By Pavel Polityuk and Natalia Zinets KYIV (Reuters) -U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin were to visit Kyiv on Sunday to discuss Ukraine's request for more powerful weapons after months of combat with invading Russian forces. The visit, announced by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Saturday, would be the highest-level visit by U.S. officials to the country since the start of the war on Feb. 24. The White House has not confirmed any travel plans for Blinken and Austin. The State Department and Pentagon declined comment. As the war enters its third...
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Jan. 6 committee is dismissing lawsuits against far-right leaders it attempted to investigate: report
The House Select Committee Investigating the Jan. 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol has not been provided the resources from Congress to pursue its investigation as widely as it had attempted, according to a new report by Politico.
"This week, the committee began filing motions to dismiss certain lawsuits it’s seemed to deem less worthy of its legal resources," Politico reported. "That includes one filed by Ali Alexander, a founder of the 'Stop the Steal' group, and Christine Torre, the mother of a man charged for entering the Capitol on Jan. 6. The panel also moved to dismiss a separate lawsuit by [John] Eastman filed in D.C."
Even though public hearings are slated to begin on June 8, the select committee has also been delaying action in another batch of litigation.
"Among the witnesses who have filed lawsuits that the select committee has largely ignored are Phil Waldron, who pushed discredited claims to top Trump White House officials about voting machine irregularities; Amy Harris, a photographer with ties to members of the Proud Boys; Kelly Meggs, a leader of the Oath Keepers; Kelli Ward, the chairwoman of the Arizona Republican Party; and Alex Jones, the pro-Trump broadcaster," Politico reported.
"In nearly every one of those cases, the select committee has opted to repeatedly defer engaging on the matter, using nearly identical language. Lawmakers have emphasized that in many cases, they’ve already obtained the information and evidence they were seeking from other sources."
The select committee has aggressively litigated lawsuits with Trump, former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, the Republican National Committee, and Eastman.
Read the full report.
Investigation finds 'whistleblower's' claims that Ron DeSantis covered up COVID deaths are 'unsubstantiated'
One of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' most vocal critics made “unsubstantiated” claims that state health officials fired her because she refused to present manipulated COVID-19 data online, according to the results of an investigation by the state's inspector general, NBC News reports.
"The 27-page report from the Florida Department of Health’s Office of Inspector General said it found 'insufficient evidence' to support Rebekah Jones' accusations that she was asked to falsify Covid positivity rates or misrepresent them on the state’s dashboard she helped design," NBC News' report stated. "The report also 'exonerated' officials accused by Jones of wrongdoing because they removed a data section from the website to ensure that private individual health information was not released publicly."
The report suggests Jones did not understand public health policy or epidemiological data and did not have high-level access to information as she had claimed. The report, however, did not examine one of Jones' most explosive claims -- that DeSantis and the state of Florida were covering up deaths from the COVID-19 pandemic. But as NBC News points out, there's no evidence for that claim either.
Jones used the Twitter fame she garnered by making the claims to raise money, and is now a Democratic congressional candidate challenging Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz.
Read the full report over at NBC News.
MSNBC's "Deadline: White House" on Friday covered shocking reporting on failures by law enforcement responding to the Uvalde mass shooting at Robb Elementary School.
Two days after the massacre, Victor Escalon, the regional director for the Texas Department of Public Safety, refused to answer questions about the long gap in the shooting timeline.
For analysis, MSNBC anchor Nicolle Wallace interviewed NBC News reporter Ken Dilanian about the two gaps in time.
"The ten-minute gap raises the question of why those police didn't arrive sooner when the station where [reporter Kerry Sanders] is standing is about a mile from the school," Dilanian said. "So there's a huge question there."
He said there were "so many questions" about the second, 60-minute gap.
"Where was that [Uvalde Police Department] S.W.A.T. team in the hour while they were waiting for the Border Patrol tactical team to come?" he asked. "It's really just unfathomable, and law enforcement officials who are watching this across the country, as Tom Winter said earlier on the air, are aghast at what happened here."
Wallace then read breaking news on how law enforcement may have been spending its time during the hour-gap, with the Wall Street Journal reporting a woman claims she was detained by a U.S. marshal.
"Ms. Gomez, a farm supervisor, said that she was one of numerous parents who began encouraging—first politely, and then with more urgency—police and other law enforcement to enter the school. After a few minutes, she said, federal marshals approached her and put her in handcuffs, telling her she was being arrested for intervening in an active investigation," the newspaper reported. "Ms. Gomez convinced local Uvalde police officers whom she knew to persuade the marshals to set her free. Around her, the scene was frantic. She said she saw a father tackled and thrown to the ground by police and a third pepper-sprayed. Once freed from her cuffs, Ms. Gomez made her distance from the crowd, jumped the school fence, and ran inside to grab her two children. She sprinted out of the school with them."
Former FBI Assistant Director Frank Figliuzzi blasted the changing stories from law enforcement, who also initially claimed the gunman had been engaged by an armed school resource officer, which authorities have admitted was a lie.
"The facts are so in conflict with each other right now that the only thing I can tell you with certainty is that the communications coming out of law enforcement right now are horribly broken. We're all familiar with the physician's Hippocratic Oath, do no harm. That press conference today by that regional DPS director did harm."
He noted we don't even know for sure which federal agency's tactical team reported.
Watch the clip below or at this link.
Uvalde Police www.youtube.com