The Countdown: NYC mayor, NJ governor races approach final stretch

NEW YORK (WABC) -- "The Countdown" is here to get you caught up with all of the day's political news.

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Wednesday, Oct. 27



Eric Adams, Curtis Sliwa trade attacks in final New York City mayoral debate
With one week to go before Election Day, Eric Adams and Curtis Sliwa met in their final New York City mayoral debate on Tuesday night at WABC-TV studios.

Murphy holds lead over Ciattarelli in latest poll for NJ governor
Lots of eyes are on the New Jersey governor's race, and a new poll shows Phil Murphy with an 11-point lead over Republican opponent Jack Ciattarelli.

Democrats unveil billionaires' tax aimed to help fund Biden's economic plan
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told colleagues Wednesday that Democrats are in "pretty good shape" on President Joe Biden's sweeping domestic plan, but fresh problems emerged as a pivotal Democrat panned a new billionaires' tax to help pay for the $1.75 trillion package.

Monday, Oct. 25



Day 3 of early voting as NYC mayoral candidates prepare for final debate
Day three of New York City's early voting is underway Monday as the mayoral candidates prepare for their final debate. More than 30,000 New Yorkers have already cast their ballots.

Biden 'positive' on budget deal; Manchin OK with wealth tax
Pivotal Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin appears to be on board with White House proposals for new taxes on billionaires and certain corporations to help pay for President Joe Biden's scaled-back social services and climate change package.

President Biden visits students and he touts infrastructure with new portal bridge, build back plan
Days before New Jersey's gubernatorial election, President Joe Biden visits the Garden State to support incumbent Governor Phil Murphy - but also to tout his infrastructure plan and the rest of his "Build Back Better" agenda.

Friday, Oct. 22



Biden's infrastructure bill and the latest on the NYC mayor race.

President Joe Biden travels outside of Washington to build momentum for an infrastructure bill that has long been stalled. Plus, Election Day to determine New York City's next mayor is less than two weeks away, and the state of public education remains one of the most critical and controversial issues in the race.

Tuesday, Oct. 19



78% Of Republicans Want To See Trump Run For President In 2024: Quinnipiac poll

Nearly one year after the 2020 presidential election, a majority of Americans (58 - 35%) say they do not want to see Donald Trump run for president in 2024, according to a Quinnipiac University national poll of adults released Tuesday. Democrats say 94 - 4% and independents say 58 - 35% that they do not want to see Trump run.

Republicans, however, say 78 - 16% that they do want to see Trump run for president in 2024, compared to 66 - 30% in May.

FBI at Russian oligarch's NYC, DC homes for 'law enforcement' action
Federal agents conducted "law enforcement activity" on Tuesday at a New York City apartment and a Washington mansion owned by Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Monday, Oct. 18



Colin Powell, 1st Black US Secretary of State, dies at 84 of COVID-19 complications
Colin Powell, the barrier-breaking soldier and diplomat who served Democratic and Republican presidents in war and peace but whose sterling reputation was stained by his faulty claims to justify the U.S. war in Iraq, died Monday of COVID-19 complications. He was 84.

A veteran of the Vietnam War, Powell spent 35 years in the Army and rose to the rank of four-star general. In 1989, he became the first Black chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In that role he oversaw the U.S. invasion of Panama and later the U.S. invasion of Kuwait to oust the Iraqi army in 1991.

Harlem and South Bronx native Colin Powell's local ties run deep
Colin Powell, the former Joint Chiefs chairman and secretary of state who died from COVID-19 complications, was a product of New York City and had deep ties to the Tri-State Area.

He was born April 5, 1937, in Harlem, the son of Jamaican immigrants. Dad Luther Powell was a shipping-room foreman in the garment district, and his mother, Maud Ariel McKoy, was a seamstress.

NYC mayoral candidates disagree on vaccine mandates
The two nominees for mayor of New York City, Eric Adams and Curtis Sliwa, disagree when it comes to the topic of vaccine mandates.

Out of the Shadows: Christopher Steele defiant on dossier, says Trump still 'potential' threat
Retired British spy Christopher Steele is stepping out of the shadows to discuss his so-called "Steele dossier" for the first time publicly, describing his efforts as apolitical and defending his decision to include the most explosive and criticized claims about Donald Trump contained in his controversial 2016 report.

New Jersey coronavirus update: New COVID vaccine mandate takes effect
Monday marked the first day of a new vaccine mandate in New Jersey that says all state and school workers must be vaccinated or show proof of a negative test.

Wednesday, Oct. 13



Biden tries to tame inflation by having LA port open 24/7
President Joe Biden tried to reassure Americans on Wednesday that he can tame high inflation, announcing a deal to expand operations at the Port of Los Angeles as prices keep climbing and container ships wait to dock in a traffic jam threatening the U.S. economy and holiday shopping.

Prices are jumping in large part because container ships are stranded at ports and because unloaded goods are waiting for trucks, leading to mass shortages and delays that have caused a longer than expected bout of inflation. The rising costs are eating into worker pay, creating a drag on growth and driving Republican criticism of Biden just as his multitrillion-dollar tax, economic, climate and infrastructure agenda is going through the crucible of congressional negotiations.

The White House responded to the backlog by finalizing an agreement for the Port of Los Angeles to become a 24-hour, seven-days-a-week operation. The hope is that nighttime operations will help to break the logjam and reduce shipping delays for toasters, sneakers, bicycles, cars and more.

New wind farms would dot US coastlines under Biden plan
Seven major offshore wind farms would be developed on the East and West coasts and in the Gulf of Mexico under a plan announced Wednesday by the Biden administration.

The projects are part of President Joe Biden's plan to deploy 30 gigawatts of offshore wind energy by 2030, generating enough electricity to power more than 10 million homes.

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said her department hopes to hold lease sales by 2025 off the coasts of Maine, New York and the mid-Atlantic, as well as the Carolinas, California, Oregon and the Gulf of Mexico. The projects are part of Biden's plan to address global warming and could avoid about 78 million metric tons of planet-warming carbon dioxide emissions, while creating up to 77,000 jobs, officials said.

SCOTUS report
On the calendar for Thursday is a big report from the Supreme Court. The president's Court Commission will release a draft of possible court reforms.

Some of what they're examining include the length of service and turnover of the justices on the court, the membership and size of the court and the court's case selection, rules and practices.

The commission followed through on a campaign promise President Biden made after the death of Ruth Bader Ginsberg.

Republicans took swift action to install Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett as her replacement before he took office - the third of three Supreme Court nominees confirmed under President Trump.

Wednesday, Oct. 6



Biden enlists CEOs to warn of default if debt ceiling not raised
President Joe Biden enlisted top business leaders Wednesday to push for immediately suspending the federal debt limit, saying the approaching Oct. 18 deadlines creates the risk of a historic default that would be like a "meteor" that could crush the economy and financial markets.

Mayor among several NYC officials mulling run for governor, Hochul not fazed
Despite approval ratings that are underwater, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is mulling a run for governor. In fact, he's one of several City officials that are looking into possibly challenging Gov. Kathy Hochul in the 2022 election.

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A Quinnipiac poll finds most Americans do not approve of President Biden's performance, including his handling of the economy which hangs in the balance over the debt ceiling.



Monday, Oct. 4



Andrew Yang is 'breaking up' with the Democratic Party and is now an independent
Andrew Yang, who unsuccessfully sought the 2020 presidential nomination and New York mayoralty this year as a Democrat, said Monday he is "breaking up" with the Democratic Party and has registered as an independent.

NY Democratic Chair Jay Jacobs endorses Gov. Kathy Hochul for 2022 election
State Democratic Chair Jay Jacobs personally endorsed Governor Kathy Hochul for governor next year, an early attempt to fend off an increasingly messy primary that could threaten to divide the party.

US Supreme Court starts new term by physically returning to court for first time in 18 months
The Supreme Court is beginning a momentous new term with a return to familiar surroundings, the mahogany and marble courtroom that the justices abandoned more than 18 months ago because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Thursday, Sept. 30



Crisis averted on Capitol Hill
With only hours to spare, Congress passed legislation that would avoid a partial federal shutdown and keep the government funded through Dec. 3, and sent the bill to President Joe Biden.

The back-to-back votes by the Senate and then the House will help avert one crisis, but delays another as the political parties dig in on a dispute over how to raise the government's borrowing cap before the United States risks a potentially catastrophic default.

The House approved the short-term funding measure by a 254-175 vote not long after Senate passage in a 65-35 vote. A large majority of Republicans in both chambers voted against it. The legislation was needed to keep the government running once the current budget year ended at midnight Thursday. Passage will buy lawmakers more time to craft the spending measures that will fund federal agencies and the programs they administer.

The work to keep the government open and running served as the backdrop during a chaotic day for Democrats as they struggled to get Biden's top domestic priorities over the finish line, including a bipartisan $1 trillion infrastructure bill at risk of stalling in the House.

NYPD investigating 2 officers for possible ties to Oath Keepers
The NYPD is investigating whether two active members have ties to the far-right extremist group Oath Keepers.

"I'm real concerned. Organizations that supported the insurrection on January 6th in Washington, organizations that are trying to destroy our democratic freedoms, undermine our nation, undermine our people, that's very, very troubling to me that anyone would want to be a part of that," Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

An NYPD spokesperson would only say, "The incident is under internal review."
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Bill Ritter has more on the crisis averted on Capitol Hill and the NYPD's investigation into two of its officers.



Wednesday, Sept. 29



Government shutdown, debt default loom as Congress scrambles to reach deal on spending bill
Pressure mounting but with signs of progress, President Joe Biden will hunker down at the White House to try to strike a deal and win over two holdout Democratic senators whose support is needed for his potentially historic $3.5 trillion government overhaul.

With Republicans solidly opposed and no Democratic votes to spare, Biden canceled a Wednesday trip to Chicago that was to focus on COVID-19 vaccinations so he could dig in for another day of intense negotiations with lawmakers ahead of crucial votes.

How a government shutdown would impact everyday Americans
Lawmakers are scrambling to find a way to avoid a shutdown as the government is set to run out of money Thursday without congressional action.

Failure to prevent a government shutdown has far-reaching consequences beyond Washington and would affect a large swath of Americans, from new home buyers and Social Security recipients to air travelers and National Parks visitors.

Campaign speech? Attorney General Letitia James goes on offensive against Cuomo
New York Attorney General Letitia James remained quiet as allies of former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo criticized the investigation that led to his resignation, but she used a speech Wednesday before the Association for a Better New York to say, "That changes today."

James' investigation found that Cuomo sexually harassed 11 women, including a state trooper assigned to his security detail, which Cuomo has denied.
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Bill Ritter has more on the massive scramble to avert a government shutdown and Letitia James' comments about Andrew Cuomo and a possible run at governor.



Monday, Sept. 27, 2021



Biden receives COVID-19 booster shot
President Joe Biden received his COVID-19 vaccine booster shot on Monday afternoon at the White House just days after booster doses were approved by federal health officials.

The president received his first two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine ahead of his inauguration in January. The 78-year-old president qualified for a booster dose since he received his second Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine more than six months ago and is in an eligible age group.

Failed assassin John Hinckley Jr. approved for full release decades after shooting President Reagan
A federal judge said Monday that John Hinckley Jr., who tried to assassinate President Ronald Reagan four decades ago, can be freed from all remaining restrictions next year if he continues to follow those rules and remains mentally stable.

U.S. District Court Judge Paul L. Friedman in Washington said during a 90-minute court hearing that he'll issue his ruling on the plan this week.

Friday, Sept. 24, 2021


January 6 committee issues first subpoenas to former Trump aides, advisers

The select committee investigating the January 6 riot at the US Capitol issued its first round of subpoenas Thursday, targeting close aides and allies of former President Donald Trump.
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The select committee investigating the January 6 riot at the US Capitol issued its first round of subpoenas Thursday, targeting close aides and allies of former President Donald Trump.



Wednesday, Sept. 22



Biden to double US global donation of COVID-19 vaccine shots to 1 billion Pfizer doses
President Joe Biden announced Wednesday that the United States is doubling its purchase of Pfizer's COVID-19 shots to share with the world to 1 billion doses as he embraces the goal of vaccinating 70% of the global population within the next year.

The stepped-up U.S. commitment marks the cornerstone of the global vaccination summit Biden convened virtually on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly, where he encouraged well-off nations to do more to get the coronavirus under control.

Many Haitian migrants camped at Texas border town are being released in US, officials say
Many Haitian migrants camped in a small Texas border town are being released in the United States, two U.S. officials said Tuesday, undercutting the Biden administration's public statements that the thousands in the camp faced immediate expulsion.

Tuesday, Sept. 21



Biden tells UN General Assembly world is at 'inflection point' amid COVID, climate crises
President Joe Biden used his first address before the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday to summon allies to move more quickly to address the festering issues of the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change and human rights abuses, while insisting the U.S. is not seeking "a new Cold War" with China.

White House faces bipartisan backlash on Haitian migrants
The White House is facing sharp condemnation from Democrats for its handling of the influx of Haitian migrants at the U.S. southern border, after images of U.S. Border Patrol agents on horseback using aggressive tactics went viral this week.

Gov. Hochul, Mayor de Blasio roll out new plans to address climate change
In honor of Climate Week, New York Governor Kathy Hochul toured the new 1-acre working farm atop the Javits Convention Center, and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a major new investment in renewable energy.
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Bill Ritter has the latest on the disturbing images seen at the border along the Rio Grande and President Biden's first address at the United Nations.



Wednesday, Sept. 15



California Gov. Gavin Newsom beats back GOP-led recall
California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday emphatically defeated a recall aimed at kicking him out of office early, a contest the Democrat framed as part of a national battle for his party's values in the face of the coronavirus pandemic and continued threats from "Trumpism."

Justice Department asks judge to block Texas from enforcing abortion law
The Justice Department has asked a federal court in Texas to stop the enforcement of a new state law that bans most abortions in the state while it decides the case.

The Texas law, known as SB8, prohibits abortions once medical professionals can detect cardiac activity - usually around six weeks, before some women know they're pregnant. Courts have blocked other states from imposing similar restrictions, but Texas' law differs significantly because it leaves enforcement to private citizens through civil lawsuits instead of criminal prosecutors.

Tuesday, Sept. 14



How California could remove Gov. Gavin Newsom in today's recall election
The California recall election that could remove first-term Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom from office wraps up Tuesday. Nearly 8 million mail-in ballots - the form of voting most Californians use - already have been returned out of 22 million sent to registered voters.

The contest unfolded this summer as the nation's most populous state saw a surge in coronavirus infections from the highly contagious delta variant and the return of masks and other restrictions in many places. There have been raging wildfires, crime rates have risen and a homeless crisis persists unabated.

Monday, Sept. 13



Right-wing protestors plan Saturday rally at US Capitol in attempt to change Jan. 6 narrative
First, some blamed the deadly Jan. 6 attack at the U.S. Capitol on left-wing antifa antagonists, a theory quickly debunked. Then came comparisons of the rioters to peaceful protesters or even tourists.

Now, allies of former President Donald Trump are calling those charged in the Capitol riot "political prisoners," a stunning effort to revise the narrative of that deadly day.

Justice Amy Coney Barrett expresses concern about the Supreme Court's public perception
Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett expressed concerns Sunday that the public may increasingly see the court as a partisan institution.

Justices must be "hyper vigilant to make sure they're not letting personal biases creep into their decisions, since judges are people, too," Barrett said at a lecture hosted by the University of Louisville's McConnell Center.

Wednesday, Sept. 8



Texas Gov. Greg Abbott defends abortion law with no rape exceptions
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday defended a new state law banning most abortions that also does not provide exceptions for cases of rape or incest, saying it does not force victims to give birth even though it prohibits abortions before some women know they're pregnant.

Abbott, a Republican, added that Texas would strive to "eliminate all rapists from the streets" while taking questions during his first press conference since the law took effect last week.

Tuesday, Sept. 7



President Joe Biden surveying deadly Ida disaster zones in NJ, NYC
President Joe Biden traveled to New Jersey and New York City Tuesday to survey damage in parts of the northeast that suffered catastrophic flash flooding from the remnants of Hurricane Ida.

He planned to use the muddy backdrop to call for federal spending to fortify infrastructure so it can better withstand such powerful storms, with his plan calling for $1 trillion in infrastructure spending nationwide currently pending in Congress.

Jill Biden heads back to classroom as a working first lady
Jill Biden is going back to her whiteboard. After months of teaching writing and English to community college students in boxes on a computer screen, the first lady resumes teaching in-person Tuesday from a classroom at Northern Virginia Community College, where she has worked since 2009.

4 American citizens evacuated over Afghanistan's land border, official says
The U.S. Department of State has facilitated the evacuation of four U.S. citizens across one of Afghanistan's land borders -- the first Americans to leave the country with help from the U.S. government since President Joe Biden ended the massive, chaotic evacuation efforts that closed the country's longest war.

Four Americans made their way across land with Taliban knowledge, according to a senior State Department official, who told ABC News that they evacuated without Taliban interference.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signs new Republican voting restrictions into law
Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday signed into law a bill that bans 24-hour and drive-thru voting, imposes new hurdles on mail-in ballots and empowers partisan poll watchers.

The restrictive voting measure adds Texas to the list of Republican-controlled states that have seized on former President Donald Trump's lies about widespread voter fraud and clamped down on access to the ballot box this year. Already, Florida, Georgia and other states have enacted new voting laws.

Israeli army says it launched strikes on Hamas site in Gaza
Israel launched airstrikes on what it said was a Hamas military site in the Gaza Strip early on Tuesday, after incendiary balloons were sent into Israeli territory, the army said. Israeli forces, meanwhile, searched for six Palestinian prisoners who had escaped from a high-security facility in the biggest prison break of its kind in decades.

Fighter jets struck a Hamas rocket manufacturing workshop as well as a Hamas military compound in Khan Yunis, a city in southern Gaza, according to the army statement. The army said the compound houses a cement factory used for building tunnels used for terror attacks "and is purposefully located in a civilian area adjacent to a mosque and a water treatment site."

Monday, Aug. 30



America's longest war ends after 20 years as last US troops depart Afghanistan
The United States on Monday completed its withdrawal from Afghanistan, ending America's longest war and closing a chapter in military history likely to be remembered for colossal failures, unfulfilled promises and a frantic final exit that cost the lives of more than 180 Afghans and 13 U.S. service members, some barely older than the war.

Hours ahead of President Joe Biden's Tuesday deadline for shutting down a final airlift, and thus ending the U.S. war, Air Force transport planes carried a remaining contingent of troops from Kabul airport. Thousands of troops had spent a harrowing two weeks protecting a hurried and risky airlift of tens of thousands of Afghans, Americans and others seeking to escape a country once again ruled by Taliban militants.

Thursday, Aug. 26



12 U.S. service members among at least 72 killed in suicide attacks outside Kabul airport
Two suicide bombers and gunmen attacked crowds of Afghans flocking to Kabul's airport Thursday, transforming a scene of desperation into one of horror in the waning days of an airlift for those fleeing the Taliban takeover. At least 60 Afghans and 12 U.S. troops were killed, Afghan and U.S. officials said.

U.S. officials said 11 Marines and one Navy medic were among those who died. They said another 12 service members were wounded and warned the toll could grow. More than 140 Afghans were wounded, an Afghan official said.

One of the bombers struck people standing knee-deep in a wastewater canal under the sweltering sun, throwing bodies into the fetid water. Those who moments earlier had hoped to get on flights out could be seen carrying the wounded to ambulances in a daze, their own clothes darkened with blood.

A U.S. official said the complex attack was believed to have been carried out by the Islamic State group. The IS affiliate in Afghanistan is far more radical than the Taliban, who recently took control of the country in a lightning blitz and condemned the attack.

Hochul announces Benjamin as pick for lieutenant governor
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul introduced state Sen. Brian Benjamin as her choice for lieutenant governor Thursday in the senator's Harlem district, where the two promised to work together to address the ongoing pandemic and get COVID-19 relief into New Yorkers' pockets.

Hochul, the former lieutenant governor, took office Tuesday after the resignation of Andrew Cuomo amid a sexual harassment scandal. Hochul, who plans to run in the Democratic gubernatorial primary in June, and Benjamin spoke Thursday alongside longtime Cuomo allies who ultimately called on him to resign: Rev. Al Sharpton and NAACP New York State Conference President Hazel Dukes.

Benjamin will be sworn-in "right after Labor Day," Hochul said.
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Bill Ritter is joined by the political team to discuss the latest from Afghanistan and on Gov. Kathy Hochul's first week.



Wednesday, Aug. 25



Gov. Hochul adds 12,000 deaths to publicized COVID tally
Following through on a promise of more transparency in government, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul's administration has published COVID death statistics that the Cuomo administration did not make public. The administration is acknowledging nearly 12,000 more deaths in the state from COVID-19 than previously publicized.

Hochul plans to mandate masks in schools, vaccines for teachers in New York
Governor Kathy Hochul is making her objectives very clear; ethics, reform, and school safety - especially when it comes to COVID-19. Governor Hochul says she is directing the State Department of Health to institute a universal mask requirement in schools.

US deadline to withdraw from Afghanistan looms as Poland halts evacuations from Kabul's airport
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said as many as 1,500 Americans are awaiting evacuation from Afghanistan, and 4,500 were already flown out.

State Sen. Brian Benjamin is frontrunner choice for Hochul's lieutenant governor: Source
Gov. Kathy Hochul is expected to name State Sen. Brian Benjamin to be her lieutenant governor as early as Thursday in Harlem, according to a person familiar with her thinking. Hochul, who is from Western New York, had previously said she would pick a lieutenant governor from NYC.

House passes voting rights bill named after John Lewis, looking to bolster landmark law
House Democrats have passed legislation that would strengthen a landmark civil rights-era voting law weakened by the Supreme Court over the past decade, a step party leaders tout as progress in their quest to fight back against voting restrictions advanced in Republican-led states.
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Bill Ritter breaks down the Afghanistan crisis, the latest on the January 6 investigation and who Kathy Hochul is eyeing for lieutenant governor.



Tuesday, Aug. 24



Cuomo's clemency pick, David Gilbert from Brink's armored truck robbery, sparks outrage
On his final day in office, Governor Andrew Cuomo granted clemency to one of the gang members behind the infamous Brink's armored truck robbery in 1981. And that choice is sparking outrage in some circles.

Cuomo loses Emmy hours after resigning from office
Hours after leaving office, scandal-tainted former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo suffered another defeat Tuesday, losing the special Emmy Award he received last year for his daily, televised briefings on the coronavirus pandemic.

The International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences said in a statement that given Cuomo's resignation amid a torrent of sexual harassment allegations it was taking away the prize and removing any reference to him in its official materials.

Biden decides to stick with Aug. 31 final pullout as Kabul airlifts continue
President Joe Biden has decided not to extend his Aug. 31 deadline for completing the U.S.-led evacuation of Americans and Afghan allies from Afghanistan, an administration official said Tuesday.

Biden made the decision after consultation with his national security team. Weighing the risks of keeping forces on the ground beyond the deadline, he opted to complete the mission by next Tuesday, which was the deadline he set well before the Taliban completed its takeover of Afghanistan on Aug. 15.

House moderates offered deal to ease Biden infrastructure budget standoff
Compromising with moderates, House Democratic leaders will try again Tuesday to muscle President Joe Biden's multitrillion-dollar budget blueprint over a key hurdle, hoping to end a standoff that halted proceedings and risked upending their domestic infrastructure agenda.

Tensions flared overnight as a band of moderate lawmakers threatened to withhold their votes for the $3.5 trillion plan. They were demanding the House first approve a nearly $1 trillion bipartisan package of road, power grid, broadband and other public works projects that's already passed the Senate.

Monday, Aug. 23



Andrew Cuomo delivers Farewell address to New Yorkers
It's Governor Andrew Cuomo's final full day in office, and he delivered a Farewell address to New Yorkers on Monday and portrayed himself as the victim of a "media frenzy."

In the pre-recorded speech, Cuomo repeated his contention that the Attorney General's report on his alleged sexual misconduct was politically motivated, that he would eventually be exonerated.

FDA gives full approval to Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine
The U.S. gave full approval to Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine Monday, a milestone that could boost public confidence in the shots and spur more companies, universities and local governments to make vaccinations mandatory.

The Pentagon immediately announced it will press ahead with plans to require members of the military to get the vaccine as the U.S., and the world, battle the extra-contagious delta variant.

Deadly gunfire at Kabul airport; Taliban insist on US pullout date from Afghanistan

A firefight outside Kabul's international airport killed an Afghan soldier early Monday, highlighting the perils of evacuation efforts even as the Taliban warned any attempt by U.S. troops to delay their withdrawal to give people more time to flee would "provoke a reaction."

The shooting came as the Taliban moved to shore up their position and eliminate pockets of armed resistance to their lightning takeover earlier this month. The Taliban said they retook three districts north of the capital seized by opponents the day before and had surrounded Panjshir, the last province that remains out of their control.

Vaccine or testing mandate announced for all pre-K-12 school personnel in New Jersey
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced a vaccine or testing mandate for all school personnel grades pre-K through 12.

Murphy said those personnel will be required to either be fully vaccinated by Oct. 18 or undergo regular testing at a minimum of once or twice each week.

NYC school employees must get 1st vaccine by Sept. 27, no testing option
Mayor Bill de Blasio says New York City public school employees will have to have received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine by September 27th. The new vaccination policy will not allow weekly testing as an option.

The policy is the first blanket vaccination mandate for a class of municipal workers, although certain groups of employees had previously been told they would be required to get vaccinated based on their specific responsibilities.
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In a matter of hours, Kathy Hochul will be sworn in as the 57th governor of New York, and the first woman to hold that office.



Tuesday, Aug. 17



US to recommend COVID vaccine booster shots for all Americans at 8 months: Sources
U.S. experts are expected to recommend COVID-19 vaccine boosters for all Americans, regardless of age, eight months after they received their second dose of the shot, to ensure lasting protection against the coronavirus as the delta variant spreads across the country.

Federal health officials have been actively looking at whether extra shots for the vaccinated would be needed as early as this fall, reviewing case numbers in the U.S. as well as the situation in other countries such as Israel, where preliminary studies suggest the vaccine's protection against serious illness dropped among those vaccinated in January.

In Afghanistan, Taliban vow to honor women's rights but within Islamic law
The Taliban vowed Tuesday to respect women's rights, forgive those who resisted them and ensure a secure Afghanistan as part of a publicity blitz aimed at convincing world powers and a fearful population that they have changed.

Following a lightning offensive across Afghanistan that saw many cities fall to the insurgents without a fight, the Taliban have sought to portray themselves as more moderate than when they imposed a brutal rule in the late 1990s. But many Afghans remain skeptical - and thousands raced to the airport on Monday, desperate to flee the country.

Monday, Aug. 16



Biden says he stands 'squarely behind' Afghanistan decision
Striking a defiant tone, President Joe Biden said Monday that he stands "squarely behind" his decision to withdraw U.S. forces from Afghanistan and that the Afghan government's collapse was quicker than anticipated.

Biden said he was faced with a choice between sticking to a previously negotiated agreement to withdraw U.S. troops this year or sending thousands more service members back into Afghanistan for a "third decade" of war.

7 killed as Kabul airport plunges into chaos while Taliban patrols Afghan capital
Thousands of Afghans rushed into Kabul's main airport Monday, some so desperate to escape the Taliban that they held onto a military jet as it took off and plunged to their deaths. At least seven people died in the chaos, U.S. officials said, as America's longest war ended with its enemy the victor.

The crowds came while the Taliban enforced their rule over the capital of 5 million people after a lightning advance across the country that took just over a week to dethrone the country's Western-backed government. There were no major reports of abuses or fighting, but many residents stayed home and remained fearful after the insurgents' advance saw prisons emptied and armories looted.

New York mandating COVID-19 vaccine for all health care workers
Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Monday that all health care workers in New York State, including staff at hospitals, long-term care facilities, nursing homes, adult care, and other congregate care settings, will be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Monday, September 27, with limited exceptions for those with religious or medical reasons.

To date, 75% of the state's 450,000 hospital workers, 74% of the state's 30,000 adult care facility workers, and 68% of the state's 145,500 nursing home workers have completed their vaccine series.

'Key to NYC': Indoor vaccine mandate begins on Tuesday
Entertainment venues, gyms, and indoor dining in New York City will soon be off-limits for anyone who is unvaccinated. New York City's indoor vaccine mandate begins Tuesday as part of Mayor Bill de Blasio's "Key to NYC" plan.

Thursday, Aug. 12



Who will Hochul pick for lieutenant governor?
Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, who will serve out the remainder of Andrew Cuomo's term after he steps down amid sexual harassment allegations, said Thursday she plans to run for governor in her own right next year.

The 62-year-old Hochul, who gave her first news conference as governor in waiting on Wednesday, reiterated that she will not tolerate harassment in her administration.

"I want to make sure that there's a message that I'm tough," Hochul said Thursday. "I'm not going to put up with anything that crosses the line or even comes close to the line because this should be an environment where all people, women, members of the LGBTQ community, anyone, is free of harassment that they can come to work, work for the people of New York state, focused and get the job done."

Now the question is who will she pick for her number two.

US sending 3K troops for partial Afghan embassy evacuation
Just weeks before the U.S. is scheduled to end its war in Afghanistan, the Biden administration is rushing 3,000 fresh troops to the Kabul airport to help with a partial evacuation of the U.S. Embassy. The move highlights the stunning speed of a Taliban takeover of much of the country, including their capture on Thursday of Kandahar, the second-largest city and the birthplace of the Taliban movement.

The State Department said the embassy will continue functioning, but Thursday's dramatic decision to bring in thousands of additional U.S. troops is a sign of waning confidence in the Afghan government's ability to hold off the Taliban surge. The announcement came just hours after the Taliban captured the western city of Herat as well as Ghazni, a strategic provincial capital south of Kabul. The advance, and the partial U.S. Embassy evacuation, increasingly isolate the nation's capital, home to millions of Afghans.
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Bill Ritter and his political guests discuss Kathy Hochul's pick for lieutenant governor and the growing threat in Afghanistan.



Wednesday, Aug. 11



Kathy Hochul says she's ready to lead New York
Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul told New Yorkers that she is prepared to lead after Gov. Andrew Cuomo steps down. Hochul, who is set to take the reins of power in 13 days, gave her first public remarks a day after Cuomo's announcement that he would resign rather than face a likely impeachment trial over allegations that he sexually harassed several women, including one who accused him of groping her breast.

Questions linger for Andrew Cuomo's future after governor resigns amid scandals
After months of holding on to power amid sexual harassment allegations and accusations of a coverup regarding nursing home deaths, New York Govenor Andrew Cuomo abruptly resigned Tuesday.

But questions remain about what Cuomo is facing even after he leaves office in 14 days. He could face civil lawsuits or even criminal charges related to the alleged harassment, and some lawmakers are still pushing for impeachment proceedings they say are the only way to hold Cuomo truly accountable.

Senate OKs Democrats' $3.5 trillion budget in latest win for Biden
Democrats pushed a $3.5 trillion framework for bolstering family services, health, and environment programs through the Senate early Wednesday, advancing President Joe Biden's expansive vision for reshaping federal priorities just hours after handing him a companion triumph on a hefty infrastructure package.

President Biden nominates Damian Williams to become 1st Black Manhattan US Attorney
President Joe Biden on Tuesday announced his nominees to lead high-profile U.S. Attorney offices in Manhattan and Brooklyn.

Biden picked Damian Williams for the top spot in Manhattan's Southern District of New York, and Breon Peace to head Brooklyn's Eastern District of New York. Both men are Black, and Williams would be the first Black person to run the Manhattan office.
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Bill Ritter and political guests discuss Kathy Hochul's first public address following Governor Cuomo's resignation, plus the latest on the Taliban and Senate budget.


Tuesday, Aug. 10



Gov. Cuomo announces resignation amid sexual harassment investigation
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Tuesday he is resigning, effective in 14 days, amid a sexual harassment investigation. Cuomo denied any wrongdoing and apologized for any pain he may have caused, and he said his instinct is to fight through a controversy he believes is politically motivated.

Who is Kathy Hochul? Meet New York's next governor
As New York's lieutenant governor, Kathy Hochul has spent years on the road as the friendly face of the administration, visiting the far-flung coffee shops and factory floors of each of the state's 62 counties for countless ribbon-cutting ceremonies and civic cheerleading events.

Now, with Gov. Andrew Cuomo resigning over sexual harassment allegations in 14 days, her next stop will be the state Capitol of Albany.

'Right thing to do': Officials react to Gov. Andrew Cuomo's resignation
Reaction was quick to pour in once Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced his resignation Tuesday over a barrage of sexual harassment allegations.

Andrew Cuomo's accusers 'vindicated and relieved,' attorney says
An attorney for two women who accused New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo of sexual harassment said her clients were "vindicated and relieved that Cuomo will no longer be in a position of power over anyone." Mariann Wang represents Alyssa McGrath and Virginia Limmiatis.

Senate passes $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, package now heads to House
With a robust vote after weeks of fits and starts, the Senate approved a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure plan on Tuesday, a r are coalition of Democrats and Republicans joining to overcome skeptics and deliver a cornerstone of President Joe Biden's agenda.

The 69-30 tally provides momentum for this first phase of Biden's "Build Back Better" priorities, now headed to the House. A sizable number of lawmakers showed they were willing to set aside partisan pressures, eager to send billions to their states for rebuilding roads, broadband internet, water pipes and the public works systems that underpin much of American life.

What's next: Could Andrew Cuomo face criminal charges, civil lawsuits?
Governor Andrew Cuomo announced his resignation Tuesday, effective in 14 days, but he could still face local criminal charges or civil lawsuits amid accusations of sexual harassment.

The three-term Democrat's decision comes as momentum built in the Legislature to remove him by impeachment and after New York Attorney General Letitia James released the results of an investigation that found Cuomo sexually harassed at least 11 women.

From "America's governor' to the scandal that led to Cuomo's fall
As governor, Andrew Cuomo touted himself as an example of a "progressive Democrat" who gets things done, but his record will be tarnished by the sexual harassment scandal that eventually led to his resignation.

Monday, Aug. 9



Cuomo moves closer to impeachment as lawmakers meet, accuser speaks out
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo faces another day under fire Monday as a key legislative committee met to discuss possible impeachment proceedings and a woman who has accused him of groping her speaks in her first TV interview.

The state assembly's judiciary committee expects to conclude its impeachment investigation in "several weeks" before deciding if Gov Cuomo will face impeachment.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's top aide, Melissa DeRosa, resigns
Melissa DeRosa, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's top aide, has resigned from her role, she told the media Sunday night, about a week after a state attorney general report found the governor had sexually harassed 11 women.

DeRosa, who joined Cuomo's administration in 2013, eventually became one of the governor's most trusted confidantes. She wrote in a statement to news organizations that serving the people of New York had been "the greatest honor of my life."

Senate heads toward final vote on bipartisan infrastructure package this week
The massive $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package is poised for a final vote in the Senate this week after clearing the last procedural hurdle following months of furious negotiations.

The chamber on Sunday evening voted 68-29 to invoke cloture on the underlying legislation, setting up a final vote after the 30-hour post-cloture time expires early Tuesday morning, unless there's an agreement to speed up the process.

Pentagon to require COVID vaccine for all troops by Sept. 15
The Pentagon will require members of the U.S. military to get the COVID-19 vaccine by Sept. 15, according to a memo obtained by The Associated Press. That deadline could be pushed up if the vaccine receives final FDA approval or infection rates continue to rise.

Thursday, Aug. 5



Lawmakers give Cuomo deadline in impeachment probe
State lawmakers told Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday that their ongoing impeachment investigation is almost done and gave him a deadline of Aug. 13 to provide additional evidence.

Since March, the Assembly's judiciary committee has been investigating whether there are grounds to impeach the Democratic governor over sexual harassment allegations, misleading the public about COVID-19 outbreaks at nursing homes and using state resources and staff for his $5 million book deal.

In a letter sent Thursday, the law firm leading the investigation, Davis Polk & Wardwell, reminded Cuomo's legal team that it has subpoenaed certain documents and expects "full compliance from the governor," but that his time to respond was almost up.

Majority of NY Assembly would oust Cuomo if he doesn't quit
A majority of state Assembly members support beginning impeachment proceedings against Gov. Andrew Cuomo if he doesn't resign over investigative findings that he sexually harassed at least 11 women, according to an Associated Press count Wednesday.

At least 86 of the body's 150 members have said publicly or told The AP that they favored initiating the process of ousting the third-term Democratic governor if he doesn't quit. It takes a simple majority to authorize an impeachment trial.

The tally reflects a governor plunged into a political deep freeze - a Democratic scion who has now lost most, if not all, of his allies in the party establishment, just a year after basking in national attention as a blunt-but-relatable voice of fighting the coronavirus.
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Bill and the political team discuss how long Gov. Cuomo can hang on and if he can win back the support he's lost.



Wednesday, Aug. 4



4 NY DAs request materials in possible Cuomo criminal probe
District attorneys from Manhattan, Nassau County, Westchester County, and Albany have requested materials from the New York Attorney General's Office in a possible criminal probe of harassment allegations against Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Some of the conduct alleged in the report released Tuesday occurred in those counties, though Attorney General Letitia James said the findings of her inquiry were civil in nature. Still, she did not rule out the possibility of local criminal charges.

'Ample chance' for more dangerous COVID variant if more Americans aren't vaccinated, Fauci says
If more Americans don't get vaccinated, there is "ample chance" of another coronavirus variant emerging, one that could be more aggressive and more pervasive than the delta variant, Dr. Anthony Fauci warned Wednesday.

"If another one comes along that has an equally high capability of transmitting but also is much more severe, then we really could be in trouble," Fauci, the nation's leading infectious disease expert, said in an interview.

With unvaccinated Americans driving the country's latest surge, experts have stressed that the more the virus continues to spread, the more opportunities it has to mutate -- making it more likely that another variant, which could pose a problem to vaccines, could arise.

FDA could give full approval to Pfizer vaccine in weeks
The Pfizer vaccine, which was first COVID shot available after the FDA gave it emergency use authorization in December, may be just weeks away from full approval.

A senior White House official says it could be fully approved by early September. Dr. Anthony Fauci says that approval will be crucial for vaccine mandates.

Murphy rips vaccine protesters as "ultimate knuckleheads"
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy spoke out about anti-vaccine protesters at his Union City bill signing on Wednesday calling them "the ultimate knuckleheads."

"You've lost your minds. You are the ultimate knuckleheads. And because of what you are saying and standing for, people are losing their life," he said.

Murphy started by telling event attendees sitting in socially distant chairs on Summit Avenue that New Jersey has reached "an inflection point in our fight, not just against the COVID pandemic, but also against the tremendous upheaval for thousands and thousands of New Jerseyans."

Obama scales back 60th birthday celebration
Former President Barack Obama has "significantly scaled back" his plan to host hundreds for his 60th birthday party amid concerns about spreading the delta variant of COVID-19, a spokesperson confirmed to ABC News Wednesday morning.

The spokesperson said the event on Martha's Vineyard will now include only family and close friends. Hundreds of former administration officials, celebrities and Democratic donors were originally slated attend the party.
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Bill has more on the fallout from the AG's report on Gov. Cuomo, Fauci's grim prediction and more.


Tuesday, Aug. 3



Cuomo urged to resign after probe finds he harassed 11 women
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo faced mounting pressure Tuesday to resign, including from President Joe Biden and other onetime Democratic allies, after an investigation found he sexually harassed nearly a dozen women and worked to retaliate against one of his accusers.

"I think he should resign," Biden told reporters Tuesday, echoing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and New York's U.S. Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, all Democrats.

The leader of the state Assembly, which has the power to bring impeachment charges, said it was clear Cuomo could no longer remain in office. Speaker Carl Heastie, a Democrat, said he would move to complete an impeachment inquiry "as quickly as possible."

Cuomo remained defiant, saying in a taped response to the findings that "the facts are much different than what has been portrayed" and that he "never touched anyone inappropriately or made inappropriate sexual advances."

Cuomo rejects AG report, denies doing anything inappropriate
A defiant Governor Andrew Cuomo rejected New York Attorney General's findings saying in a taped response that "the facts are much different than what has been portrayed" and that he "never touched anyone inappropriately or made inappropriate sexual advances."

"I am 63 years old, I have lived my entire life in public view, that's just not who I am or who I have ever been," he said.

Cuomo's lawyer issued a written rebuttal to the investigation's findings. Cuomo said he was hiring an expert to reform sexual harassment training for state employees, including the governor.

In his taped response, Cuomo apologized to two accusers: Bennett, who said the governor asked if she was open to sex with an older man after she confided in him that she had been a victim of sexual assault, and a woman he kissed at a wedding - an incident reported in a front-page story in The New York Times.

Still, Cuomo equivocated and lashed out at the investigative process, saying it was rife with "politics and bias." He explained that he's been physically embracing people his whole life, that his mother and father, former Gov. Mario Cuomo, had done the same and that the gesture was meant to "convey warmth."

Could Cuomo be impeached or face criminal charges?
While the New York Attorney General's role is concluded, Governor Cuomo could still face impeachment, local criminal charges, or civil lawsuits.

New York Attorney General Letitia James concluded the investigation without referring the case to prosecutors for possible criminal charges but that's not where the story ends.
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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is facing mounting pressure to resign after an investigation found he sexually harassed 11 women -- so what happens next?


Monday, Aug. 2



MTA, NY Port Authority workers must be vaccinated or test weekly starting Labor Day
Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that all MTA employees and New York employees of the Port Authority must be vaccinated or tested weekly starting Labor Day.

The governor had just imposed similar requirements on state employees last week.

Health care workers in NJ must get vaccinated or test
Governor Phil Murphy announced Monday that all employees in certain health care facilities and other high-risk congregate settings in New Jersey will be required to complete a full vaccination course or undergo regular testing at a minimum of once to twice each week.

Full compliance is required by September 7.

NYC issues 'strong recommendation,' stops short of mask mandate
For the first time, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio recommended Monday vaccinated people wear a mask in crowded indoor settings, but he stopped short of making the new CDC masking guidance mandatory in the city.

"We want to strongly recommend that people wear a mask in indoor settings even if you're vaccinated," de Blasio said. "This is particularly true of course if you might be around anyone unvaccinated."

Senator Lindsey Graham tests positive for COVID-19
U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham has tested positive for the coronavirus, the first senator to disclose a breakthrough infection after being vaccinated.

In a statement issued Monday afternoon, the South Carolina Republican said that he "started having flu-like symptoms Saturday night" and went to the doctor Monday morning.

Senate reveals details of nearly $1T bipartisan infrastructure bill
After much delay, senators unveiled a nearly $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package Sunday night, wrapping up days of painstaking work on the inches-thick bill and launching what is certain to be a lengthy debate over President Joe Biden's big priority.

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act clocked in at some 2,700 pages, and senators could begin amending it soon. Despite the hurry-up-and-wait during a rare weekend session, the final product was not intended to stray from the broad outline senators had negotiated for weeks with the White House.
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Bill has more on the infrastructure bill & how local leaders are trying to get ahead of the delta variant.


Thursday, July 29



Federal workers required to get vaccinated or face mandatory masking, weekly testing, distancing
The nation's millions of federal workers will be required to verify they've been vaccinated against the coronavirus or else face mandatory masking, weekly testing, distancing and other new rules, the Biden administration announced Thursday.

The newly strict guidelines are aimed at boosting sluggish vaccination rates among the huge numbers of Americans who draw federal paychecks and to set an example for private employers around the country.

"It's a pandemic of the unvaccinated," President Joe Biden said in a White House address. Then he repeated it with emotion in his voice. "People are dying who don't have to die."

Congress passes bill to fund Capitol security
Congress overwhelmingly passed emergency legislation Thursday that would bolster security at the Capitol, repay outstanding debts from the violent Jan. 6 insurrection and increase the number of visas for allies who worked alongside Americans in the Afghanistan war.

The $2.1 billion bill now goes to President Joe Biden for his signature. The Senate approved the legislation early Thursday afternoon, 98-0, and the House passed it immediately afterward, 416-11.

Senators struck a bipartisan agreement on the legislation this week, two months after the House had passed a bill that would have provided around twice as much for Capitol security. But House leaders said they would back the Senate version anyway, arguing the money is urgently needed for the Capitol Police and for the translators and others who worked closely with U.S. government troops and civilians in Afghanistan.

CDC mask guidance met with hostility by leading Republicans
Republicans are responding with hostility to new masking guidance from public health officials. It's opening a new front in the cultural war over COVID-19 restrictions just as efforts to try to persuade large swaths of unvaccinated Americans to get the shots appeared to be making headway.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday recommended that even vaccinated people return to wearing masks indoors if they live in areas with high rates of virus transmission.

Republican governors from Texas to South Dakota slammed the advice as wrong-headed. And on Capitol Hill, clashes between members devolved into insults and screaming matches.
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Bill has more on President Biden's new vaccination rules for federal workers and the latest on the hearings into the Capitol insurrection.


Wednesday, July 28



Infrastructure bill: Senate negotiators say they've reached deal on $1 trillion plan
Senate Republicans reached a deal with Democrats on Wednesday over major outstanding issues in a $1 trillion infrastructure bill and said they are ready to vote to take up the bill. An evening test vote was possible.

Biden to announce COVID-19 vaccine mandate for all federal employees: Sources
President Joe Biden said Tuesday afternoon that a mandate to require all federal employees to be vaccinated is now "under consideration."

Sources familiar with the discussion told ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Cecilia Vega that the president is awaiting the outcome of a policy review, but that likely Thursday, he will announce that federal employees will be required to be vaccinated or else they must abide by "stringent COVID-19 protocols like mandatory mask wearing -- even in communities not with high or substantial spread -- and regular testing."

NY adds hospital vaccine mandate, Cuomo wants 'everyone back in the office' by Labor Day
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced vaccination rules for state workers and state-run hospitals Wednesday, and for many, there will be no weekly testing option rather than getting the COVID-19 shot. All patient-facing health care workers in state-run hospitals must get vaccinated, with no testing option, Cuomo said.

DOJ declines to back Rep. Mo Brooks in lawsuit for role in allegedly inciting Capitol riot
The Justice Department declined a request from Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., Tuesday night to intervene for him in a lawsuit brought by a Democratic lawmaker suing him for his role in allegedly inciting the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

In a new filing, the DOJ said it has determined it does not believe Brooks was acting within the scope of the duties of his office when he spoke in front of a pro-Trump rally just before rioters stormed the building, telling the crowd, "today is the day American patriots start taking down names and kicking a**."

President Biden woos working class with new 'buy American' efforts during visit to Pa. plant
President Joe Biden on Wednesday checked out half-built big rigs and chatted up workers at a Mack Trucks plant in Pennsylvania as his administration pushes new "buy American" efforts and advocates for government investments and clean energy as ways to strengthen U.S. manufacturing.

Biden toured the Lehigh Valley operations facility, hoping to connect with the plant's 2,500 workers. Biden has made manufacturing jobs a priority, and Democrats' political future next year might hinge on whether he succeeds in reinvigorating a sector that has steadily lost jobs for more than four decades.
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Bill has more on the bipartisan agreement to pass a $1 trillion infrastructure deal, plus the fallout from the Jan. 6 insurrection hearings.


Tuesday, July 27



CDC reverses course on indoor masks in some parts of US
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reversed course Tuesday on some masking guidelines, recommending that even vaccinated people return to wearing masks indoors in parts of the U.S. where the coronavirus is surging.

Citing new information about the ability of the delta variant to spread among vaccinated people, the CDC also recommended indoor masks for all teachers, staff, students and visitors to schools, regardless of vaccination status.

North, South Korea agree to restore communication channels, improve ties
North and South Korea have restored suspended communication channels between them and their leaders agreed to improve ties, both governments said Tuesday, despite a 2 year-stalemate in U.S.-led diplomacy aimed at stripping North Korea of its nuclear weapons.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un reached the agreement during several exchanges of letters since April, the presidential office in Seoul said.

Police detail violence, injuries at first January 6 Capitol riot commission hearing
Capitol Police Officer Aquilino Gonell told House investigators Tuesday he could feel himself losing oxygen as he was crushed by rioters - supporters of then-President Donald Trump - as he was defending the Capitol during the Jan. 6 insurrection.

Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone, who rushed to the scene, told the new House committee investigating the attack that he was "grabbed, beaten, tased, all while being called a traitor to my country." Doctors later told him he'd had a heart attack.
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Bill Ritter and political guests break down the emotional and captivating stories told by four police officers who defended Capitol Hill during the January 6 insurrection.



Monday, July 26



NYC mandates weekly testing for all unvaccinated municipal workers
All unvaccinated city municipal workers will have to get weekly testing by the start of school in September, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Monday, in a dramatic expansion of the city's vaccination policy. "This is about keeping people safe," he said. "This is about making sure our families get through COVID OK."

The new requirement will apply to all city workers, including police officers, firefighters and teachers. It will also apply to some contracted employees.

Trump inaugural chair Tom Barrack: I'm '100% innocent' in lobbying case
The chair of former President Donald Trump's 2017 inaugural committee pleaded not guilty Monday and said he was "100% innocent" of charges that he secretly lobbied the U.S. on behalf of the United Arab Emirates.

Tom Barrack, 74, appeared in Brooklyn federal court for the first time, days after he was freed on $250 million bail following his arrest in California. His lawyer entered his plea for him.
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Bill Ritter covers the latest political drama around the January 6 investigation committee and the bipartisan deal on infrastructure.



Thursday, July 22



NFL teams face potential forfeits for COVID-19 outbreaks
NFL teams that experience a COVID-19 outbreak among nonvaccinated players could forfeit regular-season games, with players on both teams not getting paid.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell warned the 32 teams Thursday in a memo obtained by The Associated Press that no games would be rescheduled under such circumstances. Instead, forfeits could happen.

"As we learned last year, we can play a full season if we maintain a firm commitment to adhering to our health and safety protocols and to making needed adjustments in response to changing conditions," Goodell said.

He added that the league does not anticipate adding a 19th week to accommodate games that need to be moved because of coronavirus issues.

Pelosi says 'deadly serious' Jan. 6 probe to go without GOP
Unfazed by Republican threats of a boycott, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi declared Thursday that a congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection will take on its "deadly serious" work whether Republicans participate or not.

The Republicans' House leader, Kevin McCarthy, called the committee a "sham process" and suggested that GOP lawmakers who take part could face consequences. McCarthy said Pelosi's rejection of two of the Republicans he had attempted to appoint was an "egregious abuse of power."

The escalating tension between the two parties - before the investigation has even started - is emblematic of the raw partisan anger that has only worsened on Capitol Hill since former President Donald Trump's supporters laid siege to the Capitol and interrupted the certification of President Joe Biden's victory. With most Republicans still loyal to Trump, and many downplaying the severity of the violent attack, there is little bipartisan unity to be found.

Vaccinations rise in some states with soaring infections
Vaccinations are beginning to rise in some states where COVID-19 cases are soaring, White House officials said Thursday in a sign that the summer surge is getting the attention of vaccine-hesitant Americans as hospitals in the South are being overrun with patients.

Coronavirus coordinator Jeff Zients told reporters that several states with the highest proportions of new infections have seen residents get vaccinated at higher rates than the nation as a whole. Officials cited Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Missouri and Nevada as examples.
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Bill Ritter is joined by the experts to discuss the latest warning from the NFL on a shifting COVID policy and the latest into the Jan. 6 probe.



Wednesday, July 21



Infrastructure bill fails first vote; Senate to try again
Senate Republicans rejected an effort Wednesday to begin debate on a big infrastructure deal that a bipartisan group of senators brokered with President Joe Biden. But supporters in both parties remained hopeful of another chance in coming days.

Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York had scheduled the procedural vote that he described as a step to "get the ball rolling" as talks progress. But Republicans mounted a filibuster, saying the bipartisan group needed more time to wrap up the deal and review the details. They sought a delay until Monday.

Fauci, Rand Paul get in shouting match over Wuhan lab COVID research
GOP Sen. Rand Paul on Tuesday stepped up his months-long fight with the nation's top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, suggesting he lied to Congress about whether the National Institutes of Health funded gain-of-function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, and triggering an angry shouting match.

At a Senate Health Committee hearing meant to update lawmakers on the country's COVID-19 response, the Kentucky Republican began by asking Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, if he's aware that it's a crime to lie to Congress.

'Fair choice': NYC health workers must get vaccine or test weekly
Calling it a "fair choice," Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Wednesday that all New York City health workers will either be required to be vaccinated or receive weekly COVID tests. Starting August 2, all NYC Health + Hospitals staff and health department clinical workers must either show one time proof of vaccination or a weekly negative COVID test.

Governor Murphy signs bill giving $135M boost to small businesses amid pandemic
Governor Phil Murphy signed legislation to give another boost to small businesses struggling amidst the pandemic. In fact, he signed the bill at a small business, Simply Vietnamese restaurant in Tenafly. The bill provides $135 million to small businesses throughout the state and will be administered by the Economic Development Authority as part of its Phase IV Emergency Grant Program and NJ Community Stage Relief Grant Program.

Child Tax Credit scams
Less than a week after child tax credit payments began hitting American families' bank accounts, the IRS is already warning about potential thieves looking to steal the money. The agency said there are multiple tactics scammers are using through phone, e-mail, text message and social media to obtain recipients' personal information.

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A key test vote on President Biden's infrastructure deal failed Wednesday, plus the latest on the January 6 Capitol riot investigation and a new warning on Child Tax Credit scams.



Tuesday, July 20



Board of Elections certifies mayoral primary, other New York City races
Results in the mayoral primary and other city races have now been certified by the Board of Elections -- with the exception of two city council races, which will be going to a hand recount. The races between Bill Perkins and Kristin Richardson Jordan for his Harlem city council seat and David Carr and Marko Kepi on Staten Island are both now within .5%, triggering a manual recount.

Officials push vaccines over masks as cases rise again in Tri-State
After months of decline amid soaring vaccination rates, coronavirus cases are once again on the rise in the Tri-State area. Connecticut's positivity rate is 1.53%, New York's 1.18%, and New Jersey 2.5%. All three states were below 1% a few weeks ago.

Trump's inaugural committee head charged with being agent of foreign government
The chair of former President Donald Trump's 2017 inaugural committee was arrested Tuesday on charges alleging he conspired to influence Trump's foreign policy positions to benefit the United Arab Emirates and commit crimes striking "at the very heart of our democracy."
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There are new pleas Tuesday for the unvaccinated to get their shots as the threat of the Delta variant spreads and cases of COVID keep rising.



Monday, July 19



Universal masking recommended for everyone in school older than 2
The American Academy of Pediatrics released new COVID-19 guidance for schools on Monday that supports in-person learning and, among other things, recommends universal masking in school of everyone over the age of 2.

"The AAP believes that, at this point in the pandemic, given what we know about low rates of in-school transmission when proper prevention measures are used, together with the availability of effective vaccines for those age 12 years and up, that the benefits of in-person school outweigh the risks in all circumstances," the guidance says.

Microsoft Exchange email hack was caused by China, US says
The Biden administration on Monday blamed China for a hack of Microsoft Exchange email server software that compromised tens of thousands of computers around the world earlier this year.

The administration and allied nations also disclosed a broad range of other cyberthreats from Beijing, including ransomware attacks from government-affiliated hackers that have targeted companies with demands for millions of dollars.

Senator Gillibrand, Eric Adams announce federal gun trafficking and crime prevention bill
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and New York City Mayoral Candidate Eric Adams came together to speak out against gun violence Monday, unveiling a bipartisan bill to address the illegal transfer of guns across state lines. The measure aims to crackdown on gun trafficking rings, and they were joined by Jennifer Pryear, a Brooklyn mother who lost her daughter in a nightclub shooting in 2009.

Officials to review, hear testimony on Ranked Choice Voting in NYC following mayoral primary
Officials will conduct their review of Ranked Choice Voting after it was used for the first time in a New York City election. Testimony will be heard by The Assembly Election Law Committee Chair Latrice Walker Monday. Ranked Choice Voting was used in the recent primary for New York City mayor, along with several other city elected offices.

Biden takes on inflation concerns as agenda hangs in the balance
President Joe Biden on Monday directly addressed concerns that his sweeping economic agenda will serve as an accelerant to inflation amid growing concern about price hikes across the economic spectrum.

"It turns out capitalism is alive and very well. We're making serious progress to ensure that it works the way it's supposed to work: For the good of the American people," Biden said at the White House.

2 additional Texas House Democrats tests positive for COVID-19 in D.C.
Two additional Texas House Democrats have tested positive for COVID-19 while in Washington D.C, according to the Texas House Democratic Caucus. Texas Representative Trey Martinez Fischer said he tested positive on Sunday, despite getting two negative tests on Friday and Saturday.

Dow sinks more than 700 points over virus fears
The Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged more than 700 points Monday, as renewed fears over the delta coronavirus variant cast a shadow on the economy's post-pandemic recovery. Anxieties over potential inflation have increased in recent months despite reassurances from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell and others that it is likely temporary.
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Should masks once again be required as COVID cases rise? Bill discusses this question, plus the latest on infrastructure deals and China cyber-attacks.



Thursday, July 15



First child tax credit payments sent
Tens of millions of families have been sent the first payment of the expanded child tax credit, the Internal Revenue Service and the Treasury Department said Wednesday night. The beefed-up credit will provide them with extra funds each month through the end of 2021 along with a tax break next year.

The payments were approved as part of the Democrats' $1.9 trillion stimulus package that President Joe Biden signed into law in March. The first installment totaled $15 billion. The infusions may offer the greatest benefit to low-income families, cutting child poverty nearly in half -- but the extra cash will also go to better-off American families.

Once rivals, Biden and Sanders are now partners in power
Talkers both, Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders stayed for an hour in the Oval Office, just two former rivals for the White House now acting as potential partners, negotiating a compromise both could live with.

The centrist president listened as the liberal senator spoke. Sanders passionately made his case that Biden's big infrastructure investment should go even bigger - and include his own longtime goal of dental, hearing and vision benefits for older Americans on Medicare. The president gave his full backing, according to a senior White House aide and another person familiar with the private session, who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe a private meeting.

The deal was the product of mutual trust and common interest - notably to help the working class, but also to show that government can work and perhaps to restore some faith in democracy after the turbulent Trump era.

Surgeon general urges US fight against COVID misinformation
U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy on Thursday called for a national effort to fight misinformation about COVID-19 and vaccines, urging tech companies, health care workers, journalists and everyday Americans to do more to address an "urgent threat" to public health.

In a 22-page advisory, his first as President Joe Biden's surgeon general, Murthy wrote that bogus claims have led people to reject vaccines and public health advice on masks and social distancing, undermining efforts to end the coronavirus pandemic and putting lives at risk.

The warning comes as the pace of COVID-19 vaccinations has slowed throughout the U.S., in part because of vaccine opposition fueled by unsubstantiated claims about the safety of immunizations and despite the U.S. death toll recently passing 600,000.
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Bill Ritter has the latest the child tax credits, Biden working with Bernie and fighting misinformation about vaccines.



Tuesday, July 13



Eric Adams' lead shrinks again over Kathryn Garcia in latest ranked choice results
The third round of ranked choice voting results for the Democratic mayoral primary are out, but it still may be a few days before the election is certified. The New York City Board of Elections released the third ranked choice voting, round by round elimination report on Tuesday. As a result, frontrunner Eric Adams' slim lead shrunk again, to just 0.8% over Kathryn Garcia.

President Biden delivers major speech in Philadelphia on voting rights
President Joe Biden declared that preserving voting rights is "a test of our time" Tuesday as Texas Democrats took dramatic action to stymie their state's latest effort in a nationwide Republican push to tighten ballot restrictions.

Biden, who has proclaimed protecting ballot access the central cause of his presidency, has faced sharp criticism from allies for not doing more, though political headwinds and stubborn Senate math have greatly limited its ability to act.

'They will be arrested': Texas governor upset with Democrats trying to stop GOP voting bill
Gov. Greg Abbott said he is prepared to arrest Democratic lawmakers upon their return to Texas after they bolted for Washington Monday in a second revolt against a GOP overhaul of election laws. "As soon as they come back in the state of Texas, they will be arrested, they will be cabined inside the Texas Capitol until they get their job done," he said. "Everybody who has a job should show up to do that job."

Monday, July 12



Teen inside livery cab shot in Bronx; Adams heads to DC to talk crime
NYC Mayoral Candidate Eric Adams traveled to Washington to discuss crime with President Biden amid an uptick in gun violence across the city. New York City is coming off a violent weekend, especially in the Bronx, where two teenagers were killed.

In all, shootings are up nearly 29% so far this year as calls for something to be done to curb the violence grow louder. In the latest incident, a teenage boy was shot and killed while sitting inside a for-hire vehicle at East 178th Street and Valentine Avenue in the Mount Hope section overnight Monday.

Texas Democrats leaving state to stop GOP voting bill
Democrats in the Texas Legislature on Monday began bolting for Washington, D.C., and said they were ready to remain there for weeks in a second revolt against a GOP overhaul of election laws, forcing a dramatic new showdown over voting rights in America.

One large group was set to leave Austin on private planes before the GOP could pass a voting bill in a special legislative session ordered by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott that began days ago. It was not immediately clear how many of the 67 Democrats in the Texas House of Representatives planned to go, but it was expected to be enough to bring the Legislature to a halt.

Donald Trump wins CPAC 2024 GOP presidential straw poll with 70%
Former President Donald Trump bathed in the adulation of an adoring crowd at the Conservative Political Action Conference Sunday as he easily won the informal straw poll of attendees when they were asked who they'd like to see run for the White House in 2024.

The political gathering normally serves as an audition for Republican presidential contenders, but the three-day session was yet another example of how Trump has effectively frozen the field more than three years before the next election as he teases another possible run.

Tuesday, July 6



Absentee ballot tabulation set to be added to NYC mayoral ranked choice voting results
The New York City mayoral primary race seems to have no end in sight, but new results expected could bring us one step closer. Final results are not expected until next Tuesday, but we could have a clearer picture of a winner today, once absentee ballots are added to the tabulation.

Currently, Eric Adams leads Kathryn Garcia by 15,000 votes, after the numbers are run through ranked choice analysis.

Thursday, July 1



Trump Organization, CFO Allen Weisselberg plead not guilty to tax fraud charges
The Trump Organization and its longtime finance chief each pleaded not guilty Thursday to tax crime charges arising from a two-year investigation into former president Donald Trump's company.

The company pleaded not guilty to a scheme to defraud and 14 other related charges, while CFO Allen Weisselberg pleaded not guilty to criminal charges including second-degree grand larceny as outlined in a lengthy indictment unsealed in Manhattan State Supreme Court.

Supreme Court upholds Arizona voting restrictions
The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld voting restrictions in Arizona in a decision that could make it harder to challenge other voting limits put in place by Republican lawmakers following last year's elections.

The court, by a conservative-majority 6-3 vote, reversed a lower court ruling in deciding that Arizona's regulations on who can return early ballots for another person and for the state's refusal to count ballots cast in the wrong precinct are not racially discriminatory.

Pelosi adds Liz Cheney to panel investigating Jan. 6 Capitol riot; Bennie Thompson to lead
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday named Republican Rep. Liz Cheney to a new select committee on the violent Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol, elevating the most unyielding GOP critic of former President Donald Trump to work alongside seven Democrats on the high-profile investigation.

Rep. Bennie Thompson, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, will lead the panel, which will investigate what went wrong around the Capitol when hundreds of Trump supporters broke into the building. The rioters brutally beat police, hunted for lawmakers and interrupted the congressional certification of Democrat Joe Biden's election victory over Trump.

Wednesday, June 30



NYC mayoral primary: Election board to try again with first ranked choice voting results
Election officials in New York City will try again to release ranked choice voting results (minus absentee ballots) in the Democratic primary for mayor after retracting the first report. Officials realized the results had been corrupted by test data never cleared from a computer system.

Trump Organization expects Manhattan District Attorney to file charges Thursday
Charges against the Trump Organization and Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg are expected to be unsealed Thursday, with a court appearance in the afternoon. The long awaited case is being brought by the Manhattan District Attorney's Office in a possible first round of charges related to alleged failure to pay taxes on fringe benefits. The investigations will remain open following, and future criminal and civil action is possible.

NYC Mayor de Blasio, Speaker Johnson announce $98.7 billion 'recovery budget' deal
Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson announced agreement Wednesday on a $98.7 billion NYC "recovery budget" for FY 2022. "This is a radical investment in working families, and this is what we need right now to come out of this pandemic and move forward," de Blasio said.

Pres. Biden is raising federal firefighter pay amid threat of catastrophic wildfire season
President Joe Biden is temporarily raising pay for federal firefighters to ensure that no one fighting wildland fires is making less than $15 per hour.

Biden's plan for the higher pay -- and other moves to boost U.S. wildfire fighting capacity and prevention efforts -- comes as a virtual meeting was held Wednesday with governors from Western states to discuss what is shaping up to be a torrid wildfire season. In addition, a huge swath of the Pacific Northwest is in the midst in one of the worst heat waves in recent memory.

Donald Rumsfeld dead at 88; served as Secretary of Defense for presidents Bush and Ford
Donald Rumsfeld, who served as Secretary of Defense under presidents George W. Bush and Gerald Ford, has died at age 88, his family said. In a statement, his family said he died surrounded by family in Taos, New Mexico.

Monday, June 28



US troops in Syria attacked after airstrikes on militias
U.S. forces in Syria came under rocket attack Monday, with no reported casualties, one day after U.S. warplanes conducted airstrikes against what the Pentagon called "facilities used by Iran-backed militia groups" near the border between Iraq and Syria.

Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby says the militias were using the facilities to launch unmanned aerial vehicle attacks against U.S. troops in Iraq. Kirby says the U.S. military, under the direction of President Joe Biden, targeted three operational and weapons storage facilities, two in Syria and one in Iraq. Iraq's military condemned the U.S. airstrikes, and the militia groups called for revenge against the United States.

Trump Org lawyers make last pitch against prosecution
Lawyers for the Trump Organization met again Monday with prosecutors in the Manhattan District Attorney's Office in a last bid to forestall a potential indictment stemming from a long-running investigation into the former president's company.

Trump Organization lawyer Ron Fischetti told The Associated Press the meeting came as a grand jury nears a potential vote on a case involving fringe benefits the company paid to employees, like use of company cars and apartments. He said prosecutors have told him Trump himself will not be charged at this time but that the investigation is continuing. Trump and his company have denied wrongdoing.

NYC mayor's race
On Tuesday the NYC Board of Elections will update the results from the mayoral primary. The board will release the first round of absentee ballots from ranked choice voting.

Mailed-in ballots will be valid as long as they were postmarked by last Tuesday, even if they took several days to arrive. Another round of ranked choice analysis will take place next Tuesday. Currently, Eric Adams holds a commanding lead over Maya Wiley and Kathryn Garcia.
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Bill Ritter has the latest on the New York City mayoral race, airstrikes in the Middle East and possible charges against the Trump Organization.



Thursday, June 24



Former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani suspended from practicing law in New York
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani is now suspended from practicing law in New York. A committee with The Supreme Court of the State of New York, Appellate Division, First Judicial Department said that Giuliani "communicated demonstrably false and misleading statements to courts, lawmakers and the public at large in his capacity as lawyer for former President Donald J. Trump and the Trump campaign in connection with Trump's failed effort at reelection in 2020."

Pres. Biden and bipartisan senators have deal on infrastructure
President Joe Biden announced on Thursday a hard-earned bipartisan agreement on a pared-down infrastructure plan that would make a start on his top legislative priority and validate his efforts to reach across the political aisle. He openly acknowledged that Democrats will likely have to tackle much of the rest on their own.

The bill's price tag at $973 billion over five years, or $1.2 trillion over eight years, is a scaled-back but still significant piece of Biden's broader proposals.

Adams confident, Wiley and Garcia say wait and see
The frontrunner for the Democratic nomination for New York City mayor, Eric Adams, seemed as confident as ever and with his strong lead he warned President Joe Biden and Democrats across the country that if they don't adopt his blue-collar focus on Black and brown voters then Democrats he says are destined to lose. "I am the future of the new Democratic party. Look at me and you're seeing the future of the Democratic party," Adams said.

Adams weighed in on a host of issues Thursday, advocating for no-kill animal shelters, he said it's time to let drones fly in the city, and he repeated his promise to hire a woman to lead the police department.

Biden administration extends eviction moratorium for 30 days
The Biden administration has extended the nationwide ban on evictions for a month to help tenants who are unable to make rent payments during the coronavirus pandemic, but it said this is expected to be the last time it does so.

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, extended the evictions moratorium until July 31. It had been scheduled to end June 30. The CDC said Thursday that "this is intended to be the final extension of the moratorium."
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Bill Ritter has the latest on the New York City mayoral race, Biden's infrastructure deal and Giuliani's suspension from practicing law in New York.


Wednesday, June 23



New York City primary results: Eric Adams takes fragile lead in Democratic mayoral primary
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams emerged from Primary Day as the clear front runner in the Democratic mayoral primary with a nearly 10% lead over progressive attorney and activist Maya Wiley, followed closely by former Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia, who now hopes to pick up enough votes through ranked choice voting to challenge Adams.

Speaking to jubilant supporters, Adams acknowledged that he hadn't won yet, and that under the ranked choice system there were multiple rounds of ballot counting still to go.

NYC Primary Results: Who's left and what's next in the race for NYC mayor
The top contenders may have a long, anxious wait ahead of them for final results in New York City's mayoral primary, the first citywide election to use ranked choice voting. As votes were counted on Tuesday night, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, a former police captain who co-founded a leadership group for Black officers, was in a tight race with former city sanitation commissioner Kathryn Garcia and former de Blasio administration lawyer Maya Wiley.

Biden to unveil crime prevention strategy amid uptick in US gun violence
President Joe Biden is announcing new efforts Wednesday to stem a rising national tide of violent crime but questions persist about how effective the federal efforts will be in calming what could be a turbulent summer.

Biden's plan focuses on addressing gun violence, providing money to cities that need more police and offering community support. Crime rates have risen after plummeting during the initial months of the coronavirus pandemic, creating economic hardship and anxiety.

Kamala Harris to make first trip to US-Mexico border as vice president this week
Vice President Kamala Harris on Friday will make her first visit to the U.S.-Mexico border, her office announced, after she has faced criticism from members of both parties for failing to go there despite her role leading the Biden administration's response to a steep increase in migration.

Harris will visit the El Paso area, accompanied by Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, according to a statement Wednesday from Harris senior adviser Symone Sanders.
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Here's what's next in the race for New York City mayor after Tuesday's primary, and how President Biden plans to fight rising gun violence.



Friday, June 18



As NYC mayoral primary approaches, Eric Adams maintains lead in polls
Primary Day in New York City is just four days away, and the Democrats vying to be the next mayor of the Big Apple are making their final pitches to voters. More than 100,000 people have already taken advantage of the city's early voting, even as the implementation of ranked choice voting adds to the mystique and leaves the outcome hard to predict.

Biden announces 300M COVID-19 vaccine doses given in 150 days
President Joe Biden marked another milestone in his quest to bring the COVID-19 pandemic under control and help Americans return to a more normal way of life. Biden announced that 300 million COVID-19 shots have been administered in the 150 days since he took office on Jan. 20.

President Obama on the keys to democracy's survival, healing racial divide
The world has and continues to change in so many monumental ways since former President Barack Obama's eight years in office. Today, he says he stays awake at night thinking about how democracy can flourish in our constantly evolving world.

Thursday, June 17



Biden signs bill to make Juneteenth a federal holiday
President Joe Biden signed legislation Thursday establishing a new federal holiday commemorating the end of slavery, saying he believes it will go down as one of the greatest honors he has as president.

Biden signed into law a bill to make Juneteenth, or June 19, the 12th federal holiday. The House voted 415-14 on Wednesday to send the bill to Biden, while the Senate passed the bill unanimously the day before.

Tensions boil over as mayoral candidates debate tackling gun violence ahead of NYC primary
As primary day fast approaches, the Democratic candidates vying to be New York City's next mayor were back on the campaign trail Thursday, one day after a contentious final debate with a heavy emphasis on rising crime. All the top candidates hit the streets, trying to spin their debate performances into personal wins and capitalize on the pitfalls of their opponents.

Supreme Court upholds Affordable Care Act for 3rd time, preserving coverage for millions
The Supreme Court has dismissed a challenge to the Obama era health care law, preserving insurance coverage for millions of Americans. The justices, by a 7-2 vote, left the entire law intact Thursday in ruling that Texas, other Republican-led states and two individuals had no right to bring their lawsuit in federal court.

Supreme Court sides with Catholic agency in same-sex foster care dispute in Philadelphia
The Supreme Court on Thursday unanimously sided with a Catholic foster care agency that says its religious views prevent it from working with same-sex couples as foster parents. The justices said the city of Philadelphia wrongly limited its relationship with the group as a result of the agency's policy.

Philadelphia violated the Constitution in limiting its work with the agency, Catholic Social Services, the court said.
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Bill discusses the monumental event Thursday, making Juneteenth a federal holiday, plus the race for New York City mayor and latest Supreme Court decisions.



Wednesday, June 16



President Biden meets 1-on-1 with Russian President Putin for 'constructive' summit
President Joe Biden says after his meeting with President Vladimir Putin that he is "not going to walk away" from the plight of two Americans detained in Russia. Speaking to reporters, Biden says he raised the imprisonment of Paul Whelan and Trevor Reed in his meeting with Putin.

NYC mayor's race: Yang touts endorsement; Adams to debut new ad
New York City's primary election is less than a week away, and the Democratic candidates vying to be the next mayor are preparing their final pushes ahead of the last debate before voters head to the polls. Early voting is already underway, with tens of thousands of New Yorkers already having cast their ballots.

ABC reporter Rachel Scott confronts Putin over crackdown on opponents: What are you so afraid of?
ABC News reporter Rachel Scott on Wednesday confronted Russian President Vladimir Putin about his crackdown on political opponents.

"The list of your political opponents who are dead, imprisoned, or jailed is long ... and you have now prevented anyone who supports Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny to run for office," Scott said. "So my question is, Mr. President, what are you so afraid of?"
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Political reporter Dave Evans joins Bill to talk about the candidates for New York City mayor and the issues the winner will face, and what happened at Wednesday's high stakes meet



Tuesday, June 15



Biden arrives in Geneva for meeting with Vladimir Putin
Buoyed by days of partnership-building sessions with America's democratic allies, Joe Biden arrived in Geneva on Tuesday for the most-watched and tensest part of his first European tour as president: talks with Russia's Vladimir Putin.

Biden is seeking to restore European ties that were strained under former President Donald Trump, who dismissed the value of NATO and other longstanding U.S. alliances and sought out Putin and other autocrats.

NYC mayor's race: Garcia takes aim at Adams, Yang focuses on crime
Primary day in the race to be New York City's next mayor is just one week away, and the candidates were back on the trail Tuesday as the race continues to heat up. Early voting entered its fourth day with more than 43,000 New Yorkers having already cast their ballot.
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Bill Ritter has the latest in the race for New York City mayor and a preview of the highly anticipated meeting between President Biden and Vladamir Putin at the G-7 summit.



Monday, June 14



32,000 cast ballots so far in NYC early primary voting
Primary Day in New York is just over a week away, and the race to be the Democratic nominee for New York City mayor is heating up. Rising crime has been the big issue, but now, diversity is also a hot topic.

Early voting is underway, and already, some 32,000 New Yorkers have headed into the polls to cast their ballot.

Up Close: Interviews with all 8 Democratic candidates in New York City mayor's race
New York City's mayoral race is heating up, with early voting already underway ahead of the primary election of Tuesday, June 22.

The significant election, with New Yorkers choosing a new mayor for the first time in eight years, comes as the city emerges from the pandemic, with public safety and crime taking center stage in the campaign. Shootings were up last month by 73% compared to a year ago and transit crimes have nearly doubled.

Biden reaffirms US 'sacred' commitment to NATO alliance on European trip
President Joe Biden reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to NATO on Monday as leading members declared it a pivotal moment for an alliance beleaguered during the presidency of Donald Trump, who questioned the relevance of the multilateral organization.

Shortly after arriving at the alliance's headquarters for the first NATO summit of his presidency, Biden sat down with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and underscored the U.S. commitment to Article 5 of the alliance charter, which spells out that an attack on one member is an attack on all and is to be met with a collective response.

Friday, June 11



Early voting kicks off in NYC's mayoral primary election this weekend
Early voting is set to kick off across the five boroughs Saturday in New York City's mayoral primary, and the race is heating up after the five frontrunners met for another debate on Thursday evening. It was far less heated than the first time the candidates met, though the hot topic was still on increasing crime in the city.

G-7 nations gather to pledge 1 billion COVID vaccine doses for world
Leaders from the Group of Seven industrialized nations are set to commit at their summit to sharing at least 1 billion coronavirus shots with struggling countries around the world - half the doses coming from the U.S. and 100 million from the U.K.

Vaccine sharing commitments from U.S. President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson set the stage for the G-7 meeting in southwest England, where leaders will pivot Friday from opening greetings and a "family photo" directly into a session on "Building Back Better From COVID-19."

Trump's Justice Department seized data of House Democrats from Apple: Sources
Prosecutors with former President Donald Trump's Justice Department subpoenaed Apple for data from at least two Democrats who served on the House Intelligence Committee, as well as aides and their family members, one of whom was a minor, ABC News confirmed with four sources familiar with the investigation.

A House Intelligence Committee official confirmed to ABC News that Apple notified roughly a dozen people associated with the committee just last month that the DOJ issued grand jury subpoenas for their information and metadata in February 2018.
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Bill Ritter discusses the race for New York City mayor, Biden's overseas trip and a new internal investigation involving Donald Trump.



Thursday, June 10



Maya Wiley surges in polls, takes aim at mayoral race frontrunner
The former counsel to Mayor Bill de Blasio has leap frogged into second place in the latest poll in the race for New York mayor, and she's taking aim at frontrunner Eric Adams.

On Thursday afternoon, Maya Wiley called herself the clear progressive in the race for mayor. And a new poll revealed her surging into second place behind Eric Adams after endorsements like the one Saturday from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Biden unveils plan for US to donate 500M more COVID-19 vaccine doses
President Joe Biden called on global leaders Thursday to join him in sharing coronavirus vaccines with struggling nations around the world after he promised the U.S. would donate 500 million doses to help speed the pandemic's end and bolster the strategic position of the world's wealthiest democracies.

Speaking in England before the summit meeting of the Group of Seven, Biden announced the U.S. commitment to vaccine sharing, which comes on top of 80 million doses he has already pledged by the end of the month. He argued it was in both America's interests and the world's to make vaccination widely and speedily available everywhere.

Joe Biden, Boris Johnson all smiles during 1st meeting
President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson were all smiles during their first meeting, highlighting their nations' famed "special relationship" but doing so against a backdrop of differences both political and personal.

Biden hopes to use his first overseas trip as president to reassure European allies that the United States had shed the transactional tendencies of Donald Trump's term and is a reliable partner again. He and Johnson immediately struck a tone of conviviality as the news media watched.

French man gets 4-month prison sentence for slapping Macron
A 28-year-old Frenchman who described himself as a right-wing or extreme-right "patriot" was sentenced to four months in prison Thursday for slapping President Emmanuel Macron in the face.

Damien Tarel was also banned from ever holding public office in France and from owning weapons for five years over the swipe Tuesday, which caught Macron's left cheek with an audible thwack as the French leader was greeting a crowd.

Wednesday, June 9



Eric Adams emotional after opponents question his Brooklyn residency
Eric Adams is feeling the political heat as frontrunner in the Democratic primary race for New York City mayor, after his opponents questioned whether he lives in Brooklyn or New Jersey.

It was an Eric Adams we have never seen before -- openly weeping with his son, Jordan, at his side, in front of a three-unit Bedford Stuyvesant apartment he's owned for almost 20 years -- explaining why he's so secretive about where he lives.

Chartered plane overrun by cicadas delays White House press ahead of Biden overseas trip
Reporters traveling to the United Kingdom for President Joe Biden's first overseas trip were delayed seven hours after their chartered plane was overrun by cicadas.

The Washington, D.C., area is among the many parts of the country that have been swarmed by Brood X cicadas, a large emergence of the loud 17-year insects that take to dive-bombing onto moving vehicles and unsuspecting passersby.

Biden to assure US allies, meet Putin on 1st overseas trip
President Joe Biden opened the first overseas trip of his term Wednesday with a declaration that "the United States is back" as he seeks to reassert the nation on the world stage and steady European allies deeply shaken by his predecessor.

Biden has set the stakes for his eight-day trip in sweeping terms, believing the West must publicly demonstrate it can compete economically with China as the world emerges from the coronavirus pandemic. It is an open repudiation of his predecessor, Donald Trump, who scorned alliances and withdrew from a global climate change agreement that Biden has since rejoined.

Biden revokes Trump executive orders targeting TikTok, WeChat
President Joe Biden on Thursday revoked a series of executive orders signed during the Trump administration targeting TikTok, WeChat and other Chinese apps, and replaced them with a new executive order addressing apps linked to foreign adversaries, including China.

Thursday's order is aimed at protecting Americans' personal data, according to a White House news release, and orders the Commerce Department to develop criteria for assessing potential national security risks associated with apps that are "owned, controlled, or managed by persons that support foreign adversary military or intelligence activities, or are involved in malicious cyber activities, or involve applications that collect sensitive personal data."
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Bill Ritter has the latest on the race for New York City mayor and New Jersey governor, as well as President Biden's first overseas trip.



Tuesday, June 8



NYC mayor race: Eric Adams calls Maya Wiley hypocrite after questioning police funding
Democratic candidate for New York City mayor Eric Adams is calling out one of his opponents for being a hypocrite. Adams says while Maya Wiley is questioning how the police department is funded, her historic mansion in Brooklyn is protected by private security patrols.

First (and possibly last) review of Jan. 6 attack at US Capitol finds sweeping government failures
A Senate investigation of the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol has uncovered broad government, military and law enforcement missteps before the violent attack, including a breakdown within multiple intelligence agencies and a lack of training and preparation for Capitol Police officers who were quickly overwhelmed by the rioters.

The Senate report released Tuesday is the first - and could be the last - bipartisan review of how hundreds of former President Donald Trump's supporters were able to violently push past security lines and break into the Capitol that day, interrupting the certification of President Joe Biden's victory.

New Jersey's GOP voters pick challenger to Gov. Murphy in today's primary
It is Primary Day in New Jersey. Voters in the Garden State will decide their candidates for the fall election in the race for governor and in every seat in the Democrat-led state Legislature.

'Do not come' - VP Kamala Harris in Guatemala trip has stern warning for migrants
Vice President Kamala Harris offered an optimistic outlook for improved cooperation with Guatemala on addressing the spike in migration to the U.S. after her meeting with Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei on Monday. She also delivered a direct warning to migrants considering making the trek: "Do not come. Do not come."
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Bill Ritter has the latest on the race for New York City mayor, Vice President Harris' trip to Mexico and a new report investigating the January 6, Capitol siege.



Monday, June 7



NYC mayoral race: With days left until early voting begins, endorsements hit high gear
With less than a week to go until early voting starts for NYC mayor, the endorsement race has hit high gear. On Monday, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams earned the support of his Queens counterpart, Donovan Richards. Queens is reeling from a blood-soaked weekend that ended in the death of a 10-year-old boy.

Supreme Court rules against immigrants with temporary status
A unanimous Supreme Court ruled Monday that thousands of people living in the U.S. for humanitarian reasons are ineligible to apply to become permanent residents. Justice Elena Kagan wrote for the court that federal immigration law prohibits people who entered the country illegally and now have Temporary Protected Status from seeking "green cards" to remain in the country permanently.

Supreme Court won't review men-only draft registration law
The Supreme Court said Monday that for now it'll be up to Congress, not the court, to decide whether to change the requirement that only men must register for the draft. It's one of the few areas of federal law where men and women are still treated differently. In a statement, three justices said Congress is weighing whether to change the Military Selective Service Act, which requires men but not women to register for the draft when they turn 18. They said that was a reason for the court to kick the matter back to lawmakers.

Cuomo says once state hits 70% vaccination rate, most restrictions can be lifted
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced New York state will be able to lift most COVID restrictions across commercial and social settings when the vaccination rate hits 70%. When 70% of New Yorkers have received at least one dosage, Cuomo says "we can relax virtually all restrictions."

Part of cyberattack ransom recovered after Colonial Pipeline paid $4.4 million, officials say
The Justice Department has recovered the majority of a multimillion-dollar ransom payment to hackers after a cyberattack that caused the operator of the nation's largest fuel pipeline to halt its operations last month, officials said Monday.

The operation to recover the cryptocurrency from the Russia-based hacker group is the first undertaken by a specialized ransomware task force created by the Biden administration Justice Department, and reflects what U.S. officials say is an increasingly aggressive approach to deal with a ransomware threat that in the last month has targeted critical industries around the world.
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Bill Ritter has the latest on the New York City mayoral race, Vice President Harris' message to Central Americans and Trump's attempts at a comeback.



Friday, June 4



Facebook says Trump now suspended until at least January 2023
Facebook announced Friday that former President Donald Trump would be suspended from its platform until at least January 7th, 2023 -- two years from when he was initially suspended. Facebook said it will then assess the circumstances to see if he should be allowed back on.

Pence: I'll likely never see eye to eye with fmr. President Trump on Jan. 6
Former Vice President Mike Pence says that he isn't sure that he and former President Donald Trump will ever see "eye to eye" over what happened on Jan. 6 but that he would "always be proud of what we accomplished for the American people over the last four years."

Pence, speaking at a Republican dinner Thursday in the early-voting state of New Hampshire, gave his most extensive comments to date on the events of Jan. 6, when angry Trump supporters stormed the Capitol, some chanting "Hang Mike Pence!" after the vice president said he did not have the power to overturn Democrat Joe Biden's election victory.

Trump's former White House counsel to appear before House committee after 2-year battle
The House Judiciary Committee is poised to question former White House counsel Don McGahn behind closed doors on Friday, two years after House Democrats originally sought his testimony as part of investigations into former President Donald Trump.

The long-awaited interview is the result of an agreement reached last month in federal court. House Democrats - then investigating whether Trump tried to obstruct the Justice Department's probes into his presidential campaign's ties to Russia - originally sued after McGahn defied an April 2019 subpoena on Trump's orders.
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Political insiders join Bill Ritter to discuss the race for New York City mayor and the latest headlines surrounding Donald Trump.



Thursday, June 3



Democratic candidates for NYC mayor back on the trail after tense, fiery WABC debate
The Democratic candidates in the race to be New York City's next mayor fanned out across the Big Apple Thursday, trying to win over voters one day after sparks flew during the first in-person debate, hosted by WABC. Primary day is less than three weeks away, and the gloves are coming off as the race heats up.

White House pushes for companies to take ransomware more seriously after high-profile cyberattacks
The White House has issued a rare open letter to companies calling on them to treat the threat of ransomware attacks with greater urgency, following back-to-back attacks by Russian hackers on key oil and food processing companies.

In a memo sent out Thursday morning, the National Security Council's top cyber official, Anne Neuberger, writes to corporate executives and business leaders that the private sector needs to better understand its critical role.

US vaccination rate drops, President Biden declares 'National Month of Action'
President Biden has declared June a "National Month of Action" for vaccinations. It comes as fewer people are getting the shots and the president is now one month away from his self-imposed July 4th deadline to get at least one dose of the vaccine in 70% of Americans. The U.S. vaccination rate went from 3.3 million doses a day to 1.1.million a day.

Benjamin Netanyahu opponents push for quick vote to end his 12-year rule as prime minister
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's opponents pushed Thursday for a quick parliament vote to formally end his lengthy rule, hoping to head off any last-minute attempts to derail their newly announced coalition government.

The latest political maneuvering began just hours after opposition leader Yair Lapid and his main coalition partner, Naftali Bennett, declared they had reached a deal to form a new government and muster a majority in the 120-member Knesset, or parliament.

Trump increasingly talking like he plans to mount 2024 presidential run
Donald Trump was calling into yet another friendly radio show when he was asked, as he often is, whether he's planning a comeback bid for the White House. "We need you," conservative commentator Dan Bongino told the former president.

"Well, I'll tell you what," Trump responded. "We are going to make you very happy, and we're going to do what's right."
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Political insiders Rick Klein and Hank Sheinkopf weigh in on Wednesday night's in-person mayoral primary debate hosted by WABC.



Friday, May28



GOP blocks bipartisan probe of deadly Jan. 6 riot at Capitol
Senate Republicans on Friday blocked creation of a bipartisan panel to study the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, turning aside the independent investigation in a show of party loyalty to former President Donald Trump and an effort to shift the political focus away from the violent insurrection by his GOP supporters.

The Senate vote was 54-35 - short of the 60 votes needed to take up a House-passed bill that would have formed a 10-member commission evenly split between the two parties. It came a day after emotional appeals from police who fought with the rioters and lawmakers who fled Capitol chambers that day.

Biden to sign order establishing White House AAPI initiative
President Joe Biden will sign an executive order on Friday renewing a White House initiative charged with advancing "equity, justice, and opportunity" for Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders, including coordinating a "comprehensive" federal response to the rise in anti-Asian violence and discrimination.

"... For far too long, systemic barriers to equity, justice, and opportunity have put the American dream out of reach for many AA and NHPI communities, and racism, nativism, and xenophobia against AA and NHPI communities continues to threaten safety and dignity of AA and NHPI families," the White House said in a fact sheet released Friday.
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TODAY IN POLITICS: Bill details Senate Republicans' blocking of the creation of a bipartisan panel to study the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. Plus, the latest on the New York City mayor's race and ranked-choice voting.



Thursday, May27



White House to propose $6 trillion budget for 2022
The White House on Friday will propose a $6 trillion budget for the 2022 fiscal year, a senior administration official tells CNN, as President Joe Biden prepares to outline his spending blueprint for the first time in his formal request to Congress.

The budget proposal calls for the most sustained spending in more than a half-century, which forecasts deficits at more than $1 trillion for at least the next decade. The budget proposed by the White House is the President's opening offer to Congress in negotiations over the federal budget and is expected to change before being signed into law.

How will the next NYC mayor deal with the NYPD? Adams addresses PBA comment
How will the next mayor of New York City deal with the NYPD? That question was front and center Thursday in the race to be the city's 110th mayor. As violent crime spikes across the city, Eric Adams, a former police captain, has painted himself as the law and order candidate, but he's also vowed to reform and rein in abusive police tactics like stop and frisk.

Sheriff: Sam Cassidy, gunman who killed 9 in San Jose railyard shooting, appeared to target victims
A California sheriff says a gunman who killed nine people in a rail yard massacre had fired 39 shots and appeared to target some of the victims. Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith told The Associated Press on Thursday that the shooter told at least one person: "I'm not going to shoot you" at a light rail facility for the Valley Transportation Authority in San Jose.

Republicans poised to stamp out creation of Jan. 6 Capitol attack commission with filibuster
Senate Republicans are ready to deploy the filibuster to block a commission on the Jan. 6 insurrection, shattering hopes for a bipartisan probe of the deadly assault on the U.S. Capitol and reviving pressure on Democrats to do away with the procedural tactic that critics say has lost its purpose.

The vote Thursday would be the first successful use of a filibuster this year to halt Senate legislative action. Most Republicans oppose the bill, which would establish a commission to investigate the attack by Donald Trump supporters over the election.
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Bill has more on a Republican effort to block the establishment of an independent commission to investigate the Jan. 6 Capitol siege. Plus, Trump and Giuliani's efforts to dismiss lawsuits against them.


Wednesday, May 26



Republican senators ready $1T infrastructure counteroffer to Biden
Senate Republicans revived negotiations over President Joe Biden's sweeping investment plan, preparing a $1 trillion infrastructure proposal that would be funded with COVID-19 relief money as a counteroffer to the White House ahead of a Memorial Day deadline toward a bipartisan deal.

The Republicans said Tuesday they would disclose details of the new offer by Thursday, sounding upbeat after both sides had panned other offers.

House GOP leaders condemn Marjorie Taylor Greene over comparing mask rules to Holocaust
House Republican leaders forcefully condemned GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene on Tuesday, calling her comments comparing House COVID-19 safety rules like mask-wearing to the treatment of Jews in Nazi Germany "appalling." The freshman Georgia congresswoman's comments belittled "the greatest atrocity committed in history," said House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy.

Manhattan DA convenes special grand jury in Trump proble, NY AG also investigating
The Manhattan District Attorney's office has convened the special grand jury that would decide whether an indictment is warranted against former President Trump or his eponymous company, sources told ABC News. Prosecutors have been using previously empaneled grand juries to issue subpoenas and gather evidence in an investigation that has spanned the better part of two years.
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Bill Ritter has the latest on a deadly mass shooting at a rail yard in California, plus investigations into a lab in Wuhan and Governor Cuomo.



Tuesday, May 25



Manhattan DA convenes special grand jury to decide on Trump indictment: ABC News
The Manhattan District Attorney's office has convened the special grand jury that would decide whether an indictment is warranted against former President Trump or his eponymous company, sources familiar with the matter told ABC News.

Prosecutors have been using previously empaneled grand juries to issue subpoenas and gather evidence in an investigation that has spanned the better part of two years.

NYC marks 1 year since murder of George Floyd with solemn observances, protests
The life of George Floyd - and his death seen on video around the world - will be remembered and acknowledged today in New York City and across the country. A full day of protests are scheduled for Tuesday marking one year since the murder of Floyd during an arrest in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

White House: Joe Biden to meet Vladimir Putin face-to-face next month for Geneva summit
President Joe Biden and Russia's Vladimir Putin agreed Tuesday to meet next month in Geneva, a face-to-face encounter the White House hopes will help bring some predictability to a fraught relationship that's only worsened in the first months of the Democratic administration.

The June 16 summit is being tacked on to the end of Biden's first international trip as president: He'll also visit Britain for a meeting of Group of Seven world leaders and attend a NATO summit in Brussels.

US will make 'significant contributions' to rebuilding Gaza, Blinken says
The United States will make "significant contributions" to rebuild Gaza and reopen its consulate in Jerusalem following the recent conflict between Israel and Hamas, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on the first day of his first official visit to the region. Blinken, speaking alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, said the US would "work to ensure that Hamas does not benefit" from the aid.
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Bill has the latest on investigations surrounding Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani, plus George Floyd's family visits President Biden Tuesday.



Monday, May 24



Belarus condemned for 'hijacking' commercial airplane to detain journalist
Ryanair flight 4978 was about to begin its descent to Vilnius in Lithuania on Sunday when it suddenly changed direction after a "security alert," turning sharply east and descending towards the capital of Belarus, Minsk.

Whether that security alert was a fabrication by the Belarus authorities is now at the heart of an incident that has sparked widespread international condemnation and raised serious questions about safety in the skies. Some governments have described the incident as a state-sanctioned hijacking.

Crime takes center stage as race for NYC mayor heats up
Gun crimes are once again running rampant in New York City, with another violent weekend in the nation's largest city after 26 people were shot in 22 incidents. And for many, it feels like a lifetime ago that the Big Apple bragged about being the safety metropolis in America. With crime now at the forefront of the race for mayor, the candidates are chiming in with what they'd do to fight the issue.

US to push Israel-Hamas peace talks after Gaza truce
Secretary of State Antony Blinken is heading to the Middle East to press the Israelis, Palestinians and regional players to build on last week's Gaza cease-fire by laying the groundwork for an eventual resumption in long-stalled peace talks.

President Joe Biden announced Blinken would depart on Monday for a short visit to Israel, the West Bank, Jordan and Egypt for what will be the Biden administration's highest-level in-person meetings on the crisis that erupted earlier this month.

Friday, May 21



Biden bestows Medal of Honor on Korean War veteran Col. Ralph Puckett Jr.
President Joe Biden awarded his first Medal of Honor on Friday to a 94-year-old retired Army colonel for bravery under enemy fire more than a half-century ago in the Korean War. It took a policy change for retired Col. Ralph Puckett Jr. to receive the military's highest honor. The 2020 defense policy bill removed a requirement that such awards be given within five years of a valorous act.

Palestinians see victory in Gaza truce as Israel vows 'new level of force' to further attacks
Palestinians rallied by the thousands early Friday after a cease-fire took effect in the latest Gaza war, with many viewing it as costly but clear victory for the Islamic militant group Hamas. Israel vowed to respond with a "new level of force" to any further hostilities.

The 11-day war left more than 200 dead - the vast majority Palestinians - and brought widespread devastation to the already impoverished Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. But the rocket barrages that brought life to a standstill in much of Israel were seen by many Palestinians as a bold response to perceived Israeli abuses in Jerusalem, the emotional heart of the conflict.

Amid recent stumbles, Andrew Yang faces questions about whether he's ready to be NYC's mayor
It has been a big question about Andrew Yang for weeks, is he ready to be mayor? He has stumbled a lot lately. On Thursday, when asked by reporters, Yang seemed to know little about 50-a, police policy that kept disciplinary records secret.

He was also confused about the city's chokehold policy and he stumbled at a forum on homeless issues. "One thing I think would be extraordinarily helpful is to have specific shelters for victims of domestic violence, Yang said.
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Bill Ritter and political guests discuss President Biden's struggle to unite Democrats and Republicans on the nation's many issues.



Thursday, May 20



Israel, Hamas agree to cease-fire to end bloody 11-day war
Israel and Hamas announced a cease-fire Thursday, ending a bruising 11-day war that caused widespread destruction in the Gaza Strip and brought life in much of Israel to a standstill.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office said Israel accepted the Egyptian proposal after a late-night meeting of his Security Cabinet. Hamas quickly followed suit and said it would honor the deal.

Biden signs bill aimed at addressing rise in anti-Asian hate crimes
President Joe Biden signed a bill into law on Thursday that's aimed at countering a rise in anti-Asian hate crimes that's come during the coronavirus pandemic.

Biden has previously urged Congress to pass the legislation, called the Covid-19 Hate Crimes Act. The bill will create a new position at the Justice Department to expedite review of potential Covid-19-related hate crimes and incidents reported at the federal, state or local level.

Stringer, Adams & Yang hit campaign trail ahead of election day
The next mayor of New York City is facing the biggest challenges perhaps of any mayor and the field of candidates is the most diverse ever. At Yankee Stadium on Thursday morning, Eric Adams picked up the endorsement of United Local 100, a union of airport and food service workers.

And a half hour later, Scott Stringer blasted two Republican donors. One of them bought a $200 million apartment on Central Park.
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Bill has more on the cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, Governor Cuomo's response to questions about his book and the latest on the New York City mayoral race.



Wednesday, May 19



Airstrikes kill 6, level home in Gaza; Biden tells Israel PM he expects 'significant de-escalation'
Israeli airstrikes killed at least six people across the Gaza Strip and destroyed the home of an extended family early Wednesday. The military said it widened its strikes in the Palestinian territory's south to blunt continuing rocket fire from Hamas, while a separate barrage also came from Lebanon.

U.S. President Joe Biden told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he expects a "significant de-escalation" Wednesday on the path to a cease-fire with Hamas.

NY Attorney General opens criminal investigation into Trump Organization
The New York Attorney General's investigation into the Trump Organization has now evolved to include potential crimes, according to a spokesman. The office has been investigating possible civil violations by the Trump Organization over the way it valued holdings as it sought loans and tax benefits.

Mitch McConnell says he'll oppose Jan. 6 commission to investigate Jan.6 Capitol riot
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday he will oppose legislation to create a commission on the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, a blow to Democrats who say an independent, bipartisan investigation of the siege is crucial to prevent it from happening again.

The Republican leader's opposition comes a day after he said he was "open" to the bill that the House is expected to pass Wednesday. House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy has also said he will not support the legislation.
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Dr. Jen Ashton joins Bill Ritter to discuss the effects that the COVID pandemic has had on mental health as the Tri-State officially begins to reopen.



Tuesday, May 18



Andrew Giuliani, son of former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani, announces run for New York governor
Andrew Giuliani, the son of former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, announced Tuesday that he is running for governor, joining Lee Zeldin and Rob Astornio as Republican challengers to third term incumbent Andrew Cuomo. Giuliani, 35, told ABC News said last month that he was "strongly considering" a run and that he would be meeting with New York Republican county chairs in the coming weeks.

Biden announces US will share more COVID-19 vaccines globally
President Joe Biden said Monday that his administration will share millions more doses of COVID-19 vaccines with other countries in addition to the 60 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine he has already committed to sharing by July 4.

Biden said the US will share at least 20 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines by the end of next month, totaling 80 million doses that are set to be sent abroad. Those additional 20 million doses will consist of Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines as well as AstraZeneca, which has to be approved by federal regulators before being shipped overseas. That effort is underway.

Strike from Gaza kills 2 as Israel topples 6-story building
A strike launched from Gaza killed two Thai workers in southern Israel on Tuesday, police said, hours after Israeli airstrikes toppled a six-story building in the Palestinian territory that housed bookstores and educational centers. With the war showing no sign of abating, Palestinians across the region went on a general strike in a rare collective action against Israel's policies.

Violence erupted at protests in the occupied West Bank, including at one in the city of Ramallah. Hundreds of Palestinians burned tires and hurled stones toward an Israeli military checkpoint. Troops fired tear gas canisters at the crowd and protesters picked up some of them and threw them back.
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Bill Ritter discusses the continuing crisis in the Middle East, another recount in Arizona and Andrew Giuliani's run for New York governor.



Monday, May 17



Biden expresses 'support' for Israeli-Palestinian cease-fire in Netanyahu call
President Joe Biden expressed support for a cease-fire between Israel and Gaza's militant Hamas rulers in a call to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday, the eighth day of air strikes and rocket barrages that have killed at least 200 people, most of them Palestinians in Gaza.

Biden stopped short of joining the growing demands from Democrats and others for an immediate cease-fire in the fighting. But the White House readout of the call showed increased White House concern that the fighting - including Israeli airstrikes aimed at weakening Hamas - come to an end, while still expressing support for Israel.

Cuomo set to earn $5M payday from memoir on COVID-19 crisis
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo disclosed Monday that he was paid a $3.1 million advance to write his COVID-19 leadership book last year and under his publishing contract will make another $2 million on the memoir over the next two years.

The Democrat had, for months, declined to say how much money he made from writing "American Crisis: Leadership Lessons From the COVID-19 Pandemic."

Matt Gaetz associate Joel Greenberg pleads guilty to sex trafficking charges
A Florida politician who emerged as a central figure in the Justice Department's sex trafficking investigation into Rep. Matt Gaetz pleaded guilty Monday to six federal charges and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors as part of a plea deal.

Joel Greenberg, a longtime associate of Gaetz, appeared in federal court in Orlando. He pleaded guilty to six of the nearly three dozen charges he faced, including sex trafficking of a minor, and he admitted that he had paid at least one underage girl to have sex with him and other men.

Gov. Cuomo announces New York to adopt CDC mask guidelines for fully vaccinated
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced New York state will end mask mandates and adopt CDC guidelines for the fully vaccinated effective Wednesday. Cuomo says following the CDC guidance, immunocompromised people and unvaccinated people should wear a mask and social distance.
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Bill Ritter has the latest on the Middle East crisis, the investigation into Matt Gaetz and the shocking amount Governor Cuomo is making of his pandemic book.



Friday, May 14



Israel-Palestine conflict latest: Deaths rise as Palestinians flee heavy Israeli fire in Gaza
Thousands of Palestinians grabbed children and belongings and fled their homes Friday as Israel barraged the northern Gaza Strip with tank fire and airstrikes, killing a family of six in their house and heavily damaging other neighborhoods in what it said was an operation to clear militant tunnels.

As international efforts at a cease-fire stepped up, Israel appeared to be looking to inflict intensified damage on the Islamic militant group Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip and has fired hundreds of rockets into Israel.

House Republicans vote to replace Cheney with Trump defender Stefanik
Republicans vaulted Rep. Elise Stefanik into the ranks of House leadership Friday, electing an ardent Donald Trump defender in hopes of calming their searing civil war over the deposed Rep. Liz Cheney's unremitting combat with the former president.

Stefanik, R-N.Y., a moderate turned Trump loyalist who's given voice to many of his false claims about election fraud, was elected as expected to the No. 3 post that Cheney, R-Wyo., held for over two years.

House panel reaches agreement on bipartisan Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection commission
The top Democratic and Republican members of the House Homeland Security Committee have reached an agreement on legislation to form a bipartisan commission to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. The measure had stalled amid partisan differences.

Under the terms of the agreement announced Friday, the commission would have an equal number of Democrats and Republicans, five from each party. It would have subpoena power and be charged with issuing a final report by Dec. 31, along with recommendations to prevent future attacks.

Mask-wearing update in NY, NJ and CT: What to know
The CDC announced new mask guidance Thursday that allows for fully vaccinated individual to safely discard their masks in most cases, but it leaves it up to states, cities, and businesses to dictate their own rules. So far, New York and New Jersey do not appear to be in a rush to make any changes in mask-wearing policies. But it's a different story in Connecticut.
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Bill Ritter discusses the deadly violence between Israel and Hamas, Liz Cheney's replacement and mask-wearing policies in the Tri-State.



Thursday, May 13



CDC: Fully vaccinated people can ditch masks indoors - most of the time
In a major step toward returning to pre-pandemic life, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention eased mask-wearing guidance for fully vaccinated people on Thursday, allowing them to stop wearing masks outdoors in crowds and in most indoor settings. "Today is a great day for America," President Joe Biden said during a Rose Garden address heralding the new guidance.

The guidance still calls for wearing masks in crowded indoor settings like buses, planes, hospitals, prisons and homeless shelters, but it will help clear the way for reopening workplaces, schools, and other venues - even removing the need for social distancing for those who are fully vaccinated.

Biden signs executive order to beef up federal cyber defenses following pipeline hack
President Joe Biden signed an executive order Wednesday meant to strengthen U.S. cybersecurity defenses in response to a series of headline-grabbing hacking incidents that highlight how vulnerable the country's public and private sectors are to high-tech spies and criminals operating from half a world away.

The order will require all federal agencies to use basic cybersecurity measures, like multi-factor authentication, and require new security standards for software makers that contract with the federal government.

Israel threatens Gaza ground invasion despite truce efforts
Israel on Thursday said it was massing troops along the Gaza frontier and calling up 9,000 reservists ahead of a possible ground invasion of the Hamas-ruled territory, as the two bitter enemies plunged closer to all-out war. Egyptian mediators rushed to Israel for cease-fire efforts but showed no signs of progress.

The stepped-up fighting came as communal violence in Israel erupted for a fourth night, with Jewish and Arab mobs clashing in the flashpoint town of Lod. The fighting took place despite a bolstered police presence ordered by the nation's leaders.

NYC mayoral race heats up with 6 weeks to go before primary
With less than six weeks to go, the Democratic primary that may decide the next mayor of New York City has reached a new stage of unpredictability. Former presidential candidate Andrew Yang is clinging to front-runner status while City Comptroller Scott Stringer fights off a sexual misconduct allegation.

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, a former police officer and founder of a law enforcement reform group, has seen his standing rise amid concern over a spike in shootings during the coronavirus pandemic - including gunfire that injured three bystanders in Times Square.
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Bill Ritter has the latest on the CDC's huge announcement on mask guidelines, as well as an update on the Middle East crisis and Biden's plans on infrastructure following the pipeline cyberattack.



Wednesday, May 12



Mideast violence bears hallmarks of 2014 Gaza war
Israeli airstrikes toppled a massive high-rise building in central Gaza City on Wednesday, in the latest escalation in Israel-Hamas fighting -- the most severe outbreak of violence since a 2014 war.

Palls of gray smoke rose in Gaza, as Israeli airstrikes levelled two apartment towers and hammered the militant group's multiple security installations, destroying the central police compound.

In Israel, barrages of hundreds of rockets fired by Gaza's Hamas rulers and other militants at times overwhelmed missile defenses and brought air raid sirens and explosions echoing across Tel Aviv, Israel's biggest metropolitan area, and other cities.

The death toll in Gaza rose to 48 Palestinians, including 14 children and three women, according to the Health Ministry. More than 300 people have been wounded, including 86 children and 39 women. Six Israelis, including a soldier, three women and a child, were killed, and dozens of people were wounded.

Liz Cheney vows to prevent Trump from becoming president again after ousting
House Republicans ousted Rep. Liz Cheney from her post as the chamber's No. 3 GOP leader on Wednesday, punishing her after she repeatedly rebuked former President Donald Trump for his false claims of election fraud and his role in inciting the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.

Meeting behind closed doors for less than 20 minutes, GOP lawmakers used a voice vote to remove the Wyoming congresswoman from her leadership post, the latest evidence that challenging Trump can be career-threatening.

She was Congress' highest-ranking Republican woman, a daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, and her removal marked a jarring turnabout to what's been her fast rise within the party.

Hearing on Jan. 6 violence exposes stark partisan divisions
Republicans sought to rewrite the history of the Jan. 6 insurrection during a rancorous congressional hearing Wednesday, painting the Trump supporters who attacked the building as mostly peaceful patriots and downplaying repeatedly the violence of the day.

Democrats, meanwhile, clashed with Donald Trump's former Pentagon chief about the unprepared government response to a riot that began when hundreds of Trump loyalists bent on overturning the election broke through police barriers, smashed windows and laid siege to the building.

The colliding lines of questioning, and a failure to settle on a universally agreed-upon set of facts, underscored the challenges Congress faces as it sets out to investigate the violence and government missteps. The House Oversight Committee hearing unfolded just after Republicans in the chamber voted to remove Rep. Liz Cheney from her leadership post for rebuking Trump for his false claims of election fraud and his role in inciting the attack.

Former acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller and former acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, testifying publicly for the first time about Jan. 6, defended their agencies' responses to the chaos. But the hearing almost immediately devolved into partisan bickering about how that day unfolded, with at least one Republican brazenly stating there wasn't an insurrection at all.

Colonial Pipeline restarts operations following hacking shutdown
The Colonial Pipeline, which delivers about 45% of the fuel consumed on the East Coast, was hit on Friday with a cyberattack by hackers who lock up computer systems and demand a ransom to release them. The attack raised concerns, once again, about the vulnerability of the nation's critical infrastructure.

Colonial initiated the restart of pipeline operations late Wednesday, "which means that all lines, including those lateral lines that have been running manually, will return to normal operations," the company said in a statement. But it will take several days for deliveries to return to normal, the company said.

In the meantime, drivers have been finding gas stations with little or no gas in some Southeast states.
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Bill Ritter & guests have the latest on escalating mayhem in the Middle East, Liz Cheney's ousting and more.



Tuesday, May 11



Israel, Hamas trade deadly fire as confrontation escalates
A confrontation between Israel and Hamas sparked by weeks of tensions in contested Jerusalem escalated Tuesday as Israel unleashed new airstrikes on Gaza while militants barraged Israel with hundreds of rockets. The exchange killed a number of militants and civilians in Gaza and at least three people in Israel.

The barrage of rockets from the Gaza Strip and airstrikes into the territory continued almost nonstop throughout the day, in what appeared to be some of the most intense fighting between Israel and Hamas since their 2014 war. The fire was so relentless that Israel's Iron Dome rocket-defense system seemed to be overwhelmed. Columns of smoke rose from many places in Gaza.

Colonial Pipeline officials hope most service will be back by weekend after ransomware hack
Hit by a cyberattack, the operator of a major U.S. fuel pipeline said it hopes to have services mostly restored by the end of the week as the FBI and administration officials identified the culprits as a gang of criminal hackers.

U.S. officials sought to soothe concerns about price spikes or damage to the economy by stressing that the fuel supply had so far not experienced widespread disruptions, and the company said Monday that it was working toward "substantially restoring operational service" by the weekend.

Kathryn Garcia making name for self in New York City mayoral race
The New York Times endorsement of Kathryn Garcia might just push her from unknown, to top tier in the race for New York City mayor. Her new television ad stresses experience -- and lots of it.

Garcia was sanitation commissioner for the New York City Sanitation Department, making sure streets got plowed and the trash picked up.
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Chaos and violence escalated between Israel and the Palestinians on Tuesday. Meanwhile, Colonial Pipeline officials hope most service will be back by the weekend after a ransomware hack.


Monday, May 10



Times Square shooting
New York City was once billed as the safest big city in the country, but as shootings are up, Mayor Bill de Blasio is walking a strange line of stopping the violence and also trying to drum up tourism.

After Saturday's shooting in Times Square that left two women and a child injured, de Blasio increased security in the Crossroads of the World. However, at the same time, he doubted the brazen violence will hurt tourism. Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the MTA strongly disagreed.

Crime has become a huge issue in the race for mayor, especially after the Times Square shooting.

Hamas targets Jerusalem after clashes at revered mosque
Hamas militants fired dozens of rockets into Israel on Monday, including a barrage that set off air raid sirens as far away as Jerusalem, after hundreds of Palestinians were hurt in clashes with Israeli police at a flashpoint religious site in the contested holy city.

The rocket fire drew heavy Israeli retaliation in the Gaza Strip. Health officials said at least 20 people, including nine children, were killed in fighting, making it one of the bloodiest days of battle between the bitter enemies in several years.

The fighting escalated already heightened tensions throughout the region following weeks of confrontations between Israeli police and Palestinian protesters in Jerusalem. Those confrontations, focused around a disputed hilltop compound in Jerusalem's Old City, have threatened to spark a wider conflict.

Fuel pipeline shutdown sparks worries of $3 gas
A cyberattack forced the largest US fuel pipeline to shut down Friday, and analysts are worried the disruption could result in a spike in gas prices.

The Colonial Pipeline system spans more than 5,500 miles and transports about 45% of all fuel consumed on the East Coast. It transports 2.5 million barrels per day of gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and home heating oil.

Colonial Pipeline Company said it was the victim of a cybersecurity attack that involved ransomware. In an update on Sunday, the company said that its four mainlines remain offline, but some smaller lines between terminals and delivery points are now operational. The pipeline's owners include Royal Dutch Shell.

FDA grants emergency use authorization for Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for ages 12-15
The US Food and Drug Administration has expanded the emergency use authorization for Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine to include people ages 12 to 15.

This is the first COVID-19 vaccine in the United States authorized for use in younger teens and adolescents; the vaccine had previously been authorized for people age 16 and older. COVID-19 vaccines from Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are authorized for use in people age 18 and older.
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Bill Ritter has more on the fallout from the Times Square shooting, the cyberattack on the colonial pipeline and violence in the Middle East.



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