The House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol has released its final 845-page report on the insurrection at the Capitol and Donald Trump’s attempts to overturn the 2020 election. The report finds Trump was the central cause of the violence on January 6 and that Trump or his inner circle engaged in at least 200 apparent acts aimed at overturning state election results. The January 6 committee is recommending Congress consider barring Trump and others involved in the insurrection from ever holding public office again, citing the 14th Amendment. The committee is also calling for reforms to the Electoral College certification process and expanded efforts by the government to combat far-right and white supremacist groups. We’ll have more on the January 6 report after headlines.
The Senate has approved a $1.7 trillion omnibus spending package, setting up a vote in the House of Representatives today ahead of a midnight deadline to avoid a government shutdown. The Senate bill contains a record $858 billion in military spending and about $772 billion for nonmilitary programs. It earmarks $45 billion in emergency assistance to Ukraine. It does not include a child tax credit expansion Democrats say would have sharply reduced child poverty and hunger. And it ends a pandemic provision that led to record Medicaid enrollment, meaning millions of people will likely be kicked off the public health insurance program this spring.
Over 200 million people across the United States are under a winter weather advisory today, with the National Weather Service warning of a “once-in-a-generation” cold weather event ahead of the holiday weekend. Parts of the Midwest have received more than a foot of snow, with millions facing whiteout conditions and “life-threatening” wind chill advisories. Hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses have lost power. So far, more than 5,600 flights have been canceled due to the storm; nearly 10,000 flights have been delayed.
In Texas, humanitarian aid groups are preparing for freezing weekend temperatures as a growing number of asylum seekers continue to arrive from the U.S.-Mexico border. In El Paso, hundreds of asylum seekers have been forced to sleep on the streets after shelters reached capacity. Others are still stuck in Mexico after the U.S. Supreme Court put a temporary hold on terminating the Trump-era Title 42 pandemic policy — used to block over 2 million people from entering the U.S. to seek asylum. Across the border, in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, hundreds of people waited in line Thursday despite plummeting temperatures, hoping they’d be allowed into the U.S. This is Crismary Rodriguez, a Venezuelan national who journeyed to the U.S.-Mexico border with her family.
Crismary Rodriguez: “We who have families and want to provide for our children cannot enter the United States. We are at Christmas. Many are sharing with their families. Others, like us, are far from our families, and our children are having a hard time. There’s December 24th, and you don’t know where they’re going to sleep.”
Arizona Republican Governor Doug Ducey has reached an agreement with the federal government to dismantle his illegal, makeshift U.S.-Mexico border wall, built with double-stacked shipping containers and razor wire. Ducey’s administration has spent over $80 million on the project since August, which he said was needed to fill in the gaps left by former President Trump’s incomplete border wall. Ducey has until January 4 to remove the barrier — one day before he leaves office. Click here to see our coverage of this story.
In Afghanistan, a group of women took to the streets of Kabul Wednesday to protest the Taliban’s ban on women and girls attending universities. Taliban forces arrested five demonstrators and three journalists, and some of the women said they were beaten by security forces. Guards also prevented hundreds of women from entering their colleges a day after the ban was announced. This is Maryam, a student at Kabul University who was turned away from her campus on Wednesday.
Maryam: “When I got close to the university, I saw a strange environment. Taliban Humvees were parked at the entrance gate, and the Taliban were behaving so badly, telling us, 'Return to your homes. Girls have no right to study anymore.' This situation has a very bad impact on every female student.”
Dozens of male university professors have resigned to protest the ban, and some male students reportedly refused to take their exams.
A new report finds the U.S. unlawfully failed to compensate foreign workers who suffered injuries or death while working for the U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan. Tens of thousands of foreign workers from countries including Nepal and the Philippines supported the U.S. military, working as guards, cooks and construction workers.
In Ukraine, a Russian-installed local official in the occupied Kherson region has been killed in a car bomb explosion. Video posted on social media shows the vehicle containing Andrey Shtepa and one other person engulfed in flames on Thursday. Russian news sources blamed the blast on “Ukrainian saboteurs.”
Elsewhere, the former head of the Russian space agency, Dmitry Rogozin, said Thursday he was injured by shrapnel and required surgery after Ukrainian shells hit a hotel where he was staying in Donetsk.
Ukrainian authorities in the eastern city of Kramatorsk say Russian missiles flattened an empty boarding school. Nearby residents say the attack blew out the windows of their apartments.
Natalia: “I was on the balcony. There was a massive explosion. I could not tell where it came from. Then there was a second strike. The school caught on fire, and smoke was rising over it. The entire yard was full of smoke and ashes. Power poles were damaged, and the power went out.”
In Moscow, President Vladimir Putin on Thursday used the word “war” to describe Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. It’s the first time that Putin has strayed from publicly calling the conflict a “special military operation.”
President Vladimir Putin: “Our goal is not to spin this flywheel of a military conflict, but, on the contrary, to end this war. This is what we are striving for.”
Putin’s remarks follow the arrests of antiwar Russians who’ve faced fines and up to 10 years in prison for calling the conflict a “war” instead of a “special military operation.”
The Chilean government has announced plans to open an embassy in the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories. Chile’s President Gabriel Boric made the announcement Wednesday during a ceremony in the capital Santiago hosted by the Palestinian community.
President Gabriel Boric: “We’re going to upgrade Chile’s official representation in Palestine, from the chargé d’affaires we have today to an embassy we will open during our term, to give the representation it deserves and demand that international rights simply be respected.”
Over 300,000 Palestinians are estimated to be living in Chile, many with roots in the occupied West Bank and Bethlehem.
The video-sharing platform TikTok has revealed some of its workers tracked two reporters who cover the company, gaining access to their IP addresses and user data. One journalist was from the Financial Times; the other wrote for BuzzFeed and now works at Forbes. Forbes says at least two more of its reporters were targeted for surveillance, which was undertaken as part of an internal investigation into leaks at the company. ByteDance, the Chinese parent company of TikTok, says it did not approve the spying tactics and fired the worker who led the effort. This comes as the Senate on Thursday passed a provision banning TikTok on most U.S. government devices. Some lawmakers have been fighting to ban the hugely popular app altogether amid ongoing tensions between Washington and Beijing, saying it poses a national security and privacy risk.
Here in New York, Republican Congressmember-elect George Santos has broken his silence over a New York Times investigation that found he misrepresented key parts of his background and finances. On Thursday, Santos tweeted, “I have my story to tell and it will be told next week.” In the latest revelation of Santos’s apparent fabrications, the Jewish outlet The Forward reports Santos lied about his grandparents fleeing anti-Jewish persecution during World War II. The Forward reports genealogy websites show Santos’s maternal grandparents were born in Brazil, not Ukraine or Belgium, as his campaign website stated. On Wednesday, incoming House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries accused Santos of hiding from legitimate questions about his résumé.
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries: “At this moment we need answers from George Santos. He appears to be a complete and utter fraud, his whole life story made up.”
Charlene Alexander Mitchell, freedom fighter and fierce defender of civil and human rights, has died at 92. Mitchell helped lead the fight to free Angela Davis and other political prisoners. A member of the Communist Party, Charlene Mitchell became the first Black woman to run for U.S. president in 1968. She passed away last week here in New York City.