Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: January 10, 2023

Biden lawyers find possibly classified documents in former office, Republicans narrowly approve House rules, and more

1

Potentially classified documents found in Biden center closet

Attorney General Merrick Garland ordered the U.S. attorney in Chicago to review documents marked classified that President Biden's lawyers found at the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement, a think tank Biden started in Washington, D.C., after serving as vice president, CBS News reported Monday, citing two sources with knowledge of the inquiry. Biden's personal attorneys found about 10 documents with classical markings while "packing files housed in a locked closet to prepare to vacate office space" at the center, Richard Sauber, special counsel to the president, told CBS News. Unlike documents seized at former President Donald Trump's Florida residence, the material had not been requested by the National Archives or subpoenaed by a federal grand jury.

2

House passes rules overhaul in 1st test for McCarthy

House Republicans on Monday narrowly approved operating rules for the new Congress, in the first test of newly elected Speaker Kevin McCarthy's (R-Calif.) ability to lead the chamber's new GOP majority. The overhaul of the rules passed 220-213, with just one Republican voting against. Nevertheless, some of McCarthy's GOP allies expressed concerns about concessions he made to far-right rebels who forced a historic 15 ballots over five days before he finally won the job. The narrow win to approve the rules for the House to start considering legislation highlighted the difficulties McCarthy could face mustering the votes to pass bills. House Republicans got started by passing a bill that would cut $71 billion from the IRS, but has no chance of clearing the Democrat-controlled Senate.

3

Report: China suffering some 5,000 COVID deaths a day in brutal surge

China officially attributes just 5,200 deaths to COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic, but "projections made by international experts put the real death toll closer to 5,000 people each day, with several models predicting more than 1 million COVID deaths in China in 2023," The Washington Post reported. Chinese public health officials acknowledge that COVID spread rapidly after Beijing lifted President Xi Jinping's strict but ultimately futile "zero-COVID" strategy Dec. 7, but claim fewer than 40 people have died of COVID since, the Post reported. A review of satellite images, videos posted to China's version of TikTok, and interviews with mourning relatives and overworked morgue workers affirm the surge in deaths, according to the newspaper.

4

More Bolsonaro supporters arrested after storming of Brazil's Congress

Brazilian security forces continued detaining supporters of former President Jair Bolsonaro on Monday after a mob of them stormed the South American nation's Congress, Supreme Court, and presidential palace a day earlier. The mob was fueled by Bolsonaro's false allegations that he was ousted through fraud in last year's election. The government of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, known as Lula, called the riot an attempt to overthrow the newly elected leader. Monday's arrest brought the number of people detained over the incident to about 1,500. The election between Lula, a standard-bearer of the Latin American left, and the far-right Bolsonaro, sometimes referred to as the Tropical Trump, was the closest in Brazil's history.

5

Bills' Damar Hamlin transferred from Cincinnati to Buffalo hospital 

Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin was released Monday from the Cincinnati hospital where he was treated for a week after suffering a cardiac arrest after a hit during a football game against the Cincinnati Bengals. Doctors said Hamlin was returning to Buffalo to continue his recovery in a hospital there after starting physical and occupational therapy at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center. "Headed home to Buffalo today with a lot of love on my heart," Hamlin, who received an outpouring of support after his injury, wrote on Twitter. "Watching the world come together around me on Sunday was truly an amazing feeling. The same love you all have shown me is the same love that I plan to put back into the world n more."

6

Georgia grand jury finishes Trump investigation

A special grand jury in Georgia's Fulton County has completed its eight-month investigation into whether former President Donald Trump and his allies committed any crimes in their attempt to reverse Trump's 2020 election loss in the state. Fulton Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney wrote in a brief order issued Monday that the jury had fulfilled its duties and was being dissolved. McBurney scheduled a Jan. 24 hearing where prosecutors, the news media, and targets of the investigation will have a chance to argue whether the grand jury's report should be made public. Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis will decide whether to charge anyone based on the grand jury's work.

7

90 percent of Californians under flood watches as storms continue

California continued to get hit with heavy rains on Monday, with more than 34 million people, or 90 percent of the state's population, living in areas under flood watch. Parts of central California's Pacific Coast got up to 1.25 inches of rain per hour. Authorities issued evacuation orders in Santa Barbara County, including the entire town of Montecito. There were reports of mudslides and rockfalls in the Diablo Range. With hurricane-force winds whipping through the region, more than 37 million people were also under wind alerts in California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Utah, Arizona, and Wyoming. The latest storm was part of a parade of so-called atmospheric rivers that are bringing tremendous amounts of ocean moisture inland.

8

FEC complaint seeks investigating Santos for possible campaign finance violations

The nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center on Monday filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission accusing newly elected Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) of campaign finance violations, including hiding the sources of his campaign's funding. The complaint also accuses Santos of using campaign money for personal expenses and misrepresenting his campaign's reporting, The Washington Post reported. Santos has acknowledged lying about his family background, education, and work history during his 2022 campaign, and he faces a renewed investigation in Brazil for allegedly writing bad checks. Given Santos' "mountain of lies" about his résumé, federal regulators "should thoroughly investigate what appear to be equally brazen lies about how his campaign raised and spent money," the complaint said.

9

Virginia 6-year-old who shot teacher used mother's gun

Newport News, Virginia, police said Monday that the gun a 6-year-old used to shoot his teacher in class on Friday was a 9 mm pistol legally purchased by his mother. The child allegedly raised the weapon while the teacher, Abigail Zwerner, was teaching the first-grade class, and fired. Zwerner brought up her hand in a defensive position before the child fired a single shot. The bullet went through her hand and into her upper chest, but Zwerner, now hospitalized in stable condition, still managed to guide her students to safety. "I believe that Ms. Zwerner, Abigail, saved lives on Friday," said Newport News Police Chief Steve Drew. There were 16 to 20 students in the classroom when the incident happened.

10

Georgia Bulldogs win 2nd straight College Football Playoff title

The No. 1 Georgia Bulldogs demolished No. 3 Texas Christian University 65-7 on Monday night to win their second straight College Football Playoff championship. The Bulldogs (15-0) were the first team to win back-to-back national titles since Alabama a decade ago, and the first ever since the College Football Playoff was reformatted in 2014. Georgia scored on their first six drives. The team's Heisman Trophy–finalist quarterback, Stetson Bennett, passed for four touchdowns and ran for two more, earning him his second championship game offensive MVP award. His six total touchdowns tied the championship game–era record set by Louisiana State University's Joe Burrows two years ago.

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