National News in Brief

Rep. Jayapal positive for coronavirus after being locked down with lawmakers who wouldn’t wear masks

Rep. Pramila Jayapal tested positive for coronavirus Monday night, her office said, after she was in lockdown during Wednesday’s siege of the Capitol with “Republican lawmakers who cruelly and selfishly refused to wear masks.”

Jayapal’s office said she was locked in a secure room, as a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol, for “multiple hours” and several Republican colleagues “not only cruelly refused to wear a mask but mocked colleagues and staff who offered them one.”

Jayapal, a Democrat from Seattle, began quarantining immediately after the attack, her office said, fearing that she may have been exposed. In an interview with The Cut, published last week, she said she was quarantining because she was convinced the room she’d been in, “where there were over 100 people and many Republicans not wearing masks, was a superspreader event.”

“Too many Republicans have refused to take this pandemic and virus seriously, and in doing so, they endanger everyone around them,” Jayapal said Monday night. “Only hours after President Trump incited a deadly assault on our Capitol, our country, and our democracy, many Republicans still refused to take the bare minimum COVID-19 precaution and simply wear a damn mask in a crowded room during a pandemic — creating a superspreader event on top of a domestic terrorist attack.”

Jayapal, in a prepared statement, did not say if she was feeling ill or experiencing symptoms. She said she would continue to work “to the best of my ability” while in quarantine.

Jayapal is the second Democratic member of Congress to test positive since the siege on the Capitol. Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, D-N.J., announced a positive test earlier Monday.

In a video posted shortly after the attack, Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester, D-Del., can be seen trying to give masks to her colleagues while they’re locked down together during the siege. At least six Republican representatives can be seen in the video, posted by Punchbowl News, refusing the masks.

— The Seattle Times

Trump’s long-favored banks pull away from him amid fallout from Capitol riot

Two of Donald Trump’s favored banks are pulling away from the billionaire president in the wake of last week’s deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol.

Deutsche Bank AG has decided to refrain from further business with Trump and his company, said a person with knowledge of the matter, asking not to be identified because the deliberations were confidential. Trump owes the Frankfurt-based lender more than $300 million.

And Signature Bank, the New York lender that’s long catered to his family, said it’s cutting ties while it presses for his resignation. Signature is closing two personal accounts in which Trump held about $5.3 million, a spokesperson for the firm said Monday.

“We believe the appropriate action would be the resignation of the president of the United States, which is in the best interests of our nation and the American people,” the bank said in a separate statement Monday.

The lenders are following social media outlets and other companies in suspending ties with the president after he encouraged attendees at a rally last week to march on the Capitol, where they stormed the building and interrupted the certification of the electoral college vote. At least five people died in the mayhem and its immediate aftermath.

Signature bank has served Trump and others in his orbit, including Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner and Michael Cohen. In 2011, the bank appointed Ivanka to its board, but she stepped down a couple of years later. The New York Times reported the cutting of ties earlier on Monday.

“We have never before commented on any political matter and hope to never do so again,” Signature said in its statement. The bank will not do business in the future with any members of Congress who voted to disregard the Electoral College, the spokesperson said.

— Bloomberg News

Bill Belichick won’t accept Presidential Medal of Freedom

Bill Belichick will not be accepting the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

The Patriots coach was supposed to be honored by President Donald Trump in the White House on Thursday and be given the highest civilian award in the United States. Since being elected in 2016, Trump has honored athletes such as Bob Cousy, Gary Player, Tiger Woods and Mariano Rivera with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Belichick was scheduled to be next. However, controversy over last week’s violence at the U.S. Capitol prompted the longtime coach to decline the honor.

On Monday night, Belichick issued a statement, explaining his decision.

“Recently, I was offered the opportunity to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which I was flattered by out of respect for what the honor represents and admiration for prior recipients. Subsequently, the tragic events of last week occurred and the decision has been made not to move forward with the award. Above all, I am an American citizen with great reverence for our nation’s values, freedom and democracy. I know I also represent my family and the New England Patriots team. One of the most rewarding things in my professional career took place in 2020 when, through the great leadership within our team, conversations about social justice, equality and human rights moved to the forefront and became actions. Continuing those efforts while remaining true to the people, team and country I love outweigh the benefits of any individual award.”

Belichick has had a relationship with Trump that dates back before 2016. Last month, he was appointed to the president’s Council on Sports, Fitness & Nutrition for the second time. During Trump’s campaign in 2016, Belichick wrote a letter of support to his friend and Trump read the letter at a campaign rally in New Hampshire.

Belichick and the Patriots visited Trump at the White House in 2017 after their Super Bowl LI victory. The team did not go again after beating the Los Angeles Rams in 2019.

— Providence Journal

Seattle man charged after allegedly punching federal officer ‘repeatedly’ in Capitol siege

A Seattle man has been charged with assaulting a federal police officer during the siege of the U.S. Capitol.

Mark J. Leffingwell, 51, of Seattle, was also charged Thursday in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia with entering a restricted building and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.

A spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington, D.C., confirmed Sunday that Leffingwell is from Seattle, which Leffingwell stated on the record during a proceeding before a magistrate judge on Friday.

Leffingwell was released on his personal recognizance to a third-party custodian — his wife — and is required to call into pretrial services on a weekly basis pending trial, according to a message conveyed by a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Washington. Leffingwell’s attorney said in court that he intended to return to Seattle, and the magistrate judge ordered him to stay away from Washington, D.C., according to reporting by Inner City Press journalist Matthew Russell Lee.

Leffingwell and his attorney did not respond to requests for comment.

In the criminal complaint filed against Leffingwell, a Capitol Police officer Daniel Amendola stated that while forming a barrier with other officers to block a crowd from entering the Senate wing of the Capitol through a first-floor window, Leffingwell attempted to push past.

“When he was deterred from advancing farther into the building, Leffingwell punched me repeatedly with a closed fist. I was struck in the helmet that I was wearing and in the chest,” Amendola stated.

— The Seattle Times