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BBC's correspondent predicts leadership battle after Laschet's CDU win – 'It's NOT over!'

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Proposal for 9/11-style commission to probe Capitol attack mired in partisanship

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WASHINGTON — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s proposal to assemble a 9/11-style commission to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol is quickly becoming mired in partisan fighting, jeopardizing its formation before it has even gotten off the ground.

Republican leaders object to the makeup and the scope of Pelosi’s proposed commission, which would comprise seven Democrats and four Republicans, with only the Democratic members having subpoena power.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said the proposal by Pelosi, D-Calif., was “politically driven,” adding that “it seems she is actually setting up a system to fail.” And Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has said it was “partisan by design.”

Republican leaders say they would support an investigation modeled after the 9/11 Commission, which was formed to investigate the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. It was equally divided between Republican and Democratic appointees — co-chaired by former New Jersey Gov. Thomas Kean, a Republican, and former Rep. Lee Hamilton, D-Ind. — with both parties having subpoena power.

Democrats insisted that Pelosi’s proposal was only a starting point.

“The speaker has been very clear this was initial outreach. This was an opening discussion about the commission style,” said Rep. Pete Aguilar, D-Calif., vice chair of the Democratic caucus. And a senior House Democratic aide said that Republicans have been asked for “edits” to the proposal but that they haven’t responded.

But Democrats aren’t relenting on the makeup of the commission, saying proposed presidential selections wouldn’t have to be partisan.

“It doesn’t necessarily mean that the president wouldn’t appoint someone with a different voter registration than our party,” Aguilar said. Under Pelosi’s proposal, President Joe Biden would appoint three people, while each of the four congressional leaders would appoint two.

It’s unclear how the process will advance. Legislation to set up the commission was expected to be introduced last week, but it was delayed because of Republican objections. Pelosi could decide to go forward and pass it with Democratic votes, but she told reporters last week that she would like bipartisan support.

The partisan divide was on display Wednesday when Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York, chair of the Democratic Conference, alleged that McCarthy “doesn’t always operate in good faith” and accused him of trying to stop the process by “complaining when we just have an initial framework that has been presented.”

“He set a bad tone on Jan. 3rd by delivering an egregious speech on the floor of the House and then, of course, continues to provide aid and comfort to the insurrectionists, including by voting for those objections,” Jeffries told reporters.

Pelosi has also said she wants the commission to look not just at security but at all components of the riot, including “the interference with the peaceful transfer of power, including facts and causes relating to the preparedness and response.”

McConnell is among Republicans who have objected to that scope, saying on the Senate floor that the appointed commissioners, not Congress, should dictate the parameters of an investigation.

He suggested that if the commission looks at violent extremism, it should consider extremism from the left. “We could do something here that looks at the Capitol, or we could potentially do something broader to analyze the full scope of political violence here in our country,” he said.

Alex Moe and Haley Talbot contributed.



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Former Cuomo adviser says governor ‘kissed me on the lips’

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A former aide to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the governor subjected her to “pervasive harassment” during her years of working for him, including numerous inappropriate comments in front of other people and a kiss on the lips while they were alone.

“Let’s play strip poker,” the former aide, Lindsey Boylan, said Cuomo told her on one occasion.

“I’m compelled to tell my story because no woman should feel forced to hide their experiences of workplace intimidation, harassment and humiliation — not by the Governor or anyone else,” Boylan wrote in an essay posted Wednesday on the website Medium.

Boylan, now a candidate for Manhattan borough president in New York City, worked for the Cuomo administration between 2015 and 2018 as a deputy secretary for economic development and special adviser to the governor.

She tweeted in December that Cuomo had sexually harassed her “for years” — a charge the three-term Democratic governor denied as “just not true” — but did not get into specifics at the time.

In the Medium essay, Boylan said her problems began after her first encounter with the governor at an event in Manhattan in January 2016.

“My boss soon informed me that the governor had a ‘crush’ on me,” Boylan said.

As time went on, she wrote, she complained to friends that Cuomo “would go out of his way to touch me on my lower back, arms and legs.”

The comment about playing strip poker allegedly came when Boylan and Cuomo were flying home from an event in western New York on his “taxpayer-funded jet” in October of 2017.

“He was seated facing me, so close our knees almost touched. His press aide was to my right and a state trooper behind us,” Boylan wrote. She said that after he made the crude comment, she responded sarcastically, “That’s exactly what I was thinking.”

“I tried to play it cool. But in that moment, I realized just how acquiescent I had become,” she wrote.

She said the harassment “extended beyond just me. He made unflattering comments about the weight of female colleagues. He ridiculed them about their romantic relationships and significant others. He said the reasons that men get women were ‘money and power.'”

She said she tried to console herself that it was “just words,” but that Cuomo then crossed another line in 2018, after she gave him a one-on-one briefing on economic and infrastructure projects at his office in Manhattan.

“As I got up to leave and walk toward an open door, he stepped in front of me and kissed me on the lips. I was in shock, but I kept walking,” she wrote.

“After that, my fears worsened. I came to work nauseous every day.” she wrote. She resigned in September of 2018.

Cuomo’s office denied the latest allegations.

“As we said before, Ms. Boylan’s claims of inappropriate behavior are quite simply false,” press secretary Caitlin Girouard said in a statement.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks before the opening of a mass Covid-19 vaccination site in Queens on Feb. 24, 2021.Seth Wenig / Pool via AFP – Getty Images

Girouard issued a statement on behalf of four other Cuomo employees who’d taken flights with Boylan and Cuomo in 2017 that said, “We were on each of these October flights and this conversation did not happen.”

Girouard said manifests of Cuomo’s flights in October of 2017 show there “was no flight where Lindsey was alone with the Governor, a single press aide, and a NYS Trooper,” although Boylan’s essay did not say those were the only people on the flight.

Boylan did not respond to requests for comment.

In her essay, she cited state Assemblyman Ron Kim’s decision to speak out about the “bullying” he said he’d received from Cuomo as part of the reason why she’s speaking out now. Kim, a Democrat, said Cuomo vowed to “destroy” him during for criticizing his handling of Covid-19 outbreaks at nursing homes.

Cuomo denied he’d done so last week. “I didn’t say anything about Assemblyman Ron Kim. He attacked me,” Cuomo told reporters.

Boylan wrote she’s not “seeking revenge. I was proud to work in the Cuomo Administration. For so long I had looked up to the Governor. But his abusive behavior needs to stop.”



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'Sadiq Khan must go!' Mayor told he's 'utterly failed' as London murder rate soars

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SADIQ Khan has “utterly failed” to deal with violent crime in the capital, despite the ongoing lockdown measures, former Brexit Party MEP Ben Habib has said, after a wave of violence which has left six Londoners dead in a fortnight.

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