First Thing: Cheney says Republicans must choose between Trump and truth - The Guardian

Good morning.

The fallout from the Capitol attack continues as the first anniversary on Thursday approaches. Yesterday, a Republican member of the House committee investigating the events of 6 January 2021 had a stark warning for her party – they must choose between Trump and truth.

"Our party has to choose," Liz Cheney told CBS's Face the Nation. "We can either be loyal to Donald Trump or we can be loyal to the constitution, but we cannot be both."

Trump supporters attacked Congress in an attempt to stop certification of his defeat by Joe Biden, which Trump maintains without evidence was the result of electoral fraud. Five people died after a riot in which a mob roamed the Capitol, searching for lawmakers to capture.

On Sunday, Cheney and Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, the committee chair, again discussed the possibility of a criminal referral for Trump over his failure to attempt to stop the riot or for his obstruction of the investigation.

  • What else did Cheney say? She told ABC's This Week there were "potential criminal statutes at issue here, but I think that there's absolutely no question that it was a dereliction of duty".

  • What did Thompson say? The Democrat told NBC's Meet the Press the committee was examining whether it could issue subpoenas to members of Congress.

  • US could be under rightwing dictator by 2030, Canadian professor warns Donald Trump speaks in Greenville, North Carolina, last June. Photograph: Jonathan Drake/Reuters

    The US could be under a rightwing dictatorship by 2030, a Canadian political science professor has warned, urging his country to protect itself against the "collapse of American democracy".

    "We mustn't dismiss these possibilities just because they seem ludicrous or too horrible to imagine," Thomas Homer-Dixon, the founding director of the Cascade Institute at Royal Roads University in British Columbia, wrote in the Globe and Mail.

    "In 2014, the suggestion that Donald Trump would become president would also have struck nearly everyone as absurd. But today we live in a world where the absurd regularly becomes real and the horrible commonplace."

    Homer-Dixon's message was blunt: "By 2025, American democracy could collapse, causing extreme domestic political instability, including widespread civil violence. By 2030, if not sooner, the country could be governed by a rightwing dictatorship."

  • How does he think it will happen? The author cited eventualities centered on a Trump return to the White House in 2024, possibly including Republican-held state legislatures refusing to accept a Democratic win.

  • Meanwhile, key Donald Trump loyalists Steve Bannon and Michael Flynn are at the forefront of a drive to expand Trumpist influence at the local level of US politics.

  • Hospitalization figures a better guide to Omicron than case count, says Fauci Anthony Fauci has warned the public against putting too much stock in early data suggesting variant lacks severity of earlier variants. Photograph: Carolyn Kaster/AP

    The US government's top medical adviser, Dr Anthony Fauci, has joined a growing body of experts who say hospitalisation figures form a better guide to the severity of the Omicron coronavirus variant than the case count of new infections.

    Referring to the Omicron surge in the US as a "tsunami", Fauci also cautioned the public against putting too much stock in preliminary data suggesting the variant lacks the severity of earlier Covid-19 variants, such as Delta.

    "You have a virus that looks like it might be less severe, at least from data we've gathered from South Africa, the UK and even some from preliminary data from here in the US," he told CNN's State of the Union.

  • Why is it important to look at hospitalization figures? A number of experts have questioned if such reports on rocketing cases of Covid cause unnecessary worry, and suggest deaths and hospitalization data should better inform mitigation efforts.

  • What else did Fauci say? He said: "The real bottom line that you want to be concerned about is, are we getting protected by the vaccines from severe disease leading to hospitalisation?"

  • In other news … The conviction of Ghislaine Maxwell for sex trafficking was a further blow for her embattled former friend Prince Andrew. Photograph: Steve Parsons/AFP/Getty Images
  • A New York court is to unseal a confidential 2009 deal between Jeffrey Epstein and Virginia Roberts Giuffre in what is a crunch week in Prince Andrew's fight to avoid a public trial over claims he sexually assaulted Giuffre when she was 17 and had been trafficked.

  • The world's oldest person has celebrated her 119th birthday in Japan, saying she is determined to extend the record by another year. Kane Tanaka, who has a weakness for fizzy drinks and chocolate, marked the milestone yesterday with staff at the nursing home where she lives in Fukuoka prefecture, south-west Japan, according to media reports.

  • A US spymaster inadvertently helped the Nazis develop one of the most effective disinformation campaigns of the second world war by spreading rumours about Hitler's plans for a Where Eagles Dare-style Alpine redoubt, a historian with access to classified US military records has found.

  • The personal Twitter account of the Georgia Republican congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene has been permanently suspended for violating policies on Covid misinformation. The action against Greene on Sunday came under the "strike" system Twitter launched last March.

  • Stat of the day: 3,000 litres of alcohol poured into Kabul canal amid crackdown Taliban agents pour barrels of seized alcohol into a Kabul canal. Photograph: Twitter @GDI1415

    A team of Afghan intelligence agents poured about 3,000 litres of liquor into a canal in Kabul, the country's spy agency has said, as the Taliban authorities crack down on the sale of alcohol. Video footage released by the General Directorate of Intelligence showed its agents pouring alcohol stored in barrels into the canal after seizing it during a raid in the capital. Three people have also been arrested in the capital as the Taliban government increases raids over alcohol and drugs.

    Don't miss this: Is that really me? The ugly truth about beauty filters Amy Hall-Hanson before and after using a beautifying filter. Composite: Supplied

    Live, augmented reality filters on photo- and video-based social media platforms including TikTok, Instagram and Snapchat have evolved from silly hats and puppy dog ears to more subtle beautifying effects that may not be immediately obvious to other users. As well as adding makeup, many of the popular filters that have crept into app libraries also change the face's proportions, generally to fit female, European beauty standards, with thinner faces, smaller noses and plump lips. But how are these unattainable ideals harming young users?

    … or this: 100 ways to slightly improve your life without really trying Plant spring bulbs, even if they're just in a pot. Photograph: Mikhail Artamonov/Getty Images/iStockphoto

    Whether it's taking fruit to work (and to the bedroom), being polite to rude strangers, planting spring bulbs even if you only have a pot and no garden, or taking up skinny-dipping, here's a century of ways to make life better, with very little effort involved. Top tip: there are even more good suggestions in the comments under the article.

    Climate check: Indigenous groups team up with conservationists to protect swaths of US Wildfire smoke covers North Cascade mountains of Washington in August. Photograph: Gregg Brekke/ZumaPress Wire/Rex/Shutterstock

    Although Indigenous peoples make up only about 5% of the world's population, their territories encompass 80% of global biodiversity, according to the 2020 report The Indigenous World. Today, it's clear conservationists have been looking to traditional ecological knowledge in their work. At the same time, environmental organizations and tribes have been coming together to protect the natural world, and a key part of this teamwork has been land transfers.

    Last Thing: Kleptoparasitic bear steals wolves' kill in Yellowstone drama A grizzly bear in Yellowstone national park in Wyoming. Photograph: John Morrison/Getty Images/iStockphoto

    Wildlife officials in Yellowstone national park captured the "unusual" sight of a cheeky grizzly bear tagging along with a pack of hunting wolves, then making off with their kill. The enthralling video, posted to the National Parks Service Facebook page, shows the October incident in which the wolves from the Junction Butte pack in northern Yellowstone were joined by a lumbering grizzly as they hunted a herd of elk. After the wolves take down an elk, the bear moves in and steals the carcass: a phenomenon known as kleptoparasitism.

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