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AP

The White House fired its chief usher, Angella Reid, the first woman and second African American to hold the position, the WashPost's Ashley Parker and Krissah Thompson scooped: "Reached by phone, Reid declined to comment, saying only, "I think it's best if the White House explains.'"

Scoop: Here's Paul Harvey's "The Rest of the Story," from our inside sources:

  • Reid was great with President Trump and the First Lady, but was considered mean by nearly everyone else (White House and household staff).
  • The workers — who are proud of where they serve and are not paid a lot — did not feel respected. Morale was low. People were in tears on a few occasions.
  • When her departure was announced to the residence staff yesterday morning, workers burst into applause.
  • Reid had been fired the night before and allowed to clean out her belongings when the staff was gone. She received a generous severance package, and the White House will give a glowing recommendation to anyone who asks.

Reid oversaw the residence and events "at the 132-room mansion and its staff of over 90 plumbers, electricians, butlers, cooks and others," AP's Darlene Superville explained.

Deputy White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders (who got strong reviews for her on-camera debut as fill-in White House briefer, while Sean Spicer was on Navy Reserve duty) confirmed the departure but wouldn't say why.

History note ... "Backstairs at the White House" was the title of a weekend column by the late Helen Thomas, when she — and UPI — were big deals.

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Go deeper

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Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine is effective against new variants of the virus that first appeared in the U.K. and in South Africa, the company announced on Monday.

Yes, but: The vaccine was as effective against the strain from U.K., but saw a six-fold reduction in antibodies against the South Africa variant. Even still, the neutralizing antibodies generated by the vaccine "remain above levels that are expected to be protective," according to the company.

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Xi Jinping warns against "new cold war" in Davos speech

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Chinese President Xi Jinping warned that a "new cold war" could turn hot, and must be avoided, in a speech on Monday at World Economic Forum’s virtual “Davos Agenda” conference.

Why it matters: Xi didn't refer directly to U.S.-China tensions, but the subtext was clear. These were his first remarks to an international audience since the inauguration of President Biden, whose administration has already concurred with Donald Trump's determination that China is committing "genocide" against Uyghur Muslims, and issued a warning about China's aggression toward Taiwan.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Dominion files $1.3 billion defamation lawsuit against Rudy Giuliani

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Dominion Voting Systems filed a defamation lawsuit against Rudy Giuliani on Monday seeking $1.3 billion in damages for his "demonstrably false” allegations about the company's voting machines.

Why it matters: Giuliani led former President Trump's efforts to overturn the results of the election and spread the baseless conspiracy theory that Dominion's voting machines flipped votes from Trump to Joe Biden.