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dvernb

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  1. Hello dee cee. Welcome aboard! Hope you enjoy the site!
  2. 'Just say it was corrupt' and 3 other takeaways from Thursday's Jan. 6 hearing A president desperate to retain power and enmeshed in fringe internet conspiracies engaged in a multi-layer conspiracy, pressuring top Justice Department officials and grasping for straws of legitimacy for his election lies – facts be damned. "Just say it was corrupt and leave the rest to me and the Republican congressmen," former President Trump said, according to testimony Thursday from Richard Donoghue, former acting deputy attorney general, in the fifth Jan. 6 committee hearing. Donoghue, who took contemporaneous notes on that conversation, and several others with the former president, emphasized that it was an "exact" quote. Trump made the remarks in the transition period between the 2020 presidential election he lost and the Jan. 6 insurrection. It was just one of many dramatic moments from the hearing that painted — in vivid color — scenes that seemed straight from a Hollywood political thriller. But this was no movie. It was the last days of the Trump presidency – and these hearings have shown just how thin a string was holding together American democracy. Here are four takeaways from the hearing: 1. The details of the pressure on the Justice Department showed Trump crossing all over the lines of the department's independence. Justice Department officials serve at the pleasure of the president, but presidential interference in the department's investigations and inner workings have long been frowned upon in the American tradition. None of that seemed to matter to Trump, according to multiple witnesses Thursday. Trump called and met nearly every day after Election Day with top Justice Department officials, peppering them with false allegations to investigate. But when he was told there was no evidence for conspiracy theory after conspiracy theory, it wasn't enough for him, witnesses said. "We have an obligation to tell people that this was an illegal, corrupt election," Donoghue recalled Trump telling him, his notes shown on the screen behind committee members. The clock was ticking on Trump, and the committee showed Trump to be a man who would do nearly whatever it took to stay in power — and saw the Justice Department as a key vehicle. He publicly disagreed with his attorney general, Bill Barr, who quit under the pressure. Trump wanted Barr to appoint a special counsel. Conspiracy theorist lawyer Sidney Powell testified on camera that Trump asked her to be that special counsel. Trump leaned on the new acting attorney general, Jeffrey Rosen, calling or meeting with him nearly every day with the exceptions of Christmas and New Year's Eve, Rosen testified. And Trump threatened to replace Rosen with someone who would act on his election lies. 2. If senior DOJ officials wouldn't go along, Trump would find someone who would. Trump threatened to install Jeffrey Clark, a lower-level DOJ environmental lawyer, in the top job. Rep. Scott Perry introduced Clark to Trump, and Clark was ready to do Trump's bidding. Clark was going behind his superiors' backs to meet with the president, violating department protocols, the officials said. Clark had drafted a letter pressuring state officials to take steps to overturn the election, citing evidence he didn't have for problems with the voting. "This other guy just might do something," Trump told Rosen, Rosen recalled, noting Trump's frustration with Rosen for not pursuing his election lies as legitimate. Donoghue, for the record, said he and others in the department investigated each of Trump's far-flung conspiracies. All were without merit, he said. He and Rosen testified to that and that they told Trump so – repeatedly correcting him "in a serial fashion," as Trump went from one allegation to another. Trump and his chief of staff Mark Meadows even bandied about a far-flung conspiracy theory that Italian satellites had been rigged to switch votes from Trump to Biden. This went so far that, despite Donoghue calling the theory "pure insanity" and "patently absurd," acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller, at Meadows' request, called the Defense attache in Rome, who also knocked down the conspiracy. Trump, though, thought there was something there. Why? "You guys may not be following the Internet the way I do," Trump said, per Donoghue's notes. Frustrated, Trump very nearly appointed Clark attorney general. He only balked when Donoghue emphatically noted in a high-pressure Oval Office meeting that he and many others would resign if Trump took that drastic step. "What do I have to lose?" Trump said at one point, per Donoghue. Donoghue tried to convince him he, personally – and the country – had quite a bit to lose. Donoghue told Trump that Clark's promises were hollow, that he could not deliver what Trump wanted and do so in a matter of days, especially because the allegations had already been investigated – and proven false. "It's absurd," Donoghue said he told Trump. "It's not going to happen, and he's going to fail." 3. Several members of Congress sought pardons Another striking element of Thursday's hearing was the revelation that several right-wing Republican members of Congress, who were in one way or another involved in Jan. 6, sought pardons. Multiple witnesses, including lawyers and White House staff, testified that at least five, perhaps six, Republicans asked for pardons – Reps. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., Mo Brooks, R-Ala., Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., and Scott Perry, R-Pa. There was some question as to whether Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga. asked for one, as well, as a White House staffer testified that she heard Greene did, but didn't know firsthand. Greene denies that she asked for one. All have denied wrongdoing. "The only reason I know to ask for a pardon is if you committed a crime," Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., who led the questioning Thursday, said. Of course, it's also possible that these members, so deeply enmeshed in conspiracy, in their minds, felt a newly minted Justice Department under a Democratic president, would go after them. "It's not a crime to request a pardon in the United States of America," said Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., a member of the committee, on CNN after the hearing of his colleagues who asked for pardons. "No one can be prosecuted for that, but I think if we use our common sense, if we use our Tom Paynian common sense, then it would indicate some consciousness of guilt or some fear that you could be prosecuted for what you did." 4. No one was too big or too small for Trump's pressure campaign in his desperate attempt to stay in power. These five days of hearings have revealed just how far Trump would go to hold onto power. His pressure was unrelenting and multifaceted. And no one was immune, from people as high up in the government as his vice president and top Justice Department officials to others doing the work of implementing elections, like Wandrea "Shaye" Moss. Moss testified on Tuesday that her life had been turned upside down, that her personal life had literally been destroyed because of Trump's no-holds-barred bid to cling to the White House. He pressed diligent local election officials, who don't normally get any attention – let alone death threats – to go along with schemes he and those around him concocted to upend the American election system. It has to pain Trump that it didn't work, that for all of his effort, he couldn't pull it off. With all this cast into a bright light, it will be notable to see how Americans move after this. Does Trump continue to wield the kind of influence in the Republican Party, or will he seem more vulnerable if he decides to run again in 2024? https://www.npr.org/2022/06/23/1106701188/just-say-it-was-corrupt-and-3-other-takeaways-from-thursdays-jan-6-hearing
  3. Key takeaways of Jan. 6 panel Day 5: Trump wanted DOJ to promote his interests After four years in power, Donald Trump never grasped that government isn’t supposed to be a tool for promoting personal interests, the Jan. 6 committee argued as it presented evidence Thursday about his efforts to overturn the 2020 election. Witnesses described Trump’s desperate efforts to rope the Justice Department into a plot to overturn the election — trying at every turn to persuade government attorneys to act as an extension of his campaign. Senior officials whom Trump had appointed testified that they tried to explain the department’s unique role to him: They worked for the American people and represented the federal government. The message never stuck. Frustrated that the department’s leadership wouldn’t falsely claim the election was “corrupt,” Trump nearly replaced the acting attorney general with a loyalist, backing down when he was told the move would trigger a cascade of resignations. He sought to use the department’s prestige and power to plant doubts about the election’s validity, the committee showed. Lost on Trump was the department’s singular purpose: enforcing the law — not doing his bidding. “He wanted the Justice Department to help legitimize his lies, to baselessly call the election corrupt, to appoint a special counsel to investigate alleged election fraud, to send a letter to six state legislatures urging them to consider altering the election results,” said the committee chairman, Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss. A few takeaways from the hearing: Government officials repeatedly debunked conspiracy theories for Trump The Justice Department looked into various allegations of voter fraud and found nothing that would have overturned the results. Trump never let up. He browbeat department leaders, growing more insistent that they weren’t looking hard enough for fraud as Jan. 6, 2021 neared and Congress would certify Joe Biden’s victory. Jeffrey Rosen, the acting attorney general, testified that from Dec. 23, 2020, to Jan. 3, 2021, he heard from Trump virtually every day, with the president taking a break on Christmas. Trump would fixate on meritless allegations. Richard Donoghue, the acting deputy attorney general, described multiple meetings in which Trump pointed to a report alleging voter fraud in Antrim County, Michigan. The report contended that the error rate in the county was 68 percent. Trump wanted the Justice Department to use the report to show that the results “weren’t trustworthy,” Donoghue said. Donoghue said that the report was wrong and that the actual error rate turned out to be less than 0.01 percent. He said he told Trump it was an example “of what people are telling you is not true and you cannot and should not be relying on.” On another occasion, Trump told him about allegations of voter fraud in Pennsylvania, where there had been about 200,000 more votes than there were voters. Donoghue said he asked a U.S. attorney in Pennsylvania, Scott Brady, to investigate. Brady concluded that there was no wrongdoing — merely a state election website that hadn’t been updated. “In the weeks leading up to Jan. 6, the Department of Justice was fielding almost daily requests from the president to investigate claims of election fraud,” said committee member Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill. “Each claim was refuted time and time again, an effort [former] Attorney General Barr described as ‘whack-a-mole.’” Trump never found his Roy Cohn Early in his term, Trump would complain that he didn’t have an attorney general in the mold of Roy Cohn, his onetime personal lawyer, who worked for red-baiting Sen. Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin in the 1950s. Trump soured on his first attorney general, Jeff Sessions, for appointing a special counsel to investigate Russia’s involvement in the 2016 presidential election. Barr quit. And Trump nearly fired Rosen for failing to produce evidence of voter fraud. Rosen told the committee that “the common element” of his meetings with Trump “was the president expressing his dissatisfaction that the Department of Justice had not done enough, in his view, to investigate election fraud.” One person ready to accommodate Trump never got the job. Jeffrey Clark was a Justice Department environmental official whom the president considered elevating to acting attorney general in the final weeks of his term, in place of Rosen. The committee showed how Clark was ready to send letters inviting officials in Georgia and other swing states to throw out Biden’s victory because of “significant concerns that may have impacted the outcome of the election.” In a job audition of sorts, Trump met with Clark and other senior Justice Department leaders on Jan. 3, 2021. Sitting before Trump, Clark made an argument for why he should get promoted. He told the president that he would “conduct real investigations that would, in his view, uncover widespread fraud” and that he had the “intelligence and the will and the desire to pursue these matters in the way that the president thought most appropriate,” Donoghue said. Trump was tempted. Pointing at Donoghue and Rosen, he said: “‘You two haven’t done anything,’” Donoghue recalled. In the end, Trump backed down and kept Rosen in place. Elevating Clark would have triggered mass resignations, crippling the department. Even as DOJ stayed publicly mum, a battle was brewing As the battle brewed behind the scenes at the Justice Department, the officials who testified Thursday were silent publicly. After Barr resigned in December 2020, the new leadership kept quiet as Trump and his campaign spread falsehoods about the election and worked behind the scenes to bend the Justice Department to his will. Justice Department leaders typically try to stay out of politics, and the officials may have thought their best bet was to say nothing publicly and try to ensure a smooth transition. But the silence of the FBI and the Justice Department at the time allowed Trump’s claims to gain steam in the conservative media. That the Justice Department officials stayed silent for so long made Thursday’s hearing more revealing. Speaking out publicly gave their testimony added drama. https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/congress/key-takeaways-january-6-panel-day-5-department-justice-trump-rcna34972
  4. A selection of the week's best photos from across the continent and beyond: Image source, Reuters Image caption, Tennis great Serena Williams teams up with Tunisia's Ons Jabeur for the Eastbourne Internationals doubles quarter-final in the UK on Wednesday. Image source, AFP Image caption, On Sunday, Team Egypt compete in the technical artistic swimming event at the World Aquatics Championships. Image source, AFP Image caption, On the same day, hundreds of people join a mass yoga session on the beachfront in Durban, South Africa. Image source, Reuters Image caption, Meanwhile in Libya's eastern city of Benghazi, artist Mohammed Mahmoud draws using felt pens attached to his fingers and toes. Image source, PA Media On Thursday in London, Ethiopian refugee and athlete Eskander Turki kneels next to pavement art depicting his journey to the UK. Image source, EPA Protesting nurses hold up their torn shoes in Zimbabwe on Tuesday, as health workers strike over what they say are poverty wages. Image source, AFP Mona Omar waters the wares at her nursery in Khartoum, Sudan, on Sunday... Image source, AFP .. attracting customers and pollinators alike. Image source, Getty Images Also in Khartoum days earlier, a handler lines up turtles at al-Bageir Wildlife Park. Image source, Reuters Tidal surges fuelled partly by climate change have destroyed much of Lagos' Alpha beach, seen here on Tuesday. Image source, AFP Senegalese striker Sadio Mané poses for the cameras at a press conference on Wednesday after signing for German football club Bayern Munich. Image source, AFP Members of Brussels' Congolese community march in tribute to independence hero Patrice Lumumba, whose murder historians say was backed by former colonial power Belgium and the US... Image source, AFP "I know and I feel in my heart that sooner or later my people will be free of all their enemies - both internal and external," read these T-shirts worn by well-wishers in DR Congo where Lumumba's only known remains - a tooth - were finally returned by Belgium. Images subject to copyright.
  5. dvernb

    Hi

    Hi Victor. Nice to meet you. Welcome aboard!
  6. Trump team didn't have the evidence and 4 other takeaways from the Jan. 6 hearing Former President Donald Trump's team not only pressured GOP state officials to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election he lost, but they knew there was no authority to do so, a key Republican witness said in testimony Tuesday. "We've got lots of theories, but we just don't have the evidence," Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani told Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers, according to Bowers, who testified to that Tuesday under oath before the Jan. 6 committee. That was one of the eye-opening findings of the Jan. 6 committee's fourth hearing that showed the depth and breadth of Trump and his allies' pressure on local and state officials. But there was more. Here are five takeaways from the hearing: 1. Trump's team knew it had no evidence or authority for its schemes Bowers, a Republican who voted for Trump, said Giuliana wanted him to decertify the election by replacing the slate of popularly elected Biden electors with fake Trump ones. Bowers, whose testimony was arguably the most compelling of any Jan. 6 witness so far, said he didn't know if Giuliani's comment that he had no "evidence" was a "gaffe," but that the multiple witnesses to the comment "afterwards, kind of laughed about it." Bowers also testified that lawyer John Eastman, who was advising Trump and was at the center of the schemes to help him hold onto power, urged Bowers to decertify the electors – even if they didn't think or know if it defied the Constitution. "Just do it, and let the courts sort it out," Bowers said Eastman told him. 2. Pressure was widespread, institutional and helped destroy personal lives Bowers testified that Trump asked him to entertain the idea of replacing Biden's slate of electors and replace them with people who were pro-Trump. He said he didn't "want to be used as a pawn," and told the president, "You are asking me to do something to break my oath and I will not break my oath." Bowers refused to bow to the pressure, citing his faith and oath to the Constitution, but he paid a price for that. He described a "new pattern in our lives" when groups would come to his home on Saturdays and sometimes issue threats. He said his "gravely ill daughter" was upset by what was happening outside. "So it was disturbing, just disturbing," he said. The pressure was widespread, from a multimillion-dollar ad campaign and the institutional help of the Republican National Committee to Trump meeting with state lawmakers in person, making threatening phone calls, as well as delivering public speeches and tweets that spurred threats, protests at houses and doxxing of personal information. Trump targeted Wandrea "Shaye" Moss, an election worker in Georgia, and her mother, Ruby Freeman. Moss testified that when that happened, she was inundated with threats, including one on Facebook Messenger in which someone wrote "Be glad it's 2020 and not 1920." Moss is Black. Moss tearfully testified that her life has been turned "upside down." She said she won't tell people her name anymore, hand out her business card, even go to the grocery store. She said she's gained 60 pounds and doesn't "want to do anything" or "go anywhere." "It's affected my life in a major way," she said, adding, "all because of lies." All this, in a desperate attempt by Trump and his allies to help Trump hold onto power. 3. Members of Congress were in on the pressure campaign One area that will see more follow up is spelling out just how involved certain members of Congress were. Tuesday's hearing revealed, for example, that Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs and Sen. Ron Johnson played roles. Bowers testified that Biggs urged him to sign on to the decertification of electors. The committee also showed text messages between an aide to Johnson, Sean Riley, and Vice President Mike Pence's head of legislative affairs, Chris Hodgson. The text exchange revealed that Johnson wanted to hand new slates of electors for Michigan and Wisconsin to Pence on Jan. 6, but Johnson's staffer was rebuffed. Here's the exchange: RILEY: "Johnson needs to hand something to VPOTUS please advise." HODGSON: "What is it?" RILEY: "Alternate slate of electors for MI and WI because archivist didn't receive them." HODGSON: "Do not give that to him." For its part, Johnson's office is now trying to distance the senator from the scheme. A spokesperson says the senator "had no involvement in the creation of an alternate slate of electors and had no foreknowledge that it was going to be delivered to our office." These aren't the first members of Congress to be shown as somehow involved in the pressure campaign. It was also previously reported that Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan sent a text to Mark Meadows forwarding a theory that could be used to pressure Pence to throw out votes on Jan. 6. There are also questions about a tour Rep. Barry Loudermilk, R-Ga., gave the day before the riot – with people who wound up storming the Capitol and who were taking photos of hallways and stairwells. And committee Vice Chair Liz Cheney has said the panel learned that Pennsylvania Republican Rep. Scott Perry and "Multiple other Republican congressmen also sought presidential pardons for their roles in attempting to overturn the 2020 election." Perry denied the allegation. 4. Democracy is fragile, relies on people and their willingness to do what's right The American elections system has long been revered around the world. As compared to other countries, the United States has had (largely) clean elections free of corruption. America's long history of peaceful transfers of power – until 2021 – has become a model. That was attacked Jan. 6. The institutions survived, but only because of people. "We say our institutions held," Thompson said. "But what does that really mean? Democratic institutions aren't abstractions or ideas. They're local officials who oversee elections. Secretaries of state, people in whom we've placed our trust that they'll carry out their duties. But what if they don't?" That was made clear Tuesday. What if Bowers, for example, had gone along with Trump's ruse? What if, facing threats, lawmakers and elections officials in Georgia or Michigan or Pennsylvania or Wisconsin went along? The lynchpin that holds the democratic system together is people willing to do what's right. How long can and will that last, if those people who want to do what's right are not supported by party leaders and elected officials in both parties and especially when their side loses? 5. Polarization on the right has become poisonous Imagine a world in which Joe Biden lost reelection and in the transition period did even a tenth of what witnesses are saying Trump did – the phone calls, the arm-twisting, the denial of reality, the pressuring of state elections officials and spurring threats of violence. Imagine that then dozens of Democrats who worked in his White House and on his campaign trying to get him reelected and state officials who wanted Biden to win all then testified to that pressure campaign. Do you think Republicans would be sitting on their hands, complaining about the lack of cross examination? Cheney implored people watching at home to "focus on the evidence. Don't be distracted by politics. This is serious. We can't allow America to become a nation of conspiracies and thug violence." But there's little evidence any of this will change most conservatives' minds. Trump supporters have long been selling themselves a narrative of Trump that they have internalized. That has become nearly impossible to pierce, especially with facts. Georgia election official Gabriel Sterling got to this point well. He noted that he argued with family members who were believing what Trump was telling them about a stolen election that wasn't. "The problem you have is you're getting into people's hearts," Sterling said. He relayed a story about a lawyer he knew sympathetic to Trump. Sterling took him through allegations they investigated and showed him, one by one, that they didn't stand up to scrutiny. "I just know in my heart that they cheated," Sterling said was the lawyer's response. "And so, once you get past the heart, the facts don't matter as much." When facts don't matter, that's a scary place to be. https://www.npr.org/2022/06/21/1106344831/recap-jan-6-committee-hearing
  7. Capitol riot hearing: Vote workers detail death threats Trump supporters threatened election officials and their families after they refused to quash his 2020 defeat, a congressional panel has heard. The speaker of Arizona's statehouse, Rusty Bowers, told the committee probing last year's Capitol riot that the harassment continues to this day. A Georgia voter counter said she was afraid to leave home after ex-President Donald Trump specifically targeted her. The House of Representatives panel accuses Mr Trump of an attempted coup. The select committee has conducted a nearly yearlong investigation into how Trump supporters invaded Congress on 6 January 2021 to disrupt lawmakers as they certified Democrat Joe Biden's election victory. On Tuesday, in the fourth public hearing so far, the panel heard from election workers in the states of Arizona and Georgia. Mr Biden defeated Mr Trump in both states, which had previously backed Republicans for the White House. "We received... in excess of 20,000 emails and tens of thousands of voice mails and texts, which saturated our offices and we were unable to work, at least communicate," Mr Bowers, speaker of the Arizona House of Representatives, told the select committee. The witness - who campaigned for Mr Trump in 2020 - said the threats and insults have continued with protesters outside his house attempting to smear him as a paedophile. "It was disturbing, it was disturbing," Mr Bowers said. He recalled Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani at one point telling him: "We've got lots of theories, we just don't have the evidence." The panel also heard testimony from Shaye Moss and her mother, Ruby Freeman, who became the targets of conspiracy theories in their jobs as election workers in Fulton County, Georgia. Although Mr Biden won the state by nearly 12,000 votes, Mr Trump and his supporters spread unfounded claims of mass voter fraud. In recorded messages, Mr Trump had called Ms Moss "a professional vote-scammer and hustler", alleging the mother-daughter duo cheated to help Democrats. "I've lost my name, I've lost my reputation, I've lost my sense of security," Ms Freeman said through tears, in video presented by the committee on Tuesday. "Do you know what it feels like to have the president of the United States target you?" Ms Moss said she faced "a lot of threats wishing death upon me", and that the harassment - including racial abuse - had "turned my life upside down". "I no longer give out my business card. I don't want anyone knowing my name." Ms Moss said she is reluctant to go anywhere, including the supermarket, and has gained about 60lb (27kg) in weight. She told the committee that Trump supporters had visited her grandmother's home, looking for her and hoping to make a "citizen's arrest". Lawmakers also heard from Republican poll organisers in Georgia about their difficulty in stamping out conspiracies fanned by Mr Trump. Gabriel Sterling, a top election official in Georgia, told the committee that fighting the election scam claims "was like a shovel trying to empty the ocean". His boss - Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, whom Mr Trump repeatedly pressed to "find" the votes he needed to win the state - ticked through a laundry list of allegations made by the Trump team in legal action against the state. "In their lawsuits, they alleged 10,315 dead people [voted]," Mr Raffensperger said, but a thorough review found a total of only four. The secretary said further investigation had debunked other claims about illegal votes by underage and non-registered voters, as well as convicts. "We had many allegations and we investigated every single one of them." https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-61889593
  8. dvernb

    Hi there,

    Hello apaches. Welcome aboard. Enjoy!
  9. Can you imagine if he was to run in 2024 AND GET ELECTED? Oh my Gawd!!!
  10. The searing testimony and growing evidence about Donald Trump’s central role in a multi-pronged conspiracy to overturn Joe Biden’s election in 2020 presented at the House January 6 committee’s first three hearings, has increased the odds that Trump will face criminal charges, say former DoJ prosecutors and officials. The panel’s initial hearings provided a kind of legal roadmap about Trump’s multi-faceted drives – in tandem with some top lawyers and loyalists – to thwart Biden from taking office, that should benefit justice department prosecutors in their sprawling investigations into the January 6 assault on the Capitol by a mob of Trump supporters. Ex-justice department lawyers say new revelations at the hearings increase the likelihood that Trump will be charged with crimes involving conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding or defrauding the United States, as he took desperate and seemingly illegal steps to undermine Biden’s election. Trump could also potentially face fraud charges over his role in an apparently extraordinary fundraising scam – described by House panel members as the “big rip-off” – that netted some $250m for an “election defense fund” that did not exist but funneled huge sums to Trump’s Save America political action committee and Trump properties. The panel hopes to hold six hearings on different parts of what its vice-chair, Liz Cheney, called Trump’s “sophisticated seven-part plan” to overturn the election. Trump was told repeatedly, for instance, by top aides and cabinet officials – including ex-attorney general Bill Barr – that the election was not stolen, and that his fraud claims were “completely bullshit” and “crazy stuff” as Barr put it in a video of his scathing deposition. But Trump persisted in pushing baseless fraud claims with the backing of key allies including his ex-personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and lawyer John Eastman. “The January 6 committee’s investigation has developed substantial, compelling evidence that Trump committed crimes, including but not limited to conspiracy to defraud the United States and obstruct official proceedings,” Michael Bromwich, a former inspector general at the DoJ told the Guardian. Donald Ayer, a former deputy attorney general in the George HW Bush administration, told the Guardian that “the committee hearings have bolstered the need to seriously consider filing criminal charges against Trump”. The crux of any prosecution of Trump would hinge heavily on convincing a jury that Trump knew he lost the election and acted with criminal intent to overturn the valid election results. The hearings have focused heavily on testimony that Trump fully knew he had lost and went full steam ahead to concoct schemes to stay in power. New revelations damaging to Trump emerged on Thursday when Greg Jacob, the ex-counsel to former vice-president Mike Pence, recounted in detail how Eastman and Trump waged a high-pressure drive, publicly and privately, even as the Capitol was under attack, to prod Pence to unlawfully block Biden’s certification by Congress on January 6. The Eastman pressure included a scheme to substitute pro-Trump fake electors from states that Biden won for electors rightfully pledged to Biden – a scheme the DoJ has been investigating for months and that now involves a grand jury focused on Eastman, Giuliani and several other lawyers and operatives. Eastman at one point acknowledged to Jacob that he knew his push to get Pence on January 6 to reject Biden’s winning electoral college count would violate the Electoral Count Act, and that Trump, too, was told it would be illegal for Pence to block Biden’s certification. Paul Pelletier, a former acting chief of the DoJ’s fraud section, said: “It is a target-rich environment, with many accessories both before and after the fact to be investigated.” But experts caution any decision to charge Trump will be up to the current attorney general, Merrick Garland, who has been careful not to discuss details of his department’s January 6 investigations, which so far have led to charges against more than 800 individuals, including some Proud Boys and Oath Keepers charged with seditious conspiracy. After the first two hearings, Garland told reporters, “I’m watching and I will be watching all the hearings,” adding that DoJ prosecutors are doing likewise. Garland remarked in reference to possibly investigating Trump: “We’re just going to follow the facts wherever they lead … to hold all perpetrators who are criminally responsible for January 6 accountable, regardless of their level, their position, and regardless of whether they were present at the events on January 6.” But Garland has not yet tipped his hand if Trump himself is under investigation. Despite that reticence, justice department veterans say the wealth of testimony from one-time Trump insiders and new revelations at the House hearings should spur the department to investigate and charge Trump. Barbara McQuade, a former US attorney for eastern Michigan, said the panel’s early evidence was strong, including “video testimony of Trump insiders who told Trump that he was going to lose badly, and that with regard to claims of election fraud, there was ‘no there there’,” as Trump’s ex-chief of staff Mark Meadows acknowledged in one exchange made public at the hearings. McQuade added that Barr’s testimony was “devastating for Trump. He and other Trump insiders who testified about their conversations with Trump established that Trump knew he had lost the election and continued to make public claims of fraud anyway. That knowledge can help establish the fraudulent intent necessary to prove criminal offenses against Trump.” In a novel legal twist that could emerge if Trump is charged, Bromwich said: “Bizarrely, Trump’s best defense to the mountain of evidence that proves these crimes seems to be that he was incapable of forming the criminal intent necessary to convict. That he was detached from reality, in Barr’s words. But there is strong evidence that he is not crazy – but instead is crazy like a fox. “How else to explain his attempts to pressure the Georgia secretary of state to ‘find the votes’ necessary to change the result? Or his telling DoJ officials to simply declare the election ‘corrupt’ and leave ‘the rest to me’ and Republican House allies?” Bromwich added: “All of this shows not someone incapable of forming criminal intent, but someone who understood what the facts were and was determined not to accept them. Because he couldn’t stand to lose. That was far more important to him than honoring our institutions or the constitution.” Former federal prosecutor Michael Zeldin said Trump could face charges over what Cheney called the “big rip-off”, which centers on the allegation that “Trump raised money from small-dollar donors after the election under false pretenses”. Zeldin said: “Specifically, he asked for money to fight election fraud when, in fact, the money was used for other purposes. This type of conduct could violate the wire fraud statute.” Ayer cited the importance of a justice department regulation identifying factors to consider in deciding whether to charge, and noted three of particular relevance to Trump – the nature and severity of the offence, the important deterrent effect of prosecutions, and the culpability of the individual being charged. But it might not be all plain sailing. Simmering tensions between the panel and the justice department have escalated over DoJ requests – rebuffed so far – to obtain 1,000 witness transcripts of committee interviews, which prosecutors say are needed for upcoming trials of Proud Boys and other cases. However, the New York Times has reported some witness transcripts could be shared next month. Nonetheless, as Garland weighs whether to move forward with investigating and charging Trump, experts caution a prosecution of Trump would require enormous resources, given the unprecedented nature of such a high-stakes case, and the risks that a jury could end up acquitting Trump – which might only enhance his appeal to the Republican base. Yet at the same time ,the stakes for the country of not aggressively investigating Trump are also extremely high. “No one should underestimate the gravity of deciding to criminally charge an ex-president,” said former federal prosecutor Dennis Aftergut. For Aftergut, though, charging Trump seems imperative. “Ultimately, the avalanche of documents and sworn testimony proving a multi-faceted criminal conspiracy to overturn the will of the people means one thing: if no one is above the law, even an ex-president who led that conspiracy must be indicted.” https://www.msn.com/en-ca/news/newspolitics/searing-testimony-increases-odds-of-charges-against-trump-experts-say/ar-AAYD0Bk?li=AAggNb9
  11. A selection of powerful news photographs taken around the world this week. Image source, Carl Court / Getty Images Kevin Spacey arrives at Westminster magistrates' court in London, to face allegations of sexual assault against three men. His lawyer told the court the Hollywood actor and former London theatre director strenuously denied "all and any criminality". Image source, Paula Bronstein / Getty Images Ballet dancers have returned to the stage at Lviv National Opera House, for a performance of Giselle. Performances resumed last month but tickets are limited due to the continuing conflict in Ukraine. Image source, Celestino Arce / Getty Images A Ukrainian soldier walks inside a barn destroyed by Russian shelling near the front line of the Zaporizhzhia province. Harvest cannot be collected in the area because of the continuing war. Image source, Adam Davy / PA Racegoers line up for photos during day three of the traditional English summer horseracing event at Royal Ascot. Image source, Gagan Nayar / AFP A worker burns stubble after harvesting pulses in a field in Hoshangabad district in India's Madhya Pradesh state. Image source, Lauren DeCicca / Getty Images The Thai government handed out 1,000 cannabis plants to people in Buriram, a province in eastern Thailand, at its marijuana legalisation event. The country has officially decriminalised marijuana cultivation and possession. Image source, Behcet Alkan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images) Hot-air balloons glide over Cappadocia. The Turkish region is arguably the most popular location in the world for the activity. Image source, ADREES LATIF / Reuters Asylum seekers from Central and South America are registered by border patrol agents after they crossed the Rio Grande river into the United States from Mexico in Roma, Texas. Image source, Andrew Matthews / PA People flocked to Bournemouth beach as temperatures climbed to year highs in the south of England for the third day in a row. When Friday's temperature surpassed the previous day's maximum of 29.5C (85.1F), it triggered an official heatwave. Image source, DIVYAKANT SOLANKI / EPA Hindu women perform rituals around a banyan tree during the Vat Savitri, or Vat Purnima, festival in Bhayander, Mumbai. All pictures are subject to copyright.
  12. Image source, AFP Image caption, It's harvest time in Tunisia, where these farmers move bales of wheat on Monday. Image source, AFP Image caption, Congolese protesters make their voices heard in Goma on Wednesday, condemning "Rwandan aggression" as the two nations accuse each other of harbouring rebels amid worsening relations. Image source, Reuters Image caption, On Friday in South Africa's Katlehong township, the Happy Girls netball team play together. Image source, AFP Image caption, In Cape Town on Thursday, cheerleaders rehearse their routines ahead of their performance at the United Rugby Championship on Saturday. Image source, AFP Image caption, This boy takes a nap on Friday at a camp for nomadic herders in N'Djamena, Chad. More and more pastoralists are staying put because rapid climate change means dwindling pasture and water supplies - worsening conflicts between communities. Image source, AFP Image caption, On the same day, children at a refugee centre in the Ugandan border town of Kisoro play on swings. Image source, AFP Image caption, In Rwanda on Friday, South Sudanese asylum seeker Nyalada Gatkouth Jany admires her reflection as she gets a haircut. Image source, AFP Image caption, On Thursday in South Africa's Limpopo province, opposition EFF supporters sing and dance at a rally marking the Soweto uprising 46 years ago. Image source, AFP Image caption, South Africa's Moonchild Sanelly performs with British band Gorillaz in France the day before. Image source, AFP Image caption, On the same day, Tunisian music great Lotfi Bouchnak poses for a photo shoot in the capital Tunis. Image source, EPA Image caption, Oluwaseun Sanni shows Nigerian secondary school students how to play his board game Enter Ball in Lagos on Wednesday. Image source, AFP Image caption, On the same day in Dakar, "Plastic Man" Modou Fall who leads an environmental group called Clean Senegal goes on walkabout with the message "No to plastic bags". Image source, Reuters Image caption, Dancers take to the streets of Tunis on Tuesday, as part of Carthage Choreographic Days. Image source, AFP Image caption, Mass is held at this cathedral in the Burkina Faso capital, Ouagadougou, on Sunday. Image source, AFP Image caption, On the same day, these sheep are shipped to safety after the overcrowded boat that was taking them from Sudan to Saudi Arabia sank, drowning thousands of animals. Image source, EPA Image caption, In Liberia's capital, Monrovia, people march on International Albinism Awareness day... Image source, EPA Image caption, It is a chance for group fun as well as active campaigning. The Liberia Albino Society (LAS) is calling on the government to bring in laws ending discrimination and bettering opportunities for people living with the skin condition. Image source, AFP Image caption, Large greenhouses, like this one seen on Sunday, are increasingly being used to grow tomatoes, peppers and other crops near Somalia's capital Mogadishu. Image source, AFP Image caption, Gikomba fish market in Nairobi, Kenya, is seen from above on Tuesday. Image source, AFP Image caption, And fishermen chat on their boats in Pemba, northern Mozambique, on Thursday. Image source, EPA Image caption, Figures by Kenyan artist Shabby Mwangi loom over visitors to this exhibition in Kassel, Germany, on Wednesday. Image source, EPA Image caption, People jump into the River Nile as temperatures hit 43 Celsius in Egypt on Saturday... Image source, EPA Image caption, A state of emergency has reportedly been declared in some parts of the country, putting health services on high alert during the heatwave. Image source, Reuters Image caption, And on Wednesday, people cycle through the outskirts of Rwanda's capital Kigali in the cool of the morning. Images subject to copyright.
  13. Press: How McCarthy blew it on Jan. 6 Aside from Fox News, there’s been almost universal praise in the media for the work of the Jan. 6 select committee. And rightfully so. Its first public hearing, on June 9, was a real tour de force. It was a compelling, made-for-television portrayal of the violent assault on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 — and a powerful indictment of former President Trump, the man at the heart of it all. Most importantly, it was done with utmost gravity. No grandstanding. No playing for the camera. Just the indisputable facts, backed up by testimony from leaders of Trump’s own White House: After lying about election fraud for months, the outgoing president summoned his supporters to Washington, in an apparent attempt to stage a coup against the United States government. Monday’s second hearing, though less sensational, was equally powerful, with top Republican aides testifying that Trump knew he’d lost the election but lied about it anyway. He spread the lie among state legislatures in attempts to reverse the electoral vote count — and used the lie to raise millions of dollars from loyal but clueless supporters. Again, there are plenty of kudos for what a great job the Jan. 6 committee is doing. Unfortunately, there’s too little attention paid thus far to what a pathetic job House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and House Republicans have done responding to the events of Jan. 6. From Day 1, it’s been a series of embarrassing mistakes. At first, in a rare moment of truth-telling, McCarthy said Trump was responsible for what happened on Jan. 6, “no ifs, ands or buts.” In a leaked audio recording, he said, “Nobody can defend that, and nobody should defend it.” That didn’t last long. After rushing to Mar-a-Lago to kiss Trump’s ring, McCarthy 180’d back to defending Trump, and has been doing so ever since. McCarthy’s next big mistake was refusing to agree to a bipartisan commission to investigate Jan. 6. Such a commission would have had an equal number of Republicans and Democrats, with equal authority to subpoena and interrogate witnesses. It would have joined the prestigious ranks of the Warren, Kerner, and 9/11 commissions. But McCarthy, ever fearful of offending Trump, dismissed the Jan. 6 insurrection as not worth an investigation — thereby handing Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) the opportunity to create the House select committee. Next, McCarthy tried to sabotage the committee by appointing Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Jim Banks (R-Ind.), both of whom were actively involved in Trump’s efforts to overturn the election. Again, McCarthy was outplayed by Pelosi, who rejected Banks and Jordan and offered committee seats to Republican Reps. Liz Cheney (Wyo.) and Adam Kinzinger (Ill.). Then McCarthy and House Republicans proceeded to undermine the Jan. 6 committee in a series of arguments that border on the absurd: that what happened on Jan. 6 was “no big deal”; that it was nothing more than a typical tourist visit; that it was another Democratic “witch hunt” against Trump; that it was all Pelosi’s fault; or, most despicable of all, that the blame lies with Capitol police officers, five of whom died following Jan. 6. Some even called the rioters who trashed the Capitol “patriots.” And that’s McCarthy’s shockingly inept response to the worst attack on our Capitol since the British burned the Capitol in 1814 and the most serious threat to our democracy since the Civil War. If I were a Republican, I’d sue McCarthy for malpractice. In the end, Cheney summed it up best. In a blistering statement that should be etched over the door to McCarthy’s office, she warned: “There will come a time when Donald Trump is gone, but your dishonor will remain.” Press is host of “The Bill Press Pod.” He is the author of “From the Left: A Life in the Crossfire.” https://www.msn.com/en-ca/news/newspolitics/press-how-mccarthy-blew-it-on-jan-6/ar-AAYrvBz?li=AAggNb9
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  15. A new molecule kills hard-to-treat cancers in tissue samples and mice, study shows. A new lab-designed molecule that exploits a weakness in cells can kill a wide range of cancers that are difficult to treat, according to a new U.S. study conducted on human cancer tissue and in human cancers grown in mice. The study, published on June 2 in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Cancer, found that the compound, ERX-41, was able to kill cancerous cells, including breast cancer cells that do not have estrogen receptors, without killing healthy cells. Estrogen and progesterone receptors and a receptor for a protein called HER2 are commonly found in breast cancer. These receptors are like “locks” that certain treatments, or “keys,” can open to kill the cancer cells. But roughly 10 to 15 per cent of all breast cancers are triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC), an aggressive form of the disease that is more likely to have already spread by the time it is discovered, according to the American Cancer Society. The “triple-negative” name derives from the fact that these cancer cells test negative for all three of the receptors, making it much more difficult to treat, with chemotherapy the primary option for most patients. Those who are under 40 and who are Black have the highest risk of developing TNBC, which also has the highest mortality rate among the different types of breast cancer. “The ERX-41 compound did not kill healthy cells, but it wiped out tumor cells regardless of whether the cancer cells had estrogen receptors,” Dr. Jung-Mo Ahn, an associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry with the University of Texas at Dallas who synthesized the new molecule, said in a statement. In fact, it killed the triple-negative breast cancer cells better than it killed the ER-positive cells.” Ahn said he and his research team were puzzled by the results at first and did not know what the molecule could be targeting. After several years of research chasing a number of dead ends, the scientists eventually determined that ERX-41 was binding to a cellular protein called lysosomal acid lipase A (LIPA). “For a tumour cell to grow quickly, it has to produce a lot of proteins, and this creates stress on the endoplasmic reticulum,” Ahn explained. “Cancer cells significantly overproduce LIPA, much more so than healthy cells. By binding to LIPA, ERX-41 jams the protein processing in the endoplasmic reticulum, which becomes bloated, leading to cell death.” Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is a network of sac-like structures and tubes in the gel-like cytoplasm within a cell. Proteins and other molecules move through this network. “Using a variety of biochemical and ultrastructural studies, we have shown that ERX-41 induces ER stress,” the authors wrote in the paper, adding that the molecule shuts down a certain type of protein synthesis, blocks proliferation and causes apoptosis, or a type of cell death. “Our results suggest that ERX-41 aggravates this already engaged system in TNBC to exhaust its protective features and cause apoptosis. In normal cells and tissues ERX-41 does not induce ER stress.” The compound proved effective at killing cancer cells in human tissue taken from cancer patients, as well as in mice that carried human forms of cancerous tumours, with the tumours shrinking. No adverse effects were observed in the mice. “Importantly, ERX-41 treatment did not show overt signs of toxicity, as evidenced by unchanged body weights of treated mice,” the authors wrote. “Histologic evaluation following ERX-41 treatment showed no significant changes in gross histology of multiple organs including heart, lung, spleen, liver, kidney, uterus and pancreas.” The molecule also appeared to work against other types of cancer that showed high levels of endoplasmic reticulum stress, according to researchers, including difficult-to-treat pancreatic and ovarian cancers, as well as glioblastoma, an aggressive and fast-growing brain tumour. The authors said ERX-41 may be useful in treating patients with multiple solid tumours. EtiraRX, a start-up co-founded by Ahn and co-authors Dr. Ganesh Raj, a professor of urology and pharmacology with the UT Southwestern Medical Center, and Dr. Ratna Vadlamudi, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at UT Health San Antonio, announced plans to begin clinical trials of ERX-41 as an oral drug as early as the first quarter of 2023. “Triple-negative breast cancer is particularly insidious — it targets women at younger ages; it’s aggressive; and it’s treatment resistant. I’m really glad we’ve discovered something that has the potential to make a significant difference for these patients,” said Ahn. https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/a-new-molecule-kills-hard-to-treat-cancers-in-tissue-samples-and-mice-study-shows-1.5941788
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