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Man arrested in Capitol Hill attack was reportedly bodyguard for Trump confidant Roger Stone

Two men wanted in the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol were arrested over the weekend, including one who reportedly served as a bodyguard to former president Donald Trump’s longtime political confidant Roger Stone, federal authorities said Monday.

Roberto Minuta breached the Capitol grounds and “aggressively berated and taunted U.S. Capitol police officers” during the Jan. 6 insurrection, the FBI said in court papers.

Also arrested over the weekend was Isaac Steve Sturgeon, 32, of Dillon, Mont., who is charged with shoving a metal police barricade into police officers during the insurrection, according to court records.

Meanwhile, Jacob Chansley, the Phoenix man who sported face paint, no shirt and a furry hat with horns while inside the Capitol during the siege, will remain jailed until trial, a judge in Washington ruled Monday.

U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth explained that Chansley carried a spear into the Capitol, ignored orders from police to leave, used a bullhorn to encourage other rioters and was among the first rioters into the building.

Jacob Chansley is pictured inside the Senate chamber after the U.S. Capitol was breached Jan. 6, 2021. Chansley was denied bail after a judge ruled he was unlikely to follow release conditions. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Oath Keepers provided illegal ‘freelance security’: lawyer 

Chansley doesn’t fully appreciate the severity of the charges against him, Lamberth said. The judge said he has no faith that Chansley would follow release conditions.

At least five people, including a Capitol Police officer, died as a result of the violence at the Capitol, and two other officers took their own lives in the days after. More than 300 people have been charged with federal crimes.

Minuta, 36, of Hackettstown, N.J., had been “equipped with military-style attire and gear, including apparel emblazoned with a crest related to the Oath Keepers,” the FBI said, referring to the far-right antigovernment militia.

The New York Times identified Minuta as one of six people who provided security to Stone in the hours before the assault on the Capitol. Stone, who was pardoned after his sentence for several felony charges was initially commuted by Trump, was in Washington the day of the assault but has denied any involvement.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Benjamin Gianforti told a magistrate judge in White Plains federal court that Minuta was among Oath Keepers who illegally provided freelance security in Washington for “various high-profile individuals who I won’t name.”

Minuta, who was arrested at his tattoo shop in Newburgh, N.Y., told federal agents “something to the effect of: ‘Why am I being targeted here? Why aren’t you going after Antifa and Black Lives Matter members?”‘ Gianforti said.

The prosecutor said the statements suggest “a lack of remorse for his actions and an ongoing allegiance to the ideology that led him to break the law.”

He accused Minuta of “screaming at Capitol Police officers on Jan. 6 and indeed spitting at their feet, which is one of the most disrespectful gestures that one can do.”

Gianforti said Minuta had cancelled his phone account on March 1 and gotten rid of his iPhone while moving between a Texas dwelling and his New York business.

Insurrectionists loyal to Donald Trump try to open a door of the U.S. Capitol as they riot in Washington on Jan. 6. The charges against Minuta say he entered the Capitol forcefully. (Jose Luis Magana/The Associated Press)

Ben Gold, Minuta’s court-appointed attorney, said his client was not violent on Jan. 6. A magistrate judge agreed, letting him be freed on $ 150,000 US bail despite the prosecutor’s request he be held as a danger to the community and risk to flee.

“He’s not a flight risk. He’s not a danger to the community,” Gold said.

The lawyer said a criminal complaint describing the charges says Minuta entered the Capitol forcefully, but yet the description afterward “doesn’t say he used an ounce of force.”

Authorities said Sturgeon, the Montana man, was identified through police body camera video and photographs posted to social media.

The FBI said Sturgeon, who owns a lawn care business, traveled to Kenya on Jan. 24 and was deported from that country to New York. He was arrested Saturday at John F. Kennedy International Airport.

Sturgeon told a federal magistrate Monday he “wasn’t trying to flee,” adding he’s a frequent traveller.

His defence attorney declined to comment on the charges.

Prosecutors said Sturgeon faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

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CBC | World News

Joe Biden blames Trump for violence on Capitol Hill as he picks Merrick Garland for attorney general

U.S. president-elect Joe Biden on Thursday denounced the rioters who stormed the U.S. Capitol as “domestic terrorists” and blamed President Donald Trump for the violence that has shaken the nation’s capital and beyond.

The actions of Trump supporters who breached the security of Congress on Wednesday, said Biden, was “not dissent, was not disorder, was not protest. It was chaos.”

In solemn tones, Biden said the steps Trump has taken to subvert the nation’s democratic institutions throughout his presidency led directly to the mayhem in Washington.

Those who massed on Capitol Hill intending to disrupt a joint session of Congress that was certifying Biden’s election victory over Trump “weren’t protesters. Don’t dare call them protesters. They were a riotous mob — insurrectionists, domestic terrorists. It’s that basic,” Biden said.

“In the past four years, we’ve had a president who’s made his contempt for our democracy, our constitution, the rule of law clear in everything he has done,” Biden said. “He unleashed an all-out assault on our institutions of our democracy from the outset. And yesterday was the culmination of that unrelenting attack.”

WATCH | Biden lays the blame for Wednesday’s attack on the Capitol on Donald Trump:

U.S. president-elect Joe Biden planted the blame for Wednesday’s attack on the U.S. Capitol squarely on President Donald Trump, accusing him of “trying to use a mob to silence the voices of nearly 160 million Americans.” 5:32

The mob of hundreds of Trump backers broke into the Capitol and roamed the halls looking for lawmakers, who were forced to halt their deliberations and evacuate to safety. The violent protesters were egged on by Trump himself, who has falsely contended that he lost the election due to voter fraud.

Trump’s claims have been repeatedly dismissed in the courts, including the Supreme Court, and by state election officials from both parties, and even some in his own administration. 

Merrick Garland for attorney general

Biden made his remarks as he introduced Merrick Garland as his pick for attorney general on Thursday along with three others he has selected for senior Justice Department positions to “restore the independence” of the Justice Department and faith in the rule of law.

Garland is the former chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. circuit. If confirmed by the Senate, which is likely, he would take over as the nation’s top law enforcement official at a critical moment for the country and the agency.

He would inherit immediate challenges related to civil rights, an ongoing criminal tax investigation into Biden’s son Hunter and calls from many Democrats to pursue criminal inquiries into Trump after he leaves office.

Appeals Court Judge Merrick Garland speaks in the Rose Garden of the White House in 2016 after being nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court by President Barack Obama. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

Beyond the specific issues, he will be tasked with repairing the American people’s broad distrust in the U.S. Justice Department, among other institutions of democracy undermined by Trump’s turbulent presidency.

Biden vowed that Garland’s loyalty would rest not with the president, but with the law and Constitution.

“You don’t work for me,” Biden charged as he introduced Garland.

Black Lives Matter treated very differently, says Biden

Biden used the event to also address what he said was blatant inequality in dealing with the mob on Capitol Hill Wednesday. 

“No one can tell me that if it had been a group of Black Lives Matter protesting yesterday, they wouldn’t have been treated very, very differently than the mob of thugs who stormed the Capitol.”

WATCH | Biden calls out the inequality over how the rioters were treated Wednesday:

U.S. president-elect Joe Biden says it is clear that had the people who stormed the U.S. Capitol been members of Black Lives Matter, they would have been treated very differently by security forces. 1:35

Garland would inherit a Justice Department that has endured a tumultuous four years and abundant criticism from Democrats over what they see as the overpoliticization of law enforcement. The department is expected to dramatically change course under new leadership, including through a different approach to civil rights issues and national policing policies, especially after months of mass protests over the deaths of Black Americans at the hand of law enforcement.

Black and Latino advocates had wanted a Black attorney general or someone with a background in civil rights causes and criminal justice reform. Groups including the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund had championed Garland’s Supreme Court nomination, but the extent of support from minority groups for the attorney general job was not immediately clear.

Other justice posts announced

Biden introduced three others for senior Justice Department leadership posts, including Obama administration homeland security adviser Lisa Monaco as deputy attorney general and former Justice Department civil rights chief Vanita Gupta as associate attorney general, the No. 3 official. He also named an assistant attorney general for civil rights, Kristen Clarke, now the president of Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, an advocacy group.

Though Garland is a white man, the selection of Gupta and Clarke, two women with significant experience in civil rights, appeared designed to blunt any concerns and served as a signal that progressive causes would be prioritized in the new administration.

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CBC | World News

From Hill to Osaka to Ogwumike, some of the athletes who made a difference to us

As observers of sports, we often find ourselves in wonder at the physical achievements of the people we cover. The actions of so many of them over the past 12 months has shown us something else to admire. Here are some who left an impression with the CBC Sports staff:

Naomi Osaka

The 23-year-old Japanese tennis star didn’t wait to see how other athletes would protest for Black Lives Matter. She was at the forefront of the protest. 

She boldly wore the names of Breonna Taylor and others on her masks as she walked into matches at the U.S. Open

She unapologetically used her voice to make her mark on the BLM movement. When people asked her to stick to sports and not get political, she used that as fuel to win matches and protest more. 

– Monika Platek

George Hill

When the NBA restarted in its bubble in Florida, the players had used their voice to raise awareness and push for change over systemic racism. On the courts and jerseys were phrases such as “Black Lives Matter”, “Say Their Names”, “Vote”, “I Can’t Breathe”, “Justice”, “Peace”, “Equality”.

But on Aug. 26, George Hill and the Milwaukee Bucks took it further. Just three days before, Jacob Blake had been shot by police in Kenosha, Wisc. Hill and other NBA players grew frustrated with the lack of change. 

Minutes before their playoff game against the Orlando Magic, Hill and the Bucks announced they were not going to play. Hill read out a statement and sat down for an interview to discuss why the players decided to boycott their games to protest the continued social injustice they saw. 

WATCH | Milwaukee Bucks on why they won’t play:

After becoming the first team to boycott games in the NBA bubble, the Milwaukee Bucks players made a joint statement to the media. 1:54

Hill would not answer any basketball-related questions as he wanted all the talk to be about Blake and his family and the social injustice. Immediately after Hill and the Bucks’ decision, the rest of the NBA, WNBA, several MLB teams, and eventually, the NHL paused action for two days.

– Cole Shelton

Pam Buisa and Charity Williams 

Usually when you go on a professional athlete’s Instagram page you’ll see mainly professional shots of them competing, training or pushing a sponsored post like the influencers they are. Many will use their platforms to share the ups and downs of competition, or an inspiring #motivationmonday type message. 

Not all will use their platform as authentically and passionately to support social change as we saw from Rugby Canada players Charity Williams and Pam Buisa. Since this summer’s protests in the wake of the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, the pair have been vocal on Instagram and at protests and gatherings in support of Black Lives Matter. 

– Tanya Casole-Gouveia

Kim Clavel

Stop me if you’ve heard the one about the championship winning athlete from Quebec, who took a break from sports to fight the COVID-19 pandemic in long-term care homes in Montreal.

Kansas City Chiefs guard, Super Bowl LIV champion and McGill medical school graduate Laurent Duvernay-Tardif?

No. While his story is well known, Kim Clavel’s is not.

After taking a year off from nursing to train for boxing, Clavel, from Joliette, Que,. won the North American Boxing Federation female light flyweight title last December. She was set to fight — and make her first real payday — in the main event at the Montreal Casino on March 21 before the COVID-19 outbreak forced the cancellation 10 days before her bout.

After absorbing that body blow, Clavel went back to work as a replacement nurse, fighting COVID-19 in the pandemic-ravaged long-term care homes in Montreal. In June, Kim Clavel was named the ESPY Awards 2020 recipient of the Pat Tillman Award for Service.

– Bill Cooney

WATCH | Devin Heroux on the year that was:

Athletes around the world raised a collective voice in an unprecedented show of power. 5:03

Lewis Hamilton

Not only has Lewis Hamilton raised awareness and led the way in pushing Formula 1 to adopt a strong anti-racism stance, he formed his own Hamilton Commission aimed at making motorsport more diverse. 

Although many in racing have supported Hamilton, including his own Mercedes team switching out their traditional ‘Silver Arrows’ look for an all-Black livery, and adopting Black Lives Matter masks, it hasn’t been easy for Hamilton to raise awareness for social change. 

New rules were put in place by the the sport’s governing body to force drivers to remain in their race attire because Hamilton had worn a t-shirt with the words “Arrest the cops who killed Breonna Taylor” before a race and on the podium. 

Hamilton started his racing career in F-1 14 years ago and was the first driver of colour in the sport. Today he remains the only Black driver on the circuit. 

Hamilton won his record-tying seventh world championship this season but never changed his focus from promoting social change, diversity and raising awareness on key issues.

– Marcus Rebelo

Chiney Ogwumike

When Los Angeles Sparks’ Chiney Ogwumike opted out of the WNBA’s 2020 season in the Bradenton, Fla., bubble it was for two reasons: to heal her body and to fight for social justice. 

She took that second reason to heart.

Ogwumike has been a vocal member of the LeBron James-led More Than a Vote organization encouraging American citizens to register to vote, and providing them the resources to do so. 

Ogwumike then turned that message into action. When it became clear younger poll workers were needed during the pandemic to replace the more vulnerable elderly volunteers, she stepped up herself. She joined her two sisters, including fellow WNBA all-star Nneka Ogwumike, as election workers in Houston, an effort that was even recognized by former President Barack Obama.

– Alexis Allison

Marcus Rashford

Throughout the pandemic, Marcus Rashford has dazzled both on and off the field. As the United Kingdom went into lockdown, the Manchester United star worried not about himself as he is today — a multi-million dollar athlete — but as the kid he once was, dependent upon the state for his meals.

Recognizing the effect that school closures would have on those in need, the 23-year-old launched a public campaign to end child poverty. The tidal wave of support he received helped convince British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, not once, but twice, to alter his policies and pledge nearly $ 300 million to help low-income families struggling as a result of COVID-19.

– Ignacio Estefanell

Matt Dumba

While the NHL and its players have been accused of being tone deaf in the past with regards to social issues, Matt Dumba helped change that perception with his speech before the beginning of the Stanley Cup playoffs. 

“For those unaffected by systematic racism or unaware, I’m sure that some of you believe that this topic has garnered too much attention during the last couple months. But let me assure you, it has not,” the Minnesota Wild defenceman said.

The speech (and his kneel that followed) was a powerful message on hockey’s biggest stage.

– Rob Pizzo

Colin Kaepernick

Slightly forgotten in the midst of athlete protests against racism is one of the people who helped start it all. After first taking a knee during the U.S. national anthem in 2016 to protest police brutality, Kaepernick was ostracized and effectively blacklisted from the NFL.

Four years later, taking a knee was the dominant image of the Black Lives Matter movement across sports worldwide. The NFL finally invited all 32 teams to sign Kaepernick (even though he still hasn’t been), league commissioner Roger Goodell said he wished the league listened more when Kaepernick first took a knee, and the movement he started went from a powerful, public stance to something more tangible. 

He started the “Know Your Rights Camp Legal Defence Initiative” to provide legal aid to people affected by police brutality. 

– Steve Tzemis

Laurent Duvernay-Tardif

In a year of great challenges, the greatest was (and still is) the coronavirus pandemic. The Montreal native tackled that challenge head-on. Just weeks after helping Kansas City win the Super Bowl by protecting the NFL’s biggest star, quarterback Patrick Mahomes, the aspiring medical doctor gave up his high-profile job (and his multi-million-dollar salary) to help protect our most vulnerable people — those in long-term care homes. Offensive line to front lines: doesn’t get any more inspiring than that.

– Jesse Campigotto

WNBA / Maya Moore

Social activism isn’t anything new in the WNBA. Maya Moore, arguably the best player ever, led her Minnesota Lynx in protest after the police killing of Philando Castile in July 2016 — two months before Colin Kaepernick first kneeled. It’s no wonder, then, that the WNBA’s players have been leaders as people around the world organized to protest racial injustice following the police killing of George Floyd in May.

Floyd’s death came as the WNBA was preparing to play out its season from a bubble in Florida. The WNBA offered players a chance to opt out of the season to pursue their cause and still get paid in full. 

Four players, including Moore, took that opportunity. The rest of the league protested from the bubble. The season was dedicated to Breonna Taylor, killed by Louisville police in March, with a rallying cry to arrest those responsible. 

“Black Lives Matter” was written on the courts and jerseys. Atlanta Dream players publicly endorsed team owner Sen. Kelly Loeffler’s opponent Raphael Warnock in a Georgia senate race after Loeffler questioned the Black Lives Matter movement. That race was so close it’s headed to a runoff in January. Players refused to play after Jacob Blake was shot.

As for Moore? In her second straight season off, she accomplished her goal of freeing Jonathan Irons, a wrongfully accused man serving a 50-year sentence, from prison. Moore and Irons were married in September.

– Myles Dichter

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CBC | Sports News

Akim Aliu, Vanessa James, Asher Hill know fight for diversity on ice is just beginning

The landscape on ice is changing rapidly.

For years, hockey and figure skating have been dominated by white athletes, and to varying degrees, they still are today.

But three Black competitors on the sixth season of Battle of the Blades — former NHLer Akim Aliu and figure skaters Asher Hill and Vanessa James — are making efforts to change that.

Aliu first spoke about the racism he experienced in hockey in November, when he said he was targeted by then-Calgary Flames coach Bill Peters while the two were in junior hockey together. Peters was fired soon after.

That revelation became the tip of the iceberg, with multiple other NHL coaches being called out for abuse.

In May, as the NHL was getting set to restart its season amid a worldwide racial reckoning following the death of George Floyd, Aliu and a group of BIPOC hockey players formed the Hockey Diversity Alliance (HDA).

WATCH | Aliu, James, Hill discuss diversity in respective sports:

Akim Aliu, Asher Hill, and Vanessa James are not only part of this season’s Battle of The Blades, but also diversity alliances in their sports. 8:14

Aliu, 31, was born in Nigeria and lived in Ukraine until he was seven and moved to Toronto. He serves as co-head of the organization alongside San Jose Sharks forward Evander Kane which pledges “to eradicate racism and intolerance in hockey.”

In July, the HDA made a series of requests to the NHL including more inclusive employment practices and supporting social justice initiatives that target racism, among other asks.

Earlier this month, unsatisfied with the NHL’s response, the HDA cut ties with the league over what it called “performative public relations.”

“It would be a lot easier to implement some of the things we want to do in some of the NHL cities with their fans and with their following but they’re not there yet,” Aliu told CBC Sports’ Jacqueline Doorey.

“They feel that things are good status quo and we don’t, so we feel it’s up to us to take the reins of the conversation and I do believe that sooner or later they’ll have no choice but to jump on board.”

Aliu said he’s encouraged by the first few months of the HDA despite the difficult relationship with the league.

“I think we found a little bit of trouble getting pulled in different directions with some of the objectives and missions that we had, but we stuck together as a group and I feel like we’re doing a lot of good in the game of hockey right now and in society as well,” he said.

The goal now is to ensure the conversation around racial injustice in hockey doesn’t get swept under the rug.

“We didn’t want it to be a moment, we wanted it to be a movement. So we don’t want it to be one of those trendy topics like it’s been in the past,” Aliu said.

Aliu is paired on Battle of the Blades with James, a six-time French pairs champion, 2018 Grand Prix Final champion and 2019 European champion. The two are skating for The Time To Dream Foundation, which aims to make youth sports more inclusive and accessible.

WATCH | Powerful pause in sports:

Devin Heroux of CBC Sports reflects on a week in sports that saw a united show of solidarity across professional leagues in support of racial justice. 2:48

James says Aliu is making the transition from hockey to figure skating quite swimmingly.

“He’s phenomenal, he’s a hard worker, he’s naturally talented, very agile and flexible and he has these long legs that make beautiful lines when they’re straight. He’s doing a great job,” James said.

The two have already made a solid connection due to their shared experiences in predominantly white sports. James is also part of the Figure Skating Diversity and Inclusion Alliance (FSDIA), which carries similar goals to Aliu’s HDA.

“There’s always been a little bit of isolation and not feeling included. … If you look at [clothes] for figure skating, you don’t find tights for Black girls or people of colour, you don’t find skates that are the same colour, it’s hard to find matching things like that. So it gives the idea they’re not welcomed,” James said.

For James, the main goal is to ensure the next generation of figure skaters feel welcomed in their sport.

Hill, a 29-year-old ice dancer paired with hockey player Jessica Campbell, is skating for FreedomSchool – Toronto, which aims to intervene on anti-Black racism in the school system.

His mindset is similar to James in trying to create a more inclusive sport than he came into, and he’s also a member of the FSDIA.

“I think oftentimes we don’t see Black people in winter sports, [it’s] assumed that we don’t like the cold or we’re afraid of ice [or that] it’s a white man’s sport or a white person’s sport,” Hill said.

“But it’s just if you have access and if you’re able to do it and I think having the representation of so many Black athletes will show that you can occupy any space as long as you have the opportunity.”

Hill is aiming to create more opportunities and accessibility in the figure skating community. Like Aliu, he says the sport’s organizations fall short.

“I think it comes down to the mindset of the gatekeepers and the leaders in the sport which are our coaches and our federation heads. … It’s just changing the mindset that anyone can be part of figure skating as long as you give the opportunity,” Hill said.

Along with Aliu, James and Hill, former NHLer Anthony Stewart rounds out the Black skaters on the newest edition of Battle of the Blades. Beyond the ice, junior Canadian champion and international competitor Elladj Baldé will serve as a judge and singer Keshia Chanté joins Ron MacLean as a co-host.

“I think it’s a beautiful cast because there’s so much diversity and so much inclusion,” James said.

The season premiere airs Thursday at 8 p.m. ET.

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CBC | Sports News

Fauci rebuts Republican claims about hydroxychloroquine in Capitol Hill session

Infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci resisted efforts by Republicans to criticize recent protests against racial injustice while pushing back on their continued promotion of hydroxycholoroquine as a possible coronavirus remedy in Congress on Friday.

Fauci’s testimony at a hearing of the U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee on the coronavirus crisis came at the end of a month in which U.S. coronavirus deaths rose by almost 25,000 and cases doubled in at least 18 states, according to a Reuters tally, dealing a crushing blow to hopes of quickly reopening the economy.

The United States has recorded nearly 1.8 million new COVID-19 cases in July out of its total 4.5 million known infections, an increase of 66 per cent with many states yet to report on Friday. Deaths in July rose at least 19 per cent to a total of more than 152,000.

Republican Blaine Luetkemeyer of Missouri submitted into the record a study conducted at the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit showing benefits to treating some coronavirus patients with hydroxychloroquine, best known as an anti-malaria drug.

“That study is a flawed study,” said Fauci, stressing it wasn’t a randomized, placebo-controlled trial and that patients also received corticosteroids, which in a separate study exhibited benefits for seriously ill patients.

When confronted with the fact it was peer-reviewed, Fauci demurred.

“It doesn’t matter. You can peer review something that’s a bad study,” he said.

President Donald Trump, some Republicans in Congress and several conservative media commentators have consistently pushed for the drug’s use, many of them widely sharing a video this week extolling its virtues that was produced for the web with funding from the group Tea Party Patriots Action. Facebook eventually pulled the video from its site.

Any and all of the randomized placebo-controlled trials — which is the gold standard of determining if something is effective — none of them have shown any efficacy for hydroxychloroquine.– Dr. Anthony Fauci

The president has claimed he took hydroxychloroquine in the spring with no ill effects.

“Any and all of the randomized placebo-controlled trials — which is the gold standard of determining if something is effective — none of them have shown any efficacy for hydroxychloroquine,” said Fauci.

Fauci, who leads the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, added he would be “the first one to admit it and promote it” if a hydroxychloroquine study in the future meets that standard and shows positive effects.

A veteran of six Republican and Democratic administrations, Fauci has become the most familiar face of the administration’s coronavirus task force but a target of many conservatives who want to see the state economies fully reopened.

Early in the session, Fauci clashed with Rep. Jim Jordan, after the Ohio Republican demanded Fauci’s opinion about whether protests should be curbed or eliminated to control the pandemic.

“Should we limit the protesting?” Jordan asked. When Fauci said he was not in a position to make such a recommendation, the lawmaker retorted: “You make all kinds of recommendations. You make comments on dating, on baseball and everything you could imagine.”

“I’m not favouring anybody over anybody,” Fauci replied. “I’m not going to opine on limiting anything … I’m telling you what is the danger, and you can make your own conclusion about that. You should stay away from crowds, no matter where the crowds are.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, testifies during a House subcommittee hearing on the coronavirus crisis on Friday. (Kevin Dietsch/The Associated Press)

Fauci, who made headlines in March by describing U.S. testing efforts as a failing, also resisted efforts by Democrats to criticize the Trump administration response to the virus, frequently handing off questions about the current state of testing and other matters to his fellow panellists.

In addition to Fauci, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Robert Redfield and Admiral Brett Giroir, assistant secretary at the Department of Health and Human Services, also testified.

Testing times still a concern

At the start of the hearing, congressional Republicans and Democrats clashed about whether the Trump administration had a national strategy to respond to the coronavirus pandemic.

“The administration’s approach of deferring to states, sidelining experts and rushing to reopen has prolonged this virus and led to thousands of preventable deaths,” said panel Chairman James Clyburn, who denounced Trump’s coronavirus response as “among the worst of any country in the world.”

A drive-through testing centre is shown earlier this month in Inglewood, Calif. Admiral Brett Giroir, part of the administration’s coronavirus task force, admitted that many test results are not coming back promptly. (Mike Blake/Reuters)

But Steve Scalise, the subcommittee’s top Republican, dismissed Clyburn’s criticism as political posturing, saying the Trump administration has provided effective plans for schools, employers, nursing homes and vaccine development.

“You wouldn’t even be here today if there wasn’t a plan,” said Scalise.

Giroir acknowledged that currently it’s not possible for the U.S. to return all coronavirus test results to patients in two to three days. He blamed overwhelming demand across the nation.

Many health experts say that COVID-19 results are almost worthless when delivered after two or three days because by then the window for contact tracing has closed.

The latest government data shows about 75 per cent of testing results are coming back within five days, but the remainder are taking longer, Giroir told lawmakers.

Rapid, widespread testing is critical to containing the coronavirus outbreak, but the U.S. effort has been plagued by supply shortages and backlogs since the earliest days of the outbreak.

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CBC | Health News

Skater Asher Hill sees hypocrisy in racial equality statements issued by sports teams, organizations

Asher Hill watched on his TV as U.S. cities burned and on his phone as social media platforms lit up with sports teams, athletes and Canadian national sport organizations racing to condemn racism.

He was outraged, devastated and had had enough. As he was logging off from it all Tuesday night, he was jarred by a post from Skate Canada.

Hill, who is black, has been figure skating since he was three. He’s competed in world championships and international events for Canada. Hill loves his sport and is now a licensed figure skating coach. But as a skater and coach he says he’s constantly faced racism and has always been painfully aware of the colour of his skin.

So when Skate Canada said in a post they were “committed to anti-racism and leading by example within the sporting community to bring change,” Hill had to say something.

In a series of tweets, he called out Skate Canada for ignoring his complaints of racism, homophobia, misogyny and abuse of skaters and coaches.

“You never ever reached out to me for how you can make this sport safer for children, coaches, and volunteers of colour let alone black people,” he wrote.

He called his sister immediately after and told her he felt like he did something wrong.

“It was fear. Complete and utter fear,” Hill said. “I felt gaslit into thinking my experience in skating wasn’t real and was my own fault.”

Filed complaint last year

In an exclusive interview with CBC Sports, Hill says he filed an official misconduct complaint with Skate Canada last June, highlighting a number of instances spanning five years where he says a co-worker at a Brampton, Ont., figure skating club was abusive with racist, homophobic and misogynistic language.

Skate Canada confirmed to CBC Sports they received a complaint of misconduct from Hill.

“Upon review of the complaint, we were made aware that the skating club involved had retained a professional third-party investigator to manage the complaint,” the organization wrote in an email.

“Skate Canada reviewed the qualifications of the third-party investigator and accepted them to be an unbiased party to handle this complaint.”

The investigator “concluded that the allegations were unsubstantiated,” which the Skate Canada says it accepted.

Hill says he felt silenced by Skate Canada after filing an official misconduct complaint with the organization last June. (Submitted by Asher Hill)

Hill says Skate Canada failed to properly review pertinent information and testimony he provided and feels he was silenced.

“I ended up being the person who was reprimanded,” Hill said. “They wanted to sweep it under the rug. It’s shocking they didn’t talk to the people. When they came down with their decision, they threatened to suspend me or take away my license after I spoke out.”

Skate Canada ‘shut down’ conversation: Hill

Skate Canada denies Hill’s allegation that he was reprimanded and says it never threatened to suspend him or revoke his license after speaking out.

The organization says it contacted Hill on Wednesday morning, saying it wanted to engage in conversation about how to make change.

Hill isn’t taking them up on the offer anytime soon, saying they had a chance to make change when he first spoke up a year ago.

“We could have had this conversation. We did have this conversation, and they shut it down,” he said.

WATCH | Canadian athletes speak out against racism:

Canadian athletes have been speaking out against racism and for change, including tennis youngster Felix Auger-Aliassime, basketball legend Steve Nash, and Olympians Kia Nurse, Karina LeBlanc and Perdita Felicien 2:38

In an email to CBC Sports, Skate Canada says it is “committed to continuous improvement” and is working on “a Black inclusion working group to develop education and resources for our community.

“We acknowledge that we have work to do and are committed to taking steps that achieve an inclusive environment for all.”

‘They see an opportunity’

Hill says these and other words posted by many other leagues, athletes and even cultural organizations feel empty right now.

“We can see past their bullshit … They can’t hide behind words anymore,” Hill said. “They see an opportunity. To jump on a social cause, and social causes are good for business.”

The Canadian Olympic Committee issued its own statement Wednesday, saying recent events have “caused us all to self-reflect upon how we can be better.”

“We do not have all the answers, but we unite with our athletes and all Canadians in the fight against racism.”.

[Teams and organizations] see an opportunity. To jump on a social cause, and social causes are good for business.– Asher Hill

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) says it “fully” supports the right of athletes to make statements on recent events. 

“This is their individual right, and this is a right that we fully support,” an IOC spokesperson told CBC Sports. 

“The IOC will continue its mission to bring the entire world together through sport, whilst respecting the scope of its mandate.”

Political actions prohibited by IOC

In January, the IOC released its guidelines on protests during an Olympics. According to the Olympic Charter’s Rule 50, athletes are prohibited from taking a political stand in the field of play.

The death of George Floyd and the protests that have followed have also elicited statements from many teams in professional leagues in North America, including the NFL, NHL, NBA and MLB. High-profile athletes are also weighing in with their thoughts on social media.

But for many, including Hill, the hypocrisy is thick. Hill points to the NFL’s Washington Redskins, the CFL’s Edmonton Eskimos, and the Cleveland Indians and Atlanta Braves of MLB, all posting about condemning racism, all while sporting what he calls racist team names.

“It’s just not sincere,” Hill said.

‘What actual steps are you taking?’

It’s a feeling echoed by other athletes. Eric Kendricks, a linebacker with the Minnesota Vikings, criticized the NFL for its statement in the wake of Floyd’s death. The NFL has faced criticism for its handling of former quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who staged silent protests against police brutality in 2016 by kneeling during the national anthem prior to games. Kaepernick has yet to play another down of football since that season.

“What actual steps are you taking to support the fight for justice and system reform?” Kendricks said in a tweet on Tuesday. “Your statement said nothing. Your league is built on black athletes. Vague answers do nothing. Let the players know what you are actually doing. And we know what silence means.”

Former NHL goalie Ben Scrivens also wondered what effects the many statements athletes are making would have. In a tweet on Wednesday, Scrivens called out players who have made statements this week.

Scrivens referenced an incident involving racial slurs by former Calgary Flames coach Bill Peters in November, and documented incidents involving other NHL players who have been subjected to racism.

“It would have been more meaningful, in my eyes, to see these messages come out during the Bill Peters’ firing saga, or after K’Andre Miller’s Zoom call, or after Akim Aliu’s Players’ Tribune article,” Scrivens wrote.

“My natural cynicism wonders how much of this is expediency, and how much follow through we will see from white players who have publicly stated their intentions.”

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Faith Hill and Tim McGraw Perform Intimate Duet on CMT’s ‘Feed The Front Line’ Special

Faith Hill and Tim McGraw Perform Intimate Duet on CMT’s ‘Feed The Front Line’ Special | Entertainment Tonight

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Hugh Grant Open to ‘Notting Hill’ Reunion Movie: ‘Why Not?’ (Exclusive)

Hugh Grant Open to ‘Notting Hill’ Reunion Movie: ‘Why Not?’ (Exclusive) | Entertainment Tonight

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How Robert Mueller’s day of answering questions on Capitol Hill might unfold

Neither Republicans nor Democrats are expecting bombshell revelations when they square off with Robert Mueller on Wednesday in five hours of congressional hearings on the Russia investigation, but both hope to extract enough from the famously tight-lipped former special counsel to advance their respective agendas.

Mueller, 74, has made it clear he won’t go beyond what he has already said in the 448-page report on Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election and alleged ties between Russia and the presidential campaign of Donald Trump. 

“The report is my testimony,” he said in a nine-minute press conference in May that was his only public comment on the 22-month-long investigation he and a team of lawyers, FBI agents, accountants and intelligence analysts conducted.

It’s unlikely he’ll stray from that commitment, but that doesn’t mean the two sides won’t try to bend him to their will.

For the Democrats — who control the House of Representatives — it’s an opportunity to refocus Americans’ attention on some of the most damaging details in the report, which came out in April, with a view to influencing public opinion about Trump ahead of the 2020 election. 

Mueller’s report is still at the top of the New York Times bestseller list, but some polls suggest not many people have actually read all 448 pages. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

Democrats hope hearings will bring life to ‘dry’ text

Mueller concluded there was no evidence that anyone in Trump’s campaign colluded with the Russians, but the Democrats say his revelations about the extent of contact between Trump associates and those working to undermine his opponent, Hillary Clinton, are damning enough — they just haven’t registered in the public consciousness.

The paperback version of the report is still at the top of the New York Times bestseller list, but polls suggest few Americans — including many in Congress — have read it.

  • Watch the Mueller hearing live starting at 8:30 a.m. ET Wednesday at CBCNews.ca.

“It’s a pretty dry, prosecutorial work product,” Adam Schiff, the Democratic chairman of the House permanent select committee on intelligence, said on CBS’s Face the Nation. “We want Bob Mueller to bring it to life.”

Adam Schiff, a Democrat from California, will chair the House permanent select committee on intelligence that will be looking at the part of the report devoted to examining ties between Russian entities and Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. (Brendan McDermid/Reuters)

Schiff’s committee will be the second to question Mueller and will focus on the alleged ties between the Trump campaign and Russia while the judiciary committee will zero in on Volume 2 of the report, which covers allegations of obstruction of justice.

With each member getting five minutes and more than 60 members between the two committees, the conditions are not ideal for a thorough examination of the facts and lend themselves more to partisan grandstanding.

“It is extremely difficult to sustain some type of probing line of questioning,” said Paul McNulty, who attended dozens of judiciary committee hearings while serving as deputy attorney general in the George W. Bush administration and as a Republican aide during the impeachment hearings of former president Bill Clinton.

On Tuesday, the Department of Justice issued guidelines for Mueller’s appearance, asking him to not go beyond the scope of the report, not mention anything pertaining to redacted sections and not discuss individuals who haven’t been charged. As a former employee of the department, Mueller is not technically bound by those limits but is unlikely to stray beyond them.

The New York Times reported Tuesday afternoon that Mueller had asked for his longtime aide, Aron Zebley, to be sworn in for the justice committee portion, although that request was not yet confirmed. Zebley was one of two former Mueller deputies the Justice Department had urged earlier this month not to testify before Congress.

Republicans aim to expose bias in investigation

Mueller arrives on Capitol Hill with an unscathed reputation as a meticulous, apolitical investigator, decorated Vietnam War veteran and career civil servant who has worked under Republican and Democrat administrations.

That means Republicans have to walk a fine line between undermining the credibility of the investigation and impugning the former FBI director’s character.

‘We have to expose his biased investigation,’ said Republican congressman Matt Gaetz, pictured at a hearing last month, on Monday. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

“We have to do more than just question Mueller. We have to expose his biased investigation,” Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz, who sits on the judiciary committee, said on Fox News Monday.

He and his fellow Republicans are sure to highlight the role of fired FBI agent Peter Strzok, who exchanged text messages with a fellow agent that betrayed their political biases against Trump.

They will press Mueller to explain why Strzok was allowed to work on the FBI’s Russia investigation, which began in July 2016, when he had also been the lead agent on the investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server.

“The goal will just be to try to create the impression that this is a partisan fight,” said John Nelson, a legal fellow at Just Security, an online forum for legal analysis based at the Reiss Center on Law and Security at New York University School of Law.

Steele dossier likely to figure in Republican questioning

Another area where Republicans see Mueller as vulnerable is the Steele dossier, the unverified trove of documents from a former U.K. spy detailing the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russians and salacious allegations about Trump’s personal life. 

Their intent here will be to get Mueller to admit that the FBI probe he took over had relied on the unsubstantiated dossier, commissioned as opposition research by the Clinton campaign, and was therefore tainted from the outset.

Republicans have also said they want Mueller to lay out exactly when his investigation shifted from collusion to obstruction of justice and why — if he had concluded there was no co-ordination between the campaign and Russia — did he not announce that earlier and clear the president.

“It’s a legitimate overall complaint: the collusion investigation going well beyond the time when you knew there wasn’t any because you were looking for obstruction of justice,” said D.C.-based attorney Sol Wisenberg, who was the deputy to independent counsel Kenneth Starr during the Clinton impeachment.

Democrats, on the other hand, may try to get Mueller to say his investigation was an obstruction probe from the start since part of what prompted the appointment of the special counsel was Trump’s abrupt firing of then-FBI director James Comey in May 2017.

“Both sides can make hay with that,” Wisenberg said.

House judiciary committee chairman Jerrold Nadler reads the redacted Mueller report in May. Nadler will be among the Democrats questioning Mueller about obstruction of justice findings. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Both parties want answer on why no exoneration

For the Democrats, getting Mueller to revisit at least some of the 11 instances of possible obstruction he investigated could serve to highlight the president’s conduct and shift focus away from the fact he wasn’t found guilty of a crime. That includes the Comey firing and multiple efforts to remove the special counsel, suppress relevant information and dissuade witnesses from co-operating.

Trump predicted Monday that Wednesday’s hearing will be bad for Mueller and ‘the phony Democrats in Congress who have done nothing but waste time on this ridiculous Witch Hunt.’ (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Mueller is unlikely to walk away without having to explain one of the most quoted lines of the report: “While this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him. “

“That could be another line of questioning from the Republicans because there has been some criticism of Muller’s language in his report, which appears to be saying that the president is guilty and needs to prove his innocence.” McNulty said.

The Mueller Report identified a series of episodes involving Trump that the special counsel considered potential obstructions of justice. But Robert Mueller chose to not charge Trump with a crime. CBC’s Washington correspondent Keith Boag walks us through the long-anticipated report. 23:03

Impeachment not on the horizon

Nelson says Democrats may try to get around the fact that Mueller felt Justice Department guidelines prevented him from charging the president with a crime by asking whether the department had prosecuted cases of such conduct in the past.

They might also ask whether the fact Mueller’s team continued investigating the president anyway in order to, as Mueller said, “preserve the evidence” was done with a view to prosecuting Trump in the future.

Mueller said in his May press conference that “the constitution requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting president of wrongdoing,” but it’s unclear whether Wednesday’s hearings will advance the Democrats’ case for impeachment.

It doesn’t have broad support within the party or among voters, so Mueller’s appearance would have to move the needle pretty dramatically to make a difference.

“In the Clinton impeachment matter, what we saw was that the public opinion is really critical as to whether or not the committee will ultimately be successful if it wants to move forward,” said McNulty, who is currently the president of Grove City College in Pennsylvania.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is one of many Democrats who doesn’t think the time is right to push for the impeachment of the president. (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

Focus on what’s missing, says expert

Nelson said Democrats could gain an advantage by homing in on some of the questions the report leaves unanswered.

“If you’re looking for a really blatant kind of connection between the Trump campaign and Russia, I think the two good places to look would be Roger Stone and Paul Manafort.”

Stone, a longtime Trump adviser accused of co-ordinating with WikiLeaks to release hacked Clinton campaign emails obtained by Russia, is one of the 34 people charged during Mueller’s investigation and has pleaded not guilty on seven counts of obstruction, witness tampering and lying to Congress. 

Roger Stone, centre, a longtime Trump adviser accused of co-ordinating with WikiLeaks to release hacked Clinton campaign emails obtained by Russia, is one of the 34 people charged during Mueller’s investigation. (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

Democrats could press Mueller on why he didn’t wait for the outcome of that trial before issuing his report given that the hack was one of the things he was investigating.

In the case of Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chair, Mueller’s investigators found he had passed on internal polling data to Konstantin Kilimnik, a Russian-Ukrainian dual citizen with suspected ties to Russian intelligence, but were unable to determine why.

The question to Mueller, says Nelson, could be: “Do you think the reason that you didn’t find out why was because they sufficiently obstructed justice?”

A central question that has stumped lawyers and laypeople alike is: Why didn’t Mueller use the courts to compel Trump to be interviewed by investigators and accepted written testimony instead?

Wisenberg says it’s not likely that or any other question lawmakers throw at Mueller will put the stonefaced special counsel off his game.

“I don’t think Mueller is fazed by much.”

WATCH | ‘The report is my testimony’: Robert Mueller speaks about his findings in May:

The U.S. special counsel speaks publicly for the first time about his probe into Russian interference, paving the way for Congressional action against U.S. President Donald Trump. But will Democrats pick up where Mueller left off and pursue impeachment? Linda Feldmann with the Christian Science Monitor, and David Martosko from DailyMail.com, speak with Michael Serapio on CBC News Network. 9:29

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William Barr in spotlight again on Capitol Hill after reports of Mueller displeasure

Attorney General William Barr will face lawmakers’ questions for the first time since releasing special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia report, in what promises to be a dramatic showdown as he defends his actions before Democrats who accuse him of spinning the investigation’s findings in President Donald Trump’s favor.

Barr’s appearance Wednesday before the Senate’s judiciary committee in Washington is expected to highlight the partisan schism around Mueller’s report and the Justice Department’s handling of it. It will give the attorney general his most extensive opportunity to explain the department’s actions, including a news conference held before the report’s release, and for him to repair a reputation bruised by allegations he’s the president’s protector.

A major focus of the hearing is likely to be the Tuesday night revelation, in reports in the Washington Post and the New York Times, that Mueller expressed frustration to Barr in a letter to the Justice Department and in a phone call, with how the conclusions of his investigation were being portrayed.

Barr is also invited to appear Thursday before the Democratic-led House judiciary panel, but the Justice Department said he would not testify if the committee insisted on having its lawyers question the attorney general.

His appearance Wednesday will be before a Republican-led committee chaired by a close ally of the president, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who is expected to focus on concerns that the early days of the FBI’s Russia investigation were tainted by law enforcement bias against Trump.

Democrats are likely to press Barr on statements and actions in the last six weeks that have unnerved them. The tense relations are notable given how Barr breezed through his confirmation process, picking up support from a few Democrats and offering reassuring words about the Justice Department’s independence and the importance of protecting the special counsel’s investigation.

Contentious summary

The first hint of discontent surfaced last month when Barr issued a four-page statement that summarized what he said were the main conclusions of the Mueller report. In the letter, Barr revealed that he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein had cleared Trump of obstruction of justice after Mueller and his team found evidence on both sides of the question but didn’t reach a conclusion.

Barr is likely to defend himself by noting how he released the report on his own even though he didn’t have to under the special counsel regulations, and that doing so fulfilled a pledge he made at to be as transparent as the law allowed. Barr may say he wanted to move quickly to give the public a summary of Mueller’s main findings as the Justice Department spent weeks redacting more sensitive information from the report.

After the letter’s release, Barr raised eyebrows anew when he told a congressional committee he believed the Trump campaign had been spied on, a common talking point of the president and his supporters. A person familiar with Barr’s thinking has said Barr, a former CIA employee, did not mean spying in a necessarily inappropriate way and was simply referring to intelligence collection activities.

He also equivocated on a question of whether Mueller’s investigation was a witch hunt, saying someone who feels wrongly accused would reasonably view an investigation that way. That was a stark turnabout from his confirmation hearing, when he said he didn’t believe Mueller would ever be on a witch hunt.

Then came Barr’s April 18 news conference to announce the release of the Mueller report later that morning.

He repeated about a half dozen times that Mueller’s investigation had found no evidence of collusion between the campaign and Russia, though the special counsel took pains to note in his report that “collusion” was not a legal term, and also pointed out the multiple contacts between the campaign and Russia.

House Democrats are trying to get former FBI director Robert Mueller, who oversaw the special counsel probe, to testify. (Cliff Owen/Associated Press)

In remarks that resembled some of Trump’s own claims, he praised the White House for giving Mueller’s team “unfettered access” to documents and witnesses. He suggested the president had the right to be upset by the investigation, given his “sincere belief that the investigation was undermining his presidency, propelled by his political opponents, and fuelled by illegal leaks.”

Sen. Chris Van Hollen, a Maryland Democrat, on Tuesday accused Barr of misleading the committee in his previous testimony and called on him to resign. 

House panel appearance in doubt

It remained unclear Tuesday whether Barr would appear before the House committee. That panel’s Democratic chairman, Congressman Jerry Nadler of New York, said witnesses could too easily filibuster when questioned by lawmakers restricted by five-minute time limits. Having lawyers do the questioning enables the committee “to dig down on an issue and pursue an issue.”

“And it’s not up to anybody from the executive branch to tell the legislative branch how to conduct our business,” Nadler said.

The committee will vote on allowing staff to question Barr at a separate meeting Wednesday, at the same time Barr takes questions from the Senate.

We dive deep into analysis of the conclusions drawn and not drawn by the Mueller report, and what they could mean for U.S. President Donald Trump. 5:11

The top Republican on the House judiciary panel, Georgia Republican Doug Collins, sharply criticized the plan. Nadler “has taken a voluntary hearing and turned it into a sideshow,” Collins said.

The Justice Department’s stance appears consistent with the Trump administration’s broader strategy of “undermining Congress as an institution,” said Elliot Williams, who previously served as deputy assistant attorney general in the department’s legislative affairs office in the Obama administration.

He said if he were still advising an attorney general, he would resist the idea of staff questioning a Cabinet official. “It’s a rational response to not want them questioning the attorney general,” Williams said.

That said, Williams added, “It’s an incredibly common practice in the House of Representatives and was a practice long before President Trump or William Barr took their offices, and will be a practice long after they’re gone.”

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