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Biden says Trump should no longer get intelligence briefings

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Biden says Trump should no longer get intelligence briefings

President Biden says former President Donald Trump should lose access to intelligence briefings because he might “slip and say something.”

In an interview with CBS News Friday, Biden said Trump should not know US secrets “because of his erratic behavior unrelated to the insurrection,” referring to the Jan. 6 Capitol riot that disrupted certification of Biden’s victory.

CBS host Norah O’Donnell replied, “You’ve called him an existential threat. You’ve called him dangerous. You’ve called him reckless.”

“I have, and I believe it,” Biden said in his first TV interview as president.

Biden declined to tell O’Donnell what his “worst fear” is about Trump having access to intelligence.

“I’d rather not speculate out loud. I just think that there is no need for him to have that intelligence briefing. What value is giving him an intelligence briefing? What impact does he have at all, other than the fact he might slip and say something?” Biden said.

Ex-presidents and other former senior officials customarily retain access to classified information.

Trump in 2018 revoked the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan, who had become a prominent critic of Trump’s policies.

Biden would not say, when asked, if the Senate should convict Trump in an impeachment trial that begins next week for allegedly inciting the Capitol riot, which left five dead. At least 17 Senate Republicans would have to vote to convict, making it unlikely Trump will be found guilty and subsequently barred from holding office again.

Forty-five Senate Republicans previously voted for a measure to declare the impeachment unconstitutional since Trump is already out of office, and that is a key point in Trump’s defense.

“I ran like hell to defeat him because I thought he was unfit to be president. I watched what everybody else watched, what happened when that coup invaded the United States Congress, but I’m not in the Senate now. I’m going to let the Senate make that decision,” Biden said.

Also during Friday’s interview, Biden acknowledged that his proposal to more than double the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 an hour wouldn’t likely remain part of the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package under consideration by Congress.

“I put it in, but I don’t think it’s going to survive,” he said.

Senate Democrats agreed to remove the minimum-wage hike from the plan during a marathon “vote-a-rama” that ended early Friday morning, with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) surprisingly supporting the move — but saying he’d insist it be part of the federal budget bill.

Trump’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Brazilian COVID-19 variant found in Oregon

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Brazilian COVID-19 variant found in Oregon

SALEM, Ore. — A coronavirus variant that was first detected in Brazil has emerged in Oregon, the first known case of the new variant on the contiguous U.S. West Coast, medical authorities said Tuesday.

The sample was sent to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at the end of January by medical officials in Douglas County, Oregon. They said they received the results back on Monday night, which showed the P.1 variant.

“The P.1 variant … appears to be related to business travel outside the United States to and from Brazil,” the Douglas County COVID-19 Response Team said in a statement Tuesday.

The variant, which was first found in Manaus, Brazil, appears to be more contagious than other COVID-19 strains. It can potentially be contracted by someone who was already infected or who has been vaccinated.

There have been 10 additional cases of the P.1 variant reported in the U.S., with five in Florida, two in Minnesota and one each in Oklahoma, Alaska and Maryland, the CDC says.

Health officials in Douglas County, located in western Oregon, said they are awaiting results of other samples that were sent to the CDC for genome sequence DNA testing for emerging COVID-19 variants.

The Oregon Health Authority said the unidentified person who contracted the Brazilian variant has been working closely with the local health department and has been self-isolating.

Health officials on Tuesday also reported 13 new coronavirus-related deaths in the state, raising the known death toll to 2,225. There were 269 new confirmed and presumptive cases in the state, for a total of 156,037, authorities said.

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Ohio grandmother killed by stray bullet before son’s funeral

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Ohio grandmother killed by stray bullet before son's funeral

An Ohio grandmother was struck by a stray bullet and killed while planning her son’s funeral over the weekend, a report said.

Ruth Lewis, 89, gathered with relatives at a family member’s home in Warren when she was shot in the back around 7:30 p.m. Sunday, according to WKBN-TV.

She was pronounced dead a short time later. No other injuries were reported.

“This was a senseless death caused by a random bullet,” said Warren Mayor Doug Franklin.

“Obviously, she wasn’t the target so it’s so unfortunate, but that just goes to speak to the dangers of just having so many guns in irresponsible hands.”

Witnesses reported hearing at least five to 10 gunshots, including one who saw two cars driving away erratically from the home.

With Post Wires

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$140 million ‘Pelosi subway’ axed from Senate COVID bill

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$140 million 'Pelosi subway' axed from Senate COVID bill

Guess she’ll have to take the bus.

Funding for a rail project near House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s California district that Republicans denounced as wasteful was removed Tuesday from President Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 stimulus bill.

The Senate parliamentarian ruled the $140 million appropriation wasn’t allowed under the so-called Byrd rule that polices unrelated items in budget reconciliation bills.

Republicans singled out the rail project as an example of unrelated “pork” in the bill, which is being rammed through Congress without Republican support using special rules that allow a simple majority vote in the Senate.

On Tuesday, Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) ridiculed the project as Pelosi’s “tunnel of love” ahead of an anticipated vote on the package later this week.

Representatives for Pelosi, who represents San Francisco, had defended the project, saying that ridership for mass-transit plummeted during the pandemic, making it reasonable to increase government spending.

“The Senate Parliamentarian has now ruled that the BART extension from San Jose to Santa Clara does not meet the requirements of the Byrd rule because it is part of a pilot project. Therefore, it will be removed from the reconciliation package,” Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill said.

A separate $1.5 million allocation for the Seaway International Bridge between Massena, New York, and Canada also will be removed, he said.

The Senate parliamentarian previously blocked Democrats from including a federal minimum wage hike to $15 per hour in the bill.

Hammill defended the original inclusion of the rail funds.

“COVID-19 had an immediate and overwhelming effect on all of our transportation systems and the millions of transportation and construction jobs associated with them,” he said.

“As part of the $30 billion in public transit support, the House included $1.425 billion to help dozens of major transit rail capital projects, including the BART extension from San Jose to Santa Clara.”

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