Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: January 3, 2022

The Jan. 6 committee says it knows what Trump was doing during the riot, Twitter bans Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, and more

1

Jan. 6 panel members say they know what Trump was doing during riot

Members of the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol attack said Sunday that they had received testimony and documents providing an increasingly clear picture of what then-President Donald Trump said and did in the White House during the insurrection by a mob of his supporters. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), the panel's Republican vice chair, told ABC News that according to "firsthand testimony," Trump's daughter and then-senior adviser Ivanka Trump went to see her father as he watched television coverage of the riot in the dining room next to the Oval Office "at least twice to ask him to 'please stop this violence.'" Committee Chair Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) told CNN that "it's highly unusual for anyone in charge of anything to watch what's going on and do nothing."

2

Twitter permanently suspends Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene's account

Twitter said Sunday it had permanently suspended Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene's personal account for violations of its policies against spreading misinformation on COVID-19. The ban came after Greene made her latest false tweet about the pandemic on Saturday, saying there had been "extremely high amounts of COVID vaccine deaths." Twitter called the post Greene's fifth "strike," meaning that under its rules her account now can't be restored. She got her fourth strike in August for falsely claiming on the site that vaccines were "failing." Less than a month earlier, she received her third strike for tweeting that COVID-19 was not dangerous. Greene posted on the social media platform Telegram that Twitter "is an enemy of America and can't handle the truth."

3

Schools return after holidays as Omicron fuels coronavirus surge

U.S. K-12 schools begin reopening after the holiday break on Monday as COVID-19 cases soar, driven by the fast-spreading Omicron coronavirus variant. Many school districts are scrambling to acquire enough COVID-19 tests so they will be able to impose "test-to-stay" strategies that will allow them to keep open rather than returning to remote classes, which can result in learning deficits. "The science is clear. Schools need to be open," then-New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said last week. Some school districts, including Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, are extending winter break by two days to allow time to test staff and students. Chicago is urging parents to give their children rapid tests before sending them back. Some universities are starting the year with remote classes.

4

CDC considers testing after isolation for asymptomatic COVID cases 

Biden administration health officials are considering adding a negative COVID-19 test to the recommended five-day isolation restrictions for asymptomatic people who test positive for the coronavirus, Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Biden's top medical adviser, said Sunday. Fauci said the potential change came after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention got significant "pushback" for announcing last week that it was shortening its recommended isolation time from 10 days to five, provided the patient has no symptoms. The new recommendations include five subsequent days of mask-wearing after the isolation ends. Many health professionals objected to the change, saying that a negative antigen test should be a requirement for ending quarantine after an infection.

5

1 of 3 missing people found after Colorado wildfire

Authorities have accounted for one of the three people who were missing following the massive Marshall Fire that devastated Boulder County, Colorado, Sheriff Joe Pelle said Sunday. "We are still missing a woman from the town of Superior and a man from out by Marshall. The search for those folks is still underway," Pelle said at a news conference. No deaths have been reported from the fire, which started Thursday and destroyed nearly 1,000 homes in the cities of Louisville and Superior outside Denver. Hundreds more homes were damaged as the blaze charred more than 6,000 acres. Investigators are still trying to determine what caused the fire. Pelle said a search warrant had been executed at a private property. Many homes in the area were left without power or heat in single-digit temperatures with 10 inches of snow.

6

South Africa police arrest suspect in Parliament fire

Police in South Africa's capital, Cape Town, said Sunday that they had arrested a suspect believed responsible for a fire that damaged the Houses of Parliament. The man is expected to appear in court Tuesday to face charges of arson, housebreaking, and theft, a police spokesperson said. Investigators believe the fire started in offices on the third floor of the complex, and spread quickly to the lower house, the National Assembly. The fire occurred a day after Archbishop Desmond Tutu's state funeral at nearby St. George's Cathedral. President Cyril Ramaphosa said the "terrible and devastating" blaze marked a "terrible setback to what we were basking in yesterday" when the nation focused on remembering and honoring Tutu.

7

Harry Reid to lie in state at Capitol

Former Democratic Senate leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who died last week at age 82, will lie in state at the Capitol on Jan. 12, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Sunday in a joint statement. Due to surging coronavirus infections, only invited guests will be allowed to attend the formal arrival and departure ceremonies. "Sen. Harry Reid was a titan of public service, who for more than four decades fought relentlessly for working families like his own," Pelosi said in the statement. Reid served in the House and Senate for more than 30 years, and as Senate majority leader helped pass former President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act. He retired in 2017 after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

8

Airlines have canceled more than 15,000 flights since Christmas Eve

Airlines canceled more than 2,100 flights into, out of, or within the United States on Sunday, bringing the total number of canceled U.S. flights since Christmas Eve to more than 15,000, USA Today reported Sunday. Staffing shortages have plagued airlines as the Omicron coronavirus strain infects some employees and leaves others afraid to go to work. According to BBC, even the offer of increased pay has been ineffective at luring flight crews back. On New Year's Day, almost 4,400 flights were canceled worldwide, The Washington Post reports. More than 2,600 of those were flights for which the U.S. was either the origin, the destination, or both.

9

Sudan prime minister resigns after power-sharing talks go nowhere

Sudan's Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, who was deposed by the military in an October coup then reinstated in November under international pressure, resigned in a televised statement Sunday. The Oct. 25 coup derailed a tenuous power-sharing agreement between the military and pro-democracy civilian groups that helped unseat longtime ruler Omar al-Bashar in 2019. In his resignation announcement, Hamdok said he had been unable to bridge the divides between the ruling military council and the pro-democracy movement in weeks of negotiations on forming a new government. "I tried as much as I possibly could to prevent our country from sliding into a disaster," he said. "Now, our nation is going through a dangerous turning point that could threaten its survival unless it is urgently rectified."

10

Defense secretary tests positive for COVID-19

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Sunday that he had tested positive for a breakthrough case of COVID-19. Austin said he was fully vaccinated and received a booster shot in October, which he said was probably why he was only experiencing mild symptoms. Austin said he would "retain all authorities," but isolate himself by attending all necessary meetings virtually for at least five days under new guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Austin got tested after he began experiencing symptoms while at home on holiday leave. He said his last meeting with President Biden was on Dec. 21, more than a week before he started feeling sick, suggesting he would not have exposed Biden to possible infection.

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