Day 678: "Persistent and lethal."
1/ Biden renewed his call for a ban on assault weapons following mass shootings at a Walmart in Virginia and a LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado, saying: “The idea we still allow semiautomatic weapons to be purchased is sick. It’s just sick. It has no social redeeming values. Zero. None. Not a single, solitary rationale for it except profit for the gun manufacturer.” Democrats, however, don’t have the 60 votes in the Senate to overcome a filibuster to advance an assault weapons ban bill, which the House passed in July. The window to enact legislation is also closing, as Republicans are set to take a majority in the House in January. (ABC News / Washington Post / CNN / The Hill)
2/ The FBI and Homeland Security have failed to address domestic terrorism, according to a report by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. Since 2019, both Homeland Security and the FBI have repeatedly identified domestic terrorism – specifically white supremacist violence – as “the most persistent and lethal terrorist threat to the homeland.” The federal government, however, has continued to disproportionately allocate resources to international terrorist threats instead, according to the three-year investigation. “DHS and FBI’s inability to provide comprehensive data on the domestic terrorist threat creates serious concerns that they are not effectively prioritizing our counterterrorism resources to address the rising domestic terrorist threat,” the committee’s chairman said in a statement. (Salon / Yahoo News)
3/ Trump had dinner with white nationalist and antisemite Nick Fuentes at Mar-a-Lago last week. Fuentes is a far-right activist who frequently promotes racist and antisemitic conspiracy theories. Also at the dinner was Kanye West (who now goes by Ye), who recently lost endorsements deals after making a series of antisemitic remarks. Fuentes is reportedly helping Ye with his second presidential campaign. Following the dinner, Ye posted a video claiming that Trump “is really impressed with Fuentes.” In a statement, the White House said: “Bigotry, hate, and antisemitism have absolutely no place in America – including at Mar-A-Lago. Holocaust denial is repugnant and dangerous, and it must be forcefully condemned.” Democratic National Committee added: “If it was any other party, breaking bread with Nick Fuentes would be instantly disqualifying for Trump.” Republican lawmakers, meanwhile, have largely remained silent following Trump’s dinner with an antisemitic rapper and white nationalist activist. Trump has also repeatedly refused to disavow Fuentes. (Politico / ABC News / New York Times / NBC News / CNN / Axios / Bloomberg / The Guardian)
4/ The Justice Department is seeking to question Pence about Trump’s efforts to disrupt the transfer of power after the 2020 election. Pence is reportedly open to considering the request, but it’s unclear if Trump will attempt to assert executive privilege to block any potential testimony. Pence’s chief of staff and chief counsel have already testified to the grand jury investigating the matter. Separately, Kellyanne Conway voluntarily met with the Jan. 6 committee and spoke on the record. (New York Times / Politico / CNN / CNBC / NBC News)
5/ The Georgia Supreme Court reinstated the state’s six-week ban on abortions. A lower court ruling last week had put the ban on hold, calling it “unconstitutional.” In a one-page order, the justices put the lower court ruling on hold while they consider an appeal by the Georgia’s attorney general. (NPR / CNN)
6/ The Biden administration eased some oil sanctions against Venezuela and the Treasury Department granted Chevron a “limited” license to pump and export oil from the South American country. The six-month license stipulates that any oil produced can only be exported to the U.S., and that profits from the sale of energy would be directed to paying down debt owed to Chevron, rather than going to the state-run oil company, PDVSA. Chevron is the only remaining active U.S. oil company in Venezuela but has been barred by sanctions from operations there. A senior Biden official, meanwhile, claimed that easing sanctions – which began 15 years ago on grounds of drug trafficking, corruption, and human rights abuses – was not about adding supply to the global oil market to ease high energy prices exacerbated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but rather about restoring democracy to Venezuela. (Washington Post / New York Times / Associated Press / Politico / Bloomberg)
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