had not proved “actual malice” in its reporting.

A judge denied Giuliani’s attempt to have the suit dismissed. The former mayor has said his claims about Dominion are “substantially true”.

Full story:

California governor signs bill to replace the term ‘alien’ in California’s laws

News from California:

Alexei Koseff
(@akoseff)

Gavin Newsom signs AB1096 by @LuzRivas to remove and replace the term “alien” in California code.

In a statement, Newsom calls it “an offensive term for a human being.”

“By changing this term, we are ensuring California’s laws reflect our state’s values,” he says.

September 24, 2021

In search of fraud, Arizona Cyber Ninjas review found 99 additional votes for Biden

Arizona’s “Cyber Ninjas” election investigation, which lasted several months, confirmed that Joe Biden did indeed beat Trump in Maricopa county, the state’s most populous county, Doug Logan, who led the review, told the Arizona senate on Friday. In fact, a hand recount found 99 additional votes for Biden and 261 fewer votes for Trump.

Logan, the CEO of Cyber Ninjas, a Florida-based firm leading the review, said in a presentation Friday afternoon to the Arizona senate that the discrepancies were “small”.

“The ballots that were provided to us in the coliseum very accurately correlate with the official canvas numbers that came through,” he said.

Despite that finding, Logan, who has spread election conspiracy theories, outlined what he claimed were anomalies in the count. Several of them were immediately debunked by Maricopa county officials, who fact-checked his presentation.

Shiva Ayyadurai, a failed US senate candidate who has espoused election conspiracy theories, gave another presentation filled with misrepresentations about the county’s process for verifying signatures.

Martin Pengelly

On the eve of a Trump rally in Perry, Georgia on Saturday, the Republican official in charge of elections in the state said: “He’s going to come, and he’s going to say what he’s going to say, but he knows in his heart that he lost.”

Brad Raffensperger was discussing Trump’s lies about election fraud in his defeat by Joe Biden with a conservative newspaper, the Washington Examiner.

“Every time we’ve looked into all of these and all of these concerns, it’s clear that Donald Trump lost the election fair and square,” he said.

“What bothers me, and it really should bother everyone, after 10 months since the last ballots were counted, we’re still dealing with this misinformation and disinformation surrounding the elections.”

In a letter released last week, the former president claimed to have found 43,000 “invalid” ballots in Georgia and told Raffensperger and the governor of Georgia, Brian Kemp, to “start the process of decertifying the election, or whatever the correct legal remedy is, and announce the true winner”.

Raffensperger seems resigned to what is coming in Perry on Saturday night.

We are not going to win that bullhorn argument,” he said.

There’s now been a call to ‘Imeach Biden’

We have all made spelling errors (especially, gentle readers, on this live blog) but some are more awkward than others.

Jake Sherman
(@JakeSherman)

Lauren Boebert has sent a release calling to impeach Biden, but she has messed up the logo here pic.twitter.com/IR3m2QxNFT

September 24, 2021

Updated

Cyber Ninjas ‘audit’ of AZ election results: ‘Found nothing, more investigation needed’

This is Lois Beckett, picking up our live politics coverage from our West Coast bureau in Los Angeles.

Guardian voting rights reporter Sam Levine is covering the results of the highly politicized “audit” of Arizona’s election results. The carnivalesque, GOP-led Cyber Ninjas review of the 2020 ballots ended up confirming Biden’s win in Maricopa county, Arizona, according to a draft of the report obtained by local reporters.

But in testimony in Arizona right now, people involved in the process are still testifying about supposed “anomalies” they found. Sam breaks down why this outcome is concerning:

Sam Levine
(@srl)

1 of the main talking points of those who supported the AZ review was that there was nothing to fear because it would only assuage concern if it turned up nothing. But the CN draft report shows why that’s misleading. The report found nothing, yet says more investigation is needed

September 24, 2021

Sam Levine
(@srl)

Cyber Ninjas draft report flags more than 10,300 ppl as potential double voters based on name, and birth year. This is widely known as an unreliable method. It’s been shown again and again by @ElectProject and others https://t.co/0UIOboChtl pic.twitter.com/j8XrYDAnvy

September 24, 2021

Sam Levine
(@srl)

Dr. Shiva says now further auditing is needed of the signature verification process, even as reporters and the county have immediately been able to explain several of the “anomalies” he identified. https://t.co/q3STVg8TGg

September 24, 2021

Sam has more on the text of the report, as well as the testimony happening now. You can follow him on Twitter for live coverage at @srl.

Sam Levine
(@srl)

Language in this section is a microcosm of how the report is creating uncertainty even though CN failed to turn up any evidence of actual fraud. “While it is possible for multiple

individuals to share all these details; it is not common, and this list should be fully reviewed.”

September 24, 2021

Updated

Today so far

That’s it from me today. My west coast colleague, Lois Beckett, will take over the blog for the next few hours.

Here’s where the day stands so far:

  • Joe Biden has decided not to invoke executive privilege over Trump White House documents subpoenaed by the select committee investigating the Capitol insurrection. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said during her daily briefing, “The president has already concluded it would not be appropriate to assert executive privilege.” Trump had claimed he would use executive privilege to block the committee’s access to documents, but because he is no longer president, he needs Biden’s permission to do so.
  • Biden promised there would be “consequences” for border agents accused of mistreating Haitian migrants. Taking reporters’ questions after delivering prepared remarks on vaccination efforts, Biden said the footage of border agents on horseback confronting migrants was “horrible”. “It’s outrageous. I promise you, those people will pay,” the president said.
  • The homeland security secretary said there are no remaining migrants in the Del Rio border encampment that sparked outcry. Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas also pledged that the findings of the investigation into border agents’ actions toward Haitian migrants would be made public.
  • The sham election “audit” in Maricopa county found that Biden defeated Trump by 360 more votes than previously thought. A draft report of the audit’s findings affirmed that Biden won Arizona’s most populous county last year. The investigation, which was overseen by a firm whose CEO had promoted lies about election fraud, had attracted many allegations of political bias.
  • House Democrats passed a bill to establish a federal right to abortion. The nearly party-line vote came weeks after a highly controversial six-week abortion ban went into effect in Texas, leading to copy cat bills in other states. The House-approved legislation is considered dead on arrival in the evenly divided Senate.

Lois will have more coming up, so stay tuned.

Republican congresswoman Liz Cheney will appear on CBS News’ “60 Minutes” this Sunday, the network just announced.

CBS said Cheney would be speaking to correspondent Lesley Stahl about “re-election, her criticism of Pres. Trump and her family”.

CBS News PR
(@CBSNewsPress)

Embattled WY Republican Congresswoman Liz Cheney talks to @LesleyRStahl about re-election, her criticism of Pres. Trump and her family on @60Minutes Sun 7p pic.twitter.com/JRpR5N8sGv

September 24, 2021

The interview comes as the Wyoming congresswoman faces a daunting primary race against Trump-backed challenger Harriet Hageman.

Cheney is also serving as the vice-chair of the select committee investigating the Capitol insurrection, which just issued subpoenas to four former Trump aides.

Cheney, who supported impeaching Trump for inciting the January 6 insurrection, is one of two Republicans serving on the committee, alongside Adam Kinzinger.

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'People will pay' for harsh treatment of migrants at Texas border, says Biden – video thumbnail

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