House Oversight GOP says any FBI probe into Parler ‘role’ in Capitol riot ‘should include’ Facebook, Twitter

EXCLUSIVE: Republicans on the House Oversight Committee said any potential FBI investigation into the “role” Parler played in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot “should include” Facebook and Twitter, calling the recent request for an FBI probe from committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney “evidence” of the “growing alliance between Big Tech and Democrats.”

Committee Ranking Member James Comer, R-Ky., and GOP Rep. Greg Steube, R-Fla., penned a letter to Maloney, D-N.Y., on Monday after she requested that the FBI investigate Parler’s “role” as a “potential facilitator” of planning or inciting the violence at the Capitol on Jan. 6.


“Like you, we were disturbed and angered by the riot and we believe those responsible should be prosecuted to the fullest extend of the law,” they wrote. “But casting blame on a single social media company known for its conservative username while simply ignoring other social media companies known for sympathizing with liberal causes is blatantly and overtly partisan.”

They added: “Moreover, your letter is additional evidence of the growing alliance between Big Tech and Democrats to muzzle certain viewpoints, opinions, and perspectives.”

Comer and Steube said Maloney’s claim that Parler was a “potential facilitator” of planning for the Capitol chaos “completely omits the fact that other social media platforms were also facilitators of the January 6 riot.”

“A cursory search of other social media platforms yields identical, disturbing posts, from across the political spectrum, advocating for a wide swathe of positions, demonizing an equally diverse group of people,” they wrote, pointing to posts found on Facebook and Twitter

The GOP congressmen went on to slam Big Tech companies, claiming Facebook and Twitter “appear to have profited off of the January 6 riot,” citing commentary suggesting “political turmoil drives increased engagement” on social media platforms.

“Rather than limiting its investigation to Parler, then, perhaps the Committee should include Facebook and other social media companies in its request for an investigation into the antecedents of the January 6 Capitol riot,” they wrote.

Comer and Steube added: “Of course, doing so may upset Big Tech, which in turn could turn off the spigot of campaign contributions to Democrats.”

The Republicans pointed to Big Tech donations to Democratic candidates during the 2020 election cycle.


“During the 2020 election cycle Facebook employees contributed over $5 million in federal elections—92.79% of which went to Democrats,” they said, citing Open Secrets. “Twitter employees were even more generous to Democrats, with 98.41% of all federal contributions in the 2020 cycle going to Democrats.”

“While Facebook, Twitter, and Parler seem to all share blame in allowing their platforms to be used to plan for the January 6 riot, one main difference between the three platforms is that Parler is the only one that hasn’t given generously to the Democrats,” they said.

Comer and Steube went on to call Maloney’s request for an FBI investigation into Parler “a transparently political ploy taking advantage of the tragedy that occurred on January 6 to shut down speech Democrats dislike.”

“Perhaps more disturbing is a Silicon Valley willing to oblige these impulses,” they wrote. “We request you amend your request for an FBI investigation to include Facebook and Twitter and the roles those companies played to contribute to the January 6 riot.”

Meanwhile, Maloney sent a letter to the FBI last week requesting that the bureau also review whether Parler facilitated planning for the riot and questioned whether it is “a potential conduit for foreign governments who may be financing civil unrest in the United States.”

Maloney pointed to a number of individuals who have been arrested and charged with threatening violence against elected officials or for their role in participating directly in the Capitol riot and said the Justice Department alleged that some conspirators posted threatening messages on Parler.

“It is clear that Parler houses additional evidence critical to investigations of the attack on the Capitol,” Maloney wrote.

In her letter, Maloney went on to point to questions raised about “Parler’s financing and its ties to Russia.”

The intelligence community has warned, repeatedly, that Russia, as well as other adversaries, have used social media and other measures “to sow discord in the United States and interfere with our democracy.”

“The company was founded by John Matze shortly after he traveled to Russia with his wife, who is Russian and whose family reportedly has ties to the Russian government,” Maloney wrote, adding that “concerns about the company’s connections to Russia have grown” since the company “re-emerged on a Russian hosting service, DDos-Guard, after being denied services by Amazon Web Services.”


Maloney said DDos-Guard “has ties to the Russian government and hosts the websites of other far-right extremist groups, as well as the terrorist group Hamas.”

Comer and Steube slammed Maloney for discussing Matze’s travel, calling it an “irrelevant” and “offensive.”

“It is neither illegal nor suspect to either travel to Russia or have a Russian spouse,” they wrote. “After four years of peddling bogus—and later disproven—conspiracy theories about Russia, Committee Democrats are now resorting to outright xenophobia to deride both conservatives and social media platforms not approved by Democrats.”

Maloney’s letter to the FBI last week also added that her committee would conduct its own investigation of the matters and requested a meeting with FBI officials on the status and scope of its review “consistent with protecting the integrity of law enforcement efforts on this front.” 


Parler was removed from Google Play and the Apple App Store following the deadly Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol. Soon after, Amazon Web Services also disconnected Parler from its servers.

Meanwhile, Parler COO Jeffrey Wernick responded to Maloney’s call for an FBI probe, saying the company “welcomes” a “robust examination of our policies and actions” by the bureau.

“Like other social-media platforms, we have been cooperating and will continue to cooperate with law-enforcement efforts to identify and prosecute those individuals responsible for organizing and carrying out the shameless Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

“Parler welcomes Rep. Maloney’s call to have the Federal Bureau of Investigation conduct a robust examination of our policies and actions,” Wernick said.

Fox News’ Brian Flood contributed to this report. 

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FBI hunt for woman accused of stealing Nancy Pelosi’s laptop to sell to the Russians

Williams’ mother, who lives with her in Harrisburg, told ITV reporters that her daughter had taken a sudden interest in President Donald Trump’s politics and “far-right message boards”. Her father, who lives in Camp Hill, told local law enforcement that he and his daughter went to Washington on the day of the protest but didn’t stay together, meeting up later to return to Harrisburg, the FBI said.

FBI officials said they believe Williams “has fled”. Her mother told local law enforcement that she packed a bag and left, saying she would be gone for a couple of weeks. She also changed her phone number and deleted a number of social media accounts, the FBI said. Court documents don’t list a lawyer for her.

But the FBI have arrested a heavy metal guitarist who is accused of spraying police officers with a pepper-based bear spray irritant.

Jon Schaffer, guitarist with heavy metal band Iced Earth, turned himself in after seeing his face on a wanted poster.

Jon Ryan Schaffer turned himself in Sunday after he was featured on an FBI poster seeking the public’s help in identifying rioters, said Chris Bavender, a spokeswoman for the FBI’s Indianapolis office. He has been charged with several felony counts, including engaging in an act of physical violence and knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful entry.

It wasn’t immediately known if Schaffer, a member of the band Iced Earth, had a lawyer who could speak on his behalf and online federal court records Monday didn’t yet list his case.

The Indianapolis Star reported that Schaffer had been sought after, according to a federal statement about his case, he was seen in photographs and on video “engaging in verbal altercations with Capitol Police inside the Capitol building” and holding a container of bear spray.

Schaffer is a supporter of President Donald Trump and has voiced various conspiracy theories, once telling a German news station that a shadowy criminal enterprise is trying to run the world under a communist agenda and that he and others are prepared to fight with violence.

According to a statement filed in federal court by an FBI agent, Schaffer “has long held far-right extremist views”. The statement said that: “During an interview in 2017, Schaffer … referred to the federal government as a ‘criminal enterprise’. During that same interview, Schaffer stated that the 2016 presidential election was ‘rigged.’”

Four of Schaffer’s “Iced Earth” bandmates put out a statement on Instagram and Facebook condemning the violence that rioters were involved in, saying: “We hope that all those involved that day are brought to justice to be investigated and answer for their actions.”

Federal charges of assault, destruction of government property and obstruction were also laid against 24-year-old Colorado man Robert Gieswein, who is alleged to have attacked US Capitol police with a spray cannister and a baseball bat.

Gieswein appears affiliated with a radical militia group known as the Three Percenters, which advocates for resistance to government policies it believes infringe on individual rights, according to the affidavit, and runs a private paramilitary training group he calls the Woodland Wild Dogs.

AP, Bloomberg

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US politics live updates: Donald Trump speaks at border wall as FBI warns of ‘hundreds’ of cases to come from Capitol attacks

Joint Chiefs of Staff issue statement condemning violence, confirming Biden’s election

For those not super familiar with the US military, the Joint Chiefs of Staff are the absolute top dogs from all of the various arms of the US military. The kind of generals with more medals than chest to pin it on you see sat around big rounds tables in Hollywood movies when they’re discussing how Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum will save the earth from an alien invasion.

Today they’ve issued a letter calling what happened on January 6 a “direct attack on the US Congress, the Capitol building, and our Constitutional process”.

“We witness actions inside the Capitol building that were inconsistent with the rule of law. The rights of freedom of speech and assembly do not give anyone the right to violence, sedition and insurrection,” the letter says.

The statement also has this paragraph:

“On January 20, 2021, in accordance with the constitution, confirmed by the states and the courts, and certified by Congress, President-elect Biden will be inaugurated and will become our 46th Command in Chief.”

Apologies for the quality of the letter, but you can see the full statement below.

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FBI: Armed protests planned at all 50 state capitols

Gov. Larry Hogan (R-Md.) held his hand up during a news conference in Annapolis, Md., on Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021, as he described phone conversations he had with Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy on sending Maryland National Guard members to help protect the U.S. Capitol after rioters stormed the building a day earlier. (AP Photo/Brian Witte)

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UPDATED 1:45 PM PT – Monday, January 11, 2021

The FBI is reportedly monitoring online plans for armed protests across the nation and Washington D.C. leading up to inauguration day.

According to an internal FBI bulletin, “armed protests are being planned at all 50 state capitols from the 16 January through at least the 20 January, and at the U.S. Capitol from 17 January to 20 January.”

The bureau also said some online posts have vowed to use violence if President Trump is removed from office before the inauguration through impeachment or the 25th Amendment.

Gov. Larry Hogan (R-Md.) addressed security concerns for his state and D.C. during a briefing on Monday.

“We are taking additional security measures here at the State House complex with the Capitol Police and the Maryland State Police,” the governor explained. “I have a security team briefing later this afternoon not only to talk about the situation in Maryland, but our additional assistance in Washington with all of our allied police forces in Maryland and with our National Guard.”

Security for the U.S. Capitol and the inauguration have increased considerably since the incident last week on Capitol Hill.

MORE NEWS: Army Secretary Warns Of Potential Increase In Domestic Terror Threats

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US protests with armed Trump supporters planned for next week: FBI

“I don’t want to use the expression that we’re comparing apples to oranges,” Plati said, but the event is planned over a year with contingencies, and they anticipate the possibility of extreme violence.

Biden himself hasn’t expressed concern about his own security at the inauguration.

“I’m not afraid of taking the oath outside,” he told reporters Monday. “It is critically important that there’ll be a real serious focus on holding those folks who engaged in sedition and threatening the lives, defacing public property, caused great damage — that they be held accountable.”

Trump has approved an emergency declaration for Washington that lasts through January 24, the White House said.

The declaration states that “an emergency exists” in DC and orders federal assistance to supplement the DC’s response efforts.

It authorises Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management agency to coordinate all disaster relief efforts.

There are several signs that the violence is not over.

The FBI has warned of plans for armed protests at all 50 state capitals and in Washington DC in the days leading up to the inauguration.

This comes as Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf gave notice of his resignation, the latest senior Trump administration official to resign following last week’s deadly mob attack on the Capitol.

Wolf announced his resignation was effective as of midnight, Washington time, a decision he said was prompted by several court rulings challenging the validity of his appointment to lead the department.

Wolf did not specifically cite the storming of the Capitol, attributing his choice to “recent events”.

“Unfortunately, this action is warranted by recent events, including the ongoing and meritless court rulings regarding the validity of my authority as Acting Secretary,” Wolf said in a statement. “These events and concerns increasingly serve to divert attention and resources away from the important work of the department in this critical time of a transition of power.”

Trump supporters scaling the wall of the US Capitol. The attack on the Capitol resulted in the death of five people.Credit:AP

An internal FBI bulletin warned that, as of Sunday, the nationwide protests may start later this week and extend through Biden’s January 20 inauguration, according to two law enforcement officials who read details of the memo to The Associated Press. Investigators believe some of the people are members of some extremist groups, the officials said. The bulletin was first reported by the American ABC.

“Armed protests are being planned at all 50 state capitols from 16 January through at least 20 January, and at the US Capitol from 17 January through 20 January,” the bulletin said, according to one official. The officials were not authorised to speak publicly and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.

The talk of armed marches next week isn’t limited to “radicalized” Trump supporters. State capital events on January 17 appear to be promoted by supporters of the anti-government, pro-gun “boogaloo” movement. Boogaloo followers want a second civil war or the collapse of society, and they don’t adhere to a coherent political philosophy.

Posts on social media sites have also promoted a “Million Militia March” on the day of Biden’s inauguration.

Army General Daniel Hokanson, chief of the National Guard Bureau, told reporters on Monday, US time, that the Guard is also looking at any issues across the country.

“We’re keeping a look across the entire country to make sure that we’re monitoring, and that our Guards in every state are in close coordination with their local law enforcement agencies to provide any support requested.”

He said up to 15,000 National Guard members could be deployed in Washington during the presidential inauguration.

The National Guard would bring their weapons to Washington and carry them based on discussions with the FBI, police and other agencies.

“Obviously, we’re very concerned that we want our individuals to have the right to self-defence,” the general said. “And so, that will be an ongoing conversation, and if the senior leadership determines that that’s the right posture to be in, then that is something that we will do.”


There are at least eight investigations into 17 Capitol Police officers related to the pro-Trump mob insurrection, a House aide familiar with the investigations told Washington news site CQ Roll Call.

Three Capitol Police officers are currently suspended with pay, the aide said, adding that it is unclear whether those suspensions are related to the eight investigations.

There are also investigations into social media posts and social media activity of Capitol Police officers.

AP, Washington Post, Reuters, McClatchy

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US Democrats step up Trump impeachment plan as FBI warns of more armed protests

Poised to impeach, the House sped ahead Monday with plans to oust President Donald Trump from office, warning he is a threat to democracy and pushing the vice president and Cabinet to act first in an extraordinary effort to remove Trump in the final days of his presidency.

Trump faces a single charge — “incitement of insurrection” – after the deadly Capitol riot in an impeachment resolution that the House will begin debating Wednesday.

At the same time, the FBI warned ominously on Monday of potential armed protests in Washington and many states by Trump loyalists ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, Jan. 20. In a dark foreshadowing, the Washington Monument was being closed to the public amid the threats of disruption.

It all adds up to stunning final moments for Trump’s presidency as Democrats and a growing number of Republicans declare that he is unfit for office and could do more damage after inciting a mob that violently ransacked the U.S. Capitol last Wednesday.

“President Trump gravely endangered the security of the United States and its institutions of Government,” reads the four-page impeachment bill.

“He will remain a threat to national security, democracy, and the Constitution if allowed to remain in office,” it reads.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is summoning lawmakers back to Washington for votes, and Democrats aren’t the only ones who say Trump needs to go. A number of House Republicans may vote to impeach him, while others at least want to vote for censure. Former GOP Speaker John Boehner said “it’s time” for Trump to resign.

Republican Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, joined GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska over the weekend in calling for Trump to “go away as soon as possible.”

As security tightened, Joe Biden said Monday he was “not afraid” of taking the oath of office outside — as is traditionally done at the Capitol’s west steps, one of the areas where people stormed the building.

As for the rioters, Biden said, “It is critically important that there’ll be a real serious focus on holding those folks who engaged in sedition and threatening the lives, defacing public property, caused great damage — that they be held accountable.”

Biden said he’s had conversations with senators ahead of a possible impeachment trial, which some have worried would cloud the opening days of his administration. The president-elect suggested splitting the Senate’s time, perhaps “go a half day on dealing with impeachment, a half day on getting my people nominated and confirmed in the Senate, as well as moving on the package” for more COVID relief.

As Congress briefly resumed on Monday, an uneasiness swept government. More lawmakers tested positive for COVID-19 after sheltering during the siege. And new security officials were quickly installed after the Capitol police chief and others were ousted in fallout from the extraordinary attack on the iconic dome of democracy.

Pending impeachment, Democrats called on Vice President Mike Pence and the Cabinet to invoke constitutional authority under the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office before Inauguration Day.

Their House resolution was blocked by Republicans. However, the full House is to hold a roll call vote on it Tuesday, and it is expected to pass.

After that, Pelosi said Pence will have 24 hours to respond. Next would be the impeachment proceedings.

Pence has given no indication he is ready to proceed on a course involving the 25th Amendment and a vote by a majority of the Cabinet to oust Trump before Jan. 20. No member of the Cabinet has publicly called for Trump to be removed from office in that way.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., offered the resolution during Monday’s brief session. It was blocked by Rep. Alex Mooney, R-W. Va., as other GOP lawmakers stood by him.

Pelosi said the Republicans were enabling Trump’s “unhinged, unstable and deranged acts of sedition to continue. Their complicity endangers America, erodes our Democracy, and it must end.”

The impeachment bill from Reps. David Cicilline of Rhode Island, Ted Lieu of California, Jamie Raskin of Maryland and and Jerrold Nadler of New York draws from Trump’s own false statements about his election defeat to Biden.

Judges across the country, including some nominated by Trump, have repeatedly dismissed cases challenging the election results, and Attorney General William Barr, a Trump ally, has said there was no sign of widespread fraud.

The impeachment legislation also details Trump’s pressure on state officials in Georgia to “find” him more votes, and his White House rally ahead of the Capitol siege, in which he encouraged thousands of supporters last Wednesday to “fight like hell” and march to the building.

The mob overpowered police, broke through security lines and windows and rampaged through the Capitol, forcing lawmakers to scatter as they were finalizing Biden’s victory over Trump in the Electoral College.

While some have questioned impeaching the president so close to the end of his term, Democrats and others argue he must be held accountable and prevented from holding future public office. He would be the only president twice impeached.

House Democrats have been considering a strategy to delay for 100 days sending articles of impeachment to the Senate for trial, to allow Biden to focus on other priorities.

There is precedent for pursuing impeachment after an official leaves office. In 1876, during the Ulysses Grant administration, War Secretary William Belknap was impeached by the House the day he resigned, and the Senate convened a trial months later. He was acquitted.

Some Republicans warn against impeachment. “They’re not only going to create bad feelings in Congress, they’re really going to create tremendously bad feelings in America,” said Rep. Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey.

Still, other Republicans might be supportive.

Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse said he would take a look at any articles that the House sent over. Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger, a frequent Trump critic, said he would “vote the right way” if the matter were put in front of him.

Cicilline, leader of the House effort to draft impeachment articles, tweeted Monday that “we now have the votes to impeach,” including 213 cosponsors and private commitments.

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US politics live updates: Donald Trump’s second impeachment looms as FBI warns more armed protests to come

Good morning everyone

Hey there folks. Peter Marsh here, ready to bring you the latest from the US as Donald Trump spirals towards another impeachment and US authorities warn of more unrest to come before president-elect Joe Biden is inaugurated next week.

Thanks for bearing with us over the past two days while we didn’t have a blog. Appreciate your patience while Emily and I got some rest after an unprecedented week.

But I’m back as of today, so let’s dig into what’s happened over the American weekend, and what lies ahead of us in these next five days.

Thanks, as always, for being here.


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Samuel Little, deemed the nation’s ‘most prolific serial killer’ by the FBI, has died

An official cause of death has yet to be determined.

Samuel Little, the prolific serial killer who was serving three consecutive life sentences, is dead, authorities said Wednesday.

Little died at a hospital shortly before 5 a.m. local time, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said in a statement. An official cause of death will be determined by the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner’s Office. He was 80.

The FBI has deemed Little “the most prolific serial killer in U.S. history.”

He was convicted in 2014 of killing three women in the late 1980s, after being linked to the murders through DNA matched to evidence found at the crime scenes.

Subsequently, Little confessed to strangling 93 victims between 1970 and 2005, according to the FBI. The FBI said investigators believed his confessions were credible and had verified 50 as of October 2019.

One of his suspected victims was just identified in October. Patricia Parker, who was a 30-year-old mother from Chattanooga, Tennessee, was found slain and dumped alongside a Georgia freeway nearly 40 years ago. Authorities said they believe Little killed her.

Little’s life of crime spanned decades, according to a 2018 FBI report. He was first arrested in 1956 and displayed a “dark, violent streak” in his crimes, which included shoplifting, fraud, drug charges, solicitation and breaking and entering, the FBI said.

He spent a term in prison prior to his conviction on murder charges in 2014, serving two years in California state prison from 1985 to 1987 for assault with a deadly weapon and false imprisonment.

In 2012, Little was arrested at a Kentucky homeless shelter and extradited to California on a narcotics charge, the FBI said. That’s when police in Los Angeles matched his DNA to three unsolved murders from the late 1980s.

“In all three cases, the women had been beaten and then strangled, their bodies dumped in an alley, a dumpster, and a garage,” the FBI said in its report.

Despite asserting his innocence, Little was convicted and sentenced to three consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole.

Since his confession in 2018 to killing 93 women, investigators have been racing to identify as many of his victims as possible and help close the unsolved cases.

While jailed, investigators have interviewed Little and had him draw dozens of pictures of women — almost all women of color — he admitted to killing over nearly 40 years.

“For many years, Samuel Little believed he would not be caught because he thought no one was accounting for his victims,” Christie Palazzolo, a crime analyst with the FBI’s Violent Criminal Apprehension Program, said in a statement when the agency launched its initiative to identify the women. “Even though he is already in prison, the FBI believes it is important to seek justice for each victim — to close every case possible.”

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Medical center says employee ‘intentionally’ removed 57 vials of Moderna vaccine from fridge. Local police says FDA and FBI helping investigate.

Boxes containing the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine are loaded into a truck for shipping at the McKesson distribution center in Olive Branch, Miss., Sunday, Dec. 20, 2020. AP Photo/Paul Sancya, Pool
  • In a press release issued Wednesday night, Aurora Health said that an employee at their Grifton, Wisconsin, clinic voluntarily removed dozens of vaccines from refrigeration and was fired for doing so.

  • Over the weekend, Aurora initially said the incident was a matter of human error, but issued a new statement after an internal investigation.

  • The Grafton Police Department issued a statement late Wednesday night confirming that the FBI and FDA are assisting with their investigation into the employee.

  • The Moderna vaccine vials can stay at room temperature for up to twelve hours and must be stored at between 36° to 46° Fahrenheit.

An employee at the Aurora Medical Center-Grafton in Wisconsin removed 57 doses of the Moderna vaccine from a clinic refrigerator “intentionally” and did not return them, the company said, forcing it to discard at least 500 doses.

In a press release issued Wednesday, the healthcare provider said that an employee voluntarily removed the vaccines from the fridge and was fired for doing so.

Over the weekend, Aurora initially stated that the incident was a matter of “human error.” 

“We learned that about 50 vials of Moderna vaccine were inadvertently removed from a pharmacy refrigerator overnight,” a spokesperson told WTMJ-TV on Monday. “While some of the vaccine was administered to team members on Dec. 26 within the approved 12-hour post-refrigeration window, unfortunately, most of it had to be discarded due to the temperature storage requirements necessary to maintain its viability.”

But by Wednesday evening, Aurora released a statement that said that after an internal investigation, the employee intentionally removed the vaccines and did not return them.

The incident resulted in more than 500 doses of the vaccine being discarded Aurora Health added.

“We immediately launched an internal review and were led to believe this was caused by inadvertent human error. The individual in question today acknowledged that they intentionally removed the vaccine from refrigeration,” Aurora’s Wednesday statement said. “We have notified appropriate authorities for further investigation. We are more than disappointed that this individual’s actions will result in a delay of more than 500 people receiving their vaccine. This was a violation of our core values, and the individual is no longer employed by us.”

The Moderna vaccine vials can stay at room temperature for up to twelve hours but must be stored at between 36° to 46° Fahrenheit.

Aurora Health Care added that more than 21,000 healthcare workers had received their first of two Moderna injections. 

The Grafton Police Department issued a statement late Wednesday night confirming that the FBI and FDA are assisting with their investigation into the employee.

When reached by Business Insider for comment, an Aurora Health Care spokesperson said more details would be shared tomorrow.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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FBI visits real estate office where person of interest in Nashville explosion worked: reports

FBI agents investigating the Nashville motor home explosion have visited a real estate agency where a person of interest in the bombing had worked on computers, local media reported on Sunday.

Steve Fridrich, owner of Fridrich & Clark Realty in Nashville’s Green Hills neighbourhood, told the Tennessean newspaper he spoke with the agents late on Saturday about Anthony Q. Warner, 63, after the company told the FBI he had worked there.

According to public records, Warner had lived at a home in Antioch, southeast of Nashville, that was searched on Saturday by officials with the FBI and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives following the huge Christmas Day blast.

A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department confirmed that Warner is under investigation in the case.

Federal agents have said they are following up on more than 500 leads and are working to identify what appear to be human remains found in the wreckage.

WATCH | Nashville explosion wounds 3:

The CBC’s Derek Stoffel reports on the latest developments on the explosion that shook the largely deserted streets of downtown Nashville early Christmas morning. 1:31

The explosion in the heart of the U.S. country music capital injured three people and damaged more than 40 businesses, including an AT&T switching centre.

The attack, which damaged an AT&T building, has continued to wreak havoc on cellphone service, and police and hospital communications in several Southern states as the company worked to restore service.

Fridrich said that for four or five years, Warner had come into the office roughly once a month to provide computer consulting services, until this month — when Warner told the company in an email that he would no longer be working there. He gave no reason, Fridrich said.

“He seemed very personable to us. This is quite out of character I think,” he told the newspaper.

At a news conference on Sunday, five Nashville police officers who were on the scene early on Friday provided details of the dramatic moments around the explosion, when they scrambled to evacuate homes and buildings and called for a bomb squad, which was en route when the motor home blew up.

Nashville police officers Brenna Hosey, left, and Wells embrace after recounting the moments around the blast for reporters. (Mark Humphrey/The Associated Press)

Officer Amanda Topping said she initially parked their police car beside the RV while responding to the call before moving it once they heard the recording playing. Topping said she called her wife to let her know that “things were just really strange” as she helped guide people away from the RV.

That’s when she heard the announcement from the RV switch from a warning to playing the 1964 hit Downtown by Petula Clark. Moments later the explosion hit.

The officers, who were initially responding to reports of gunfire in the area, have been hailed as heroes by city leaders.

“This is going to tie us together forever, for the rest of my life,” Officer James Wells, who suffered some hearing loss due to the explosion, said at a news conference. “Christmas will never be the same.”

A person of interest in the case is believed to have been a consultant who used computers at a real estate office once a month. ‘He seemed very personable to us,’ the owner of Fridrich & Clark Realty told a Tennessee newspaper. (Harrison McClary/Reuters)

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