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You turn to Democracy Now! for ad-free news you can trust. Maybe you come for our daily headlines, or for in-depth stories that expose government and corporate abuses of power. We produce our daily news hour at a fraction of the budget of a commercial news operation, all without ads, government funding or corporate underwriting? This is only possible with your support. Right now every donation to Democracy Now! will be doubled by a generous supporter. This means if you give $25 today, Democracy Now! will get $50 to support our daily news hour. Please do your part. It takes just a couple of minutes to make sure that Democracy Now! is there for you and everybody else in the coming year. Thanks so much. -Amy Goodman
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In Alabama, voters are heading to the polls today in a special election for a U.S. Senate seat that could determine the fate of President Trump’s legislative agenda—as well as the future makeup of the Supreme Court. The election pits Democrat Doug Jones against Roy Moore, who’s been accused by at least nine women of sexually harassing or assaulting them when they were teenagers—one as young as 14. On Monday, Moore made a final pitch in a campaign rally that featured Texas tea party Republican Congressmember Louie Gohmert, former Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke and Steve Bannon, President Trump’s former chief strategist and editor of the far-right website Breitbart. Roy Moore was introduced by his wife, Kayla Moore, who pushed back against media reports about her husband’s racist, sexist and anti-Semitic views.
Kayla Moore: “Fake news would tell you we that don’t care for Jews. I tell you all this because I’ve seen it also. I just want to set the record straight while they’re here. One of our attorneys is a Jew.”
A Fox News poll on Monday showed Democrat Doug Jones leading Moore by 10 points, but civil rights activists are warning of serious obstacles to voting. Alabama has one of the most restrictive voter ID laws in the U.S., which activists say disproportionately affects African Americans, students and others who are far more likely to vote against Republicans. After it implemented the law in 2014, Alabama ordered the closure of 31 DMV offices in mostly black parts of the state—including in every county where African Americans make up at least three-quarters of the population. The closures were partly reversed after a civil rights probe by the Department of Transportation. Alabama also closed 7 percent of its polling places in recent years, even as its population rose.
In New York, three of the 16 women who have publicly accused Donald Trump of sexual abuse called on Congress Monday to investigate the president. In a press conference in Manhattan, the women shared accounts in which they said Trump groped, fondled or otherwise made unwanted sexual advances toward them. This is Rachel Crooks, who says Trump forcibly kissed her against her will in 2005.
Rachel Crooks: “I want to believe that, as Americans, we can put aside our political inclinations and admit that some things in fact do transcend politics, that we will hold Mr. Trump to the same standard as Harvey Weinstein and the other men who were held accountable for their reprehensible behavior.”
On Monday, 56 House lawmakers with the Democratic Women’s Working Group wrote a joint letter calling for a congressional investigation into the allegations against Trump. They are joined by five U.S. senators who’ve called for Trump to resign—Cory Booker, Bernie Sanders, Jeff Merkley, Ron Wyden and New York Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand, who spoke on CNN.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand: “President Trump should resign. These allegations are credible; they are numerous. I’ve heard these women’s testimony, and many of them are heartbreaking.”
At the White House, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders responded to questions about the claims of women who say they were sexually harassed or assaulted by Trump.
Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders: “Look, the president has addressed these accusations directly and denied all of these allegations. And this took place long before he was elected to be president. And the people of this country, at a decisive election, supported President Trump, and we feel like these allegations have been answered through that process.”
After headlines, we’ll be joined by Samantha Holvey, a former Miss USA contestant who’s one of 16 women who’ve accused President Trump of sexual misconduct. We’ll also speak with Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards.
Celebrity chef Mario Batali has stepped down from his TV and restaurant empire, after multiple women accused him of habitual sexual harassment and groping the breasts and buttocks of female employees. In a statement, Batali acknowledged what he called personal “failures” but did not address specific accusations.
Meanwhile, The New Yorker has fired its Washington correspondent Ryan Lizza over what the magazine called “improper sexual conduct.” The New Yorker said it could not detail the allegations over privacy concerns, but a lawyer for a woman accusing Lizza of sexual misconduct disputed Lizza’s defense that the pair shared a “respectful relationship.”
In New York City, police have identified the suspect in Monday morning’s bombing in a Midtown Manhattan subway station as 27-year-old Brooklyn resident and Bangladeshi immigrant Akayed Ullah. Police say Ullah was carrying a pipe bomb strapped to his body with Velcro and zip ties when the device exploded prematurely in a tunnel connecting the busy Port Authority and Times Square terminals. Ullah was injured in the blast, along with three other people who suffered headaches and ringing ears. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday the outcome could have been a lot worse.
Mayor Bill de Blasio: “And let’s be also clear: This was an attempted terrorist attack. Thank God the perpetrator did not achieve his ultimate goals. Thank God our first responders were there so quickly to address the situation, to make sure people were safe.”
On Monday, The New York Times cited unnamed law enforcement officials who said Ullah was inspired to set off a bomb in retaliation for U.S. attacks against ISIS in Syria. At the White House, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders seized on news of the bombing to defend President Trump’s crackdown on immigration.
In the occupied West Bank, scores of Palestinians have been injured as protests continue to rage over President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and to move the U.S. Embassy there. In Ramallah, four protesters were wounded by live fire, as Israeli forces fired bullets and tear gas at Palestinians who burned tires and threw stones. Dozens more were wounded in the Gaza Strip, including three Palestinians hit by live rounds. In occupied East Jerusalem, protesters marched on the U.S. Consulate amid a massive crackdown. This is Jerusalem resident Hatem Abed al-Qader.
Hatem Abed al-Qader: “We are here to send a message to the United States and all the whole world that Jerusalem is part of the Palestinian territories. Jerusalem is [an] occupied city. Jerusalem must be capital of the Palestinian state. We are against the decision of Mr. Trump. This decision is illegal. It is against the international law.”
In Jakarta, Indonesia, some 10,000 protesters gathered outside the U.S. Embassy to protest Trump’s decision. There were similar protests in Santiago, Chile; Beirut, Lebanon; Brussels, Belgium; and Dhaka, Bangladesh, among other cities. In the Turkish capital, Ankara, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemned Israel as a “terrorist state”—while visiting Russian President Vladimir Putin said the U.S. decision on Jerusalem threatens to further destabilize the Middle East.
In Iraq, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi proclaimed victory in the fight against ISIS during a military parade Sunday in Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone. The claim came as Iraqi forces said they had secured the last rural areas held by ISIS. The three-year battle to recapture territory held by ISIS left most of the city of Mosul in ruins, and the journalistic monitoring group Airwars says nearly 6,000 civilians have been killed in Iraq and Syria by the U.S.-led coalition fighting ISIS.
In Nepal, a coalition of two communist parties has taken a strong lead as officials count ballots in landmark parliamentary and provincial elections. Early returns show the Communist Party of Nepal-United Marxist Leninists and former Maoist rebels poised to take control of Parliament with at least 91 out of 165 seats.
The World Trade Organization has convened in Buenos Aires for its 11th ministerial conference amid heavy security, as Argentina deported two people planning to attend the talks. British journalist Sally Burch was stopped at the airport Saturday and forced to return to Ecuador, while a Norwegian activist who was planning to join protests against the WTO was deported to Brazil. Last month, Argentina revoked the credentials of 63 environmentalists and trade activists who had been accredited by the WTO, prompting protests.
Back in the U.S., San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee died unexpectedly overnight of a reported heart attack at the age of 65. Lee was appointed as San Francisco’s first Asian-American mayor in 2011, after his predecessor, Gavin Newsom, was elected lieutenant governor. He went on to win elections in 2011 and 2015. Under the city’s charter, Board of Supervisors President London Breed will become acting mayor.
In Washington, lawyers for President Trump are pressing the Justice Department to appoint a second special counsel—one to investigate Robert Mueller, the special counsel probing alleged ties between President Trump’s campaign and Russia. Speaking with the website Axios on Monday, Trump’s personal attorney Jay Sekulow accused Mueller’s team of holding conflicts of interest, saying, “These new revelations require the appointment of a special counsel to investigate.”
In Tacoma, Washington, a pair of protesters chained themselves to a crane Monday at the construction site of a massive 8 million-gallon liquefied natural gas storage plant. The civil disobedience action shut down work at the site for much of the day. Activists say that, if completed, the natural gas plant would pose a threat to a nearby residential neighborhood—and to the Earth’s climate.
And at the U.S.-Mexico border, families gathered at the wall separating Sunland Park, New Mexico, from Ciudad Juárez on Sunday, calling for an end to President Trump’s immigration crackdown and for the preservation of DACA—or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals—which allows some young undocumented immigrants to live and work in the United States. President Trump has said he’ll end DACA in March unless Congress acts. At the border wall, dozens of family members held hands and shared hugs through metal bars, many of them weeping. This is activist Paola Rodriguez.
Paola Rodriguez: “I don’t want the government attacking us, our parents, because they were the DREAMers, or the original DREAMers, and they did an act of love upon bringing us, without knowing what could happen when leaving their family behind. They came, gathered a lot of strength, and now it’s my turn to fight for them.”