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Colonial Pipeline back online, but gas might not be back until the weekend

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After almost a week since Colonial Pipeline shut down for the very first time in its history, President Joe Biden announced Thursday that the pipeline was back to full capacity. But, that doesn’t mean gas stations that were emptied over the last six days will be immediately replenished.

“But I want to be clear, we will not feel the effects at the pump immediately,” Biden said during a press conference. “This is not like flicking on a light switch.”

The pipeline is over 5,500 miles long. So Biden adjusted everyone’s expectations during the presser. “We expect to see a region by region return to normalcy beginning this weekend,” he said.

Yet Colonial Pipeline’s own statement was even more vague about the timeline. “Following this restart, it will take several days for the product delivery supply chain to return to normal,” their statement read.

However, when asked if Colonial Pipeline paid Ransomware, the group of hackers who initially attacked the pipeline’s cybersecurity apparatus, Biden refused to answer. From the beginning, the Biden administration has been clear that it is not the government’s decision to make. On Monday, Anne Neuberger, Deputy National Security Adviser for Cyber and Emerging Technology said it would be a “private sector decision” whether the ransom would be paid or not.

Sources involved in the transaction reportedly confirmed to Bloomberg News that a $5 million ransom was paid.

You can follow Jenny Goldsberry on Twitter @jennyjournalism

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Biden frees Venezuelan President Maduro’s drug dealing relatives in prisoner swap

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Joe Biden

President Biden freed two of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s relatives Saturday in exchange for seven jailed Americans. The two nephews of Maduro’s wife Cilia Flores, had been convicted in the United States for drug dealing and sentenced to 18 years in prison, according to the BBC.

According to the report, the swap was in exchange for five American oil executives. Those Americans were “exchanged for two of Mr Maduro’s wife’s nephews, who were serving 18-year sentences in the US on drug charges,” the officials told the BBC. Maduro’s nephews were convicted under the Trump administration and the Venezuelan government claims that they were “unjustly” jailed in the United States.

In a statement from the White House Saturday, Biden said the American’s were  “wrongfully detained.”  He said the American’s  would soon be reunited with their relatives, according to reports.

“Today, we celebrate that seven families will be whole once more. To all the families who are still suffering and separated from their loved ones who are wrongfully detained – know that we remain dedicated to securing their release,” the Biden statement added.

Meanwhile, 13 Republican members of Congress sent a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, requesting more information on “the intelligence report” that alleges Maduro is emptying his prisons and allowing them to head to the United States in the caravans that crossing the porous border.

The letter states that the report warns Border Patrol agents to be on the look-out for “violent criminals from Venezuela among the migrant caravans heading towards the U.S.-Mexico border.”

“It has been widely reported that the Venezuelan regime, under the control of Nicolás Maduro Moros, is deliberately releasing violent prisoners early, including inmates convicted of ‘murder, rape, and extortion,’ and pushing them to join caravans heading to the United States,” the letter states.

You can follow Sara A. Carter on Twitter @SaraCarterDC.

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