News Wrap: Ottawa police move to end siege by truckers protesting COVID restrictions

In our news wrap Wednesday, police in Canada began moving to end a nearly three-week siege by truckers protesting COVID restrictions, CDC says it's working on new guidance for masks, President Biden ordered Trump White House visitor logs be released, and federal investigators say President Trump's interior secretary used his position to push a commercial project in Montana.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    In the day's other news: The CDC said it is working on new guidance for mask-wearing and other COVID prevention measures.

    That word came as infections and hospitalizations have dropped, and more states and cities are ending mandates. Officials acknowledged that people are tired of masking up.

  • Dr. Rochelle Walensky, CDC Director:

    We want to give people a break from things like mask-wearing when these metrics are better and then have the ability to reach for them again should things worsen.

    If and when we update our guidance, we will communicate that clearly, and it will be based on the data and the science.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    New numbers from the CDC also show that the country has suffered more than one million excess deaths since the pandemic began. That is more death than would normally be expected in a time period. The vast majority were due to the virus.

    Police in Canada's capital city of Ottawa began moving today to end a nearly-three-week siege by truckers protesting COVID restrictions. Officers in yellow vests went from rig to rig, warning drivers to leave immediately. Otherwise, they risk arrest and could lose their vehicles and licenses. Still, some insisted they won't go voluntarily.

  • David Paisley, Protestor:

    If it means that I need to go to prison, if I need to be fined in order to allow freedom to be restored in this country, millions of people have given far more for their freedom. And, in my mind, personally, it's a small sacrifice to make.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    It was unclear when the police might move in to clear the trucks by force.

    Rescuers in Brazil searched for victims and survivors today after a mudslide and flooding killed at least 78 people. The city of Petropolis, north of Rio de Janeiro, was hit by the deluge on Tuesday, after 10 inches of rain. Today, aerial views showed whole neighborhoods in the mountainous region buried under mud. It was not known how many more people are missing.

    Back in this country, President Biden has ordered that Trump White House visitor logs be released to lawmakers who are probing the January 6 attack on the Capitol. The former president had fought to withhold those records, citing executive privilege. The logs could shed light on who met with Mr. Trump both before and during the Capitol riot.

    A constitutional scholar who argued numerous U.S. Supreme Court cases has passed away. Walter Dellinger was a duke university law professor and dean and acting solicitor general under President Clinton. In 2012, he spoke with the "NewsHour" about his brief supporting Obamacare's individual mandate for health coverage.

  • Walter Dellinger, Former Acting U.S. Solicitor General:

    Every justice, every advocate, every journalist, they all have health insurance, and they wouldn't dream of doing without it.

    So, the idea that pushing people through this tax incentive to have coverage is an incursion of liberty seems odd.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    More recently, Walter Dellinger worked with the Biden presidential campaign and transition to fight legal attempts to overturn the 2020 election results.

    Walter Dellinger was 80 years old.

    In St. Paul, Minnesota, a second former Minneapolis police officer testified today about George Floyd's death in 2020. J. Alexander Kueng and two other ex-policemen face federal civil rights charges. Kueng knelt on Floyd's back while a superior officer pinned him by the neck. Kueng testified that he feared being fired if he spoke up.

    Federal investigators say President Trump's interior secretary, Ryan Zinke, used his position to push a commercial project in his Montana hometown. Today's report said that he also lied about it to an ethics official. The U.S. Justice Department has declined to bring criminal charges, and Zinke is now running for Congress.

    The U.S. trade representative reported today that China still refuses to open its markets to foreign competition. It said that Washington should consider new means of fighting back.

    And, on Wall Street, stocks struggled for direction. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 54 points to close at 34934. The Nasdaq fell 15 points. The S&P 500 added four points.

    At the Winter Olympics in China, Americans Alexander Hall and Nick Goepper captured gold and silver in slopestyle skiing. But the top-seeded U.S. men's hockey team lost to Slovakia in the quarterfinals, and will miss out on a medal.

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