The latest national and international stories for May 19, 2021.
1. House Approves January 6 Commission
On Wednesday, the House of Representatives voted to approve legislation to establish an independent and bipartisan commission that will investigate the January 6 attack on the Capitol.
In 252-175 vote, the commission was approved. 35 out of 175 House Republicans voted in favor of this legislation.
The vote comes after Trump loyalists, including Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, downplayed the violence that took place on January 6 and opposed the bill.
The bill now will go to the Senate awaiting a vote. Only 10 Republican Senators are needed for the legislation to pass.
2. Trump Calls Criminal Investigation of the Trump Organization “Corrupt”
New York Attorney General Letitia James is investigating former President Trump’s business.
James’ office announced Tuesday night, “We are now actively investigating the Trump Organization in a criminal capacity.”
State attorney general teamed up with Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., who has been conducting a separate criminal inquiry into Trump’s business practices.
Trump responded Wednesday attacking James saying “There is nothing more corrupt than an investigation that is in desperate search of a crime.”
The former president said that the investigations are a “Continuation of the greatest Witch Hunt in the History of the United States.”
3. Biden Expects ‘significant de-escalation today’
On the 10th day of conflict between Israel and Palestine, President Biden spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu Wednesday morning, saying he “Expects significant de-escalation today on the path to a ceasefire.”
The White House confirmed the two leaders had a discussion on the state of events in Gaza, Israelis’ progress in degrading the capabilities of Hamas and other terrorist elements, and ongoing diplomatic efforts by regional governments and the United States.
Wednesday was the first time President Biden set a deadline for when he would like to see an end to the violence between the two countries, which has led to civilian deaths.
According to Israeli authorities, 12 people have been killed in Israel, including two children. Health officials in Gaza say at least 219 have been killed, including 63 children and 36 women.
Biden’s conversation with Netanyahu has been the fourth call in the past week.
Hours after the phone call, Netanyahu said he is “Determined to continue this operation until its goal is achieved.”
So far, Biden has had over 60 calls in the past week, with senior leaders in Israel, the Palestinian Authority, and across the region. The administration will continue to remain engaged in intensive, quiet diplomacy to hold the current violence and find a way forward.
“The outcome we want is de-escalation and sustainable calm.”
4. Matt Hancock: We’re the Masters of Our Fate
Matt Hancock urges Brits to get the Covid-19 vaccine as Indian Covid variant cases continue to rise in the UK. Cases of the Indian variant rose 28 percent in two days to about 3,000.
Hancock said that England’s roadmap out of lockdown is the right strategy, but warned Britians “We are the masters of our own fate.”
The Health Secretary stressed that the vaccine is working well against the B1617.2 variant.
“Our strategy is the right one- to carefully replace restrictions on freedom with the protection from the vaccine” he stated.
Hancock announced due to low numbers of infections, deaths, and hospitalizations, the UK’s overall Covid picture was “Really quite positive.”
5. Booster Covid Jabs
Booster Covid jabs that could defeat the Indian variant could be offered as soon as this fall, following trials of seven vaccines.
Starting in June, around 3,000 people of all ages will be recruited for NHS trials, to determine the effect of a third dose in protecting against new Covid variants.
The UK will be the first in the world to gather data on how effective a third dose of the vaccine is on individuals’ immune systems. Chief investigator for the trial, Saul Faust, believes that some age groups may need a booster and others may not. “The aim is to find out whether there should be a booster campaign and which vaccine to use.” The vaccine will be trialed at 18 sites across the UK.