Wednesday morning news – January 13, 2021

House resolution calls on vice president to invoke 25th Amendment » Lawmakers in the House passed a resolution on Tuesday asking Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment and declare that President Trump is no longer fit to serve. 


The resolution is non-binding, but if the vice president does not invoke the 25th Amendment—and there’s no indication that he will—House Democrats will move to impeach Trump for a second time. 

The articles of impeachment would charge Trump with “incitement of insurrection” for encouraging supporters to rally at the Capitol last week to protest the election. 

President Trump responded on Tuesday. 

TRUMP: The impeachment hoax is a continuation of the greatest and most vicious witch hunt in the history of our country and is causing tremendous division and pain. 

He added that now is a time for peace and for healing and said he wants “no violence.” 

The president traveled to Alamo, Texas on Tuesday to mark the completion of nearly 500 miles of the border wall. 

U.S. prosecutors weighing sedition charges in Capitol riot » Prosecutors have already criminally charged more than 70 people in last Wednesday’s riot at the Capitol. 

And the Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, Michael Sherwin, said he expects that number to grow into the hundreds. He said the range of charges against suspects is unlike anything he’s seen. 

SHERWIN: We’re looking at everything from simple trespass, to theft of mail, to assault, to the theft of potential national security information or national defense information, to felony murder.

Some could also face charges of sedition. 

At a news conference Tuesday, FBI investigator Steven D’Antuono directly addressed those who stormed the Capitol. 

D’ANTUONO: Even if you’ve left DC, agents from our local field offices will be knocking on your door if we find out that you were part of the criminal activity at the Capitol. 

D’Antuono said some suspects have already come forward and turned themselves in to authorities. 

U.S. shifts to speed vaccine distribution » Top U.S. health officials shifted gears on Tuesday, moving to speed up delivery of coronavirus vaccines.

General Gustave Perna heads distribution for Operation Warp Speed. He said states can now make use of a network of pharmacy chains to help administer the shots. 

PERNA: We have opened it up for states to utilize the over 40,000 pharmacy providers that are enrolled. And we want to expand it up to 70,000 providers that are enrolled.

Both of the vaccines now in use require two doses. But the federal government will no longer hold supplies for second doses in reserve. That will practically double the number of doses shipping out to states. 

But some states have enjoyed smoother rollouts than others. For example, North Dakota has used 74 percent of the doses it has received while Arkansas has used just 15 percent. 

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said each state’s performance will now factor into how many doses they receive going forward. 

He said the country’s on track to begin vaccinating a million Americans each day within the next week or so. And he added that we now have enough doses to offer the shots to a broader range of people. 

AZAR: We are telling states today that they should open vaccinations to all of their most vulnerable people. That is the most effective way to save lives now. 

The CDC is urging states to offer shots to anyone age 65 and older and well as younger people with certain health problems. 

Michigan plans to charge ex-Gov. Snyder in Flint water probe » Prosecutors in Michigan plan to charge former Gov. Rick Snyder and other former officials in connection with the Flint water scandal. That according to a new report by the Associated Press. 

Two people with knowledge of the planned prosecution reportedly said the attorney general’s office has informed defense lawyers for Rick Snyder and others that they are being charged. 

Investigations have continued for years after lead-contaminated water apparently led to a deadly outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in 2014.

No word yet on the nature of the planned charges. 

Pompeo hits Iran for al-Qaeda support » Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday said al-Qaeda has found a new safe haven.

POMPEO: Al-Qaeda has a new home base. It is the Islamic Republic of Iran. As a result, bin Laden’s wicked creation is poised to gain strength and capabilities.

Pompeo heard there speaking to the National Press Club in Washington.

He cited newly declassified intelligence suggesting Tehran harbored al-Qaeda’s No. 2 leader, Abu Muhammad al-Masri. The New York Times reported that Israeli agents shot and killed al-Masri on the streets or Tehran last summer. And Pompeo said Tuesday…

POMPEO: Today I can confirm for the first time his death on August 7th of last year. 

He also announced new sanctions on several Iranian officials.

Speaking after Pompeo’s remarks, two senior U.S. officials told reporters that Iran had facilitated al-Masri’s stay in Tehran. That included sending security guards with him on shopping excursions.

Pompeo claimed that ties between al-Qaeda and Iran vastly improved in 2015, when the Obama administration, along with several other countries, were finalizing a nuclear agreement. 

Pompeo’s comments appeared to take aim at President-elect Joe Biden’s stated plans to resume negotiations with Iran to restore the nuclear deal.

UK targets forced labor in China’s Xinjiang region » British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab on Tuesday announced new action aimed at human rights abuses in China. 

Under new government rules, companies will face fines unless they show that their supply chains are free from forced labor.

RAAB: No company that profits from forced labor in Xinjiang can do business in the UK and no UK business is involved in their supply chains.

Raab said officials have issued guidance to British firms with links to Xinjiang on how to carry out due diligence checks. 

Raab said mounting evidence supports claims of “harrowing” human rights abuses, mainly against the Muslim Uighur population. He said among the abuses: mass detention in internment camps, widespread forced labor and forced sterilization of women. 

RAAB: It is truly horrific; barbarism we had hoped lost to another era being practiced today as we speak in one of the leading members of the international community.

The U.S. customs agency blocked imports of goods from Xinjiang last year.

(AP Photo/Alex Brandon) President Donald Trump boards Air Force One upon arrival at Valley International Airport, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021, in Harlingen, Texas, after visiting a section of the border wall with Mexico in Alamo, Texas. 

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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