Ricin suspect linked to White House package to appear in NY court Tues

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Here’s the latest for Monday September 21st: Trump says he’ll pick new Supreme Court justice soon; Ricin suspect arrested on US-Canada border; Tropical Storm Beta lashes Texas coast; National Cathedral tolls bell for coronavirus victims.

AP Domestic

A woman suspected of mailing a package containing the poison ricin to the White House is now expected to appear in a New York court Tuesday, following her arrest at the U.S.-Canada border, authorities said.

The suspect was taken into custody by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Peace Bridge border crossing near Buffalo on Sunday and is expected to face federal charges in connection with the package which was intercepted in the past week, a law enforcement official said.

The letter is believed to have been mailed from Canada.

An earlier court appearance, originally scheduled for Monday, is now set to take place at 2 p.m. Tuesday. 

In a weekend statement, the FBI described the missive as “a suspicious letter received at a U.S. government mail facility.”

Mail addressed to the White House is screened at an off-site location.

Ricin explained: Just how deadly is it, how does it kill?

Ricin, a poison drawn from the husks of castor beans, has surfaced in other plots targeting President Donald Trump, President Barack Obama and other officials. According to the Centers for Disease Control, exposure to ricin through inhalation, ingestion or injection can lead to death.

In 2018, a federal grand jury returned a seven-count indictment against a Utah man, alleging that he threatened Trump and other administration officials in letters, some of which contained the natural ingredients used to make ricin. 

In that case, a series of suspicious letters were addressed to Trump, then-Defense Secretary James Mattis, FBI Director Christopher Wray, CIA Director Gina Haspel and others.

In 2001, following the the 9/11 attacks, another form of bio-terrorism shook the country when letters containing anthrax were sent to congressional and media offices.

Those attacks killed five people and sickened more than a dozen others.

A microbiologist at the Army’s elite infectious disease laboratory in Fort Detrick, Maryland, Bruce Ivins, committed suicide in 2008, as federal authorities were preparing to charge him in the attacks.

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House energy package sparks criticism from left and right

Both Republicans and left-wing environmental groups criticized a sprawling House energy package billed as a response to climate change.

House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerOn The Money: Powell, Mnuchin stress limits of emergency loans | House seeks to salvage vote on spending bill | Economists tell lawmakers: Kill the virus to heal the economy House moves toward spending vote after bipartisan talks House Democrats mull delay on spending bill vote MORE (D-Md.) has said the chamber would vote this week on the legislation.

The package would funnel money toward research and development of a number of types of energy while promoting energy efficiency for homes, schools and other buildings.

Republicans on Wednesday knocked the speed at which the 900-page bill, which has not had a legislative hearing, is moving through the House and said it would harm consumers. 

Top Republicans on the chamber’s Energy and Commerce, Natural Resources, and Science, Space and Technology committees slammed the legislation. 

“Here we are in the middle of a global pandemic and Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi [D-Calif.] wants to spend more than $135 billion on a piece of legislation that will never become law,” said Reps. Greg WaldenGregory (Greg) Paul WaldenTrump order on drug prices faces long road to finish line Ignore the misinformation: The FDA will ensure the safety of any COVID-19 vaccine Hillicon Valley: Trump backs potential Microsoft, TikTok deal, sets September deadline | House Republicans request classified TikTok briefing | Facebook labels manipulated Pelosi video MORE (R-Ore.), Rob BishopRobert (Rob) William BishopOVERNIGHT ENERGY: EPA head questions connection of climate change to natural disasters | Pebble Mine executives eye future expansion in recorded conversations | EPA questions science linking widely used pesticide to brain damage in children House GOP seeks to cement Trump rollback of bedrock environmental law LWCF modernization: Restoring the promise MORE (R-Utah) and Frank LucasFrank Dean LucasHillicon Valley: DOJ indicts Chinese, Malaysian hackers accused of targeting over 100 organizations | GOP senators raise concerns over Oracle-TikTok deal | QAnon awareness jumps in new poll House passes legislation to boost election security research Protecting COVID research at American universities from foreign hackers MORE (R-Okla.). “If Democrats wanted to make real progress on clean energy, they wouldn’t have dropped a 900-page bill and called for a vote a week later, without any time for thoughtful consideration through regular order.”

“This bill is chock-full of government mandates that would raise what Americans pay for everything from the vehicles they drive to what they pay to heat, cool, and power their homes,” they added. 

Environmentalists criticized the inclusion of funding for research into a mechanism known as carbon capture and sequestration, which removes carbon from the air. Carbon capture is unpopular with some environmentalists because it’s often used in fossil fuel production.

And a coalition of more than 100 environmental and progressive groups, including 350.org and the Center for Biological Diversity, released a letter urging members of Congress to oppose the bill, citing its support for carbon capture. 

“Any

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House Democrats unveil reform package to ‘prevent future presidential abuses’

House Democrats on Tuesday unveiled a sweeping reform package to impose new checks on presidential power and potential wrongdoing in the executive branch, while toughening enforcement of ethics rules and congressional subpoenas — proposals they believe are necessary to “prevent future presidential abuses” and “restore checks and balances” to government after nearly four years of battles with President Trump and the White House.



Nancy Pelosi wearing a blue shirt: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol, Sept. 23, 2020.


© Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol, Sept. 23, 2020.

Drafted by party leaders at the direction of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., the 158-page proposal would add new reporting requirements to the president’s use of the pardon power, and amend federal bribery law to include offering or granting of a pardon or commutation.

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(MORE: President Trump commutes sentence of longtime friend, adviser Roger Stone) (MORE: Trump’s impeachment trial: How we got here, what happens next and what to watch)

Democrats liken the package to the series of post-Watergate reforms passed in the wake of President Richard Nixon’s resignation – which included changes to campaign finance regulations, added oversight to the intelligence community and transparency to government with the Freedom of Information Act.

“The rule of law applies to every person in this country, including the president and members of the administration,” House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass., said Tuesday at a news conference with House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., and other senior Democrats to roll out the package.

“We owe it to the American people to put meaningful constraints on power, fix what is broken, and ensure that there is never again another Richard Nixon or Donald Trump from either party,” Schiff said. “Even in a dangerous world, the threat to our democracy from outside the country is less than the threat from within.”

The package would suspend the statute of limitations for any federal crime committed by a sitting president or vice president – before or during terms in office – while making it more difficult for a president to profit off of the presidency, codifying the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution and beefing up enforcement of any violations.

It would add new insulation between the Justice Department and White House to prevent political interference in law enforcement matters. It would require the attorney general to maintain a log of contacts between the White House and DOJ, and mandate reporting to the DOJ inspector general.



Donald Trump standing in front of a crowd: President Donald Trump charges up the crowd while speaking of the need to win the upcoming election during a campaign rally at the Toledo Express Airport on Sept. 21, 2020 in Swanton, Ohio.


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President Donald Trump charges up the crowd while speaking of the need to win the upcoming election during a campaign rally at the Toledo Express Airport on Sept. 21, 2020 in Swanton, Ohio.

After struggling for years with the Trump administration’s resistance to congressional oversight, House Democrats would add teeth to their subpoenas — setting up an expedited process for the House and Senate to enforce subpoenas in civil court and greater penalties for noncompliance. Their proposal would also toughen

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White House economists question if another relief package is needed before election

Some White House economists are questioning whether another coronavirus spending package is needed because its positive effects wouldn’t be felt until after the election, according to people familiar with the matter.



Alex Azar, Anthony S. Fauci, Mike Pence, Donald Trump, Jerome Adams posing for the camera


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“There’s a new consensus among the economists at the White House that there’s no sense in more coronavirus aid right now,” said Stephen Moore, an outside economic adviser to President Trump.

“It’s too late for that. The money appropriated won’t be felt until after the election. It’s too late to flood the zone with cash to make any difference now,” said Moore, who met with multiple senior White House economists on Monday.

Publicly, the Trump administration and lawmakers of both parties favor enacting more relief. But Congress has struggled to pass legislation. The parties are at odds over the cost of the bill. Republicans are seeking $1 trillion, while Democrats are asking for at least twice that amount.

Some in the White House have shifted because of the economic growth since the $1.7 trillion CARES Act relief package expired at the end of July.

“We went down the line, and all the White House economists said that the economy is picking up pretty well, it doesn’t need training wheels anymore. It’s doing just fine on its own,” said Moore, who is also a contributor to the Washington Examiner.

Multiple former senior administration officials also said that White House economists are increasingly doubtful about whether another package is needed.

“The recent data has been quite good, with aggregate consumer spending up and retail sales very positive. The White House sees that a lack of recovery doesn’t seem to be a problem right now,” said Casey Mulligan, former chief economist for Trump’s Council of Economic Advisers and an economics professor at the University of Chicago.

Mulligan said the narrative among economists at the White House has flipped, in private, over the past few weeks due to Trump’s recent executive orders and the economic growth that is occurring without further government aid. In August, Trump used a series of executive actions to suspend payroll taxes, extend unemployment benefits, slow evictions, and defer student loan payments.

Nevertheless, top administration officials are lobbying Congress for more aid, and the official position is that the administration favors relief.

“We would still like to pass needed relief for working families,” said a senior administration official. “The impediment to a deal isn’t the election but the speaker’s insistence on giving a trillion dollars to state and local governments, among other issues.”

Trump’s top economic adviser, National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow, said that he would like to see another relief package even if many sectors of the economy are coming back strongly.

“I don’t think the V-shape recovery depends on the package, but I do think a targeted package could be a great help,” Kudlow said on CNBC on Tuesday afternoon.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Federal Reserve Bank Chairman Jerome Powell appeared before the House Financial Services Committee during

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Pascale Ferrier: White House ricin package suspect in court

Pascale FerrierImage copyright
Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office

A Canadian woman has been charged in US federal court for allegedly posting a letter with deadly ricin poison to President Donald Trump.

Pascale Ferrier, of Quebec, was arrested at a border crossing in Buffalo, New York, on Sunday. Officials say she was carrying a gun.

She has pleaded not guilty to making threats against the president.

The letter she allegedly sent last week was discovered before it reached the White House.

In it, she called on Mr Trump to drop out of the US presidential race. The envelop contained ricin, a poison found naturally in castor beans.

“I found a new name for you: ‘The Ugly Tyrant Clown’,” she wrote in the letter to Mr Trump, according to FBI charging documents filed ahead of her first court appearance in New York on Tuesday.

“I hope you like it. You ruin USA and lead them to disaster. I have US cousins, then I don’t want the next 4 years with you as president. Give up and remove your application for this election.”

The letter, which the FBI says had her fingerprints on it, referred to the poisoned note as “a special gift”, adding: “If it doesn’t work, I’ll find better recipe for another poison, or I might use my gun when I’ll be able to come. “

The suspect may have also sent ricin to five addresses in Texas, including a jail and a sheriff’s office, according to the court documents.

Ms Ferrier appeared in court on Tuesday afternoon in Buffalo, New York, with the aid of a French-speaking translator, according to local media.

She asked for a court appointed defence lawyer during the hearing. That lawyer also requested an identity and probable cause hearing, to have the court determine that she is the individual named in the complaint.

The judge scheduled these next hearings for 28 September. She will be in the custody of the US Marshals until that time, as prosecutors argued she poses a flight risk.

Who is Pascale Ferrier?

Pascale Cecile Veronique Ferrier, 53, is a computer programmer who is originally from France, but became a Canadian citizen in 2015, according to Canadian media. Sources tell Reuters she retains dual French-Canadian citizenship. She was living in the Canadian province of Quebec.

In March 2019, she was arrested in Texas for unlawfully carrying a weapon and using a fake driver’s licence, according to jail records. She was deported to Canada after officials found she had overstayed her visa and committed a crime while in the US, according to the New York Times.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Secret Service are investigating the package, which was discovered at a processing facility for mail sent to the White House.

The presence of ricin was confirmed after several tests by the FBI, authorities said.

A spokesman for the Mission, Texas, police department told the Associated Press on Monday an envelope was in the care of local officials and no-one had been

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Ricin suspect linked to White House package to appear in NY court

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A person holds seeds of the castor oil plant (Ricinus communis) containing the deadly poison ricin, on June 14, 2018 in Berlin. – A Tunisian man arrested in Germany is suspected of trying to build a biological weapon using the deadly poison ricin that occurs in castor beans, prosecutors said, stressing however there was no indication of any “concrete attack plans”. Ricin — a poison that is produced by processing castor beans — has no known antidote and is one of the world’s most lethal toxins. (Photo by Jens Kalaene / dpa / AFP) / Germany OUT (Photo credit should read JENS KALAENE/AFP/Getty Images) (Photo: JENS KALAENE, AFP/Getty Images)

A woman suspected of sending a package containing the poison ricin to the White House is expected to appear in a New York court Monday, following her arrest at the U.S.-Canada border, authorities said.

The suspect was taken into custody by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Peace Bridge border crossing near Buffalo on Sunday and is expected to face federal charges in connection with the package which was intercepted in the past week, a law enforcement official said.

The letter was believed to have been mailed from Canada, the official said. 

In a weekend statement, the FBI described the missive as “a suspicious letter received at a U.S. government mail facility.”

Mail addressed to the White House is screened at an off-site location.

Ricin explained: Just how deadly is it, how does it kill?

Ricin, a poison drawn from the husks of castor beans, has surfaced in other plots targeting President Donald Trump, President Barack Obama and other officials. According to the Centers for Disease Control, exposure to ricin through inhalation, ingestion or injection can lead to death.

In 2018, a federal grand jury returned a seven-count indictment against a Utah man, alleging that he threatened Trump and other administration officials in letters, some of which contained the natural ingredients used to make ricin. 

In that case, a series of suspicious letters were addressed to Trump, then-Defense Secretary James Mattis, FBI Director Christopher Wray, CIA Director Gina Haspel and others.

In 2001, following the the 9/11 attacks, another form of bio-terrorism shook the country when letters containing anthrax were sent to congressional and media offices.

Those attacks killed five people and sickened more than a dozen others.

A microbiologist at the Army’s elite infectious disease laboratory in Fort Detrick, Maryland, Bruce Ivins, committed suicide in 2008, as federal authorities were preparing to charge him in the attacks.

Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2020/09/21/ricin-suspect-linked-white-house-package-appear-ny-court/5851373002/

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