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Editor Daily Rundown: Crime Strikes Home

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Henry Rodgers Chief National Correspondent
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CRIME STRIKES HOME … Democratic Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon Carjacked At Gunpoint Following Meeting In Home District

Democratic Pennsylvania Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon was carjacked at gunpoint following a meeting in Franklin Delano Roosevelt Park in South Philadelphia on Wednesday afternoon, her spokeswoman announced.

When reached for comment, a Philadelphia Police Department spokeswoman confirmed that law enforcement officials are searching for two African-American male suspects between the ages of 20 and 30. The spokeswoman added that the Federal Bureau of Investigation is taking over the case.

 

EXAMINER: Ho ho hum: Biden polling slump continues into the holidays

President Joe Biden will hope for better polling results in the new year, as his approval ratings have hit their lowest point heading into the Christmas holidays.

A pair of new polls continue to show Biden hovering near his lowest approval since inauguration day, with independents rapidly fleeing the Democratic president.

An NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll found that 41% approve of Biden and 55% disapprove, representing a new low since he took office. The poll found that support from independents had dropped 8 points in a single week, with two-thirds of independents disapproving of Biden’s performance overall.

 

FOX NEWS: NY Times: Kamala Harris gripes her media coverage would be better if she was White man

Vice President Kamala Harris is reportedly expressing discontent with the news coverage surrounding her performance as the nation’s second-highest office holder, citing her race and gender.

According to a piece by The New York Times, Harris has been privately complaining to her allies that the media’s coverage of her would be better if she were any of her 48 White male predecessors, and has reportedly confided in them about the difficulties she’s facing with her assigned portfolio from the White House.

 

NY TIMES: Heir Apparent or Afterthought? The Frustrations of Kamala Harris

An early front-runner whose presidential ambitions fizzled amid a dysfunctional 2020 campaign, Ms. Harris was pulled onto the Biden ticket for her policy priorities that largely mirrored his, and her ability as a Black woman to bolster support with coalitions of voters he needed to win the presidency. But according to interviews with more than two dozen White House officials, political allies, elected officials and former aides, Ms. Harris is still struggling to define herself in the Biden White House or meaningfully correct what she and her aides feel is an unfair perception that she is adrift in the job.

 

POLITICO: Putin urges West to act quickly to offer security guarantees

Russian President Vladimir Putin urged the West on Thursday to move quickly to meet Russia’s demand for security guarantees precluding NATO’s expansion to Ukraine and the deployment of the military alliance’s weapons there.

Speaking during a marathon annual news conference, the Russian leader welcomed talks with the U.S. that are set to start in Geneva next month, but warned the discussion focused on Moscow’s demand needs to produce quick results.

 

WAPO: Amazon is building warehouses in ‘opportunity zones’ that provide tax breaks and secrecy

 

NY TIMES: Inflation Hits Highest Level Since 1982, Keeping Pressure on the Fed

Federal Reserve policymakers are finishing a year that has been colored by surprisingly high inflation with yet another piece of bad news: The price measure they follow most closely touched its highest level since 1982.

The Personal Consumption Expenditures price index, which is the one the Fed officially targets when it aims for 2 percent annual inflation on average over time, climbed 5.7 percent in November from a year earlier, the Commerce Department said on Thursday. Part of the jump owed to gasoline prices — they were up sharply in November but have moderated this month — but a so-called core index that strips out food and fuel prices also increased sharply, to 4.7 percent.

 

CNN: Supreme Court schedules January 7 oral arguments in challenges to Biden vaccine mandates

The Supreme Court said Wednesday it is scheduling oral arguments for January 7 in the cases challenging the Biden administration’s Covid-19 vaccine requirements for large employers and certain health care workers.

The arguments were scheduled after Supreme Court Justices Samuel Alito and Brett Kavanaugh were asked to intervene in lower court disputes over the mandates. Kavanaugh had been asked by challengers to the employer mandate to reverse an appeals court ruling that said the administration could enforce its vaccine-or-testing rules for large companies.

 

POLITICO: Durham probe cost $3.8M over past year

Special counsel John Durham’s inquiry into the origins of the investigation into ties between Russia and the 2016 Trump presidential campaign spent close to $3.8 million over its first year of operations.

That includes roughly more than $2.3 million between April 1 and Sept. 30. Of that, nearly $1.9 million was directly related to the team’s investigation and approximately $471,000 was spent by other parts of the Justice Department in connection to Durham’s work.

 

CBS: U.S. shelters received a record 122,000 unaccompanied migrant children in 2021

The Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) shelter system received 122,000 migrant children who were taken into U.S. custody without their parents in fiscal year 2021, an all-time high that shattered previous records, according to new government figures obtained by CBS News.

In fiscal years 2016 and 2019, when the previous records were set, HHS received 59,000 and 69,000 unaccompanied migrant children, respectively, historical government statistics show. During a six-month period starting this March, more than 92,000 unaccompanied minors were transferred to HHS.

The record number of shelter transfers was fueled by the unprecedented arrival of 147,000 unaccompanied children to the U.S.-Mexico border in fiscal year 2021, which ended in October.

 

THE HILL: Last Afghan refugees leave temporary housing at Marine Corps Base Quantico

The last Afghan refugees who were temporarily housed at Marine Corps Base Quantico in Virginia have left, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced Thursday.

The base is the second of eight installations that were established to temporarily house refugees that has completed operations. Overall, more than 49,000 Afghan evacuees have been resettled across the country in efforts being led by the State Department.

 

THE HILL: Wife of French President Macron is fighting bizarre rumor that she is transgender

Brigette Macron is the wife of French President Emmanuel Macron and she’s the target of internet rumors that have falsely stated that she’s transgender and now she’s taking legal action.

The rumors claim that the French First Lady was born male under the name Jean-Michel Trogneux and were published on a far-right website in September. From there, the rumors were widely circulated across the internet by conspiracy theorists, according to the BBC.

 

FOX NEWS: DC vax mandate would disproportionately affect Black residents, data suggests

The new COVID-19 vaccination mandate in Washington, D.C. would disproportionately impact Black residents in the city, vaccination data suggests. D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser announced on Wednesday that she would be implementing a vaccination requirement for residents starting Jan. 15.

Vaccination data shows, however, that Bowser’s mandate would have a disproportionate effect on minorities in the city, in particular with Black residents.

 

FOX NEWS: Michael Avenatti received Trump’s ‘The Art of the Deal’ when held in NYC jail

When Michael Avenatti, the troubled California lawyer, requested reading material while being held in a New York City detention facility in January 2020, he received a book he wasn’t expecting, according to a report.

The title: “The Art of the Deal,” by Donald Trump. The one-time high-flying lawyer who became one of Trump’s toughest foes sat down several times with Politico for a profile piece that presents him as an entertainer without a stage – and goes into his rise, fall and what comes next.

 

COVID Comes For Congress, Again

Reps. Antonio Delgado, Barbara Lee and Nicole Malliotakis are the latest lawmakers to announce that they had tested positive for the coronavirus as it infects more in Congress and in governors’ mansions across the country.

Delgado, a Democrat from New York, announced Wednesday morning that he tested positive, crediting the vaccine for his mild symptoms and encouraging people to get vaccinated and boosted. Lee, a Democrat from California, said that she tested positive Tuesday, saying that she had mild symptoms but that “it could have been much worse” had she not been vaccinated and boosted. Malliotakis, a Republican from New York, tested positive Monday, and “is feeling well which she attributes to having been vaccinated.”

 

Jim Clyburn, Third-Ranking House Democrat, Tests Positive For COVID

House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn announced late Wednesday that he had tested positive for COVID-19. “Tonight, I received a positive COVID-19 diagnosis. This is a breakthrough case, and I am asymptomatic,” Clyburn said.

“America is in a new phase of this pandemic. No one is immune. I urge anyone who has not done so to protect themselves by getting vaccinated and boosted.”

 

CBS: “Major industrial accident” sets off huge fire at ExxonMobil refinery near Houston

What the local sheriff called a “major industrial accident” led to a huge fire early Thursday at an ExxonMobil refinery in Baytown, Texas, near Houston. Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez tweeted that “initial reports indicated some type of explosion occurred inside the plant.”

CBS Houston affiliate KHOU-TV reported that the flames were in the part of the facility that makes gasoline, but the rest of the refinery was still operating.

 

US Tech Giant Apologizes To China After Telling Suppliers To Avoid Products From Xinjiang

U.S. chip maker and technology company Intel apologized to its Chinese business partners and customers Thursday after telling its suppliers to avoid sourcing from the Xinjiang region of China.

Intel sent a letter to suppliers earlier this month urging them to avoid products, labor and materials from Xinjiang, home of China’s Uyhgur Muslim minority. The letter, written by Intel’s Jackie Sturm, vice president and general manager of global supply chain operations, said Intel had an expectation that suppliers were “prohibiting any human trafficked or involuntary labor” in their supply chains.