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US Monthly Headline News April 2021

By Bill McCarthy

One day after President Joe Biden pledged to cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in half, Fox News and Fox Business Network personalities repeatedly and baselessly claimed that the move would also force Americans to say goodbye to hamburgers and steaks. "To meet the Biden Green New Deal targets, America has to, get this, America has to stop eating meat," said Fox Business Network host Larry Kudlow, a former economic adviser to President Donald Trump, on April 23. "No burger on July 4. No steaks on the barbecue." Biden’s climate plans do not include restrictions on red meat consumption, a White House official confirmed to PolitiFact. Biden never mentioned red meat when he announced his plan to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 50% to 52% below 2005 levels by 2030, a move that would double the U.S.’s commitment under the 2015 Paris climate agreement. more...

US President Joe Biden says now is the time to deliver real change for black Americans in an emotional plea for reforms as hopes rise that lawmakers will now act
By Christopher Bucktin

Joe Biden said that systemic racism is a “stain on America’s soul” after ex-police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of George Floyd’s murder. The President said the guilty verdict “can be a giant step forward” for the US in the fight against racism, but he declared that “it’s not enough” and that the country must deliver “real change” for black Americans. Speaking from the White House alongside Vice President Kamala Harris, the pair said that the country’s work is far from finished with Chauvin’s conviction as Americans were yesterday filled with hope lawmakers would act. Since George’s murder on May 25, 2020, 181 black people have been killed by the police in the US, according to data from research group Mapping Police Violence. The number is disproportionate to the population of African Americans. more...

By CNN Newsource

Miami — A private school in Miami is warning its staff against getting COVID-19 vaccines and says it's their policy not to employ anyone who has been vaccinated. A letter stating the new guidance was sent to parents of students at the Centner Academy. In the letter, the school discourages teachers and staff from getting COVID-19 vaccines or asks them to wait until the end of the school year. The letter even states that legal action will be taken if staff lie. "Here we have one of the most powerful tools in our arsenal to protect ourselves and prevent this problem, and they are discouraging the use of it," said Dr. Aileen Marty, an infectious disease expert at Florida International University. "It's tragic." more...

Andrew Oxford | Arizona Republic

Lawyers for Cyber Ninjas, the Florida-based company the Arizona Senate hired to lead a recount of Maricopa County’s 2.1 million general election ballots, are asking a judge to keep secret its procedures for the recount and shut out the public as well as the press from a hearing in which the documents might be discussed. Judge Christopher Coury asked the company on Friday to turn over its plans and procedures amid concerns about the security of the county's ballots and voter privacy. more...

Axios

At least six police killings took place in the 24 hours after a verdict was reached in the murder trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, AP reports. Why it matters: As many nationwide breathed a collective sigh of relief after a jury on Tuesday found Chauvin guilty in the murder of George Floyd, some of the six deaths prompted renewed calls for justice and an end to police violence. The big picture: "The circumstances surrounding each death differ widely. Some happened while officers investigated serious crimes. Police say some of the people were armed with a gun, knife or a metal pole. One man claimed to have a bomb that he threatened to detonate," AP writes. more...

By Katelyn Polantz and Marshall Cohen, CNN

(CNN) Former President Donald Trump's continued promotion of the "big lie" about the 2020 election could still incite his followers to violence, the Justice Department and judges noted repeatedly this week, as courts weigh the future dangerousness of US Capitol riot defendants. Two federal judges this week brought up the disinformation about 2020 from right-wing figures, and even Trump himself, as they considered keeping alleged Capitol rioters in jail before trial. And prosecutors from the Justice Department are arguing more explicitly that violent threats stemming from Trump-backed conspiracy theories are still alive, and that Trump supporters could be called to act again. "It's never too late" for pro-Trump extremist groups like the Proud Boys to mobilize, because the right-wing political climate hasn't shifted much since Trump left office, federal prosecutor Jason McCullough argued at a hearing for one of the accused Proud Boys leaders earlier this week. more...

In Houston, election officials found creative ways to help a struggling and diverse work force vote in a pandemic. Record turnout resulted. Now the G.O.P. is targeting those very measures.
By Nick Corasaniti

HOUSTON — Voting in the 2020 election presented Zoe Douglas with a difficult choice: As a therapist meeting with patients over Zoom late into the evening, she just wasn’t able to wrap up before polls closed during early voting. Then Harris County introduced 24-hour voting for a single day. At 11 p.m. on the Thursday before the election, Ms. Douglas joined fast-food workers, nurses, construction workers, night owls and other late-shift workers at NRG Arena, one of eight 24-hour voting sites in the county, where more than 10,000 people cast their ballots in a single night. “I can distinctly remember people still in their uniforms — you could tell they just got off of work, or maybe they’re going to work; a very diverse mix,” said Ms. Douglas, 27, a Houston native. more...

ABC News

Late last year, as a team of Minnesota state prosecutors was preparing for the trial that would ultimately convict former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin of murdering George Floyd, they received a series of videos depicting Chauvin's handling of another case three years earlier that by their own description shocked them. According to ABC News, the videos, from Sept. 4, 2017, allegedly showed Chauvin striking a Black teenager in the head so hard that the boy needed stitches, then allegedly holding the boy down with his knee for nearly 17 minutes, and allegedly ignoring complaints from the boy that he couldn't breathe. more...

By Evan Perez, Paula Reid, Scott Glover and David Shortell, CNN

(CNN) Federal authorities are looking into whether a 2018 trip to the Bahamas involving Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz and several young women was part of an orchestrated effort to illegally influence Gaetz in the area of medical marijuana, people briefed on the matter told CNN. Prosecutors with the Justice Department's Public Integrity Section are examining whether Gaetz took gifts, including travel and paid escorts, in exchange for political favors, the sources said. As part of an ongoing probe into Gaetz, investigators are examining whether he engaged in a relationship with a girl that began when she was 17. In pursuing evidence of potential public corruption, sources tell CNN that investigators are also scrutinizing Gaetz's connections to medical marijuana, both in terms of legislation he's sponsored and his connections to people involved in the industry, searching for so-called pay-to-play arrangements. more...

The news comes days after protests across Russia calling for Navalny's release as his team said it feared the Kremlin critic's life was in danger.
By Henry Austin

Jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny said he would end his weekslong hunger strike on Friday. In an Instagram post, Navalny said he would end the strike that he began on March 31 to demand medical care from his personal doctor. It comes days after protests across Russia calling for Navalny's release, as his team said it feared the Kremlin critic's life was in danger. Navalny was detained earlier this year having returned to Russia following treatment in Germany after being poisoned with a deadly nerve agent. more...

The anti-Islam agitator Tommy Robinson struck gold in America. Keeping it might require help from Moscow, where other British far-right activists are also finding friends.
By Jane Bradley and Michael Schwirtz

LONDON — Two days after supporters of former President Donald J. Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol, but failed to reverse his election defeat, a defiant shout sounded from across the ocean. Tommy Robinson, Britain’s loudest amplifier of anti-Islam, far-right anger, insisted the fight was not over. “You need to pick yourselves back up,” Mr. Robinson said in an online video viewed tens of thousands of times. “As Donald Trump says, it’s only just beginning.” more...

Barbara Sprunt

The U.S. House of Representatives has once again voted on a bill to grant statehood to Washington, D.C., and enfranchise more than 712,000 Americans, a cause that enjoys unprecedented support but still faces an uphill battle in the U.S. Senate. "This country was founded on the principles of no taxation without representation and consent of the governed. But D.C. residents are taxed without representation and cannot consent to the laws under which they as American citizens must live," said Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, the District's nonvoting delegate, on the House floor ahead of the vote. more...

Peter Weber

In a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday, Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) asked Georgia voting rights advocate Stacey Abrams if she could list the specific things she objects to in Georgia's restrictive new voting law. She could. "It's a long list," the Senate Democrats' Twitter account said, helping the exchange go viral on Wednesday. more...

Glenna Milberg

CUTLER BAY, Fla. – The reaction was strong enough for a few f-bombs. “All these f------ ventilators. This is what is going on. Brand new. Brand f------ new.” The video is from a resident who was taking some garbage to the South Dade Landfill last week. He was stunned to see pallets full of brand new, wrapped medical ventilators dumped as bulky trash among mattresses, tires and other waste. His video shows hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of ventilators sitting on trash mountain. What’s dumped is usually plowed under within a day, so those ventilators are probably gone now. “I just thought it was a lot of waste,” the resident said. “I mean, thousands and thousands of medical units that are being just tossed out.” more...

Tucker Higgins

A jury on Tuesday found former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin guilty on all three charges stemming from the killing of the unarmed Black man George Floyd last year. Chauvin was not expressive as Judge Peter Cahill announced his conviction on charges of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. The verdicts were read a day after jurors began their deliberations. Second-degree murder carries a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison. Third-degree murder has a maximum penalty of 25 years. Second-degree manslaughter has a maximum of 10 years. Sentencing guidelines call for sentences short of the maximum. more...

BY MARIK VON RENNENKAMPFF

It’s official: The Trump campaign colluded with Russia. In an explosive development, the Biden administration confirmed that a Russian government agent with close connections to Donald Trump’s top 2016 campaign official “provided the Russian Intelligence Services with sensitive information on polling and [Trump] campaign strategy.” This revelation demolishes, once and for all, Trump’s ceaseless claims that he was the victim of the “greatest witch hunt in the history of our country.” (Recall that a Trump appointee directed Robert Mueller to investigate “any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump.”) more...

Opinion by Michael Gerson

Some in the Republican Party hope that it can eventually maintain the Trump coalition without the toxic excesses of Donald Trump’s disordered personality. Already, a variety of talented and calculating figures — Sens. Josh Hawley (Mo.) and Tom Cotton (Ark.) come to mind — are trying to model populism minus the psychopathy. They are clearly imagining a day when a working-class and fundamentalist cultural revolt can be channeled into constructive public purposes. As one Republican congressional staffer has said: “Trump has changed the party forever, but that doesn’t mean he will control the party forever.” It is a rational instinct. It also strikes me as a nearly impossible task. And Tucker Carlson illustrates why. more...

Eight people are dead and multiple others are injured following the mass shooting. The alleged gunman has taken his own life, police said. video...

By Justin Carissimo, Zoe Christen Jones

A police oversight agency on Thursday released video of a Chicago police officer fatally shooting 13-year-old Adam Toledo last month. Mayor Lori Lightfoot called for calm as the city braces for protests throughout the night. Video shows an officer exiting his vehicle and chasing Toledo, who is running down an alley. When the officer catches up to the teen, he orders him to raise his hands and yells, "Drop it, drop it." The officer fires a single shot to Toledo's chest as the teen raises his hands. more...

Biden said that the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks "cannot explain why we should remain there in 2021."
By Saphora Smith and Lauren Egan

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden announced Wednesday that he plans to fully withdraw troops from Afghanistan by Sept. 11, ending 20 years of United States military involvement in the country. Speaking from the Treaty Room in the White House, Biden said that the U.S. "cannot continue the cycle of extending or expanding our military presence in Afghanistan hoping to create the ideal conditions for our withdrawal, and expecting a different result." "I am now the fourth United States president to preside over an American troop presence in Afghanistan. Two Republicans. Two Democrats," Biden said. "I will not pass this responsibility onto a fifth." more...

Lauren Frias

Despite warnings before the January 6 riot about a risk of violence, Capitol Police officers were ordered not to use their most aggressive crowd-control tactics — like stun grenades — on the mob, a scathing new watchdog report revealed Tuesday. "Heavier, less-lethal weapons were not used that day because of orders from leadership," the Capitol Police inspector general, Michael Bolton, wrote in a 104-page report reviewed by The New York Times. CNN first reported about the watchdog report on Thursday, revealing more failures on the part of law enforcement in the January 6 siege. more...

Kim Potter, a 26-year department veteran, shot and killed Daunte Wright during a traffic stop on Sunday afternoon.
By Wilson Wong

The former Minnesota police officer who was captured on camera fatally shooting Daunte Wright during a traffic stop was arrested in connection with Wright's death, authorities said Wednesday. Kim Potter, a 26-year veteran of the Brooklyn Center Police Department, was taken into custody about 11:30 a.m. at the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension in St. Paul, officials said. She will be charged with second-degree manslaughter in connection with Wright's death, Washington County Attorney Pete Orput announced. Wright, who is Black, died of a gunshot wound to the chest, according the Hennepin County Medical Examiner's Office, which classified the manner of death as a homicide. more...

Rachel Treisman

Bernie Madoff, the financier who orchestrated what is thought to be the largest Ponzi scheme in history, has died. He was 82. He died Wednesday at the Federal Medical Center in Butner, N.C., the Federal Bureau of Prisons confirmed, and had been serving out a 150-year sentence. As a money manager, Madoff defrauded thousands of investors out of tens of billions of dollars over the course of nearly two decades. His scheme wiped out the savings of individuals, charities, municipal governments and college endowment funds, and he was so hated at the time of his 2009 trial that he wore a bulletproof vest to and from the courthouse. But long before his name became synonymous with deceit, it had been held in high regard on Wall Street. more...

Jonah E. Bromwich

The election technology company Smartmatic pushed back Monday against Fox News’ argument that it had covered the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election responsibly, stating that Fox anchors had played along as guests pushed election-related conspiracy theories. “The First Amendment does not provide the Fox defendants a get-out-of-jail-free card,” Smartmatic’s lawyer, J. Erik Connolly, wrote in a brief filed in New York state Supreme Court. “The Fox defendants do not get a do-over with their reporting now that they have been sued.” The brief came in response to motions filed by Fox Corporation and three current and former Fox hosts — Maria Bartiromo, Jeanine Pirro and Lou Dobbs — to dismiss a Smartmatic lawsuit accusing them of defamation. more...

VSP investigating after Army lieutenant threatened, pepper-sprayed by Va. officers
By Karina Bolster

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - The Virginia NAACP is demanding changes on a legislative level following a video of a viral traffic stop involving a U.S. Army Lieutenant who was threatened, pepper-sprayed and forced to the ground. In a federal lawsuit filed April 2 against two Windsor Police Department officers, it stated the officers drew their guns, pointed them at Lt. Caron Nazario and used a slang term to suggest he was facing execution during a traffic stop in December 2020. After several statements, one of the officers pepper-sprayed Nazario, who is Black and Latino. more...

By Ewan Palmer

Attempts to organize far-right "White Lives Matter" marches in cities across the country failed spectacularly, with a number of planned events having almost no attendees or canceled entirely. White supremacists, neo-Nazis and other extremists had coordinated dozens of rallies in cities such as Fort Texas, Chicago, Illinois and Orlando, Florida, all due to take place at 1 p.m. on Sunday. The marches were planned and discussed on social media and encrypted messaging app Telegram. However, there was no real indication that many of the White Lives Marches would be highly attended, with several dedicated channels for individual marches in cities having only a handful of subscribers. more...

Associated Press in Windsor, Virginia

One of two police officers accused of pepper-spraying and pointing their guns at a Black US army officer during a traffic stop has been fired, a Virginia town announced late on Sunday, hours after the governor called for an independent investigation. Saying it took the action because it “prides itself in its small-town charm and the community wide respect of its police department”, the town of Windsor said it joined calls from elected officials, including Governor Ralph Northam, in requesting an investigation by Virginia state police. In the December 2020 encounter, two officers are accused of drawing their guns, pointing them at army second lieutenant Caron Nazario and using a slang term to suggest he was facing execution. more...

By Brian Dakss

Police in a Minneapolis suburb say an officer fatally shot a driver Sunday, leading to clashes between protesters and law enforcement, CBS Minnesota reports. The death of the man, identified by family as Daunte Wright, and ensuing unrest came in the midst of the Derek Chauvin trial for the killing of George Floyd. Police said officers in the city of Brooklyn Center pulled over a driver they'd determined had an outstanding warrant just before 2 p.m. Police said when they tried to arrest him, he got back in his vehicle and drove away. An officer fired at the vehicle, hitting the driver. Police said the vehicle traveled several blocks before hitting another one. No one in that second vehicle was hurt. more...

The poor turnout underscores how the country's unpopular and disorganized extremist movements have been driven underground.
By Brandy Zadrozny

In semi-private, encrypted chats, neo-Nazis and other far-right extremists planned rallies in dozens of cities Sunday to promote their racist movements and spread their ideologies to larger audiences. Hyped by organizers as events that would make “the whole world tremble,” the rallies ran into a major problem: Hardly anyone showed up. The “White Lives Matter” rallies, the first major real-world organizing efforts by white supremacists since 2018, were planned on the encrypted app Telegram after many aligned groups were alleged to have taken part in the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S Capitol. more...

"Not to say that what’s going on now is right but we couldn’t find one instance of you complaining and calling that out when President Trump was president,” Wallace noted.
Justin Baragona

Fox News anchor Chris Wallace confronted Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Sunday, pointing out that while the Republican governor has been outspoken about migrant children abuses during the Biden administration he was silent on the issue during President Donald Trump’s term. With conservatives describing the recent surge of unaccompanied minors at the southern border as an unmitigated disaster and crisis, Abbott rushed to hold a press conference last week after state officials received some tips that migrant children were subjected to sexual abuse at a temporary shelter in San Antonio. more...

One victim, whose car had been broken into, had no idea his checks and identity had been taken by a white supremacist prison gang until the Daily Beast called him for comment.
Justin Rohrlich

Federal wiretaps targeting cell phones used by Southern California white power gangs allegedly trafficking methamphetamine also turned up a surprise identity theft racket being run by an alleged member of the notorious Lakeside Gangsters, a “multi-generational criminal street gang” with ties to the Aryan Brotherhood and Supreme Power Skins, according to an FBI search warrant application obtained by The Daily Beast. The investigation began as part of “Operation Shamrock Shake,” a joint investigation led by the FBI’s Violent Crimes Task Force-Gang Group targeting the Aryan Brotherhood, a prison gang, and its “subordinate white power street gangs,” the Supreme Power Skins, the Nazi Low Riders, and the Lakeside Gangsters, the document states. Although Aryan Brotherhood members make up just .1 percent of California’s overall prison population, they are responsible for some 50 percent of all homicides inside state prisons, it adds. more...

Proud Boy Edgar J. Delatorre — who uses the pseudonyms Edgar Gonzalez and Remy Del Toro — was arrested Tuesday after being caught on video pummeling a protester at a suburban rally he helped organize against President Joe Biden.
By Tom Schuba

A Proud Boy who was present for the riot at the U.S. Capitol and has teased a run for the Illinois Senate was arrested Tuesday after being caught on video pummeling a protester at a rally against President Joe Biden. Edgar J. Delatorre, 33, of Chicago, was charged with a misdemeanor count of battery in connection with the March 27 altercation in Schaumburg, police in the northwest suburb announced Wednesday. The fight came just two days after the Sun-Times reported that he planned to challenge state Sen. Antonio Munoz, D-1st, in next year’s election. Delatorre initially identified himself to the Sun-Times as Edgar Gonzalez. But Delatorre has also used the pseudonym Remy Del Toro on social media and in a recent campaign flyer. more...

By Josh Campbell, CNN

(CNN) Four suspected members of a group associated with the extremist anti-government Boogaloo movement have been indicted by a federal grand jury in San Francisco, the Justice Department announced Friday. Jessie Alexander Rush, Robert Jesus Blancas, Simon Sage Ybarra, and Kenny Matthew Miksch are charged with destroying records following the May 29 killing of a federal security officer in Oakland and the June 6 slaying of a sheriff's deputy, according to the federal indictment dated March 23, which was unsealed on Friday. more...


Ted Nugent, who has railed against precautions against the coronavirus from the beginning, has shown everyone that he doesn’t know what the F**K he’s talking about. In a stunning unwitting rant about COVID-19 on Facebook, he said the following (courtesy Metal Sucks, who diligently sat through the Facebook video below in order to transcribe this bullshit.) more...

Asha C. Gilbert, USA TODAY

As the coronavirus continues to disproportionately affect communities of color, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has declared racism a "serious public health threat." In a statement Thursday, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said communities of color were severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and were facing higher case counts and deaths compared to other races.  "Racism is not just the discrimination against one group based on the color of their skin or their race or ethnicity, but the structural barriers that impact racial and ethnic groups differently to influence where a person lives, where they work, where their children play, and where they worship and gather in community," Walensky said. more...

Lexi Lonas

Forty percent of Marines are declining the coronavirus vaccine, according to data obtained by CNN. There has been a 38.9 percent decline rate, but the Marines are providing information to individuals to encourage them to get the vaccine. "The Navy and Marine Corps are providing substantial educational information broadly, and working with commands to ensure Marines, Sailors, and beneficiaries have accurate information regarding the safety and efficacy of the vaccines to encourage individuals to get immunized," Capt. Andrew Wood, a Marines spokesman, told The Hill in a statement. more...

Richard Luscombe

Jim Clyburn, the House majority whip, said on Sunday he intends to give Joe Manchin a lesson in US history as he attempts to clear a path for Joe Biden on voting rights and infrastructure. Manchin, a moderate Democratic senator from West Virginia, has emerged as a significant obstacle to the president’s ambitious proposals by insisting he will not vote to reform or end the Senate filibuster, which demands a super-majority for legislation to pass, to allow key measures passage through the 50-50 chamber on a simple majority basis. more...

The state’s now-repealed police Bill of Rights covers due process for officers accused of misconduct.
By BEN LEONARD

Maryland’s Democrat-controlled legislature on Saturday moved to pass a sweeping police reform package that repealed the state’s police Bill of Rights, becoming the first state in the nation to do so and overriding Republican Gov. Larry Hogan’s vetoes in the process. The state’s police Bill of Rights covered due process for officers accused of misconduct. Advocates for repeal have called it "one of the most extreme in the nation.” The new law will also give more oversight power to civilians. more...

With red states set to gain seats, the GOP is ready to disadvantage Democrats and deliver the US House
Tom McCarthy

Republicans believe they have a great chance to win control of the US House of Representatives in 2022, needing a swing of about six seats to depose Nancy Pelosi as speaker and derail Joe Biden’s agenda. To help themselves over the top, they are advancing voter suppression laws in almost every state, hoping to minimize Democratic turnout. But Republicans are also preparing another, arguably more powerful tool, which experts believe could let them take control of the House without winning a single vote beyond their 2020 tally, or for that matter blocking a single Democratic voter. That tool is redistricting – the redrawing of congressional boundaries, undertaken once every 10 years – and Republicans have unilateral control of it in a critical number of states. more...

By Eilish O'Sullivan

A live stream of a daycare center classroom captured caregivers apparently feeding white kids before Black children in Georgia, sparking accusations of racism against the center. The classroom at the Kids ‘R’ Kids location was reportedly being live-streamed so that parents could check in on their kids to see how they were doing throughout the day. One parent of a 2-year-old boy, Adryan McCauley, noticed how white children were eating lunch while the Black children in the class were not. McCauley took a screenshot of the scene, which features all the children sitting at tables. Plates of food are only in front of the white children. “They were skipping all of the black kids it seemed like,” McCauley told CBS46. “All the white kids got their lunch, and all the black kids had to wait. From the videos and pictures that we saw today, we are just completely disturbed.” more...

By Bob Brigham

Former Vice President Mike Pence launched his new organization, Advancing American Freedom, on Wednesday. Since then, one name has quietly been added to the advisory board that was announced at launch. Pence's advisory board now includes Mike Farris, the president and CEO of the group Alliance Defending Freedom. In 2016, Alliance Defending Freedom was declared a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). more...

By Tucker Higgins, CNB

Kevin Seefried, who was photographed carrying a Confederate flag in the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6 riots in Washington, has been indicted by a grand jury on five counts related to obstruction, entering restricted property and disorderly conduct. Seefried's son, Hunter Seefried, was also indicted. The younger Seefried faces the same five counts as his father in addition to three charges related to destruction of government property and violence on Capitol grounds. more...

Marc Ramirez | USA TODAY

A U.S. Army officer is suing two Virginia police officers after a December traffic stop in which the officers drew and pointed their weapons, pepper-sprayed him and used a slang term to suggest he would face execution as he purposefully held both hands aloft in attempts to defuse the situation. Police in Windsor, in southeast Virginia, have yet to issue any comment about the incident involving second lieutenant Caron Nazario, a Black and Latino man who was in uniform when officers ordered him to exit his Chevrolet Tahoe as he held his hands up through the driver’s side window outside a local gas station. more...

John Oliver is taking aim at Tucker Carlson after the Fox News host’s rant about women in the military. The Last Week Tonight host says he doesn’t want to give Carlson oxygen, but due to his influence, it needs to be addressed. video...

Republicans do not have an issue with cancel culture when they are the ones using it; remember Freedom fries and what they did to the Dixie chicks. Republicans only hate cancel culture when it is used against them.

“The hypocrisy and the doublespeak and the shiny objects and the lying continues,” lamented the CNN anchor.
By Lee Moran

CNN’s Don Lemon on Tuesday reeled off a long list of things that Donald Trump has attacked or called to be banned or boycotted to show why the former president is the real “king of cancel culture.” Trump this week demanded his supporters boycott companies and organizations — including Coca-Cola and Major League Baseball — for opposing Georgia’s new voting restrictions. Though he frequently echoes the right-wing cry against “cancel culture,” Trump is actually one of its biggest proponents, Lemon pointed out. more...

Gaetz may officially be the dumbest congressman alive.
By Bess Levin

Something that’s been made abundantly clear over the last few years is that there is no minimum IQ requirement to serve in Congress (or, obviously, the White House). There are numerous examples of this to choose from, including but not limited to: Rep. Louie Gohmert, who suggested he caught COVID-19 from wearing a mask; Senator Ted Cruz, who thought no one would notice him on a commercial flight to Cancún amidst a Texas state of emergency; Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who claimed the California wildfires were started by Jewish laser beams; and Senator Tommy Tuberville, who doesn’t know the three branches of government. On Thursday, though, a strong case was made for crowning Rep. Matt Gaetz the king of congressional morons, thanks to his decision to be as blatant as possible about allegedly paying women for sex. more...

Proud Boy figures control a web of limited liability companies hawking protein supplements, FAFO merchandise, and $200 bullhorns.
By Tess Owen and Greg Walters

What would it take to bankrupt the Proud Boys? One of the oldest historically Black churches in America may soon find out. Henry “Enrique” Tarrio, the Proud Boys’ leader, has so far refused to answer a lawsuit filed on January 4 by the Metropolitan AME Church accusing him and other members of committing acts of terror by destroying Black Lives Matter signs in Washington, D.C., in December. more...

By Namita Singh
Posted by The Independent

Stephanie Hamill , an anchor for the One America News Network, has raised eyebrows after she blamed California gun control laws for preventing people from shooting homeless people “running loose on the streets”. “You’ll probably end up in jail” if you “protect yourself” Hamill complained during the segment aired on Monday in an episode of In Focus with Stephanie Hamill on the network. more...

James Kemp, 30, sentenced to 45 years in prison for 2019 attack

A Boerne man convicted of stabbing a Black Church’s Chicken employee in 2019 was sentenced to 45 years in prison Tuesday, according to the Kendall County Criminal District Attorney’s Office. James Kemp, 30, received his sentence roughly two months after he was convicted of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and retaliation by 451st District Court Judge Kirsten Cohoon. The judge also found that the assault was motivated by Kemp’s racial bias. With that finding, prosecutors sought an enhanced punishment for Kemp. The defendant was arrested on Jan. 5, 2019, after the manager, Ferrill Miller, asked him to leave, according to a news release. Kemp called Miller, who is Black, a racial slur before cutting his face with a knife. The cut required 16 stitches. more...

New photographs obtained by Mystery Wire show different shaped objects.

MYSTERY WIRE — Military and intelligence officials say they remain baffled by unusual, unidentified aircraft that have been encountered in recent years off both coasts of the United States. Many of the objects have been referred to as drones, but that is not what Pentagon investigators have been telling the chain of command behind the scenes. Naval Air Station Oceana is the center of airpower on the east coast of the United States. It is a sprawling naval air station in Virginia, home to the best aviators in the world. Since at least 2014, F-18 pilots flying into the zone designated W-72 have reported encounters with a bizarre array of unknown, unidentified objects and aircraft, positioned directly in their daily flight paths. more...

Emma Bowman

Facebook decided not to notify over 530 million of its users whose personal data was lifted in a breach sometime before August 2019 and was recently made available in a public database. Facebook also has no plans to do so, a spokesperson said. Phone numbers, full names, locations, some email addresses, and other details from user profiles were posted to an amateur hacking forum on Saturday, Business Insider reported last week. The leaked data includes personal information from 533 million Facebook users in 106 countries. more...

By Brian Stelter, CNN Business

New York (CNN Business)The Anti-Defamation League is calling for Fox News to fire Tucker Carlson. "Given his long record of race-baiting, we believe it is time for Carlson to go," ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt says. There is zero indication that Fox will take such a step -- or even reprimand Carlson. But the ADL's call, delivered in a letter to Fox News Media CEO Suzanne Scott, underscores the extreme and unsettling nature of Carlson's anti-immigration commentary. Carlson, the highest-rated host on Fox News, drew condemnations for his comments about "replacement" on another Fox show Thursday evening. more...

For the sophomore Florida Republican, the House probe is only the latest threat to his political future.
By KYLE CHENEY and NICHOLAS WU

The House Ethics Committee on Friday opened an investigation into Rep. Matt Gaetz over an array of alleged lawbreaking and violations of House rules stemming from a federal sex trafficking inquiry. Among the alleged Gaetz improprieties that the ethics committee could examine are sexual misconduct, sharing inappropriate images in the Capitol, illegal drug use and acceptance of bribes. For the sophomore Florida Republican, the House probe is only the latest threat to his political future. It follows the news that a close associate, Joel Greenberg, is expected to plead guilty to a range of federal crimes and enter a potential cooperation deal with prosecutors that could add to the growing case against Gaetz. more...

By Josh Dawsey, Lori Rozsa and David A. Fahrenthold

On Thursday night, the Mar-a-Lago Club hosted a dinner for more than 100 people, put on by a conservative activist group, at which its owner, former president Donald Trump, spoke for more than an hour. On Friday, the club was booked again, for a lunch fundraiser to benefit Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.). Arkansas gubernatorial candidate Sarah Sanders and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) also have fundraisers scheduled at the club this weekend. And Saturday night, the Republican National Committee has reserved Mar-a-Lago for a 400-person banquet. The price tag for that dinner: more than $100,000, according to a person involved in the planning. The GOP is still Donald Trump’s party. The clearest proof of that: It is still finding ways to pay Donald Trump money. more...

David Smith

Trump and his allies foresaw a ticking timebomb centred on the president’s son – but it has not turned out that way. Where’s Hunter? The rhetorical question about Joe Biden’s troubled son was posed time and again by Donald Trump during last year’s US presidential election but never caught fire in the way “Lock her up!” did against Hillary Clinton. Still, when it emerged that Hunter would publish a memoir about his struggle with alcoholism and drug abuse, and give TV interviews to promote it, some foresaw a ticking time bomb under the first 100 days of the Biden administration. It has not turned out that way. Yet Hunter’s book has been praised for its searing honesty and literary style and for challenging the stigma of addiction. As Republicans flail to find a line of attack against Biden that will stick, Hunter’s self-revelations have been met by a shrug in a nation seemingly inured to scandal by Trump himself. more...

Kelsey Vlamis and Chris Kaye

DMX, the Grammy-nominated rapper who sold more than 23 million albums over the course of his career, died Friday, a week after having a heart attack at his home in New York last week, Def Jam Records confirmed. "DMX was a brilliant artist and an inspiration to millions around the world," the record label — where DMX recorded some of his biggest hits — confirmed. "His message of triumph over struggle, his search for the light out of darkness, his pursuit of truth and grace brought us closer to our own humanity... DMX was nothing less than a giant. His legend will live on forever." The 50-year-old musician and actor, born Earl Simmons, was brought to a hospital in White Plains and placed in a critical-care unit on April 2, TMZ first reported. The outlet also reported the heart attack was the result of a drug overdose. more...

Dan Mangan

Rep. Matt Gaetz has hired two top New York defense lawyers — one of whom currently represents the Trump Organization in an ongoing criminal probe — to represent him as the Florida Republican faces a federal sex trafficking investigation. The retention of the Trump firm’s lawyer Marc Mukasey is noteworthy not only for Mukasey’s track record of handling serious criminal cases but also because Gaetz is among former President Donald Trump’s most ardent defenders. Mukasey, a former federal prosecutor who is the son of former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey, also had been a protege of Trump’s personal lawyer former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Joining Mukasey in representing Gaetz in the criminal probe is Isabelle Kirshner. more...

Over 3,000 ballots were cast
By Adi Robertson and Josh Dzieza

Amazon employees at a Bessemer, Alabama warehouse have voted against unionizing the facility’s roughly 5,800-person workforce. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) announced that out of 3,041 potentially valid votes, 1,798 workers at the BHM1 fulfillment center had voted against joining a union, while 738 workers voted in favor. (The union had previously reported collecting a total of 3,215 ballots.) The eligibility for 505 ballots was contested, mostly by Amazon; because more than half the total votes opposed unionization, these challenged ballots were not opened. more...

Sharyn Alfonsi reports on corruption allegations clouding Florida's efforts to vaccinate its residents.
Sharyn Alfonsi

This past week, President Biden said 90% of U.S. adults will be eligible for the COVID vaccine by April 19 and will be able to get their shots within five miles of their home. That will be welcome news to many in Florida. For three months, we've been reporting around Palm Beach County, the third-largest in the state. It's home to old-monied millionaires but also some of the poorest day laborers and farm workers in America. During those months, we watched Florida's vaccine rollout deteriorate into a virtual free for all and watched as some wealthy and well-connected residents cut the line, leaving other Floridians without a fair shot. This is the town of Palm Beach. Privacy hedges hide beachfront mansions and a healthy share of billionaires. More than 80% of the town's seniors have been vaccinated. Bram Majtlis was one of the first. more...

Gaetz’s close friend, who reportedly procured the women he paid for sex, is expected to do a plea deal that would be very bad for the Congressman.
By Bess Levin

When The New York Times reported that the Department of Justice was investigating Rep. Matt Gaetz for allegedly paying women for sex and, separately, sleeping with a minor and transporting her across state lines, the Florida congressman presumably thought that was going to be the worst day of his career for a long while. Then CNN reported that in addition to potentially having committed the sort of crimes that can send a person away for 10 years, he was also a certifiable sleazebag who had allegedly shown naked photos of women he’d slept with to colleagues on the House floor. Later, we learned that Gaetz was dumb enough to have seemingly provided literal receipts to the women he’d allegedly paid for sex. Days after that, it emerged that the lawmaker had reportedly asked Donald Trump for a blanket pardon for “any” crimes he might have committed, which is not something innocent people typically feel the need to do. more...

Jose Pagliery Political Investigations Reporter, Roger Sollenberger Political Reporter

In two late-night Venmo transactions in May 2018, Rep. Matt Gaetz sent his friend, the accused sex trafficker Joel Greenberg, $900. The next morning, over the course of eight minutes, Greenberg used the same app to send three young women varying sums of money. In total, the transactions amounted to $900. The memo field for the first of Gaetz’s transactions to Greenberg was titled “Test.” In the second, the Florida GOP congressman wrote “hit up ___.” But instead of a blank, Gaetz wrote a nickname for one of the recipients. (The Daily Beast is not sharing that nickname because the teenager had only turned 18 less than six months before.) When Greenberg then made his Venmo payments to these three young women, he described the money as being for “Tuition,” “School,” and “School.” more...

Larry Bollin, 27, has been arrested and charged with murder.
KHOU 11 Staff

BRYAN, Texas — A Grimes County man has been arrested and charged in connection to Thursday's deadly mass shooting in Bryan. The Bryan Police Department arrested 27-year-old Larry Bollin and charged the Grimes County man with murder. Bollin is accused of opening fire at Kent Moore Cabinets around 2:30 p.m. Thursday. more...

By Aris Folley and Mychael Schnell

Testimony from pulmonologist Martin Tobin dominated the ninth day of former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin's trial, as the doctor provided jurors comment about George Floyd’s ability to breathe while under restraint. During his time at the stand, Tobin refuted the impact fentanyl had on Floyd’s breathing just before he lost consciousness, and pushed back against claims that preexisting health conditions caused his death. The defense has contended throughout trial that both Floyd’s drug use and underlying health conditions played a role in his death, while prosecutors have alleged that Chauvin’s knee placement and applied use of force on his neck caused his death. more...

“I am sure Matt Gaetz is not feeling very comfortable today,” Joel Greenberg’s defense attorney said.
By JOSH GERSTEIN

ORLANDO, Fla. — The legal peril Rep. Matt Gaetz is facing appeared to increase sharply Thursday after a court hearing indicated that one of Gaetz’s close friends, former Seminole County, Fla., tax collector Joel Greenberg, is likely cooperating with federal prosecutors. The potentially ominous development for the close ally of former President Donald Trump came as prosecutors and a defense attorney for Greenberg appeared before a judge here to discuss the next steps in a recently expanded criminal case charging Greenberg with sex trafficking of a minor, as well as stalking, bribery and defrauding the pandemic-related Paycheck Protection Program. more...

By Igor Derysh

Former President Donald Trump and his Republican allies sought to derail President Joe Biden's first 75 days in office by obstructing his transition and Cabinet selections. But their efforts appear to have backfired after the Senate confirmed all of Biden's picks for the 15 traditional Cabinet positions — and with more bipartisan support than Trump's nominees received. Senate Republicans, particularly Trump allies like Sens. Josh Hawley of Missouri and Ted Cruz of Texas, as well as major recipients of corporate donations like Sens. John Cornyn of Texas and Steve Daines of Montana, delayed the confirmations of Biden's Cabinet selections for weeks, dragging out the final confirmation until March 22, two months after Biden's inauguration. But despite the delay tactics, Biden became the first president since Ronald Reagan in 1981 to have all of his first choices confirmed to their positions. more...

Posted by The Hill

Former Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is blaming former President Trump for the deadly Jan. 6 rioting at the U.S. Capitol, saying he riled the crowd to commit violent acts for "selfish" political reasons. “Whatever they end up doing, or not doing, none of it will compare to one of the lowest points of American democracy that we lived through in January 2021," Boehner wrote in a new book set to be published this month, excerpts of which were obtained by The New York Times. The former Speaker also wrote that Trump “incited that bloody insurrection for nothing more than selfish reasons, perpetuated by the bullshit he’d been shoveling since he lost a fair election the previous November.” Boehner said it was "painful" for him to watch what unfolded at the Capitol on Jan. 6 and the incident "should have been a wake-up call for a return to Republican sanity.” more...

By Grace Panetta

The National Republican Congressional Committee debuted a bright-yellow pre-checked recurring donation box on its donation page with a startling ultimatum. The message from House Republicans' campaign arm, which on Wednesday caught the eye of many reporters, warns people that if they opt-out of recurring donations and "UNCHECK this box, we'll have to tell Trump you're a DEFECTOR & sided with the Dems." more...

Opinion by Greg Sargent

Perhaps we should be thankful that Rep. Jody Hice is running to be the new chief of elections in Georgia, with the enthusiastic backing of former president Donald Trump. That’s because the Republican’s candidacy is exposing vile truths about the GOP’s ongoing slide into authoritarianism with dispiriting but useful clarity. We need to retheorize what’s right in front of our noses. Republicans have launched new voter-suppression efforts everywhere, while Democrats are pushing reforms to thwart those tactics and make voting easier. Yet this is often covered as a “partisan” struggle, as if each side were trying to manipulate election rules to its advantage in a manner that was vaguely equivalent. more...

BY DARRAGH ROCHE

Aformer adviser to Vice President Mike Pence has said Donald Trump didn't care about people suffering from COVID-19 on board a cruise ship near the start of the pandemic. Olivia Troye, a national security adviser who was on the White House coronavirus task force and was Pence's lead staffer, recalled the events surrounding the Grand Princess in tweets on Wednesday. At least 122 passengers and crew eventually tested positive for COVID, according to The Guardian. Although the outbreak on the ship was announced by Pence on March 6, those on board were not allowed to disembark for three days amid reports that President Trump was unwilling to let the infections add to the total U.S. virus numbers. more...

BY EWAN PALMER

Huntington Beach council in California has voted to support an official event to counter a "White Lives Matter" rally due to take place in the city. The proposal won unanimous 7-0 approval as council members expressed concerns about the white supremacist rally planned for April 11 at Huntington Beach Pier. The rally is one of a number being discussed online by hate groups and far-right extremists, all said to be taking place at 1 p.m. on April 11 in cities and states across the U.S. more...

By Aris Folley

A respiratory expert downplayed the effect fentanyl had on George Floyd’s slowed breathing during his arrest after concluding in court that video evidence showed his respiratory rate before losing  consciousness was within a normal range. During his testimony in the murder trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin on Thursday, pulmonologist Martin Tobin used his past clinical experience determining respiratory rates to calculate Floyd’s rate just before losing consciousness. As the court played footage from the May 2020 arrest in which Floyd could be seen pinned front-down to the street, Tobin counted out the breaths Floyd took to determine his respiratory rate at the time. more...

By Celine Castronuovo

The Trump Organization has brought on veteran criminal defense attorney Ronald Fischetti to represent the real estate company in the Manhattan district attorney’s ongoing investigation into former President Trump’s businesses and finances. The Wall Street Journal first reported that the Trump Organization this week retained Ronald Fischetti as part of its team. Fischetti is a former law partner of Mark Pomerantz, the former federal prosecutor currently working on the investigation for the office of Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr. (D), according to the Journal. Alan Futerfas, a lawyer for the Trump Organization, told the newspaper that he was “pleased” to welcome Fischetti, who brings decades of experience as a defense attorney in both state and federal courts. more...

By Dominick Mastrangelo

A guest on Fox News called prime-time host Tucker Carlson a "conspiracy theorist" and ripped into other conservative thought leaders for questioning coronavirus vaccines and proposed systems that would track who has been vaccinated in the country. "People need to get vaccinated and it is the private sector who wants to make sure that people coming into their venues are vaccinated so that their patrons can be safe from COVID-19," said Chris Hahn, a liberal firebrand who often appears on the network and spars with more conservative guests. "It is time for conservatives in this country to acknowledge that we have a crisis in this country and start joining the fight to end it." Hahn said leading voices in the conservative movement should "stop spreading lies about what's going on in this country." more...

CNN's John Avlon explains how the 2020 Trump campaign made online donations "repeat by default," causing many of his supporters to donate money they did not initially consent to. video...

Analysis by Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large

(CNN) According to Matt Gaetz, he is entirely innocent of allegations involving sex trafficking and prostitution, including involving a minor that the Justice Department is currently investigating. "First I have never, ever paid for sex," the Florida Republican wrote in an op-ed published in the conservative Washington Examiner on Monday. "And second, I, as an adult man, have not slept with a 17-year-old." Words are one thing. Actions are another. And Gaetz's actions -- in the final days of the Trump administration -- suggest a man who was worried about possible legal exposure. Gaetz tried to secure a blanket preemptive pardon for himself (and his congressional allies) in the dying embers of Donald Trump's time in the White House, two people familiar with the matter tell CNN. Which, whoa. People who know they have done nothing wrong are not usually in the business of seeking a preemptive pardon from the President of the United States on his way out the door. Right? Right! more...

Heard on Morning Edition
Noel King

In his $2 trillion plan to improve America's infrastructure, President Biden is promising to address the racism ingrained in historical transportation and urban planning. Biden's plan includes $20 billion for a program that would "reconnect neighborhoods cut off by historic investments," according to the White House. It also looks to target "40 percent of the benefits of climate and clean infrastructure investments to disadvantaged communities." Planners of the interstate highway system, which began to take shape after the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956, routed some highways directly, and sometimes purposefully, through Black and brown communities. In some instances, the government took homes by eminent domain. more...

Tom McCarthy

Hundreds of bills nationwide target people of color whose full participation in future elections is seen by Republicans as a threat. At campaign rallies, Donald Trump specialized in crafting political slogans whose catchiness obscured the lack of actual policy behind them: lock her up, America First, build the wall, drain the swamp. But there was one Trump slogan that turned out to have a shocking amount of policy behind it – hundreds of pieces of legislation nationwide in just the last three months, in fact, constituting the most coordinated, organized and determined Republican push on any political issue in recent memory. The slogan was “stop the steal,” a tendentious reference to Trump’s big lie about the November election result. And the policy behind it was aggressive voter suppression, targeting people of color, urbanites, low-income communities and other groups whose full participation in future elections is seen by Republicans as a threat. more...

By Teo Armus

After the Supreme Court ruled in 2010 that companies could finance election spending, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) celebrated the prospect that corporate America would enter — and influence — the political fray. “For too long, some in this country have been deprived of full participation in the political process,” he said in a statement at the time. He hailed the decision, Citizens United, as “an important step” in “restoring the First Amendment rights of these groups.” But just over a decade later, McConnell has a different message for companies: Unless it involves money, they had better stay quiet. “My warning to corporate America is to stay out of politics,” McConnell said at a news conference in Kentucky on Tuesday, before adding: “I’m not talking about political contributions.” more...

By Sonam Sheth

Aides working for Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida sent embarrassing videos of their boss to other Republican operatives, Politico reported on Tuesday. It's unclear what was on the videos, and the news is not connected to a wide-ranging Justice Department investigation into whether Gaetz had a sexual relationship with a minor and violated federal sex-trafficking laws. But it underscores Gaetz's status as a wild card on Capitol Hill, one who is widely disliked even within his own camp. Perhaps the most notable silence is that of former President Donald Trump, who had counted Gaetz among his most loyal defenders. The Florida Republican fervently defended Trump during congressional oversight hearings and endorsed Trump's wildest conspiracy theories. more...

Zach Murdock and Jessika Harkay, Hartford Courant

HARTFORD, Conn. — A New London mother told police officers she was “so excited” to have strangled her 4-year-old son when they responded to her apartment earlier this month for what they thought was a report of a woman swinging a bat at a car in her parking lot, new court records reveal. Instead, they found 33-year-old Tiffany Farrauto outside the building smelling of marijuana, where she calmly told them she had strangled her son and tried to fill his mouth with CBD gummy candies, according to an arrest warrant affidavit unsealed Tuesday morning. “You can take me away ... because my son is already dead and is in the house,” she told officers, according to the affidavit. more...

The Senate minority leader said corporations "have a right to participate in a political process" but should do so without alienating "an awful lot of people."
By Allan Smith and Frank Thorp V

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Tuesday that it is "stupid" for corporations to take stances on divisive political issues but noted that his criticism did not include their political donations. "So my warning, if you will, to corporate America is to stay out of politics," McConnell told reporters at a news conference in Louisville. "It's not what you're designed for. And don't be intimidated by the left into taking up causes that put you right in the middle of one of America's greatest political debates." McConnell's comments were the third time he's addressed the corporate backlash over Georgia's recently passed voting law, which came about in the aftermath of former President Donald Trump's campaign of falsehoods about the election result in the state last fall. Late last week, the CEOs of Delta and Coca-Cola — which are based in Atlanta — both condemned the new measure. And on Friday, Major League Baseball pulled this year's All-Star Game out of Atlanta in protest of that same law. That game will instead be played in Colorado. more...

By James Walker

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has been reminded of his support of the Citizens United ruling after he warned big businesses to "stay out of politics" as they denounced a controversial new voting law in Georgia. The Kentucky Republican said it was "simply not true" and a "big lie" to call the new voting law racist or a return to Jim Crow-era restrictions on minority communities. The new Georgia voting law tightens restrictions on absentee ballot voting; makes it illegal for election officials to mail out absentee ballots to everyone on the voter roll; threatens a misdemeanor charge against those who hand out water and food at polling stations; and hands the state legislature greater control over the Georgia Election Board. more...

Mia Jankowicz

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell chastized companies speaking out about Georgia's new voting laws, saying they should "stay out of politics." Despite this, McConnell is a regular recipient of corporate donations, and by some measures outstrips any other member of Congress. During a news conference Monday, he warned CEOs to avoid getting embroiled in public debate over the sweeping measures signed into law in Georgia at the end of March. Civil rights activists have slammed the Election Integrity Act of 2021 as suppressing voters, particularly Black voters. Many corporations have followed suit, including major Georgia-based companies like Coca-Cola, Delta, and Home Depot. more...

By Veronica Stracqualursi, CNN

(CNN) Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell warned big businesses they would face "serious consequences" after accusing them of employing "economic blackmail" in attempts to influence voting laws as the backlash over Georgia's elections law that imposes voting restrictions intensifies.
"From election law to environmentalism to radical social agendas to the Second Amendment, parts of the private sector keep dabbling in behaving like a woke parallel government," the Kentucky Republican said in a statement Monday. "Corporations will invite serious consequences if they become a vehicle for far-left mobs to hijack our country from outside the constitutional order." more...

By Janie Boschma, Fredreka Schouten and Priya Krishnakumar, CNN

(CNN) Lawmakers in all but three states have introduced bills aimed at restricting ballot access, according to a new tally by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University. Their latest report finds 361 bills restricting voting have been introduced in 47 states as of March 24. The total, released Thursday morning, marks a 43% rise in the number of bills introduced since Brennan last released a count a little over a month ago. The Brennan Center's previous tally identified 253 restrictive bills in 43 states in February. more...

David Smith in Washington

Dominion has filed defamation lawsuits against several Trump allies for pushing election ‘radioactive falsehoods’ – could it triumph? When Donald Trump and his allies pushed the “big lie” of voter fraud and a stolen election, it seemed nothing could stop them spreading disinformation with impunity. Politicians and activists’ pleas fell on deaf ears. TV networks and newspapers fact-checked in vain. Social media giants proved impotent. But now a little-known tech company, founded 18 years ago in Canada, has the conspiracy theorists running scared. The key: suing them for defamation, potentially for billions of dollars. “Libel laws may prove to be a very old mechanism to deal with a very new phenomenon of massive disinformation,” said Bob Shrum, a Democratic strategist. “We have all these fact checkers but lots of people don’t care. Nothing else seems to work, so maybe this will.” more...

GABRIELLE OLYA

Being president comes with perks that extend past your time in the Oval Office, so even though former President Donald Trump is no longer in the White House, he’s still getting benefits courtesy of your taxpayer dollars. Here’s a look at the post-presidential perks taxpayers foot the bill for — plus, other ways Trump is still costing American taxpayers. The Former Presidents Act of 1958, which provides several benefits and perks that are available to presidents after they leave office, entitles former presidents to an annual pension equal to the pay for a cabinet secretary, according to the National Taxpayers Union Foundation. In 2021, that amounts to $221,400. more...

Analysis by Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large

(CNN) Donald Trump's presidency is now behind us. But the debate over how bad a president he was has only just begun. A new Pew poll sheds some light on how Trump's presidency currently ranks -- and the returns are not great for the billionaire businessman. A total of 53% of those polled say that Trump was either a "terrible" (41%) or "poor" (12%) president, while 35% call him either "great" (18%) or "good" (17%). As you might expect, how you feel about Trump's presidency is largely dependent on the party with which you identify. Almost 9 in 10 Democrats say Trump was a "terrible" (72%) or "poor" (17%) president. More than 6 in 10 Republicans call Trump a "great" (37%) or "good" (36%) president. While it's a bit early to draw conclusions about Trump's legacy and how history will remember him, this poll is far from the only evidence that suggests that the 45th President may wind up toward the bottom of rankings of the 44 men who have held the office. (Grover Cleveland was both the 22nd and 24th president, and these rankings don't yet count President Joe Biden.) more...

By John Bowden

Fox News host Chris Wallace challenged Republican Sen. Roy Blunt (Mo.) on Sunday to defend the GOP on the issue of the national debt. On "Fox News Sunday," Wallace displayed graphics indicating that the national debt grew by trillions during former President Trump 's term in the White House, while asking Blunt whether the GOP had any "credibility" on the issue after their votes for the Republican tax reform plan in 2017 that lowered the corporate tax rate. "[H]aven't you lost your credibility on this issue?" Wallace asked. more...

BY JACK DUTTON

The founder of a California-based white supremacist group who is wanted for allegedly inciting a riot and taking part in violence in the U.S. is being tracked down by Bosnian police, after he was expelled from neighboring Serbia. According to a report by Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN), Robert Rundo, one of the founders of a US far-right organization called Rise Above Movement (RAM), entered the eastern European country on February 11. Rundo and others are accused of physically assaulting people who were protesting against then-U.S. President Donald Trump in California in 2017. more...

BY JASON LEMON

Some Republicans lawmakers in Georgia sent a letter Saturday to Kevin Perry, president of the Georgia Beverage Association, demanding that all Coca-Cola products be removed from their office suites "immediately"—after the corporation came out against sweeping GOP-backed legislation that reformed the state's elections. In their letter to Perry, eight members of the Georgia House Representatives—Victor Anderson, Clint Crowe, Matt Barton, Jason Ridley, Lauren McDonald III, Stan Gunter, Dewayne Hill and Marcus Wiedower—complained about Coca-Cola giving in to "cancel culture" before saying that they no longer wanted the company's products in their offices. more...

The chief spelled out department policies and then said the officer he fired violated many provisions.
By Paul Walsh Star Tribune

Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo testified Monday in the murder trial of Derek Chauvin that the now-fired officer defied his own training and the department's mission of compassion when he kept his knee on the neck of George Floyd for more than 9 minutes last spring. "Once Mr. Floyd had stopped resisting — and certainly once he was in distress and trying to verbalize that — that should have stopped," the chief said after spelling out department policy on when to use force vs. calming a situation through de-escalation tactics. "There's an initial reasonableness of trying to just get him under control in the first few seconds," the chief continued, "but once there was no longer any resistance, and clearly when Mr. Floyd was no longer responsive and even motionless, to continue to apply that level of force to a person proned out, handcuffed behind their back, that in no way shape or form is anything that is by policy, part of our training and is certainly not part of our ethics or values." more...

6abc.com

New developments in the COVID-19 pandemic has one leading epidemiologist re-evaluating his own advice. Dr. Michael Osterholm is the Director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota. He was also a member of Joe Biden's COVID-19 Advisory Board during the time between Biden being elected president and inaugurated. more...

By Nicquel Terry Ellis, CNN

(CNN) Tiffany Crutcher still remembers the numbness she felt when a jury announced it was acquitting the Tulsa police officer charged with manslaughter in her twin brother Terence Crutcher's death. After the nationwide outcry over his death, the release of police dash cam video, and standing by through nine hours of jury deliberation, Crutcher said she was certain her family would get justice. But when it didn't come, Crutcher said she had to accept a hard reality. "You can have police killings on video and they still get away with it," Crutcher said. "The system we live in was never truly designed to protect Black people." more...

Lawsuit seeks damages for ‘physical and emotional injuries caused by Trump’s wrongful conduct inciting a riot’ on 6 January
Guardian staff and agency

Two US Capitol Police officers have filed a lawsuit against Donald Trump, accusing him of inciting the deadly 6 January insurrection and saying he was responsible for physical and emotional injuries they suffered as a result. James Blassingame, a 17-year veteran of the force, and Sidney Hemby, an 11-year veteran, filed the lawsuit on Tuesday in US district court for the District of Columbia seeking damages of at least $75,000 each. “This is a complaint for damages by US Capitol Police officers for physical and emotional injuries caused by the defendant Donald Trump’s wrongful conduct inciting a riot on January 6, 2021, by his followers trying to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election,” the lawsuit said. more...

Practice that used pre-checked boxes and obscure design on fundraising emails condemned as ‘unethical and inappropriate’
Martin Pengelly in New York

Donald Trump’s 2020 presidential campaign used pre-checked boxes and obscure design on fundraising emails to wring millions of dollars out of unwitting supporters, detonating a “money bomb” which allowed the Republican to compete against Joe Biden in the last months of the race. The practice, pursued by the campaign and WinRed, a for-profit company, was detailed in an extensive report by the New York Times on Saturday. It is legal, but Ira Rheingold, executive director of the National Association of Consumer Advocates, told the paper it was “unfair, unethical and inappropriate”. Another expert quoted by the Times said such “dark pattern” digital marketing “should be in textbooks of what you shouldn’t do” in politics. more...

By Celine Castronuovo

Former President Trump ’s 2020 reelection campaign reportedly issued a total of roughly $122 million in refunds to supporters in 2020. The refunds were given, in part, because of a fine-print disclaimer in communications that officials used to continue charging one-time donors or doubling their contribution amounts. A New York Times investigation published Saturday found that starting in September, with only two months to go to before the 2020 presidential election, the Trump campaign allegedly set up weekly recurring donations as the default for online donors. more...

BY ALEXANDRA HUTZLER

Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers has called on former President Donald Trump and others to foot the bill for their failed legal challenges to overturn the state's 2020 election results. In motions filed Wednesday by Evers' attorneys, Trump and La Crosse County Republican Party Chairman William Feehan were asked to pay a total of $250,000 for cases brought to federal court in the wake of the presidential contest: $144,000 from Trump and $106,000 from Feehan. The governor's legal team deemed the litigation "meritless" and argued in court documents that it was "built on inscrutable conspiracy theories." more...

Kevin Shalvey

Former President Donald Trump doubled down on his criticism of companies that oppose Georgia's new voting law, and widened his appeal for more boycotts. "Never submit, never give up!" Trump said. In a statement, he added that his political opponents — the "Radical Left Democrats" — had long used brand boycotts to send messages. "It is finally time for Republicans and Conservatives to fight back — we have more people than they do — by far! Boycott Major League Baseball, Coca-Cola, Delta Airlines, JPMorgan Chase, ViacomCBS, Citigroup, Cisco, UPS, and Merck. Don't go back to their products until they relent. We can play the game better than them," Trump said. Trump was in opposition to another former president, Barack Obama, who supported Major League Baseball's (MLB) decision to move its 2021 All-Star Game. more...

Details of more than 500 million Facebook users have been found available on a website for hackers. The information appears to be several years old, but it is another example of the vast amount of information collected by Facebook and other social media sites, raising fresh questions on how secure our data is.The availability of the data set was first reported by Business Insider. video...

By Li Cohen

Hundreds of residents in Manatee County, Florida, were ordered to evacuate their homes over Easter weekend as officials feared that a wastewater pond could collapse "at any time." Florida Governor Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency for the area on Saturday. County officials said the pond, located at the former Piney Point phosphate processing plant, had a "significant leak," according to CBS affiliate WTSP-TV. The Manatee County Public Safety Department told people near the plant to evacuate due to an "imminent uncontrolled release of wastewater." "A portion of the containment wall at the leak site shifted laterally," said Manatee Director of Public Safety Jake Saur, "signifying that structural collapse could occur at any time." more...

By Jacob Stolworthy | Newsbreak

DMX’s attorney has updated the rapper’s fans on his health , saying that he is breathing on his own after being taken off life support. DMX is in critical condition after taking a drug overdose, it has been reported. The rapper, 50, is believed to have been rushed to a New York hospital on Friday (2 April), with sources claiming the overdose triggered a heart attack. According to TMZ , the rapper has “some brain activity”, but the source described him as being in a “vegetative state”. more...

Protect Our Police PAC said it fired a national marketing firm that sent the plea for donations, calling it “tactless messaging” that “does not reflect the values or views” of the group.
Chris Brennan

A group of retired Philadelphia police officers apologized Friday for a Thursday fund-raising email that blamed George Floyd for his own death and claimed former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin is on “trial for a murder he did not commit.” Protect Our Police PAC said it fired a national marketing firm that sent the plea for donations, calling it “tactless messaging” that “does not reflect the values or views” of the group. “Chauvin’s actions were examples of bad policing and poor training that directly caused George Floyd’s death, in my opinion,” Protect Our Police president Nick Gerace said in an email. “The kind of messaging and innuendo included in that single email is not in line with our mission, and I vehemently denounce it.” more...

By Amy Sherman March 31, 2021

Yes, Matt Gaetz was the only no vote on 2017 human trafficking bill. U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz’s vote against a human trafficking bill back in 2017 is popping up on social media following a New York Times report that federal authorities are investigating whether Gaetz violated human trafficking laws. The New York Times reported based on unnamed sources that the Justice Department is investigating whether Gaetz, a Florida Republican, had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl and paid for her to travel with him. The newspaper reported that the investigation started during the final months of the Trump administration and is part of a broader investigation into a Gaetz ally, Joel Greenberg, a former tax collector in Seminole County who was indicted on charges including sex trafficking. Gaetz has not been charged. more...

American Airlines and Dell Technologies publicly declared their opposition to Republican legislative proposals that would impose new restrictions on voting.
Alexa Ura

(THE TEXAS TRIBUNE) – Multiple major corporations based in Texas spoke out Thursday in opposition to Republicans’ legislative proposals to further restrict voting in Texas. Corporate giants American Airlines, based in Fort Worth, and Dell Technologies, headquartered in Round Rock, were among the first to take a position. American Airlines took specific aim at Senate Bill 7, which would impose sweeping restrictions that take particular aim at local efforts meant to make it easier to vote — like extended early voting hours. Senate Republicans advanced that measure in a 2 a.m. vote Thursday. more...

MLB.com

Major League Baseball announced on Friday that it will relocate the 2021 All-Star Game and Draft, originally scheduled to take place in Atlanta, to a to-be-determined location. The decision comes a little more than a week after the passage of SB 202, a Georgia law that President Biden criticized earlier this week, saying that it will restrict voting access for residents of the state. Commissioner of Baseball Robert D. Manfred, Jr. issued the following statement in making the announcement: “Over the last week, we have engaged in thoughtful conversations with Clubs, former and current players, the Players Association, and The Players Alliance, among others, to listen to their views. I have decided that the best way to demonstrate our values as a sport is by relocating this year’s All-Star Game and MLB Draft. more...

Sonam Sheth

Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz said Friday that he does not plan to resign amid a growing firestorm of sexual misconduct allegations. In a text conversation with The Hill, Gaetz said that rumors that he will step down are "false" and that it's "very safe" to say he doesn't have any intention of resigning. The New York Times reported this week that the Justice Department is investigating whether Gaetz had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl and if he broke federal sex-trafficking laws. Investigators are also said to be examining whether Gaetz used campaign money to fund travel and other expenses for women. more...

Analysis by Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large

(CNN) It's been a week for Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz. First came the news that he was considering resigning from Congress for a job in the conservative media world. That was followed almost immediately by reporting that the Justice Department is investigating a possible sexual relationship between Gaetz and a 17-year-old girl. (Gaetz denied the allegation and insisted that the 17-year-old girl "doesn't exist" and that he was the the victim of an "organized criminal extortion.") Then on Thursday night, CNN reported that, unrelated to the DOJ probe, "Gaetz allegedly showed off to other lawmakers photos and videos of nude women he said he had slept with." And there was this late Thursday from The New York Times: "A Justice Department investigation into Representative Matt Gaetz and an indicted Florida politician is focusing on their involvement with multiple women who were recruited online for sex and received cash payments." (Gaetz denied these allegations too, including that he paid any woman for sex). Like I said: Not good. more...

CNN's Dana Bash and Nia-Malika Henderson explain why Republican colleagues of Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) are not rallying to his defense as Federal investigators look into his relationships with young women. video...

by: WFLA 8 On Your Side Staff

WASHINGTON (WFLA) — A senior staffer for U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida resigned on Friday amid a sex trafficking investigation into the Republican congressman, according to NBC News. The report from NBC News said Luke Ball resigned on Friday. Ball had served as Gaetz’ communications director. According to the New York Times, Ball did not release any kind of public statement explaining why he was leaving. The former communications director had worked with Gaetz since 2017 when the Florida Republican first started serving in the U.S. House of Representatives, the report said. more...

Newsbreak

A federal judge on Tuesday ruled that a nondisclosure agreement (NDA) that employees on former President Trump ’s 2016 campaign had to sign is unenforceable. U.S. District Judge Paul Gardephe, a George W. Bush appointee, found that the language of the far-reaching contract was so vague that it was invalid under New York contract law, Politico reports. “The vagueness and breadth of the provision is such that a Campaign employee would have no way of what may be disclosed, and, accordingly, Campaign employees are not free to speak about anything concerning the Campaign,” Gardephe wrote in his decision. “The non-disclosure provision is thus much broader than what the Campaign asserts is necessary to protect its legitimate interests, and, therefore, is not reasonable.” Gardephe also found fault in the non-disparagement clause of the agreement, Politico reports, writing that the contract showed the Trump campaign did not operate “in good faith.” more...

By Annie Grayer and Caroline Kelly, CNN

(CNN) House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy tried to rewrite history on Thursday by claiming that he was not involved in former President Donald Trump's efforts to overturn the election in a heated exchange during a news briefing. When asked by CNN's Manu Raju why it was acceptable for him to support Trump's efforts to overturn the presidential election in Congress but to criticize Democrats for doing the same in a contested Iowa US House race, McCarthy repeatedly rejected the notion that he was trying to overturn the election at all. "You're saying something that is not true," the California Republican said when Raju stated that Trump had tried to overturn the election results in Congress and McCarthy supported that effort. McCarthy's explanation flies in the face of reality. Trump tried to pressure Congress to overturn the election and McCarthy raised no concerns about it. He also backed a Texas lawsuit to invalidate millions of votes, and ultimately voted in favor of overturning the election results of two states during votes that took place after the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol. more...

Sarah Al-Arshani

A former Department of Justice official denied an accusation by GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz, saying the claims are false and merely a way to distract from the investigation into whether Gaetz violated federal sex trafficking laws. In an interview with Fox News' Tucker Carlson on Tuesday, Gaetz said that David McGee, now a lawyer at Beggs & Lane, a law firm in Pensacola, Florida was going after his family for money to help conceal the DOJ investigation. McGee told The Daily Beast the reports of extortion were "completely, totally false." more...

ROBERT REICH

Republicans are outraged—outraged!—at the surge of migrants at the southern border. House minority leader Kevin McCarthy has declared it a crisis, "created by the presidential policies of this new administration." Arizona congressman Andy Biggs has claimed that "right now is probably the most dramatic [surge] I've seen at the border in my lifetime." In a statement released last Tuesday, Former President Donald Trump was outraged. "Our country is being destroyed!" he proclaimed, blaming the Biden administration for "causing death and human tragedy." But in fact, despite the surging hysteria from Republican ranks, there is no surge of migrants at the border. more...

N'dea Yancey-Bragg, Grace Hauck, Eric Ferkenhoff, Tami Abdollah, Kevin McCoy | USA TODAY

MINNEAPOLIS — The first week of witness testimony in the trial of Derek Chauvin, charged with the murder of George Floyd, ended Friday afternoon with a veteran Minneapolis police officer who explained the training officers receive. Lt. Richard Zimmerman told the court that kneeling on the neck of a suspect is potentially lethal and there is "absolutely" an obligation to provide medical intervention as soon as necessary. Zimmerman called Chauvin's use of force on Floyd “totally unnecessary." “Holding him down to the ground face down and putting your knee on the neck for that amount of time, is just uncalled for," he said. more...

Greg Sargent

Perhaps we should be thankful that Rep. Jody Hice is running to be the new chief of elections in Georgia, with the enthusiastic backing of former president Donald Trump. That’s because the Republican’s candidacy is exposing vile truths about the GOP’s ongoing slide into authoritarianism with dispiriting but useful clarity. We need to retheorize what’s right in front of our noses. Republicans have launched new voter-suppression efforts everywhere, while Democrats are pushing reforms to thwart those tactics and make voting easier. Yet this is often covered as a “partisan” struggle, as if each side were trying to manipulate election rules to its advantage in a manner that was vaguely equivalent. more...

By MICHAEL BALSAMO, NOMAAN MERCHANT and COLLEEN LONG

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Capitol Police officer was killed Friday after a man rammed a car into two officers at a barricade outside the U.S. Capitol and then emerged wielding a knife. It was the second line-of-duty death this year for a department still recovering from the Jan. 6 insurrection. Video shows the driver of the crashed car emerging with a knife in his hand and starting to run at the pair of officers, Capitol Police Acting Chief Yogananda Pittman told reporters. The driver stabbed one of the officers, Pittman said. Authorities shot the suspect, who died at a hospital.

“I just ask that the public continue to keep U.S. Capitol Police and their families in your prayers,” Pittman said. “This has been an extremely difficult time for U.S. Capitol Police after the events of Jan. 6 and now the events that have occurred here today.” Pittman did not identify the slain officer or suspect. Authorities said that there wasn’t an ongoing threat and that the attack did not appear to be related to terrorism, though the Capitol was put on lockdown as a precaution. There was also no immediate connection apparent between Friday’s crash and the Jan. 6 riot. more...

Gaetz previously denied having a relationship with a 17-year-old.
By Alexander Mallin,Mike Levine,John Santucci,Katherine Faulders, andWill Steakin

The federal investigation targeting Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz is specifically looking into whether he and an associate in his home state of Florida provided cash or others things of value to women they had sex with after connecting online, The New York Times first reported Thursday evening and a source familiar with the matter confirmed to ABC News. Gaetz's associate, former local politician Joel Greenberg, was indicted last year for allegedly trafficking a teenage girl for sex in 2017, and the Justice Department is also trying to determine whether Gaetz had sex with the 17-year-old, according to sources. Greenberg pleaded not guilty to the charges. more...

"Adam had many dreams that he will never get to live out," the boy's mother Elizabeth Toledo said. "Ironically one of his dreams was to become a police officer."
Mauricio Peña and Alex V. Hernandez

LITTLE VILLAGE — The family of a 13-year-old boy killed by Chicago police Monday are calling for justice for their son — and want to know why they weren’t told he was killed until two days after the shooting. At around 2:30 a.m. Monday, a police officer shot and killed seventh grader Adam Toledo in the 2300 block of South Sawyer Avenue. Chicago police have released few details about the incident, saying officers were responding to a ShotSpotter alert of shots fired when they encountered two people in an alley. After one person ran away, an “armed confrontation” took place and an officer shot a person in his chest, police said in a statement. Police did not explain what they meant by “armed confrontation,” but Toledo was pronounced dead on the scene. more...

N'dea Yancey-Bragg, Grace Hauck, Eric Ferkenhoff, Tami Abdollah, Kevin McCoy | USA TODAY

MINNEAPOLIS — Jurors returned to the courtroom Friday morning to hear testimony from two more Minneapolis police officers in the trial of former officer Derek Chauvin, charged with George Floyd's murder. Veteran officer Lt. Richard Zimmerman told the court Friday that kneeling on the neck of a suspect is potentially lethal and there is "absolutely" an obligation to provide medical intervention as soon as necessary. "If your knee is on a person's neck, that can kill 'em," he said. On Thursday, a police supervisor told jurors that the officers who subdued George Floyd – who died after an officer knelt on his neck for more than nine minutes – could have stopped restraining tactics once Floyd stopped resisting. more...

Thousands of Californians waited years in jail without being sentenced. They — along with the victims of crimes — are the human toll of a struggling judicial system.
Robert Lewis (CalMatters)

CALIFORNIA, USA — This story was originally published by CalMatters.

DeAndre Davis has been waiting 651 days in a Sacramento County jail. Charged with the murder of a 21-year-old man shot during a robbery in 2019, he hasn’t been tried and he hasn’t been sentenced — and he hasn’t even had a preliminary hearing to decide if there’s enough evidence to take him to trial. For Davis, it’s been an agonizing ordeal made worse by the pandemic. Held without bail because of the severity of the charges, he’s locked down as much as 23 hours a day inside a concrete box as his life outside is crumbling. From his cell, he went through a divorce and lost custody of his 10-year-old daughter, he said. more...

JASON BRESLOW

President Biden has allowed a ban on H1-B and other kinds of foreign work visas to expire, bringing to a close a dramatic clampdown on legal immigration put in place by the Trump administration last year as part of its response to the coronavirus pandemic. The ban, imposed last June, was designed to prevent temporary workers from a range of industries from entering the country. At the time, President Trump said the freeze was needed to both protect public health and safeguard a job market that at the time was in freefall. While groups that support less immigration cheered the move, it was widely opposed by business groups. more...

Our View: During a recent interview, Birx said majority of COVID deaths could have been mitigated. During that critical time, she supported a failed message.
The Editorial Board | USA TODAY

The coordinator of the Trump administration's coronavirus response made a shocking revelation during a recent CNN interview — many of the 550,000 Americans lives lost to the pandemic could have been saved with better leadership. In other words, managing the response to the pandemic under President Donald Trump — Dr. Deborah Birx's responsibility — was a failure of historic proportions.  "I look at it this way," Birx, a renowned HIV researcher and diplomat, told CNN, "The first time we have an excuse. There were about 100,000 deaths that came from that original (coronavirus) surge. All of the rest of them, in my mind, could have been mitigated or decreased substantially." more...

Distrust, whisper campaigns and a bit of backstabbing are rampant as aides scramble for access and power.
By MERIDITH MCGRAW and GABBY ORR

Just one month after Donald Trump left the White House, a top donor to his campaign received a call on his personal cellphone from a Republican candidate seeking financial support. The call was unsolicited, according to four people familiar with the situation, and it rubbed the donor, whose friends had received similarly unexpected fundraising pleas, the wrong way. Shortly thereafter, the firm Jones Day, which served as counsel to Trump’s campaign committee, sent out a letter to former staff and consultants, warning them that they risked prosecution if they misused campaign resources. The letter then asked recipients to destroy or return any information they might have taken from the Trump campaign’s vast Rolodex of donor contacts. more...

By Ewan Palmer

A number of Ku Klux Klan fliers have been delivered to homes in a California neighborhood following reports that a white supremacist march is set to take place in the state next month. The propaganda appeared outside homes in the Newport Heights community of Newport Beach on Sunday. The fliers from the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan contained racist imagery and rhetoric, including a hooded klansman riding a horse while holding a burning cross. The fliers also contained slogans such as "it's OK to be white" and urging people to "say no to cultural genocide." more...

By Kara Scannell, CNN

New York (CNN) Donald Trump once said he calculated his net worth, to a degree, on his "feelings," and that he put the "best spin" on some of the assets. "I think everybody" exaggerates about the value of their properties. "Who wouldn't?" Did he inflate values? "Not beyond reason," Trump said, insisting he gave his "opinion" to a key associate and "ultimately" let that person make the decision, according to an exchange in a 2007 deposition. The exchange takes on fresh meaning this spring as Manhattan prosecutors investigate whether Trump's "best spin" was common practice in local real estate circles -- or if he crossed the line into illegal activity. The answer could determine whether Trump ends up facing criminal charges. The public record already sheds lots of light on how Trump has run the Trump Organization. A CNN examination of sworn depositions, interviews with former employees, and published accounts shows that Trump has tried repeatedly to push responsibility for his valuation decisions onto his chief financial officer. more...

Some believe the angry black stereotype was used Wednesday during the Derek Chauvin trial.
Brea Love (ABC10)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The stereotype behind black people being labeled as angry dates back to slave masters. “If they could paint a picture of black people, in general, being angry, hostile and otherwise then they could then justify any behavior that came towards them,” NAACP Criminal Justice and Political Action Chair LaMills Garrett said. “Whether it would be hitting them with a whip, restraining them, or any force necessary.” more...

Sgt. David Pleoger responded to the scene, didn't immediately know gravity of situation.
By Paul Walsh Star Tribune

Derek Chauvin's supervisory sergeant told jurors Thursday afternoon about the immediate aftermath of George Floyd's death as news of the incident spread through department administration. Third Precinct Sgt. David Pleoger fielded concerns through 911 dispatch on May 25 about possible excessive use of force by officers while detaining Floyd, and his initial assessment was that it sounded more like a less serious "takedown," according to dispatch audio from that night. He then headed to the scene while questioning Chauvin on what happened. "Not really, but had to hold the guy down, he was going crazy … wouldn't go in the back of the squad," Chauvin is heard telling his sergeant over the phone on his body-worn camera. Pleoger then testified that Chauvin did not immediately tell him that he placed his knee on Floyd's neck. And when Chauvin made that disclosure later that night, he did not say for how long, the sergeant added. more...

Former prosecutor Elie Honig reacts to Derek Chauvin's defense team's strategy to paint the crowd filming George Floyd's death to be distracting. video...

Jacob Pramuk, Kevin Breuninger

Any hopes that Washington could scrape together a bipartisan infrastructure package took a hit Thursday. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told reporters the more than $2 trillion plan the White House unveiled Wednesday “is not going to get support from our side.” The proposal would invest in roads, bridges, airports, broadband, water systems, electric vehicles and job training programs, and raise the corporate tax rate to 28% to offset the spending. The Republican also vowed to oppose the broader Democratic agenda under President Joe Biden, who passed his first major initiative last month in the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package. more...

By Elliot Hannon

Shortly after a group of Black business executives called on corporate America to do more in pushing back against restrictive voting bills making their way through state legislatures, a handful of Georgia’s highest-profile companies took stronger public stands against the state’s recently passed voting law. The state is home to a host of America’s biggest companies—including Coca-Cola, Delta Air Lines, Home Depot, and Aflac—all of which are facing criticism for not being more vocal in opposition to the Georgia voting bill, which was signed into law last week after weeks of winding its way through the state Legislature. On Wednesday, two of the state’s biggest companies, Delta and Coca-Cola, issued more forceful denunciations of the new law. more...

The plan includes everything from road repairs and electric vehicle stations, to public school upgrades and training for the clean-energy workforce.
Javier Zarracina, Joey Garrison and George Petras, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden on Wednesday introduced a sweeping $2 trillion infrastructure and jobs package that looks to reshape the American economy and make the most significant domestic U.S. investments in generations. His far-reaching American Jobs Plan includes spending to repair aging roads and bridges, jump-start transit projects and rebuild school buildings and hospitals. It would also expand electric vehicles, replace all lead pipes and overhaul the nation’s water systems. But the plan goes far beyond infrastructure. more...

Ryan W. Miller, Christal Hayes, Jordan Culver | USA TODAY

A man locked gated entries into a Southern California office building before opening fire, killing four, including a 9-year-old boy, officials said Thursday. The incident Wednesday evening in Orange, about 30 miles south of Los Angeles, was the third high-profile mass shooting in the nation in less than three weeks and targeted a business in the building, Unified Homes, a mobile home broker, police said. The Orange Police Department identified the suspect as Aminadab Gaxiola Gonzalez, 44. He knew each of the victims, Lt. Jen Amat said, adding the boy who died in the attack was the son of one of the victims.  "It appears all of the adults were connected either by business or a personal relationships," Amat said. "This was not a random act of violence." more...

By Eric Levenson and Aaron Cooper, CNN

(CNN) George Floyd's girlfriend testified in Derek Chauvin's criminal trial Thursday that he was a kind, caring, athletic man who struggled with opioid addiction. Courteney Batya Ross, 45, said she met Floyd in August 2017 when he worked as a security guard at the Salvation Army. In emotional testimony, she said they liked exploring the local sculpture garden and eating out on their dates together. Floyd liked to work out every day, lifting weights, doing situps and pullups, and he never complained of shortness of breath, she said. He was a mama's boy who was a "shell of himself" after his mother's death in 2018, and she described the well-known photo of him as a "dad selfie." They also both were addicted to opioids. Like many Americans, they were prescribed opioid painkillers to treat chronic pain, which ultimately led to an addiction and their use of street drugs, she testified. more...

By Katelyn Polantz, CNN

(CNN) Joseph Biggs, a Proud Boys leader who is charged with conspiracy related to the January 6 insurrection, claims the FBI had checked in on him several times in recent years, according to a new defense filing arguing that Biggs' contact with law enforcement shows he's not a threat to the public and should stay out of jail pending trial. In the filing, Biggs reveals that he regularly spoke to local and federal law enforcement about protests he knew of or was planning beginning in 2018. "By late 2018, Biggs also started to get 'cautionary' phone calls from FBI agents located in Jacksonville and Daytona Beach inquiring about what Biggs meant by something politically or culturally provocative he had said on the air or on social media concerning a national issue, political parties, the Proud Boys, Antifa or other groups," his defense lawyer wrote. more..


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