U.S News

In a call with Pelosi after the Capitol riot, Milley agreed that Trump was ‘crazy,’ book says.

Two days after Trump supporters stormed the Capitol, Gen. Mark A. Milley spoke to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who was worried Mr. Trump would lash out with military force.,

Advertisement

Continue reading the main story

Supported by

Continue reading the main story

Two days after a mob of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol, Gen. Mark A. Milley spoke to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who was growing increasingly concerned Mr. Trump would lash out and use military force.

Their conversation was detailed in “Peril,” a recently released book by the Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Robert Costa.

“This is bad, but who knows what he might do?” Ms. Pelosi said. “He’s crazy. You know he’s crazy. He’s been crazy for a long time. So don’t say you don’t know what his state of mind is.”

“Madam Speaker,” General Milley said, “I agree with you on everything.”

General Milley, who as the president’s top military adviser is not in the chain of command, tried to reassure Ms. Pelosi that he could stop Mr. Trump.

“The one thing I can guarantee is that, as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, I want you to know that — I want you to know this in your heart of hearts, I can guarantee you 110 percent that the military, use of military power, whether it’s nuclear or a strike in a foreign country of any kind, we’re not going to do anything illegal or crazy,” he said.

He offered similar assurances to his Chinese counterpart that day. And after speaking to Ms. Pelosi, he convened a meeting in a war room at the Pentagon with the military’s top commanders, telling them that he wanted to go over the longstanding procedures for launching a nuclear weapon. The general reminded the commanders that only the president could order such a strike and that General Milley needed to be directly involved.

“The strict procedures are explicitly designed to avoid inadvertent mistakes or accident or nefarious, unintentional, illegal, immoral, unethical launching of the world’s most dangerous weapons,” he said.

Then, he went around the room and asked each officer to confirm that they understood what he was saying.

Read More
U.S News

Al Qaeda or ISIS Could Rebuild in Afghanistan, Officials Warn

Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., the head of the military’s Central Command, was somewhat more pessimistic than other top Pentagon officials testifying before a Senate panel.,

Advertisement

Continue reading the main story

McKenzie suggests the U.S. may not be able to prevent Al Qaeda and ISIS from rebuilding in Afghanistan.

Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., the head of the military’s Central Command, testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday.Credit…Stefani Reynolds for The New York Times

Sept. 28, 2021, 1:46 p.m. ET

The top U.S. military commander in the Middle East expressed reservations about whether the United States could deny Al Qaeda and the Islamic State the ability to use Afghanistan as a launchpad for terrorist attacks now that American troops have left the country.

“That’s yet to be seen,” Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., the head of the military’s Central Command, said in response to a question at the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing. “We could get to that point, but I do not yet have that level of confidence.”

President Biden has vowed to prevent Al Qaeda and the Islamic State from rebuilding to the point where they could attack Americans or the United States.

But General McKenzie’s response underscored how difficult that task will be and was somewhat more pessimistic than the assessments of other top Pentagon officials at the hearing.

Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said the military could monitor and strike Al Qaeda and Islamic State cells from bases far away, if necessary. “Over-the-horizon operations are difficult but absolutely possible,” he said.

Testifying alongside Mr. Austin and General McKenzie, Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that a “reconstituted Al Qaeda or ISIS with aspirations to attack the United States is a very real possibility.”

General Milley added, “And those conditions, to include activity in ungoverned spaces, could present themselves in the next 12 to 36 months.”

Read More
U.S News

Elizabeth Warren Calls Jerome Powell a ‘Dangerous Man’

Other Democrats fretted about diversity at the Federal Reserve as Chair Jerome H. Powell testified ahead of an imminent personnel shake-up.,

Advertisement

Continue reading the main story

With his reappointment on the line, Elizabeth Warren calls Jerome Powell ‘a dangerous man.’

Senator Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts, and Jerome H. Powell, the chair of the Federal Reserve, on Tuesday. Ms. Warren later suggested that Mr. Powell would “drive this economy over a financial cliff.”Credit…Pool photo by Kevin Dietsch

Sept. 28, 2021, 1:22 p.m. ET

Senator Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts, blasted the Federal Reserve chair, Jerome H. Powell, for his financial regulation track record and said that she would not support him if the White House renominated him, calling him a “dangerous man to head up the Fed.”

Mr. Powell’s term as head of the central bank ends in early 2022, and the Biden administration is considering whether to reappoint him. Mr. Powell, a Republican, was nominated to the Fed’s Board of Governors by former President Barack Obama and elevated to chair by former President Donald J. Trump.

While some prominent Democratic economists and advocacy groups support Mr. Powell, who has been intensely focused on the labor market during his term as Fed chair, some progressives openly oppose him. They often cite his track record on financial regulation — as Ms. Warren did to his face on Tuesday, as he testified before the Senate Banking Committee.

“The elephant in the room is whether you’re going to be renominated,” Ms. Warren said, looking down at the Fed chair during the hearing. “Renominating you means gambling that, for the next five years, a Republican majority at the Federal Reserve, with a Republican chair who has regularly voted to deregulate Wall Street, won’t drive this economy over a financial cliff again.”

Ms. Warren, and those who agree with her, have worried that leaving Mr. Powell in place will prevent the Fed from taking a tougher stance on financial regulation. Mr. Powell has said that when it comes to regulatory matters, he defers to the Fed’s vice chair for supervision, noting that Congress created that job to lead up bank oversight following the 2008 financial crisis.

“I respect that that’s the person who will set the regulatory agenda going forward,” Mr. Powell said during a news conference last week. “And furthermore, it’s fully appropriate to look for a new person to come in and look at the current state of regulation and supervision and suggest appropriate changes.”

Ms. Warren’s colleague Senator Michael Rounds, a Republican from South Dakota, followed her scathing comments by saying that Mr. Powell deserved to be renominated, and that he looked forward to working him for the next several years.

The White House has so far given little indication of whom it will pick to lead the central bank.

President Biden already has the opportunity to fill one open governor position at the Fed, and several other roles will soon become available: The governor seat of the Fed’s vice chair, Richard Clarida, will expire in the coming months, as will Randal K. Quarles’s position as vice chair for supervision. The openings could give the administration a chance to remake the central bank from the top with its nominations, who must pass Senate confirmation.

Other lawmakers at the Senate hearing pushed Mr. Powell to focus on improving diversity at the central bank — highlighting another key concern among Democrats as the leadership shuffle gets underway.

Senator Sherrod Brown, a Democrat from Ohio and the head of the Senate Banking Committee, pointed out that there had never been a Black woman on the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors in Washington, while also referring to reporting from earlier this year that showed a dearth of Black economists at the central bank.

He asked if Mr. Powell believed that the central bank should have a Black woman on its Board of Governors.

“I would strongly agree that we want everyone’s voice heard around the table, and that would of course include Black women,” Mr. Powell said. “We of course have no role in the selection process, but we would certainly welcome it.”

Lisa Cook, a Michigan State University economist, and William Spriggs, chief economist of the labor union AFL-CIO, are often raised as possible candidates for governor positions or leadership roles. Both are Black. Lael Brainard, a white woman who is currently a Fed governor, is frequently raised as a possible replacement for Mr. Powell if he is not renominated, and Sarah Bloom Raskin, a white woman who is a former top Fed and Treasury official, is often suggested as a replacement for Mr. Quarles.

Mr. Powell, as he noted, has no formal role in selecting his future colleagues at the Fed Board.

He and his colleagues at the Fed Board will, however, have a chance to weigh in on who will take over two newly open positions around the Fed’s decision-making table. The central bank has 19 total officials at full strength, seven governors and 12 regional bank presidents.

Robert S. Kaplan, the Dallas Fed president, and Eric S. Rosengren, the Boston Fed president, both announced their imminent retirements on Monday, amid widespread criticism of the fact that they were trading securities in 2020 — during a year in which the Fed unrolled a widespread market rescue in response to the pandemic.

Mr. Powell addressed that scandal on Tuesday, pledging to lawmakers that the Fed would change its ethics rules and saying that the Fed was looking into the trading activity to make sure it was in compliance with those rules and with the law.

“Our need to sustain the public’s trust is the essence of our work,” Mr. Powell said, adding that “we will rise to this moment.”

Beyond grabbing headlines, the departures will leave two regional bank jobs available at the Fed. The regional branches’ boards, except for bank-tied members, will search for and select replacement presidents. The Fed’s governors in Washington have a “yes” or “no” vote on the pick.

The Fed has never had a Black woman as a regional bank president, either. Raphael Bostic, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, is the first Black man to serve in one of those roles.

At the Board of Governors, Mr. Quarles’s leadership term ends most imminently, on Oct. 13. His position as governor does not expire until 2032, and he has signaled that he will likely stay on as a Fed governor at least through the end of his leadership term at the Financial Stability Board, a global oversight body, in December. Mr. Powell’s leadership term ends in early 2022, though he could stay on as governor since his term in that role does not expire until 2028. Mr. Clarida will have to leave early next year unless he is reappointed.

Read More
U.S News

Jarrod Ramos Sentenced to Five Life Terms in Capital Gazette Attack

Jarrod W. Ramos had pleaded guilty to murder charges in one of the deadliest attacks on American journalists. In July, a jury found him criminally responsible for the 2018 shooting in Maryland’s capital.,

Advertisement

Continue reading the main story

Supported by

Continue reading the main story

The man who stormed into the newsroom of a community newspaper chain in Maryland’s capital in 2018, killing five staff members, was sentenced on Tuesday to more than five life terms without the possibility of parole, according to prosecutors.

The man, Jarrod W. Ramos, 41, had pleaded guilty in October 2019 to 23 charges, including five counts of first-degree murder, for the shooting at the Capital Gazette newspaper offices in Annapolis on June 28, 2018, one of the deadliest attacks on American journalists.

The Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney’s Office announced the sentence after a two-hour hearing. The state’s attorney, Anne Colt Leitess, had asked for at least five life sentences without the possibility of parole.

The state’s attorney’s office said in a statement that the sentence included “one life sentence plus 345 years.” The sentences would run consecutively, it said.

Image

Jarrod W. RamosCredit…Anne Arundel Police, via Associated Press

Before the sentencing in Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County, survivors of the shooting and relatives of the victims spoke, telling Judge Michael Wachs of the pain and their loss.

“The impact of this case is just simply immense,” Judge Wachs said, according to The Associated Press. “To say that the defendant exhibited a callous and complete disregard for the sanctity of human life is simply a huge understatement.”

In July, a jury deliberated for less than two hours before finding that Mr. Ramos was sane at the time of the attack and criminally responsible for his actions.

Mr. Ramos’s lawyers had described him as a loner who was fueled by delusions and who believed that The Capital Gazette and the Maryland court system were conspiring against him.

Six survivors also testified at the trial, recalling the day that Mr. Ramos walked through their workplace with a 12-gauge shotgun, killing five colleagues: Gerald Fischman, 61, the editorial page editor; Rob Hiaasen, 59, an editor and features columnist; John McNamara, 56, a sports reporter and editor for the local weekly papers; Rebecca Smith, 34, a sales assistant; and Wendi Winters, 65, a local news reporter and community columnist.

Mr. Ramos filed a defamation lawsuit against Capital Gazette Communications and several of its employees in July 2012, which a judge dismissed after Mr. Ramos could not identify anything that had been falsely reported or show that he had been harmed by the article.

Mr. Ramos had also used a Twitter account to taunt the reporter who wrote the article. He posted screenshots of court documents relating to the defamation case and railed against other newspaper employees. His tweets were laced with profanities, and often addressed employees directly.

On June 28, the third anniversary of the attack, the city of Annapolis dedicated a memorial to the victims, calling it “Guardians of the First Amendment.”

Read More
U.S News

In a call with Pelosi after the Capitol riot, Milley agreed that Trump was ‘crazy.’

,

Advertisement

Continue reading the main story

Supported by

Continue reading the main story

Two days after a mob of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol, Gen. Mark A. Milley spoke to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who was growing increasingly concerned Mr. Trump would lash out and use military force.

Their conversation was detailed in “Peril,” a recently released book by the Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Robert Costa.

“This is bad, but who knows what he might do?” Ms. Pelosi said. “He’s crazy. You know he’s crazy. He’s been crazy for a long time. So don’t say you don’t know what his state of mind is.”

“Madam Speaker,” General Milley said, “I agree with you on everything.”

General Milley, who as the president’s top military adviser is not in the chain of command, tried to reassure Ms. Pelosi that he could stop Mr. Trump.

“The one thing I can guarantee is that, as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, I want you to know that — I want you to know this in your heart of hearts, I can guarantee you 110 percent that the military, use of military power, whether it’s nuclear or a strike in a foreign country of any kind, we’re not going to do anything illegal or crazy,” he said.

He offered similar assurances to his Chinese counterpart that day. And after speaking to Ms. Pelosi, he convened a meeting in a war room at the Pentagon with the military’s top commanders, telling them that he wanted to go over the longstanding procedures for launching a nuclear weapon. The general reminded the commanders that only the president could order such a strike and that General Milley needed to be directly involved.

“The strict procedures are explicitly designed to avoid inadvertent mistakes or accident or nefarious, unintentional, illegal, immoral, unethical launching of the world’s most dangerous weapons,” he said.

Then, he went around the room and asked each officer to confirm that they understood what he was saying.

Read More
U.S News

High School Students Talk About What It’s Like to Return

Students missed homecoming, field trips and classes, while also handling anxiety and economic precarity. Now, they must leap into the future, with the school’s help.,

Advertisement

Continue reading the main story

Supported by

Continue reading the main story

Read More
U.S News

Suspect in Atlanta Spa Killings Pleads Not Guilty to 4 Counts of Murder

Robert Aaron Long pleaded guilty in July to four other murder charges and will spend the rest of his life behind bars.,

Advertisement

Continue reading the main story

Supported by

Continue reading the main story

ATLANTA — A 22-year-old man pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to four murder charges stemming from a shooting rampage at a string of spas in the Atlanta area last spring.

The man, Robert Aaron Long, had previously pleaded guilty to four murder charges in nearby Cherokee County, where the shooting spree began.

Mr. Long has said he had a sexual addiction and committed the killings to “punish” sex industry workers, and admitted to the March 16 shootings shortly after his capture, according to law enforcement. His not guilty pleas, entered by his lawyer on his behalf in a downtown Atlanta courtroom during a brief appearance Tuesday morning, appear to be part of an effort to save his life. Prosecutors have indicated they intend to seek the death penalty.

The killing spree at three spas in March began in suburban Cherokee County, outside of Atlanta, where Mr. Long shot five people, killing four of them. He pleaded guilty to those murders in July and was sentenced to four consecutive life sentences without parole, plus an additional 35 years.

It was a negotiated sentence that allowed him to avoid going to trial in Cherokee County, where prosecutors said they would have pursued the death penalty. Mr. Long now faces trial in Fulton County for the four killings he is accused of carrying out at two spas in Atlanta.

Fani T. Willis, the chief prosecutor for Fulton County, which covers much of Atlanta, filed a notice of intent to seek the death penalty in May. After Mr. Long’s plea in Cherokee County, she said that lawyers for Mr. Long had approached her office seeking a similar plea deal.

Though Ms. Willis, a Democrat, has said she is generally open to considering plea deals, she has indicated that she will continue to pursue the death penalty in Mr. Long’s case, at least for now.

Ms. Willis’s office is also seeking enhanced penalties for the Atlanta killings, arguing that the victims were targeted because of their “actual or perceived race, national origin, sex and gender.” Mr. Long is white; six of the people killed, including all of the Atlanta victims, were women of Asian descent.

It is one of the first times prosecutors have deployed a Georgia hate crime law that was approved last year by lawmakers in response to the killing of Ahmaud Arbery, an African American man who was fatally shot after he was pursued by three white men who suspected him of committing burglaries in their neighborhood outside of Brunswick, Ga.

Those enhancements will have no material effect on Mr. Long, a landscaping company worker who will spend the rest of his life in prison even if he is not executed. The Fulton County indictment against Mr. Long includes 19 total counts, including charges of aggravated assault and domestic terrorism.

The willingness of Ms. Willis to seek the death penalty comes after her declaration as a candidate for the prosecutor’s job in 2020 that she could not “foresee” a case in which she would seek capital punishment.

Sean Keenan contributed reporting.

Read More
U.S News

Pfizer and BioNTech Submit Covid Vaccine Data for Kids 5-11

The companies said that they would submit a formal request to regulators to allow a pediatric dose of their vaccine to be administered in the United States in the coming weeks.,

Advertisement

Continue reading the main story

Pfizer and BioNTech submit data they say shows shots are safe in 5- to 11-year-olds.

Inoculations among older children have lagged: Only about 42 percent of children ages 12 to 15 have been fully vaccinated in the United States, compared with 66 percent of adults.Credit…Christopher Capozziello for The New York Times

Sept. 28, 2021Updated 10:25 a.m. ET

Pfizer and BioNTech announced on Tuesday that they had submitted data to the Food and Drug Administration showing that their coronavirus vaccine is safe and effective in children ages 5 to 11.

The companies said that they would submit a formal request to regulators to allow a pediatric dose of their vaccine to be administered in the United States in the coming weeks. Similar requests will be filed with European regulators and in other countries.

Pfizer and BioNTech announced favorable results from their clinical trial with more than 2,200 participants in that age group just over a week ago. The F.D.A. has said that it will analyze the data as soon as possible.

The companies said last week that their vaccine had been shown to be safe and effective in low doses in children ages 5 to 11, offering hope to parents in the United States who are worried that a return to in-person schooling has put youngsters at risk of infection.

About 28 million children ages 5 to 11 would be eligible for the vaccine in the United States, far more than the 17 million of ages 12 to 15 who became eligible for the vaccine in May.

But it is not clear how many in the younger cohort will be vaccinated. Inoculations among older children have lagged: Only about 42 percent of children ages 12 to 15 have been fully vaccinated in the United States, compared with 66 percent of adults, according to federal data.

Although many remain eager to inoculate their children, opinion polls suggest that some parents have reservations. A survey published last month by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 26 percent of parents of children ages 5 to 11 would vaccinate their children “right away” once doses were authorized for their age group, 40 percent said they would “wait and see” how the vaccine worked before doing so and 25 percent said they would not have their child vaccinated at all.

Studies have shown that unvaccinated children who contract the coronavirus tend not to get seriously ill, leading some parents to wonder whether the potential risks of a new vaccine outweigh the benefits.

And some parents who are themselves vaccinated have expressed concerns about the relatively small size of children’s trials and about a lack of data on the long-term safety of the shots.

Read More
U.S News

Milley Defends His Calls to China During Trump’s Term

“My loyalty to this nation, its people, and the Constitution hasn’t changed and will never change as long as I have a breath to give,” Gen. Mark A. Milley said.,

Advertisement

Continue reading the main story

Milley defends his actions at the end of Trump’s term.

Gen. Mark A. Milley addressed a call with Speaker Nancy Pelosi two days after the Capitol riot about President Donald J. Trump’s ability to launch nuclear weaponsCredit…Sarahbeth Maney/The New York Times

Sept. 28, 2021, 10:46 a.m. ET

Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, defended his actions in the tumultuous last months of the Trump administration, insisting that calls to his Chinese counterpart and a meeting in which he told generals to alert him if the president tried to launch a nuclear weapon were all part of his job duties as the country’s most senior military officer.

“My loyalty to this nation, its people, and the Constitution hasn’t changed and will never change as long as I have a breath to give,” he said. “I firmly believe in civilian control of the military as a bedrock principle essential to this republic and I am committed to ensuring the military stays clear of domestic politics.”

General Milley used the ending of his opening remarks during before the Senate Armed Services Committee to address the turmoil of recent revelations in the book “Peril” by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa. He said he was directed by Mark Esper, then the secretary of defense, to make a call on Oct. 30 to his Chinese counterpart because there was “intelligence which caused us to believe the Chinese were worried about an attack on them by the United States.”

“I know, I am certain, President Trump did not intend on attacking the Chinese and it is my directed responsibility to convey presidential orders and intent,” he said. “My task at that time was to de-escalate. My message again was consistent: calm, steady, de-escalate. We are not going to attack you.”

General Milley also addressed the frantic phone call with Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California two days after the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. A transcript of the call in the book said that the general agreed with Ms. Pelosi’s characterization of President Donald J. Trump as being “crazy.”

Speaking to the Senate panel, General Milley said, “On 8 January, Speaker of the House Pelosi called me to inquire about the president’s ability to launch nuclear weapons. I sought to assure her that nuclear launch is governed by a very specific and deliberate process. She was concerned and made various personal references characterizing the president. I explained to her that the president is the sole nuclear launch authority, and he doesn’t launch them alone, and that I am not qualified to determine the mental health of the president of the United States.”

Later that afternoon, he said, he called the generals involved in that process to “refresh on these procedures.”

Read More
U.S News

Robert Long Pleads Not Guilty to 4 Murder Counts in Atlanta Spa Shooting

Robert Aaron Long pleaded guilty in July to four other murder charges and will spend the rest of his life behind bars.,

Advertisement

Continue reading the main story

Supported by

Continue reading the main story

ATLANTA — A 22-year-old man pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to four murder charges stemming from a shooting rampage at a string of spas in the Atlanta area last spring.

The man, Robert Aaron Long, had previously pleaded guilty to four murder charges in nearby Cherokee County, where the shooting spree began.

Mr. Long has said he had a sexual addiction and committed the killings to “punish” sex industry workers, and admitted to the March 16 shootings shortly after his capture, according to law enforcement. His not guilty pleas, entered by his lawyer on his behalf in a downtown Atlanta courtroom during a brief appearance Tuesday morning, appear to be part of an effort to save his life. Prosecutors have indicated they intend to seek the death penalty.

The killing spree at three spas in March began in suburban Cherokee County, outside of Atlanta, where Mr. Long shot five people, killing four of them. He pleaded guilty to those murders in July and was sentenced to four consecutive life sentences without parole, plus an additional 35 years.

It was a negotiated sentence that allowed him to avoid going to trial in Cherokee County, where prosecutors said they would have pursued the death penalty. Mr. Long now faces trial in Fulton County for the four killings he is accused of carrying out at two spas in Atlanta.

Fani T. Willis, the chief prosecutor for Fulton County, which covers much of Atlanta, filed a notice of intent to seek the death penalty in May. After Mr. Long’s plea in Cherokee County, she said that lawyers for Mr. Long had approached her office seeking a similar plea deal.

Though Ms. Willis, a Democrat, has said she is generally open to considering plea deals, she has indicated that she will continue to pursue the death penalty in Mr. Long’s case, at least for now.

Ms. Willis’s office is also seeking enhanced penalties for the Atlanta killings, arguing that the victims were targeted because of their “actual or perceived race, national origin, sex and gender.” Mr. Long is white; six of the people killed, including all of the Atlanta victims, were women of Asian descent.

It is one of the first times prosecutors have deployed a Georgia hate crime law that was approved last year by lawmakers in response to the killing of Ahmaud Arbery, an African American man who was fatally shot after he was pursued by three white men who suspected him of committing burglaries in their neighborhood outside of Brunswick, Ga.

Those enhancements will have no material effect on Mr. Long, a landscaping company worker who will spend the rest of his life in prison even if he is not executed. The Fulton County indictment against Mr. Long includes 19 total counts, including charges of aggravated assault and domestic terrorism.

The willingness of Ms. Willis to seek the death penalty comes after her declaration as a candidate for the prosecutor’s job in 2020 that she could not “foresee” a case in which she would seek capital punishment.

Sean Keenan contributed reporting.

Read More