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WandaVision welcomes a new line of Earth’s first defense in the Marvel Cinematic Universe

WandaVision, the first original television series produced by Marvel Studios, isn’t quite like anything Marvel has released before.

It’s absurdist and pays authentic tribute to some of the best American sitcoms produced in the 1950s, ‘60s, ‘70s, and ‘80s, including Bewitched and The Dick Van Dyke Show. WandaVision is still a Marvel Studios show, however, and that means it ties into the greater Marvel Cinematic Universe. The first two episodes, now streaming on Disney Plus, set up a key organization that ties WandaVision into the current Marvel Cinematic Universe’s moment, while also setting up the enticing “cosmic universe” era it’s about to enter.

[This is your mandatory spoiler warning. Stop reading here if you don’t want to know anything that happens in the first two episodes.]

A S.W.O.R.D. agent watching Wanda and Vision.
Image: Disney

The first episode finds Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany) living a charming suburban life in a fictional town. Although the show takes place after Avengers: Endgame, there’s no reference to anything that happened — no explanation for how Vision is suddenly alive, why they’re living in an alternate, dreamlike world, or why they can’t remember anything that came before moving into their new house.

Throughout the first episode, there are a few hints that all is not what it appears for Wanda and Vision. Vision reiterates that Wanda came from Sokovia, and during a dinner scene, Wanda is transfixed by one specific question: “Why did you come here?” It’s not until the end of the episode, however, that WandaVision finds its most interesting reveal: the presence of S.W.O.R.D.

What is S.W.O.R.D.?

S.W.O.R.D., or Sentient World Observation and Response Department, is a cosmic version of S.H.I.E.L.D. Most MCU fans know S.H.I.E.L.D. It’s the organization that Howard Stark and Peggy Carter started and Nick Fury oversees, designed to employ superbeings as Earth’s mightiest defenders from supernatural threats — Loki’s attack on New York City or Ultron’s attack on Sokovia. S.H.I.E.L.D. was famously infiltrated by Hydra, as seen in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and that’s key as WandaVision includes a reference to Wolfgang von Strucker. In the MCU, von Strucker was a Hydra sleeper agent within S.H.I.E.L.D. who is seen holding custody of Wanda and her twin brother Pietro in a Winter Soldier post-credits scene and Age of Ultron’s opening battle. It’s these little moments that tie Wanda and Vision back to the MCU-at-large.

Fine, that’s S.H.I.E.L.D.; what about S.W.O.R.D? The organization first appeared in Astonishing X-Men #3, which was written by Joss Whedon back in 2004. (Fun fact: the first appearance of anything S.W.O.R.D. related in the MCU is a tiny Easter egg in Age of Ultron, which Whedon also directed.) The organization was originally created to defend the entire universe from extraterrestrial threats. Run by Abigail Brand, a woman who is basically a space-based, mutant version of Nick Fury, the whole idea was to act as an intelligence agency based outside of Earth.

A man in a beekeeper outfit with the S.W.O.R.D. logo on the back.
Image: Marvel

The most memorable nod to S.W.O.R.D. arrived in the form of a Spider-Man: Far From Home post-credits scene. Fury, seemingly on vacation, walks out onto the deck of a spaceship while a bunch of Skrull (those green aliens from Captain Marvel) are walking around. It’s clear that Marvel Studios is setting up S.W.O.R.D. to appear and possibly connect the fourth and fifth phases of the MCU, but what does it mean for WandaVision?

It all ties together

Interestingly enough, S.W.O.R.D’s name in WandaVision is changed slightly to Sentient Weapon Observation Response Division. This could just be a title change (the definition of S.H.I.E.L.D in the MCU is slightly different from the comics), but it could also point to Wanda being imprisoned in a fictional world where S.W.O.R.D. is watching her. Monica Rambeau, who originally appeared in Captain Marvel as Maria Rambeau’s (Carol Danvers’ best friend) daughter, is now an adult and an agent of S.W.O.R.D., based on official Topps playing cards released ahead of WandaVision’s launch.

Small, visual glitches that appear in the sky insinuate Wanda and Vision are trapped in an artificial world, and the final scene of the first episode confirms that S.W.O.R.D. agents are watching their every move. In the second episode, even more clues appear. A voice coming through a radio (it sounds like Ant-Man’s Agent Jimmy Woo) asks Wanda, “Who’s doing this to you?” Later on in the episode, Wanda suddenly becomes pregnant. She asks Vision if “this is really happening,” and after he first reflects that something seems off, time suddenly rewinds and he changes his answer to a simple, “Yes, this is really happening.”

Monica Rambeau talking Wanda.
Image: Marvel

The most important moment happens when Wanda and Vision are standing in the middle of the street after hearing a noise. A beekeeper emerges from a manhole, the S.W.O.R.D. logo on his back. Wanda, fear-stricken, utters a simple “no,” and everything goes back to normal — well, her version of normal. If the title change does mean Wanda is being watched as a possible sentient weapon (we still have no idea what happened to Vision’s actual body), it would play slightly into her arc in the House of M comics, where Wanda creates a fictional reality to cope with a devastating loss.

Here’s where some fun predictions come in. Marvel Studios needs to unite its new group of superheroes, many of which are tied into other planets. Remember when Captain Marvel told the makeshift council of Avengers in Endgame that when Thanos snapped his fingers, it devastated a bunch of other planets, too? The way they can do that is through S.W.O.R.D. We already know that WandaVision connects to Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. In the House of M comic series, Professor X reveals that he brought in Doctor Strange to try to break Wanda’s fictional reality. It doesn’t work, but it’s possible that Doctor Strange could work with S.W.O.R.D. in WandaVision to try something similar.

It also seems likely that Monica Rambeau will also appear in Captain Marvel 2. The character was in the first Captain Marvel, and, considering that Fury seemed like he was working with S.W.O.R.D. at the end of Far From Home, it’s not too much of a stretch to assume that Carol Danvers, Nick Fury, and Monica Rambeau all know and continue to work with each other.

Remember: WandaVision wasn’t originally supposed to air until the end of this year, closer to Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and Captain Marvel 2’s release date, and after The Eternals. Not to mention that with X-Men and the Fantastic Four under Feige’s belt — and a new Fantastic Four movie in the works — using S.W.O.R.D. to connect everything the way S.H.I.E.L.D. did for Iron Man, Captain America: First Avenger, Thor, and The Avengers, is a good way to do it.

It seems like WandaVision will spend its first season determining whether S.W.O.R.D. is an ally or an enemy. More importantly for the MCU, having fans dive into S.W.O.R.D. before The Eternals, Captain Marvel 2, and other cosmic movies is a good place to get people acquainted with the agency.

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With authority and great defense: The Ravens got their first playoff win of the Lamar Jackson era | The State

Lamar Jackson won for the first time in the playoffs after running for 136 yards and a spectacular 48 touchdown, while pitching for 179 more and the Baltimore Ravens beat the Tennessee Titans 13-20 away from home in the wild card game of the American Conference of the NFL.

The Ravens broke a 21-game losing streak in regular season or playoffs when they were behind on the scoreboard by 10 or more points, as in the game this Sunday.

The Baltimore team will play the Kansas City Chiefs or the Buffalo Bills in the divisional game.

Baltimore knocked out Derrick Henry who rushed for more than 2,000 yards on the season and kept Tennessee on the fewest points all season.

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Trump prepares his impeachment defense team with Rudy Giuliani and Alan Dershowitz in the running

Donald Trump has started putting together a defense team for a second impeachment trial with Rudy Giuliani and Alan Dershowitz said to both be in the running.

Two sources told CNN Giuliani, Trump’s personal attorney and the man who spearheaded the president’s failed legal efforts to overturn the presidential election, is expected to represent Trump if the unprecedented event of a second impeachment trial materializes.

The sources said Trump is also considering hiring Dershowitz, the controversial celebrity attorney who represented him at his first impeachment trial in December 2019 for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

Dershowitz, who has infamously worked on the defense teams for OJ Simpson, Jeffrey Epstein and Harvey Weinstein, said it would be an ‘honor and privilege’ to defend the president for a second time. 

House Democrats will introduce their impeachment resolution on Monday charging Trump with ‘incitement of insurrection’ for his part in stoking up the mob that stormed the US Capitol Wednesday in a riot that sent shockwaves around the world and left five dead. 

However, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the earliest a second trial would begin is Inauguration Day because the Senate is in recess until January 19.

Donald Trump has started putting together a defense team for a second impeachment trial with Rudy Giuliani and Alan Dershowitz said to both be in the running. Trump at Wednesday’s rally where he egged on his supporters 

Giuliani is Trump's personal attorney and the man who spearheaded the president's failed legal efforts to overturn the presidential election

Dershowitz represented him at his first impeachment trial and said it would be an 'honor and privilege' to defend the president again

Two sources told CNN Giuliani (left), Trump’s personal attorney and the man who spearheaded the president’s failed legal efforts to overturn the presidential election, is expected to represent Trump. Dershowitz said it would be an ‘honor and privilege’ to defend the president

Dershowitz appears to already be readying himself for the role of defending Trump, as he told Politico Wednesday’s rally where Trump egged on the crowd to march to the US Capitol was a ‘constitutionally protected’ speech. 

He denied that the president is guilty of ‘a high crime or misdemeanor’ or is ‘unable to govern’ and instead hit out at the Democrats and Republicans pursuing impeachment. 

‘It’s not a high crime or misdemeanor. What he said was protected by the First Amendment and it’s not subject to removal under the 25th Amendment,’ Dershowitz said. 

‘He’s not unable to govern, he’s not incapacitated and I think grave dangers to the constitution are being posed by those partisans who want to weaponize the Constitution for political purposes.’ 

Jay Sekulow, who was also a member of Trump’s first impeachment trial defense team, said pursuing an impeachment now would be ‘a gigantic mistake’ on his radio show Sekulow on Thursday. 

‘You could impeach him but he’s never going to be there for the trial. They’ll never have a trial in the Senate,’ he said. 

‘Why would you put the country through that when the man’s term is over with and you got the ultimate victory your candidate is going to be the president of the United States?’

House Democrats will introduce their impeachment resolution on Monday charging Trump with 'incitement of insurrection' for his part in Wednesday's riot. At the rally he told fans to 'fight'

House Democrats will introduce their impeachment resolution on Monday charging Trump with ‘incitement of insurrection’ for his part in Wednesday’s riot. At the rally he told fans to ‘fight’

Trump told the crowd to 'fight': 'Unbelievable, what we have to go through. What we have to go through - and you have to get your people to fight'

Trump told the crowd to ‘fight’: ‘Unbelievable, what we have to go through. What we have to go through – and you have to get your people to fight’ 

That said, CNN reported that Sekulow and two other members of Trump’s old defense team – White House counsel Pat Cipollone and attorney Jane Raskin – are not likely to join his team a second time round.

Cipollone led Trump’s defense during his first trial but is said to be on the brink of resigning out of frustration with Trump and him bringing in conspiracy theorist lawyer Sidney Powell, who has argued voting machines changes votes from Trump to Joe Biden. 

Dominion Voting Systems is suing her for the false claims about their machines.

It also emerged that Trump only agreed to his national address Thursday night – where he finally denounced the actions of the mob more than 24 hours after the violent insurgent – after Cipollone warned him he could face legal charges for stoking the mob, The New York Times reported. 

Cipollone is said to have stayed in the White House for the sake of national security.

Meanwhile, Robert Ray, who was also on the president’s first defense team, appeared to also signal himself out of the team when he told Politico he thinks the case for impeachment is stronger this time round. 

Jay Sekulow speaking during Trump's first impeachment trial

Pat Cipollone speaking during Trump's first impeachment trial

Other members of Trump’s first defense team are not likely to join. Jay Sekulow, who was also a member of Trump’s first impeachment trial defense team (left), said pursuing an impeachment now would be ‘a gigantic mistake’. White House counsel Pat Cipollone (right) led Trump’s defense during his first trial but is said to be on the brink of resigning

‘Unlike the last time, where they didn’t even charge a crime, I could imagine that you could draft an article of impeachment that would actually make a legal argument that the president aided or abetted or actually elicited a riot,’ said Ray.  

Giuliani was not part of Trump’s first team but led the president’s failed election legal battle to overturn the election.

The former New York City mayor worked with Trump to push unfounded claims of voter fraud – claims that were not been backed up with evidence, failed to gain any ground in dozens of lawsuits and were debunked by Trump’s own administration which said the election was fair and legal. 

Biden won the presidential election with 306 electoral votes to Trump’s 232.  

Trump, his campaign and Republicans have mounted at least 42 legal challenges since November 3, all of which they have lost. 

Meanwhile, Giuliani may also find himself investigated for his part in Wednesday’s violence.  

A draft impeachment article charges Donald Trump with 'incitement of insurrection'

A draft impeachment article charges Donald Trump with ‘incitement of insurrection’

Less than two hours before hundreds of Trump supporters stormed the capitol Wednesday, Giuliani took to the stage at Trump’s rally and urged demonstrators to pursue a ‘trial by combat’. 

Washington DC Attorney General Karl Racine told Good Morning America Friday the former New York City mayor could also be investigated for inciting Wednesday’s violence.   

‘Donald Trump Jr, Giuliani, even the president of the United States were calling on their supporters and hate groups to go to the Capitol and in the words of Rudy Giuliani ‘exercise combat justice’.

‘We’re going to investigate not only the mobsters but also those who invited the violence,’ he said.

If Giuliani does make the team, the president will hope he can have greater success at his potential second impeachment trial. 

The move to impeach a sitting president for a second time is an unprecedented event in American history. 

House Rep. Ted Lieu of California announced on his Twitter feed Saturday that 180 members of Congress have signed as co-sponsors of the article of impeachment that he helped draft alongside fellow House Reps. Jamie Raskin and David Cicilline

House Rep. Ted Lieu of California announced on his Twitter feed Saturday that 180 members of Congress have signed as co-sponsors of the article of impeachment that he helped draft alongside fellow House Reps. Jamie Raskin and David Cicilline

Trump’s initial impeachment trial came after it emerged that he had pressured the Ukrainian president for information on Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden.

He was impeached in December 2019 for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress but was acquitted by the Senate in February after only one Republican – Mitt Romney – broke from party lines to back the impeachment article.

It is not clear if a second attempt would be more successful but some Republicans have already suggested they are open to impeachment this time.

Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska, who voted to acquit Trump last year, said he will ‘definitely consider’ impeachment.

And Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski, who also voted to acquit, told the Anchorage Daily News on Friday that she wants Trump to resign. 

Senator Pat Toomey told Fox News Saturday he believes Trump committed ‘impeachable offenses’. 

Two Republican Congress members told CNN they would support impeachment with one saying ‘I think you will have GOP members vote for impeachment.’   

Democrats will present the impeachment article which accuses Trump of ‘incitement of insurrection’ Monday, marking the first stage in the process.

House Rep. Ted Lieu of California announced on his Twitter feed Saturday that 180 members of Congress have signed as co-sponsors of the article of impeachment that he helped draft alongside fellow House Reps. Jamie Raskin and David Cicilline. 

Trump's first impeachment trial which started in December 2019. Pictured the trial on January 16 at the US Capitol

Trump’s first impeachment trial which started in December 2019. Pictured the trial on January 16 at the US Capitol

Lieu said that while all 180 co-sponsors are Democrats, he is confident that Republican members of the House will support to impeach. 

A draft of the article prepared by Cicilline, Lieu, and Raskin states that, ‘Incited by Trump, a mob unlawfully breached the Capitol,’ injured law enforcement, menaced lawmakers and the vice president, and interfered with the count of the Electoral College.   

McConnell, the Kentucky Republican, circulated a memo to the other members of his caucus in which he mapped out how a Senate trial would work if the House of Representatives follows through on its threat to impeach Trump.

In the memo, McConnell notes that the Senate will not reconvene for conventional business until January 19 – just a day before Biden’s inauguration, according to The Washington Post.  

Senate impeachment rules state that the upper chamber could begin a trial a day after it agrees to receive the articles of impeachment from the House. 

That means Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who will take up McConnell’s post as majority leader after Biden is sworn into office, will have to take up a trial.

An impeachment trial of Trump in the early days of Biden’s presidency could distract from the new administration’s efforts to get its agenda off the ground.  

The move to impeach Trump for a second time comes in the wake of Wednesday’s riot at the US Capitol where Trump supporters broke through barricades and entered the seat of government sending lawmakers fleeing for their lives. 

Protesters were riled up by the president during a rally near the White House where he told them to head to Capitol Hill where lawmakers were scheduled to confirm Joe Biden’s presidential victory.  

Pro-Trump insurgents stormed Capitol Hill on Wednesday in an attack that left nation stunned

Pro-Trump insurgents stormed Capitol Hill on Wednesday in an attack that left nation stunned

An explosion caused by a police munition is seen while Trump supporters gather in front of the Capitol on Wednesday

An explosion caused by a police munition is seen while Trump supporters gather in front of the Capitol on Wednesday

Capitol police officers point their guns at a door that was vandalized in the House Chamber during a joint session of Congress

Capitol police officers point their guns at a door that was vandalized in the House Chamber during a joint session of Congress

Trump told the crowd to ‘fight’: ‘Unbelievable, what we have to go through. What we have to go through – and you have to get your people to fight.’ 

A violent mob then stormed the Capitol, breaking through police barricades and smashing windows to enter the building.

Lawmakers were forced to go into hiding for several hours as Capitol police grappled to take back control while the mob defecated in the Senate and House, invaded Nancy Pelosi’s office and looted items potentially including state secrets. 

Five people were killed in the violent riot including a police officer who was reportedly hit over the head with a fire extinguisher by a rioter. 

Three top Capitol security officials have stood down as questions are being raised over the failure to stop the breach occurring in the first place.   

Dozens have been rounded up and arrested since the attack including a QAnon supporter, a 70-year-old who brought two handguns, a rifle and 11 Molotov cocktails to the riot and a newly sworn-in West Virginia delegate.

The FBI is asking for the public’s help in bringing all those responsible to justice. 

Meanwhile, House Democrats will start proceedings to impeach Trump Monday charging him with ‘incitement of insurrection’ after he egged on his supporters and then failed to condemn the violence or tell them to leave the Capitol for hours after the violence erupted. 

Twitter banned the president from its platform Friday saying in a statement that his recent tweets amounted to glorification of violence.

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Serena Williams’ husband comes to her defense after Ion Tiriac’s criticism of his weight and age | The State

Serena Williams with her husband Alexis Ohanian during the wedding of the now Duchess of Sussex.

Photo:
IAN WEST / AFP / Getty Images

Maybe the first time they met Alexis ohanian reject the offer of Serena Williams to give him some tennis lessons because he had no idea who he was talking to, but since then he has been able to see first-hand how hard his wife works to make history in this sport, for example, winning the Australian Open in 2017 pregnant with their only daughter in common, and does not intend to tolerate anyone disrespecting her.

The co-founder of the Reddit platform has used Twitter to react to the controversial statements made a few days ago by the retired tennis player Ion Tiriac, founder of the Madrid Open, about Serena’s weight and age. More specifically, he criticized his physical form and assured without hot cloths that, if he had a modicum of shame left, would retire as soon as possible. Alexis has now promised on that social network that he will not sit idly by while a “sexist and racist clown” publicly attacks his family.

Nobody really cares what Ion Tiriac thinks“, Has tweeted in response to all those who have already started to speculate on the measures that Serena would take to get revenge. “I had to Google him,” her husband added, referring to the Romanian athlete. “Turns out my 3 year old has more Grand Slams than this clown“.

This is not the first time that Tiriac has dared to comment on Serena’s decision to return to the slopes in 2018, at 36 years old and after taking maternity leave, to insist that she was not being realistic. She had previously responded by acknowledging that anyone can comment on her career, but also stated that she would not hesitate to hold him accountable for her words if they ever met face to face.

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All 10 living former Defense Secretaries deliver extraordinary warning to Trump in scathing op-ed

All 10 living former Defense Secretaries deliver extraordinary warning to Trump in scathing op-ed denouncing the prospect of military involvement in election dispute as ‘dangerous, unlawful and unconstitutional’

  • All former US Defense Secretaries signed their name on the op-ed, which was published in The Washington Post on Monday 
  • The group consisted of both Democrats and Republicans; Mark Esper and James Mattis, who both worked under Trump, notably put their names to the op-ed  
  • The piece comes amid calls from some of the President’s allies to bring in the military in a last minute bid to block Joe Biden from taking the White House
  • Trump has been disputing the results of the election citing widespread fraud; his legal team have not been able to produce any such evidence  

All 10 living former Defense Secretaries have delivered an extraordinary warning to President Trump in an op-ed denouncing the possibility of military involvement in the current election dispute. 

The piece was published in The Washington Post on Monday, following calls from the Trump’s allies to bring in the military in a bid to block Joe Biden from becoming the next Commander-in-chief. 

The 10 Defense Secretaries, who are both Republican and Democrat, did not mention Trump’s name in the piece, but clearly intended for the President to heed their message. 

‘Our elections have occurred. Recounts and audits have been conducted. Appropriate challenges have been addressed by the courts. Governors have certified the results. And the electoral college has voted. The time for questioning the results has passed,’ the group wrote. 

Efforts to involve the U.S. armed forces in resolving election disputes would take us into dangerous, unlawful and unconstitutional territory. 

The 10 living former Defense Secretaries were listed as alphabetically as the authors of the piece. 

They are Ashton Carter Dick Cheney, William Cohen,  Mark Esper, Robert Gates, Chuck Hagel, James Mattis, Leon Panetta, William Perry and Donald Rumsfeld. 

All 10 living former Defense Secretaries have delivered an extraordinary warning to President Trump in a joint op-ed in which they denounced the possibility of military involvement in the current election dispute. The Pentagon is pictured 

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Senate deals blow to Trump by annulling his veto on Defense law The State

Senators exceeded two-thirds of the vote.

Photo:
Capture C-SPAN / Courtesy

The Senate started the year with a blow to the president Donald trump by overriding his veto of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

With 81 votes in favor and 13 against, the senators achieved the two-thirds necessary to join the House of Representatives, which last Monday approved to invalidate the president’s decision.

The project has been defended by the majority of the members of Congress, since it contemplates $ 740,000 million dollars with plans to increase salaries for soldiers and modernization of equipment.

One of the reasons President Trump rejected the measure was the lack of inclusion of Section 230, which would force internet companies to be responsible for the content of their users, especially on social networks and video platforms, a battle that the president started with Twitter and Facebook.

President Trump also opposed the removal of the names of Confederate generals from military bases, as well as guidelines to halt the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan and Germany.

Part of the override delay happened because Democrats put pressure on the Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell (Kentucky), to increase the financial aid from $ 600 to $ 2,000 dollars.

The senator Bernie sanders (Vermont) was one of the opponents, who questioned McConnell why he was opposed to allowing the vote. The Republican considered that sending more money during the coronavirus pandemic was like “socialism for the rich.”

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Senate votes to override Donald Trump's veto of defense bill


Congress successfully slapped down President Donald Trump’s veto of the National Defense Authorization Act when the Senate voted 81 to 13 in favor of the bill Friday afternoon.

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Sen Bernie Sanders to delay an override of Trump’s defense veto bill until New Year’s Day

Sen Bernie Sanders said he will filibuster an override of President Donald Trump’s defense bill veto in a bid to secure $2,000 stimulus checks for the American people. 

Mitch McConnell on Wednesday shot down another attempt by Democrats to pass a standalone bill that would send the checks to Americans, saying the Senate won’t be ‘bullied’ into passing it.

Now that McConnell has moved to block the Democrats’ request, Sanders will filibuster and keep Congress tied up until the last possible moment. And as per Senate rules, this is allowed. 

‘McConnell and the Senate want to expedite the override vote and I understand that. But I’m not going to allow that to happen unless there is a vote, no matter how long that takes, on the $2,000 direct payment,’ Sanders said in an interview on Monday. 

The Vermont senator can delay the veto override vote until New Year’s Day. 

Scroll down for video  

Sen Bernie Sanders said he will filibuster an override of President Donald Trump’s defense bill veto in a bid to secure $2,000 stimulus checks for the American people. The Vermont senator can delay the veto override vote until New Year’s Day

The clock is ticking for the Senate. Congress adjourns for this session on January 3. Any legislation not passed is dead and the process must start a new on January 4th. 

McConnell attacked Sanders for his threat to hold up a vote to override Trump’s veto of the must-pass defense bill, which funds the Pentagon. 

The House has already voted to override the veto and the Senate needs to do the same for the defense legislation to become law.

‘Our colleague says he will slow down this vital bill unless he gets to muscle through another standalone proposal from Speaker Pelosi that would add roughly half a trillion dollars to the national debt,’ McConnell said of Sanders’ efforts.

Sanders vowed not to let the Senate vote on the veto override until it addresses the stimulus checks.  

McConnell has the votes to override the veto and wants to get the matter taken care of.

On Wednesday, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer attempted to bring up a bill passed by Speaker Nancy Pelosi that will increase the $600 checks already approved to the $2,000 amount that Trump requested. 

McConnell objected, stopping the legislation in its tracks, and, instead, touted his own legislation, which has little chance at passing.

The continued clash decreases the chances for Americans to see larger stimulus checks as the economy continues to struggle during the coronavirus pandemic.  

McConnell used the president as his excuse, arguing the Democratic bill doesn’t meet with Trump’s request. Along with tripling the check amount, Trump also wants a repeal of section 230 of tech law and an investigation of election fraud – neither of which is in Pelosi’s bill but is in one McConnell proposed.  

Mitch McConnell on Wednesday shot down another attempt by Democrats to pass a standalone bill that would send $2,000 stimulus checks to Americans, saying the Senate won't be 'bullied' into passing it

Mitch McConnell on Wednesday shot down another attempt by Democrats to pass a standalone bill that would send $2,000 stimulus checks to Americans, saying the Senate won’t be ‘bullied’ into passing it

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer attempted to bring up a standalone bill to increase the check amounts to $2,000 but McConnell shot it down

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer attempted to bring up a standalone bill to increase the check amounts to $2,000 but McConnell shot it down

‘The Senate is not going to be bullied,’ McConnell said in remarks on the Senate floor. He added: ‘The Senate is not going to split apart the three issues Trump linked together just because Democrats are afraid to address two of them.’

The House bill pushed by Democrats ‘does not align with what President Trump has suggested,’ McConnell said. ‘And which has no realistic path to quickly pass the Senate.’

But while McConnell was clear Democrats’ standalone bill has no chance of passing the Senate, his combo legislation has no chance either given the objections to a full repeal of section 230 (most lawmakers want to simply amend that section of law) and Democrats’ refusal to support a probe of the election. 

‘There is no other game in town besides the House bill,’ Schumer said in his remarks on the Senate floor, arguing McConnell’s bill has too much ‘partisan policy’ to pass

Sanders also took to the Senate floor to plead for passage of the standalone House bill for the $2,000 stimulus check. 

Standing before a poster featuring Trump’s tweet from Wednesday morning – ‘$2,000 ASAP!’ – Sanders said that: ‘On this issue, amazingly enough, the president of the United States is right.’

He also went after McConnell, pointing out the high poverty numbers in his home state of Kentucky. 

‘Let me just make it clear for the majority leader, that 10 out of the poorest 25 counties in the United States of America are located in Kentucky. 

‘So maybe my colleague, the majority leader, might want to get on the phone and start talking to working families in Kentucky and find out how they feel about the need for immediate help in terms of a $2,000 check,’ he said.

In addition to Trump’s tweets, Democrats have been piling on the pressure, urging the Senate to move quickly on the matter. 

Speaker Nancy Pelosi is putting pressure on Republicans to pass the House bill

Speaker Nancy Pelosi is putting pressure on Republicans to pass the House bill

‘In blocking it, they are in denial of the hardship the American people are experiencing now, health wise, financially, and every way,’ Pelosi said at a press conference Wednesday. 

Republican objections kept the standalone bill for $2,000 checks from being voted on.

Even as the debate continues over the next legislative steps, the $600 payments included in the $900billion coronavirus relief package will start appearing in Americans’ bank accounts as early as next week.

McConnell proposed a bill Tuesday evening that couples the increased payments with a full repeal of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act and the creation of an election fraud panel to probe the 2020 presidential election.

All three actions have been pushed by Trump.

The Senate majority leader knows, however, that he is proposing a ‘poison pill’ that is doomed for failure.

The bill would also need to go to the House, which is no longer in session, for approval before going to the president’s desk.

President Donald Trump supports tripling the payments, tweeting Wednesday morning: '$2000 ASAP!'

President Donald Trump supports tripling the payments, tweeting Wednesday morning: ‘$2000 ASAP!’

McConnell, and most other Republicans in the Senate, don’t want another few hundred million tacked onto the national deficit in increasing the already approved $600 direct checks three-fold.

Trump signed on Sunday the first COVID-19 relief bill since March, which includes another round of payments for most Americans struggling in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. 

By doing so, he also avoided forcing a government shutdown as the relief was included in the latest government funding bill.

The president, however, demanded that the checks be upped to $2,000, as well as insisting that foreign spending be cut.

The Democrat-controlled House passed a standalone bill on Monday to increase the payments to the president’s requested amount – and also struck down Trump’s veto of the ‘vital’ NDAA to fund the Pentagon through the year.

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Alec Baldwin doubles down on defense of wife Hilaria in ‘faked’ Spanish heritage scandal

Alec Baldwin doubled down on his defense of his wife Hilaria (pictured together in March) after she was accused of misrepresenting her Spanish heritage and faking her accent for years

Alec Baldwin lashed out at a critic who called his wife Hilaria a ‘fraud’ after she was accused of faking her accent and lying about being born in Majorca when she was actually born in Boston.  

The SNL actor launched his latest attack on Monday night in the comments of an Instagram photo he posted in reference to the scandal, which featured the famous Mark Twain quote: ‘A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.’ 

A commenter quipped: ‘Like your wife being Spanish when she lived in Massachusetts her entire life. I take it her accent is fake as well? FRAUDS!’

Alec’s reply was scathingly succinct: ‘Go f**k yourself.’   

He took a more subdued strike at another critic via Twitter just before the Instagram spat, in response to an post about an opinion essay for People entitled: ‘Why the Hilaria Baldwin Scandal Is Painful for Immigrants — Including Me.’

The essay by Ale Russian slammed Hilaria – who confessed on Sunday that she was born in Boston and that her real name is Hillary – for the ‘exaggerated’ accent she ‘appropriated as an adult’. 

Alec replied: ‘Fake? Exaggerated? Appropriated an accent as an adult? She lived in Spain for many years as a child. She lived both places.’  

The biting rebukes came as Hilaria’s official agency biography was edited to remove any mention of her links to Spain. 

The 36-year-old influencer’s speaker’s page on the Creative Artist Agency’s website had for years misstated her birthplace, claiming: ‘Baldwin was born in Mallorca, Spain and raised in Boston, Massachusetts.’ 

But that line was deleted shortly after Hilaria revealed the truth about her upbringing in a rambling Instagram video, saying: ‘Yes, I am a white girl. I am a white girl. 

‘Let’s be very clear that Europe has a lot of white people in there and my family is white. Ethnically, I am a mix of many, many, many things. Culturally, I grew up with two cultures so it’s really as simple as that.’ 

The SNL actor launched his latest attack on Monday night in the comments of an Instagram photo (above) he posted in reference to the scandal, which featured the famous Mark Twain quote: 'A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes'

The SNL actor launched his latest attack on Monday night in the comments of an Instagram photo (above) he posted in reference to the scandal, which featured the famous Mark Twain quote: ‘A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes’

A commenter quipped: 'Like your wife being Spanish when she lived in Massachusetts her entire life. I take it her accent is fake as well? FRAUDS!' Alec's reply was scathingly succinct: 'Go f**k yourself'

A commenter quipped: ‘Like your wife being Spanish when she lived in Massachusetts her entire life. I take it her accent is fake as well? FRAUDS!’ Alec’s reply was scathingly succinct: ‘Go f**k yourself’ 

Alec took a more subdued strike at another critic via Twitter just before the Instagram spat, in response to an post about an opinion essay for People entitled: 'Why the Hilaria Baldwin Scandal Is Painful for Immigrants — Including Me'

Alec took a more subdued strike at another critic via Twitter just before the Instagram spat, in response to an post about an opinion essay for People entitled: ‘Why the Hilaria Baldwin Scandal Is Painful for Immigrants — Including Me’ 

Alec appeared exhausted as he ran errands in the Hamptons on Monday after issuing his first defense of Hilaria in an Instagram video the day before

The SNL star was photographed in Amagansett, New York

Alec appeared exhausted as he ran errands in the Hamptons on Monday after issuing his first defense of Hilaria in an Instagram video the day before 

Alec held a piece of paper over his face to shield himself from photographers

Alec held a piece of paper over his face to shield himself from photographers

Hilaria shared never-before-seen snaps of herself in Spain on her Instagram story on Sunday

Hilaria never posts about her being in Spain or visiting family there

Hilaria shared never-before-seen snaps of herself in Spain on her Instagram story on Sunday  – it is not clear how old she is in both pictures – although she is presumably a teenager in the left as she is smoking 

His scathing tweet came as Hilaria's official agency biography was edited to remove any mention of her links to Spain. The biography is shown above before the last line was deleted

His scathing tweet came as Hilaria’s official agency biography was edited to remove any mention of her links to Spain. The biography is shown above before the last line was deleted

The Twitter firestorm that prompted Hilaria’s confession dredged up new photos from her high school years in her hometown of Weston, Massachusetts.

A 2002 yearbook for The Cambridge School of Weston refers to Hilaria by her real name, Hillary Hayward-Thomas. 

Hilaria graduated from the $64,900-per-year school in 2002, a year before she claimed in previous interviews to have moved from Spain to the US to attend New York University when she was 19.  

Several of the photos show a teenage Hilaria dancing on stage in what appears to be a school production. 

The photos were posted on Twitter by a former classmate who reportedly told friends: ‘I’ve been waiting for this for years,’ in reference to Hilaria being unmasked as a Massachusetts native.  

The Twitter firestorm that prompted Hilaria's confession dredged up new photos from her high school years in her hometown of Weston, Massachusetts

The Twitter firestorm that prompted Hilaria’s confession dredged up new photos from her high school years in her hometown of Weston, Massachusetts

The online frenzy over Hilaria’s heritage was sparked on December 21 when a woman tweeted: ‘You have to admire Hilaria Baldwin’s commitment to her decade long grift where she impersonates a Spanish person.’

In the next few days several videos of Hilaria’s past TV appearances resurfaced showing her commitment to a Spanish accent, including one where she seemingly forgot the English word for ‘cucumber’. 

Yet Hilaria appeared to slip out of the accent last week when she took to Instagram Live to react to a prank post from comedian Amy Schumer. 

Several former classmates came forward to confirm that Hilaria was in fact raised in Weston, Massachusetts, by American parents without a hint of a foreign accent.

‘I went to high school with her. Genuinely lovely person, I recall, but fully a white girl from Cambridge,’ one wrote.

Another added: ‘I went to high school with her. She was perfectly nice and serious about ballroom dancing. Her name was indeed Hillary Hayward-Thomas and she did not have her current accent.’ 

Class ratios at the Cambridge School of Weston are six students to one teacher. The exclusive school lists Hillary Hayward-Thomas among its notable alumni, alongside Lion King screenwriter Jonathan Roberts (1973) and American Pie actress Jennifer Coolidge (1979). 

Hilaria revealed the truth about her upbringing in a rambling Instagram video on Sunday, saying: 'Yes, I am a white girl. I am a white girl. Let's be very clear that Europe has a lot of white people in there and my family is white. Ethnically, I am a mix of many, many, many things. Culturally, I grew up with two cultures so it's really as simple as that'

Hilaria revealed the truth about her upbringing in a rambling Instagram video on Sunday, saying: ‘Yes, I am a white girl. I am a white girl. Let’s be very clear that Europe has a lot of white people in there and my family is white. Ethnically, I am a mix of many, many, many things. Culturally, I grew up with two cultures so it’s really as simple as that’ 

Internet sleuths were quick to uncover details about Hilaria’s parents, Dr Kathryn Hayward and David Thomas, who lived and worked in the US for years before retiring to Majorca in 2011, according to Page Six.  

While Hilaria has long described her mother as Spanish, records revealed that Hayward is in fact a fourth-generation Massachusetts resident who spent most of her career practicing medicine in Longmeadow.

Kathryn went on to become an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. She have birth to Hillary in January 1984 in Boston.

Dr Hayward’s father and Hilaria’s grandfather, Charles ‘Chuck’ Hayward, was born and raised in Massachusetts, as was his late wife Irene. 

Hilaria’s father’s family has even deeper ties to the US, having lived here since before the American Revolution. He was an active volunteer for the Beacon Hill Civic Association during his ’37 years living in Boston,’ The New York Post reports. 

Her parents also co-founded International Integrators in Boston.  

Internet sleuths were also quick to uncover details about Hilaria's parents, Dr Kathryn Hayward and David Thomas, pictred, who worked in the US for years before retiring to Majorca in 2011

Internet sleuths were also quick to uncover details about Hilaria’s parents, Dr Kathryn Hayward and David Thomas, pictred, who worked in the US for years before retiring to Majorca in 2011

Hilaria's parents only retired to Spain in 2011 when Hilaria was 27-years-old, Page Six reports

Hilaria’s parents only retired to Spain in 2011 when Hilaria was 27-years-old, Page Six reports 

Hilaria finally came clean about her upbringing on Sunday telling fans she spent ‘some of’ her childhood in Spain and ‘some’ of it in Massachusetts. 

‘There was a lot of back and forth my entire life,’ the Mom Brain podcaster explained.

‘And I’m really lucky that I grew up speaking two different languages and I’m trying to raise my kids, so they speak two languages too. And that’s something very important to me especially having my family abroad.’

Hilaria added: ‘Yeah I’m a different kind of Bostonian but that’s who I am, and you kind of can’t change your background – nor would I want to – I’m really, really proud of who I am.’  

She also noted that ’44 people from Spain’ attended her 2012 wedding to Oscar nominee Alec Baldwin, but she hasn’t seen her family since September 2019 because of ‘the pandemic’.

Hilaria finally came clean about her upbringing on Sunday telling fans she spent 'some of' her childhood in Spain and 'some' of it in Massachusetts

Hilaria finally came clean about her upbringing on Sunday telling fans she spent ‘some of’ her childhood in Spain and ‘some’ of it in Massachusetts 

The NYU alum and her 62-year-old husband gave all five of their children Spanish names – daughter Carmen Gabriela, 7; son Rafael Thomas, 5; son Leonardo Ángel, 4; son Romeo Alejandro, 2; and son Eduardo ‘Edu’ Pao Lucas, 3 months.

As for her name, Hilaria said she’d use Hillary in the States and Hilaria in Spain. 

‘My whole family call me Hilaria. It always kind of bothered me that neither name sounds good in the other language. So I would use one or the other one,’ she said.  

Her video sparked a flurry of memes with some jokingly comparing her to Rachel Dolezal and Jessica Krug. 

Krug, a professor of African American history at George Washington University, pretended to be black her entire career. Dolezal, a former NAACP leader, was unmasked as a white woman in 2015. 

Alec Baldwin took to Instagram on Sunday - not to address the allegations, but rather to blast outlets like TMZ and the New York Post for printing claims he called 'spectacularly false'

Alec Baldwin took to Instagram on Sunday – not to address the allegations, but rather to blast outlets like TMZ and the New York Post for printing claims he called ‘spectacularly false’

Alec came out to defend Hilaria for the first time in his own video on Sunday.  

Without addressing the allegations directly, the SNL star said Twitter is ‘a lot of s**t’. 

‘You have to kind of hack your way through the debris of Twitter. Twitter is just a vast orchard of cr**,’ he continued. 

‘There’s things that have been said lately about people that I love, that I care about deeply, which are ridiculous. I mean, just ridiculous.

‘They’ve said it about people I love – false things. Untrue things. 

‘And as much as that hurts, the only thing I can do is talk to that half of the public or that portion of the public who understands what I mean when I say: “Consider the source. When you love somebody you want to defend them.’  

On Monday he posted a quote seemingly about the incident to his Instagram page which read: ‘A lie can travel around the world and back again while the truth is lacing up its shoes.’ 

A video of Alec on The Late Show in 2013 emerged Monday in which he impersonated his wife’s ‘Spanish’ accent, telling David Letterman: ‘My wife is from Spain.’   

A video of Alec on The Late Show emerged Monday in which he impersonated his wife’s ‘Spanish’ accent, telling David Letterman: ‘My wife is from Spain’

Amy Schumer takes a playful dig at Hilaria Baldwin’s heritage controversy

Amy Schumer, who has since deleted the post, used Instagram to playfully comment on the 36-year-old yoga instructor’s cultural controversy on Sunday.

‘I get it. I went to Spain a couple times and loved it too,’ captioned the comedian, 39, who included a cucumber emoji.

The portion of Schumer’s post that earned her the most praise was the cucumber emoji that she added to the end of her caption.

The emoji was a direct reference to one viral clip of Hilaria pretending not to know the ‘English word’ for cucumber, while conjuring up a recipe on a cooking show.

Emily Ratajkowski, clearly amused by Schumer’s playful dig, wrote: ‘That cucumber emoji really hits!’ The model, 29, also thanked Amy for making the post to begin with. 

Along with her caption, Amy included a dramatic photo of herself wearing a large woven sunhat and a pair of oversized shades indoors.

She had one hand up by her face, while the other delicately cradled a cup of tea. 

Schumer’s hilarious post came just hours after Hilaria took to her own Instagram to directly address accusations that she has spent years misrepresenting her heritage. 

Amy Schumer took to Instagram on Sunday to poke fun at Hilaria Baldwin's cultural controversy

Amy Schumer took to Instagram on Sunday to poke fun at Hilaria Baldwin’s cultural controversy

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Bid in the Senate: Bernie Sanders Threatens to Stop the Defense Bill Unless a $ 2,000 Stimulus Check is Voted | The State

Now that the House of Representatives has voted in favor of the check increase, it is up to the Senate to vote on it.

Photo:
EPA / JIM LO SCALZO / EFE

Senator Bernie Sanders said he would delay passage of a defense bill should the Senate decide not to vote to make stimulus check payments of $ 2,000 per person..

Sanders said that if Republicans want defense funding, they must first vote for a larger stimulus check.

Sanders, made the comments after hehe Democrats in the House of Representatives – joined by 44 Republicans – voted to raise the amount of the second stimulus check from $ 600 to $ 2,000.. This check will be included in the stimulus package for the coronavirus signed by President Donald Trump last weekend.

Now that the House of Representatives has voted in favor of the check increase, it is up to the Senate to vote on it.

How is Sanders going to push?

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell must vote to approve Defense funding in the Senate, but to speed up the voting process he needs the consent of all senators to vote before the Senate comes out. New Year’s break. This is where Bernie Sanders could decline to vote on this funding if you haven’t voted to increase the stimulus check first.

Under Senate rules, Sanders has the ability to keep senators in the chamber during the New Year’s holiday week.

“The House (of Representatives) approved a direct payment of $ 2,000 for workers. It’s time for the Senate to act, ”Sanders said, according to Yahoo!

“Let me be clear, if Senator McConnell disagrees with a vote for or against to provide the workers of our country with a direct payment of $ 2,000, Congress will not go home for New Years Eve. Let’s do our job”He added, according to the Washington Examiner.

Bernie Sanders knows McConnell wants to speed up the vote on the defense bill, but said he will not allow a vote on this issue until a vote is first taken on the stimulus check increase.

-You may also be interested: Government will try to send the second stimulus check this week

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