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Analysis by Stephen Collinson, CNN

(CNN) Ex-President Donald Trump's big lie came full circle on Saturday as he traveled to Arizona to dangerously seize on the false fruits of a sham election "audit" precipitated by his own discredited claims the 2020 election was stolen. On a late afternoon of delusion and incitement, Trump offered a preview of how he could exploit grievances of millions of supporters who buy his lies about voter fraud to power a possible new presidential run in the future. His speech underscored the nation's split reality over last November's election — the real one in which he lost and President Joe Biden was fairly elected and the nonsensical but powerful one that he sells to his supporters. more...

Thomas Brewster Forbes Staff

The FBI is using a controversial technology traditionally used to locate smartphones as a car tracking surveillance tool that spies on vehicles’ on-board WiFi. Known as a Stingray or a cell-site simulator, the tool masquerades as a cell tower in order to force all devices in a given area to connect into it. Agents can then pick the number they’re interested in and locate the device. Normally that would be a mobile phone, but a search warrant application discovered by Forbes shows it can also be used to find vehicles, as long as they have onboard Wi-Fi. That’s because car Wi-Fi systems act like a phone, in that they reach out to mobile networks to get their data. So it makes sense that police would use it to find a car, though this appears to be the first case on record of it happening. more...

By Thomas Kika

The newly sworn-in chief of the U.S. Capitol Police said he supports his officers speaking out regarding the deadly January 6 riot amid Fox News host Tucker Carlson's recent comments about a Capitol police officer. J. Thomas Manger was formally chosen to serve as the next chief of the U.S. Capitol Police on Thursday. He is succeeding Acting Chief Yogananda Pittman, who took on the role following the resignation of former Chief Steven Sund in the aftermath of the January 6 attack on the Capitol. more...

sfgate.com

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A man who mocked COVID-19 vaccinations died this week at a Los Angeles-area hospital after contracting the virus. Stephen Harmon was 34. Harmon died on Wednesday at Corona Regional Medical Center, about an hour's drive east of Los Angeles. Stephen Harmon posted photos of himself in his hospital bed, wrote that he had pneumonia and critically low oxygen levels and was going to be intubated. In a tweet Wednesday, Harmon wrote: “Don’t know when I’ll wake up, please pray,” KCBS-TV reported. more...

By BRIAN SLODYSKO, BILL BARROW and JAKE BLEIBERG

(AP) — At first glance, Herschel Walker has a coveted political profile for a potential Senate candidate in Georgia. He was a football hero at the University of Georgia before his long NFL career. He’s a business owner whose chicken products are distributed across the U.S. And he’s a Black conservative with backing from former President Donald Trump, a longtime friend. more...

Vanessa Romo

The search for victims in one of the deadliest building collapses in U.S. history has come to an end after four weeks. Firefighter crews have scoured the debris left on the site of the catastrophe without finding evidence of additional casualties. Miami-Dade Police Detective Lee Cowart confirmed that fire department search crews have vacated the site. Officials had vowed to continue the search for people among roughly 11 tons of rubble that remained following the sudden destruction of the Champlain Towers South condo building in Surfside, Fla., on June 24. more...

Wealthy investor is charged with secretly acting as foreign agent for United Arab Emirates
By JOSH GERSTEIN

Tom Barrack, a wealthy private-equity investor and Trump 2017 inaugural chair who now faces criminal charges of secretly acting as a foreign agent in the U.S. for the United Arab Emirates, was set to be released on bail Friday after prosecutors and his defense reached an agreement for him to pledge $250 million to secure his future appearance. The deal spares Barrack — who was arrested Tuesday in the Los Angeles area — from the prospect of spending the weekend in jail and of being transferred in government custody to Brooklyn, N.Y., where the indictment in the case was brought. more...

By Paul P. Murphy, CNN

(CNN) For months, conservative Nashville, Tennessee-based radio host Phil Valentine has repeatedly made posts on multiple social media platforms telling his fans that if they weren't at risk for Covid-19, they shouldn't get the vaccine. That message changed on July 23, when the Valentine family made a public statement on the Facebook page of his talk radio station's Facebook page. "Phil contracted the Covid virus a little over a week ago and has since been hospitalized and is in very serious condition, suffering from Covid Pneumonia and the attendant side effects," the family statement reads, which emphasizes that Valentine has never been an anti-vaxxer. "(Phil) regrets not being more vehemently 'Pro-Vaccine' and looks forward to being able to more vigorously advocate that position as soon as he is back on the air, which we all hope will be soon." It ends by urging listeners to continue praying for Valentine and to "PLEASE GO GET VACCINATED!" more...

By Dahlia Lithwick

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse has spent nearly three years attempting to understand the nature of the FBI’s “supplemental investigation” of claims that emerged against Justice Brett Kavanaugh during his confirmation hearings in the summer of 2018. The senator’s attempts to get answers from either the Trump White House or the FBI were largely unsuccessful while Trump was still in office. But Whitehouse kept trying—almost as soon as Merrick Garland was sworn in as attorney general, Whitehouse asked him to help facilitate “proper oversight” by the Senate into questions about how serious the FBI supplemental investigation really was. more...

Vanessa Gu

President Joe Biden had strong words for people questioning the seriousness of the January 6 Capitol insurrection. "I don't care if you think I'm Satan reincarnated," he said Wednesday at a CNN town hall in Cincinnati. "The fact is you can't look at that television and say nothing happened on the sixth and listen to people who say this was a peaceful march." Biden was responding to the moderator Don Lemon's question on whether he had confidence Republicans and Democrats could work together, given that the two sides were having trouble establishing a bipartisan investigation into the Capitol insurrection, per the Associated Press. more...

By Jan Wolfe and Mark Hosenball

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Seven Democratic senators on Thursday said that newly released materials show the FBI failed to fully investigate sexual misconduct allegations against U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh when he was nominated to the court in 2018. The senators, including Sheldon Whitehouse and Chris Coons, said a letter they received from the FBI last month shows the agency gathered over 4,500 tips relating to Kavanaugh without any apparent further action by investigators. more...

Tres Genco, 21, had an ultimate goal of killing some 3,000 women in total after completing Army Basic Training, prosecutors allege in an indictment.
Justin Rohrlich

A U.S. Army washout who identified as a so-called involuntary celibate plotted to “slaughter” women in a mass shooting at an unnamed Ohio university, with the goal of killing some 3,000 people after receiving his military training, according to an indictment unsealed in federal court. Tres Genco, 21, was arrested Wednesday and charged with one count of attempting to commit a hate crime and one count of illegally possessing a machine gun, prosecutors announced. He described himself as an “incel,” which court filings describe as someone who advocates “violence in support of their belief that women unjustly deny them sexual or romantic attention to which they believe they are entitled.” more...

By Brian Stelter, CNN Business

"Get vaccinated," Senator Mitch McConnell said Tuesday. And, he added, just as importantly, "ignore all of these other voices that are giving demonstrably bad advice." McConnell's words were newsworthy because of the "other voices" he mentioned -- the anti-vaccination talking heads that have overwhelmed common sense in GOP circles this year. For every knowledgeable right-wing leader who has pointed to the vaccines as the only way out of the pandemic, louder know-nothings have instilled doubt and denial via radio, TV and the web. The result has been measurable through maps of deaths and disease. more...

Christina Wilkie, Kevin Breuninger

WASHINGTON – A key procedural vote on the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure plan failed to pass the full Senate on Wednesday, after Republicans united in opposition to moving ahead with an unfinished bill. The vote failed 49-51, with all Republicans lined up against it. The measure, a placeholder for the eventual bill, needed 60 votes to clear a key procedural hurdle. In an evenly split Senate, Democrats needed 10 GOP votes to advance it. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., changed his vote to “no” in order to be able to bring the vote up again. more...

Tom Porter

The Biden administration has confronted Fox News over the bid by some of its top-rated hosts to erode trust in the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines. White House Press secretary Jen Psaki at a press briefing on Tuesday confirmed that officials had held talks with the right-wing Fox News network and other media outlets about their coverage of the vaccine rollout strategy. "We've been in touch with every network and many, many media outlets about coverage of COVID-19 to make sure people have accurate information, to voice concerns when we have them," Psaki said. more...

By Sheera Frenkel | The New York Times

SAN FRANCISCO — At the start of the pandemic, a group of data scientists at Facebook held a meeting with executives to ask for resources to help measure the prevalence of misinformation about COVID-19 on the social network. The data scientists said figuring out how many Facebook users saw false or misleading information would be complex, perhaps taking a year or more, according to two people who participated in the meeting. But they added that by putting some new hires on the project and reassigning some existing employees to it, the company could better understand how incorrect facts about the virus spread on the platform. more...

Misinformation ‘superspreader’ accounts found still active even as vaccination rates flag and cases rise in US
a vaccine is prepared in boston
Kari Paul

Facebook is under fire once again over the proliferation of vaccine misinformation on its platform, after Joe Biden said tech giants such as Facebook are “killing people” for failing to tackle the problem. The White House has also zeroed in on the “disinformation dozen”: accounts that have been shown to be responsible for the bulk of anti-vaccine misinformation on social media platforms. And while Facebook has defended itself, saying it has removed more than 18m pieces of Covid misinformation, experts who study online misinformation say it has still largely failed to address the issue and that falsehoods about the vaccine are still reaching millions of people. more...

Kevin McCarthy, who said on Jan. 6 that Trump bore some responsibility, is determined now to keep Trump from being held responsible.
Margaret Carlson

Trump flunky Kevin McCarthy, rarely known for effective leadership, is doing his damndest to undermine Speaker Nancy Pelosi even before the opening gavel comes down Tuesday at her consolation hearings investigating Jan. 6—a substitute for the independent 9/11-type commission that the attack warranted but Republicans killed even before it was born. more...

The senator bit off more than he could chew when he accused Biden’s top health adviser of lying about US-funded virus research
David Smith

Anthony Fauci has a reputation for plain speaking, as a senator who accused him of lying discovered to his cost on Tuesday. A congressional hearing on the coronavirus pandemic was electrified when Fauci, the nation’s top infectious diseases expert, clashed with Rand Paul, a Republican senator for Kentucky and longtime opponent of mask-wearing. more...

Dan Mangan

A U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent has been arrested for allegedly participating in the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol by supporters of then-President Donald Trump. The agent, Mark Sami Ibrahim, allegedly flashed his badge and a DEA-issued handgun during the riot while posing for photos with those items. Photos of him doing so are included in a court filing. Authorities said he entered the restricted area around the Capitol and also climbed on the Peace Memorial at the foot of Capitol Hill. more...

The indictment also charges Barrack with obstruction of justice and making multiple false statements.
By Pete Williams, Tom Winter and Andrew Blankstein

Tom Barrack, who chaired former President Donald Trump’s 2017 inaugural committee, was arrested Tuesday on charges that he unlawfully influenced the foreign policy positions of the campaign and administration to advance the interests of the United Arab Emirates, the Justice Department said. In a seven-count indictment, unsealed in a New York federal court, Barrack, 74, and two others are accused of "acting and conspiring to act as agents" of the United Arab Emirates between April 2016 and April 2018. Barrack was also charged with obstruction of justice and making multiple false statements to federal law enforcement agents. more...

The GOP has long made school curricula part of the culture wars.
By Alex Samuels and Kaleigh Rogers

In the 1960s and 70s, conservatives were waging a war against what they considered an existential threat infiltrating America’s public schools. Pamphlets were circulated by the John Birch Society, a right-wing extremist group, declaring it a “filthy Communist plot.” And then-Governor Ronald Reagan of California decried it as a “moral crisis” that needed to be eradicated. What was poisoning the minds of America’s youth? Sex education. These days, sex ed is more widely accepted, especially following the HIV/AIDS epidemic (though conservatives have still managed to beat back more progressive school curricula when it comes to sexual health), but the Republican Party’s habit of identifying a bogeyman in America’s education system hasn’t wavered. more...

By Devan Cole, CNN

Washington (CNN) Thirty-seven smartphones owned by journalists, human rights activists, business executives and two women connected to the slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi were targeted by "military-grade spyware" licensed by an Israeli company to governments, according to an investigation by a consortium of media organizations, including The Washington Post, published Sunday. The Post reported Sunday that the phones were "on a list of more than 50,000 numbers that are concentrated in countries known to engage in surveillance of their citizens" and are known to be clients of the company, NSO Group, whose Pegasus spyware is ostensibly licensed to track terrorists and major criminals. more...

By Priscilla Alvarez and Tierney Sneed, CNN

(CNN) A federal judge in Texas on Friday ruled that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program is unlawful. The decision, by US District Judge Andrew Hanen of the Southern District of Texas, injected uncertainty into the lives of hundreds of thousands of young immigrants, as well as their families. For now, however, those currently in the DACA program will be allowed to stay in it, even as the judge has blocked the government from approving the applications of new enrollees. Here is a breakdown of what his decision means. more...

Facebook fires back after President Joe Biden took a shot at the platform on Friday afternoon. "They’re killing people," he told reporters.
By NICK NIEDZWIADEK

White House press secretary Jen Psaki forcefully defended the Biden administration’s growing offensive on vaccine-related misinformation spreading on Facebook and other social media platforms. “Our biggest concern, and frankly I think it should be your biggest concern, is the number of people who are dying around the country because they are getting misinformation that is leading them to not take a vaccine,” Psaki said during Friday's daily press briefing. “Young people, old people, kids, children … a lot of them are being impacted by misinformation.” more...

Another 10,000 whose background checks are still pending will go to “a U.S. military base overseas or to third countries," said a State Dept. spokesperson.
By Abigail Williams, Dan De Luce and Courtney Kube

WASHINGTON — A small portion of the thousands of Afghans who worked for the U.S. government will be flown directly to the U.S., while a larger group will be evacuated to third countries or military bases overseas where their visa paperwork will be reviewed, three administration officials told NBC News. As U.S. troops leave the country, the Biden administration has come under growing pressure from lawmakers, veterans groups and refugee rights organizations to take action to protect Afghans who face retaliation from the Taliban for their work as interpreters or in other jobs for U.S. troops and diplomats. more...

By Jordan Williams

A former Trump administration official is calling the Republican Party the “No. 1 national security threat." Miles Taylor, a former Department of Homeland Security (DHS) official, made the comment during a Thursday interview on MSNBC’s “The Reid Out.” “I’ve spent my whole career not as a political operative. I’ve never worked on a campaign in my life other than campaigning against Trump. I’m a national security guy. I’ve worked in national security against ISIS, al Qaeda and Russia,” Taylor said. more...

by Abby Livingston and Carla Astudillo

WASHINGTON - West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin — a key Democratic holdout over efforts to pass federal voting rights legislation — is expected to head to Texas on Friday for a fundraiser with a host committee that includes several wealthy Republican donors. The fundraiser comes just a day after Manchin met with Texas House Democrats on Capitol Hill who are desperate for his support of the congressional efforts which could preempt the statewide GOP’s push to pass bills that would restrict voting access for Texans. more...

By John Haltiwanger, Sonam Sheth

Former President Donald Trump has repeatedly claimed that he has no financial interests in Russia. "Russia has never tried to use leverage over me," he tweeted in January 2017. "I HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH RUSSIA - NO DEALS, NO LOANS, NO NOTHING!" But a glimpse at his actions over the last few decades paints a quite different picture, one that shows a concerted effort by the real-estate mogul to lay a foundation for the Trump name in the heart of Moscow. more...

The Fox News host sounds a lot like America’s most notorious conspiracy theorist.
By Ed Mazza

Fox News host Tucker Carlson is starting to sound a lot like right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. CNN on Sunday played a supercut of Carlson’s rhetoric matching that of the Infowars host — Both think the government is spying on them, both have pushed conspiracy theories about the coronavirus vaccines, and both have claimed the FBI was behind the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, which was carried out by pro-Trump insurrectionists. video...

Anderson Cooper 360

A new book details a phone call between Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WI) and Gen. Mark Milley the day after the Capitol insurrection, in which Cheney told Milley what she experienced on the House floor on January 6, including a run-in with Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), a staunch Trump ally in the House who feverishly tried to overturn the election. Source: CNN. video...

Matthew Brown | USA TODAY

WASHINGTON – The highest-ranking U.S. officer, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, and other top military leaders made informal plans to stop a coup by former President Donald Trump and his allies in the run-up to the 2020 presidential election, according to excerpts from a new book "I Alone Can Fix It," written by Washington Post reporters Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker, describes how Milley and others feared Trump might take unconstitutional actions should he lose. CNN first reported on this excerpt. more...

Exclusive: Documents suggest Russia launched secret multi-agency effort to interfere in US democracy
Luke Harding, Julian Borger and Dan Sabbagh

Vladimir Putin personally authorised a secret spy agency operation to support a “mentally unstable” Donald Trump in the 2016 US presidential election during a closed session of Russia’s national security council, according to what are assessed to be leaked Kremlin documents. The key meeting took place on 22 January 2016, the papers suggest, with the Russian president, his spy chiefs and senior ministers all present. They agreed a Trump White House would help secure Moscow’s strategic objectives, among them “social turmoil” in the US and a weakening of the American president’s negotiating position. more...

A document believed to be from the Kremlin cryptically refers to “certain events” that happened during Trump’s “non-official visits to Russian Federation territory.”
Jamie Ross

For years, there have been whispers that the Russian government holds compromising materials on Donald Trump. Now, an alleged leak from the heart of the Kremlin appears to show them boasting about “kompromat.” The supposed leak obtained by The Guardian reportedly claims that President Vladimir Putin personally approved a nefarious plan to throw Russia’s support behind Trump’s 2016 campaign. The document states that Putin, his spy chiefs, and top ministers agreed that a victory for a “mentally unstable” Trump would permanently weaken the United States. more...

By Jamie Gangel, Jeremy Herb, Marshall Cohen and Elizabeth Stuart, CNN

Washington (CNN) The top US military officer, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Mark Milley, was so shaken that then-President Donald Trump and his allies might attempt a coup or take other dangerous or illegal measures after the November election that Milley and other top officials informally planned for different ways to stop Trump, according to excerpts of an upcoming book obtained by CNN. more...

By Ben Jacobs

General Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, likened Donald Trump’s effort to hold on to power after the 2020 election to Adolf Hitler, saying the president was preaching “the gospel of the Führer” with his lies about the election being stolen, according to a new book by two Washington Post reporters. more...

CNN

The top US military officer, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Mark Milley, was so shaken that then-President Donald Trump and his allies might attempt a coup or take other dangerous or illegal measures after the November election that Milley and other top officials informally planned for different ways to stop Trump, according to excerpts of an upcoming book obtained by CNN. more...

As if living through 2020 wasn't enough, now we have to read about it. Seriously, though, some of these books about Trump and the pandemic are actually worth the pain.
Harry Siegel, Lachlan Cartwright, Malcolm Jones

The thing about these yuge Trump books dropping now is that, unlike the ones that appeared in 2017, they’re not only re-telling a story we just lived through, but one that was widely understood as it happened as a chronicle of an inept and overwhelmed administration. In Trump’s final year, there were fewer and fewer alleged “adults in the room” to watch over a crew of climbers and toadies more or less making it up as they went along in service of an emotionally mercurial, morally crass, and intellectually limited president—who, despite all that, lost narrowly enough, in his mind at least, to deny that reality and could easily have not lost at all if events had played out a little differently. more...

By Katelyn Polantz, CNN

(CNN) A judge in Michigan pinned down lawyers in a marathon video court hearing Monday on whether they had done due diligence before filing election fraud claims in federal court in November. The grilling came in a hearing over whether the Trump-supporting lawyers should be penalized -- with the possible consequence of losing their law licenses -- following their lawsuit to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. more...

By Daniel Dale

(CNN) He's still repeating his favorite old lies, those eternal chestnuts about the size of the trade deficit with China and the legitimacy of the Russia investigation and how many immigrants show up for their court hearings. But former President Donald Trump's current dishonesty is overwhelmingly focused on a single subject: the 2020 election he lost eight months ago but won't stop lying that he won. In a rambling Sunday address to the Conservative Political Action Conference in Dallas, Trump returned again and again to election-related lies -- some of them detailed and wrong, most of them vague and wrong. What can you even say about claims so disconnected from reality? Here's a brief fact check of eight of them. more...

By William Harwood

Virgin Galactic owner Richard Branson rocketed into space Sunday, an edge-of-the-seat sub-orbital test flight intended to demonstrate his company's air-launched spaceplane is ready for passengers who can afford the ultimate thrill ride. And it appeared to do just that, zooming to an altitude just above 50 miles and giving Branson and his five crewmates about three minutes of weightlessness and spectacular views of Earth before plunging back into the atmosphere for a spiraling descent to touchdown at Virgin's New Mexico launch site. more...

Search efforts have accelerated in the last week after the demolition of a remaining structure that prevented teams from accessing some of the debris.
By Doha Madani

Confirmed deaths rose to 90 in the recovery efforts in the Miami Beach-area condo building collapse as crews continue to sift through the debris more than two weeks after the Champlain Towers South fell in the middle of the night. At least 71 of the victims have been properly identified with next-of-kin notifications provided to their families, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said Sunday morning. Search efforts have accelerated in the last week after officials demolished a still-standing section of the building that prevented teams from accessing a portion of the debris pile. An estimated 31 people remain unaccounted for. more...

By ZEKE MILLER and AAMER MADHANI

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden said Thursday the U.S. military operation in Afghanistan will end on Aug. 31, delivering an impassioned argument for exiting the nearly 20-year war without sacrificing more American lives even as he bluntly acknowledged there will be no “mission accomplished” moment to celebrate. Biden pushed back against the notion the U.S. mission has failed but also noted that it remains unlikely the government would control all of Afghanistan after the U.S. leaves. He urged the Afghan government and Taliban, which he said remains as formidable as it did before the start of the war, to come to a peace agreement. “We did not go to Afghanistan to nation build,” Biden said in a speech from the White House’s East Room. “Afghan leaders have to come together and drive toward a future.” more...

The Associated Press

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Two men believed to be Haitian Americans — one of them purportedly a former bodyguard at the Canadian Embassy in Port au Prince — have been arrested in connection with the assassination of Haiti's president, a senior Haitian official said Thursday. Mathias Pierre, Haiti's minister of elections, told The Associated Press that James Solages was among six people arrested in the 36 hours since the brazen killing of President Jovenel Moïse by gunmen at his home in the pre-dawn hours Wednesday. Four other suspected assailants were killed in a gunfight with police and two are still missing, Pierre said. Earlier authorities had said seven suspects were killed. more...

By Erica Orden and Kara Scannell, CNN

(CNN) A federal judge on Thursday sentenced celebrity lawyer turned criminal defendant Michael Avenatti to 30 months in prison for attempting to extort millions of dollars from Nike. Avenatti, who rose to fame as Stormy Daniels' lawyer, was convicted in February 2020 of three counts for threatening to publicly accuse the sportswear company of illicitly paying amateur basketball players unless Nike paid him. "Mr. Avenatti's conduct was outrageous," US District Judge Paul Gardephe said during sentencing. "Mr. Avenatti had become drunk on the power of his platform, or what he perceived his platform to be." more...

By Madeline Holcombe, Paul Vercammen and Dakin Andone, CNN

Surfside, Florida (CNN) The death toll in a condo building collapse in Surfside, Florida, has risen to 60, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said, after authorities made the decision to shift the search effort from rescue to recovery. Eighty people are "potentially unaccounted for," the mayor said in a news conference Thursday morning, two weeks after a large part of the Champlain Towers South condo building collapsed in one of the worst mass casualty events in recent years. Authorities transitioned to search and recovery at midnight overnight, after determining "the viability of life in the rubble" was low, Miami-Dade County Fire Chief Alan Cominsky said Wednesday. more...


The FBI is seeking the public’s assistance in identifying individuals who made unlawful entry into the U.S. Capitol building and committed various other alleged criminal violations, such as destruction of property, assaulting law enforcement personnel, targeting members of the media for assault, and other unlawful conduct, on January 6, 2021, in Washington, D.C. We have deployed our full investigative resources and are working closely with our federal, state, and local partners to aggressively pursue those involved in these criminal activities. more...

By Melanie Zanona, CNN

(CNN) House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is finalizing a House GOP roster for a Democratic-led investigation into the deadly January 6 insurrection, canning the idea of a boycott on adding Republicans to the panel on the theory that it's better to join in and play an active defense. Initially, there was an internal debate inside the House GOP about whether the California Republican should appoint members to the select committee or just skip it altogether as a way to paint the entire effort as partisan. But McCarthy indeed plans to place Republicans on the high-profile panel, CNN has learned, according to multiple GOP sources familiar with his intentions, and is in the process of making his selections. The thinking among Republicans is that the perch will enable them to shape a counternarrative to a probe that could ensnare not only Donald Trump, but also other members of their party. more...

TERRY SPENCER and FREIDA FRISARO

SURFSIDE, Fla. (AP) — The condo tower collapse in Surfside could exacerbate the division that already exists between the tiny Florida town’s new luxury buildings built for the global elite and those constructed decades ago for the middle class. It is already creating headaches for some small businesses. The town has seen the construction of numerous new condos in recent years, where large oceanfront units exceeding 3,000 square feet (280 square meters) with modern amenities can fetch $10 million and up. Meanwhile, small units of 800 square feet (75 square meters) in neighboring condo buildings constructed decades ago can be had for $400,000. more...

In celebrating the nation’s birth, it’s clearer than ever that independence is in the eye of the power holder.
By Kimberly Atkins Stohr | Globe Staff

It’s been 169 years since Frederick Douglass questioned what the Fourth of July is to the Black American. All week I’ve pondered a related question: If voting is a pillar of democracy and a fundamental right, how indeed should Black Americans feel about July Fourth this year? In upholding Arizona’s voting restrictions, which unduly target people of color, the US Supreme Court Thursday affirmed that Douglass’s own answer remains true: It is “a day that reveals to (the Black American), more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim.” more...

By Melissa Quinn, Cassidy McDonald, Nicole Sganga, Stefan Becket

Lawyers for the Trump Organization and one of its top executives pleaded not guilty to a slew of charges in a lower Manhattan courtroom on Thursday, as prosecutors alleged a 16-year scheme of brazen fraud and tax evasion by former President Donald Trump's namesake company. A grand jury returned a 15-count indictment against the Trump Organization and Allen Weisselberg, its chief financial officer, late Wednesday evening. Prosecutors from the Manhattan District Attorney's Office detailed the alleged crimes at Thursday's initial court appearance and in the 25-page indictment filed in state court. more...

By Christina Carrega, CNN

(CNN) Attorney General Merrick Garland has ordered a temporarily halt to federal executions as Justice Department senior officials review the policies and procedures for the controversial punishment. "Serious concerns have been raised about the continued use of the death penalty across the country, including arbitrariness in its application, disparate impact on people of color, and the troubling number of exonerations in capital and other serious cases. Those weighty concerns deserve careful study and evaluation by lawmakers," Garland said in a memo issued on Thursday. There has not been a scheduled federal execution since President Joe Biden was sworn in to office. more...

Jordan Mendoza | USA TODAY

The Boys Scouts of America more than doubled its initial offer of compensation to sexually abused Scouts late Thursday to $850 million, setting the stage for an historic settlement as part of the youth organization's bankruptcy proceedings. The offer comes more than a year after the nonprofit group filed for bankruptcy as it faced 275 abuse lawsuits and 1,400 potential claims. By the November 2020 deadline for victims to come forward, the number of claims had risen to nearly 90,000, making it one of the largest sex abuse cases against a single national organization. more...

Brendan Morrow, Staff Writer

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has reportedly issued a "stark warning" to Republicans, warning them not to accept an appointment to the Jan 6. select committee. McCarthy, Punchbowl News reports, during a meeting with freshman lawmakers warned that if any Republican accepts an appointment from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to serve on a select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, "they better be ready to get all their committee assignments from her." He warned them that Republicans must get their committee assignments from Republicans and not Democrats, "or else," Punchbowl writes. more...

By Ariane de Vogue, Fredreka Schouten and Chandelis Duster, CNN

(CNN) The Supreme Court on Thursday said two provisions of an Arizona voting law that restrict how ballots can be cast do not violate the historic Voting Rights Act that bars regulations that result in racial discrimination. The ruling will limit the ability of minorities to challenge state laws in the future that they say are discriminatory under the Voting Rights Act. The vote in the case is 6-3 breaking along conservative-liberal ideological lines. Justice Samuel Alito delivered the majority opinion. The case comes as several Republican-led states, encouraged by former President Donald Trump's unfounded claims of widespread voter fraud, are considering more restrictive laws and Democrats are fighting a frantic battle in courts to combat what President Joe Biden has called an "assault on democracy." more...

Jeff Brady

Indiscreet comments made by an Exxon Mobil lobbyist to undercover activists may figure prominently in upcoming congressional hearings about the role of oil companies in the battle against climate change. Video clips released by the Greenpeace investigation project Unearthed show Keith McCoy, the oil giant's senior director for federal relations, talking frankly about Exxon Mobil's lobbying strategies. Channel 4 from the United Kingdom first reported the comments. McCoy was tricked by the activists who said they were job recruiters. He talked about working with "shadow groups," supporting a carbon tax that he believes will never happen and influencing senators to weaken climate elements of President Biden's infrastructure plan. more...

Hugo Lowell

Nancy Pelosi is poised to take a hard line should Republicans try to derail her recently announced select committee into the 6 January Capitol attack and she may appoint its members at her sole discretion, according to a source familiar with the matter. The committee, which passed the House in a near-party-line vote on Wednesday, will have eight members appointed by Democrats and four members appointed by Republicans, as well as broad subpoena power and no deadline to complete its work. “We have the duty, to the constitution and the country, to find the truth of the January 6th insurrection and to ensure that such an assault on our Democracy cannot happen again,” the House speaker wrote in a letter to colleagues. more...

Annika Kim Constantino, Dan Mangan

The offices of the Manhattan District Attorney and New York Attorney General have obtained indictments against the Trump Organization and its longtime finance chief Allen Weisselberg, two people familiar with the matter told NBC News. The indictments against the organization and Weisselberg, handed up by a New York grand jury, are expected to be unsealed in court Thursday afternoon in Manhattan, a Trump representative told NBC. Weisselberg is expected to surrender Thursday morning, The Washington Post reported earlier, citing sources. The Post said he is expected to be arraigned in front of a state judge later that day. The Trump Organization is also expected to be arraigned. more...

Hannah-Jones, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, said the fight was about ensuring the freedom of Black academics.
By Phil Helsel

In a 9-4 vote, the board of trustees at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on Wednesday approved tenure for Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones. The vote Wednesday after a closed session comes after a controversy about why Hannah-Jones, a renowned journalist and winner of a MacArthur Fellowship, known as a “Genius Grant," was not offered tenure in her appointment at the Hussman School of Journalism. Hannah-Jones won the Pulitzer last year for her work on The New York Times Magazine's 1619 Project, which examines the consequences of slavery in the United States. That project has been assailed by some conservative critics and she has faced staunch criticism since releasing it 2019. more...

Katherine Doyle

Former President Donald Trump is rejecting pleas from Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to postpone a campaign-style rally this weekend some 200 miles from the Miami suburb where an international search-and-rescue mission is excavating bodies from the site of a collapsed seaside condominium. DeSantis’s office has "made a direct plea” to the former president’s team, calling on it to postpone the Saturday event in Sarasota. One Florida Republican bluntly said Trump and his team need to “read the room.” “The governor is getting tested here as to how far he's going to be pushed before he breaks ranks with President Trump. And he has to be very careful because this is Trump country,” this source said. “The base loves the president. But they equally love Ron. It's a showdown going on right now.” more...

evening-news
By Manuel Bojorquez

Nearly a week after the collapse of a condo building in Surfside, Florida, rescuers found the bodies of two young children, bringing the death toll to 18. The children were ages 4 and 10, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said Wednesday evening. As the search continues for the 145 people who remain unaccounted for, residents who escaped the collapse are sharing chilling stories. Raysa Rodriguez left a voicemail on her brother's phone as she made her way out of the building. "Anybody over there? Hello?" she said. "Oh my God! What the hell? The whole entire building is gone!" more...

CBS News

Washington — Donald Rumsfeld, the two-time defense secretary and one-time presidential candidate whose reputation as a skilled bureaucrat and visionary of a modern U.S. military was soiled by the long and costly Iraq War, has died, his family said in a statement. He was 88. "It is with deep sadness that we share the news of the passing of Donald Rumsfeld, an American statesman and devoted husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather," the statement said. "At 88, he was surrounded by family in his beloved Taos, New Mexico." more...

David Folkenflik

On consecutive nights this week, Fox News prime-time host Tucker Carlson has alleged that the National Security Agency — charged with monitoring communications abroad to keep the U.S. safe — is spying on him in hopes of getting his top-rated show canceled. "We heard from a whistleblower within the U.S. government who reached out to warn us that the NSA, the National Security Agency, is monitoring our electronic communications and is planning to leak them to take this show off the air," Carlson said Monday night. Ascribing political motivations to the Biden administration, Carlson said the whistleblower had information about a story he's working on that could only have been derived from his own texts and emails. more...


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