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    ‘Join us’: Biden campaign urges Haley supporters to turn against Trump

    Joe Biden’s presidential campaign released an ad targeting Republicans who supported Nikki Haley in her losing primary against Donald Trump.“If you voted for Nikki Haley, Donald Trump doesn’t want your vote,” the president’s campaign ad says. “Save America. Join us.”The ad shows clips of Trump disparaging Haley, the former South Carolina governor who was ambassador to the United Nations when Trump was president but fought on the longest of his opponents for the Republican nomination this year.Insults quoted include “birdbrain”, “Rino” (Republican in name only), “she’s gone crazy”, “a very angry person”, “not presidential timber” and “she’s gone haywire”.“I don’t need votes” from Haley’s supporters, Trump is shown to say, adding: “I have all the votes we need.”Michael Tyler, communications director for Biden’s campaign, said: “Donald Trump has made it crystal clear he doesn’t want support from voters who cast their ballot for Nikki Haley so let us be equally clear: there is a home for everyone on this campaign who knows Donald Trump cannot be back in the White House.“Joe Biden is building a broad and diverse coalition of voters who want more freedoms not less, who want to protect our democracy, and who want to live in a country that is safe from the chaos, division, and violence that another Donald Trump presidency would bring.”The Biden campaign said it planned to spend more than $1m to air the ad on digital platforms in battleground states, “targeting Nikki Haley voters in predominantly suburban zip codes where she performed well against Trump”.The Biden campaign this week saw encouraging results in many states likely to decide the election, gains that led Simon Rosenberg, an influential Democratic operative, to say the “Biden bump is real”.Biden has also vastly out-raised Trump, including through a high-profile fundraiser in New York City on Thursday, at which the president appeared with Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, his most recent Democratic predecessors in the Oval Office.Unnamed Biden officials told the Washington Post senior figures including Jeffrey Katzenberg, the Hollywood mogul and campaign co-chair, had spoken to “people in Haley’s orbit”.The question of outreach to anti-Trump Republicans is a perennial one. The new Biden ad landed on the same day as a Politico column in which the influential Washington reporter Jonathan Martin chastised as “political malpractice” a failure to reach out to influential anti-Trump Republicans.Figures cited as ripe for wooing included Chris Christie, the former New Jersey governor who has ended his flirtation with a third-party run; the former president George W Bush; the former House speaker and vice-presidential nominee Paul Ryan; and Mike Pence, Trump’s vice-president whose run for the nomination failed but who sensationally said he would not endorse Trump this year.Another anti-Trump Republican, the Utah senator and 2012 presidential nominee Mitt Romney, told Martin: “Biden has not asked for my support. I’m pretty critical of his mess at the border – that should have cooled his jets!”Haley dropped out of the Republican primary after Super Tuesday, 5 March, having won only the minor prizes of Washington DC and Vermont.In her concession speech, she said: “It is now up to Donald Trump to earn the votes of those in our party and beyond who did not support him and I hope he does that.”Haley’s brother, Mitti Randhawa, recently said Trump had not answered his sister’s “plea”, adding: “Shame on you. You will need them.”Haley has not endorsed Trump and has said she no longer feels bound by a pledge to support the Republican nominee. Her supporters remain a prized commodity. Polling shows them roughly equally split when it comes to choosing Trump or Biden.Haley has won a little more than 21% of votes in the Republican primary so far, with a high point in losing contests of more than 43% in New Hampshire. She fared less well where Democrats and independents could not vote but still highlighted Trump’s vulnerability in his own party.Legally, the former president faces unprecedented jeopardy, including 88 criminal charges and multimillion-dollar penalties in civil suits. Political donations have been funneled into paying legal bills now topping $100m.Politically, Trump must repel Democratic efforts to attract independents and moderates, particularly women opposed to Republican attacks on reproductive rights.After Haley dropped out, Biden said: “Nikki Haley was willing to speak the truth about Trump: about the chaos that always follows him, about his inability to see right from wrong, about his cowering before Vladimir Putin. Donald Trump made it clear he doesn’t want Nikki Haley’s supporters. I want to be clear: There is a place for them in my campaign.”That campaign now hopes enough of Haley’s supporters will follow Michael Burgess, a South Carolina teacher who recently told the Associated Press: “I will reluctantly vote Biden.“We can survive bad policy, but we cannot survive the destruction of the constitution at the hands of a morally bankrupt dictator lover in Trump who, supported by his congressional Maga minions, would do just that.” More

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    Biden campaign raises $25m ‘money bomb’ at event with Obama and Clinton

    Joe Biden and his Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama, headlined a star-studded fundraiser with Bill Clinton on Thursday that organizers said raised more than $25m for the US president’s re-election campaign.Such a haul, which Politico called an “NYC money bomb”, will widen Biden’s lead over Donald Trump in fundraising for the November election.Amid improving polling for Biden, the two presidential campaigns recently posted February fundraising figures. Federal filings showed Biden nearly $40m up in cash raised, leading the president’s campaign to taunt their rival as “Broke Don”.On Thursday, a Trump campaign adviser said the candidate won’t be able to match Biden’s totals, blaming the disparity on the Democrat’s “billionaire” supporters and painting a picture of a Trump campaign as being fueled by grassroots, working-class supporters.Obama hitched a ride from Washington to New York aboard Air Force One with Biden. They waved as they descended the plane’s steps at John F Kennedy International airport and got into the motorcade for the ride into midtown Manhattan.The marquee at Radio City Music Hall in midtown Manhattan was lit up and read: “An Evening with Joe Biden Barack Obama Bill Clinton”. NYPD officers lined surrounding streets as part of a heavy security presence for the event.Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer was up first to warm up the sold-out crowd of about 5,000 supporters. Entertainers, too, had their time on stage. Lizzo belted out her hit About Damn Time and emcee Mindy Kaling joked that it was nice to be in a room with “so many rich people”, adding that she loved that they were supporting a president who “openly” promises to “raise your taxes”.The hours-long fundraiser had different tiers of access depending on a donor’s generosity. The centerpiece was an onstage conversation with the three presidents, moderated by late-night talk show host Stephen Colbert. Other celebrities included Queen Latifah, Ben Platt, Cynthia Erivo and Lea Michele. Tickets sold for as low as $225.The fundraiser was punctuated by protests inside the auditorium, as attendees rose at several different moments to shout over the discussion, referencing Biden’s backing of Israel’s war in Gaza.“Shame on you, Joe Biden” one yelled, according to Reuters.Obama said Biden has “moral clarity” on the Israel issue and is willing to listen to all sides in this debate and find common ground.When a protester inside the theater interrupted Obama, the former president snapped back: “You can’t just talk and not listen …That’s what the other side does”On the money raised during the event, Jeffrey Katzenberg, the Hollywood mogul turned Biden campaign co-chair, said: “This historic raise is a show of strong enthusiasm for President Biden and vice-president [Kamala] Harris and a testament to the unprecedented fundraising machine we’ve built.skip past newsletter promotionafter newsletter promotion“Unlike our opponent, every dollar we’re raising is going to reach the voters who will decide this election – communicating the president’s historic record, his vision for the future and laying plain the stakes of this election. The numbers don’t lie: today’s event is a massive show of force and a true reflection of the momentum to re-elect the Biden-Harris ticket.”Katzenberg’s reference to fundraising meant to “reach the voters” was a barb aimed at Trump. The Republican’s unprecedented legal jeopardy – he faces 88 criminal charges and multimillion-dollar civil penalties – has contributed to controversy over whether campaign donations should be used to pay his legal bills.Trump has appealed to supporters for help. His political operation has been shown to be paying lawyers’ bills. Amid Trump’s takeover of the Republican National Committee, achieved by installing his daughter-in-law Lara Trump as co-chair, attempts have been made to stop it contributing to his legal costs.Trump has been widely criticised for failing to mount many campaign events. On Thursday, seeking to boost his hardline law-and-order message, he will attend a wake for a New York police officer killed in the line of duty.Announcing its event with Obama and Clinton, the Biden campaign sought to emphasise the contrast between the president’s strong fundraising and Trump’s struggles.“In contrast to Trump’s cash-strapped campaign,” a statement said, “tonight alone Team Biden-Harris will raise $5m more than the Trump campaign raised in all of February; nearly double what the Trump campaign raised in all of January; more than what the Trump campaign raised in December and January combined; more than double what the RNC has cash on hand – and more than the RNC has raised all year; nearly 60% of what the Trump campaign has cash on hand.” More

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    Trump cases: lawyer argues to dismiss Georgia election subversion case; progressive groups call for ‘fair’ hush money trial – as it happened

    Donald Trump’s legal team was in Atlanta to argue that the charges brought by Fulton county district attorney Fani Willis against the former president should be dismissed on first amendment grounds. Other defendants have tried unsuccessfully to make that argument, but Judge Scott McAfee wrapped up the hearing without giving any indication of how he may rule – or, perhaps more importantly, when Trump’s trial will actually start. Speaking of trials, Republican House speaker Mike Johnson sent the Senate’s Democratic leader Chuck Schumer a letter demanding he get started on homeland security secretary Alejandro Mayorkas’s impeachment trial as soon as the GOP transmits the charges on 10 April. Schumer’s office said the Senate leader plans to do so, but reports indicate that Democrats are considering voting to dismiss the impeachment articles.Here’s what else happened:
    James Comer, one of the House Republican leaders of the attempt to impeach Joe Biden, invited the president to testify before his committee. Don’t expect him to show up.
    Volodymyr Zelenskiy said he spoke with Johnson about Ukraine aid, though no breakthrough on authorizing more funds was announced.
    Progressive groups have written an open letter asking that Trump receive “a prompt and fair trial” in the New York hush-money case.
    Biden called New York City mayor Eric Adams to offer condolences on the death of police officer Jonathan Diller. Trump attended his wake.
    The Republican National Committee wants to know whether new hires think the 2020 election was stolen from Trump.
    James Comer, the Republican House oversight committee chair and one of the leaders of the campaign to impeach Joe Biden, has invited the president to testify at a hearing about his family’s business dealings.Don’t expect the president to take him up on the offer. When Comer announced last week that he planned to send the invitation, a White House spokesman kept their response succinct: “LOL”.Indeed, the Republican attempt to bring charges against Biden for alleged corruption appears to be in trouble, in part because they haven’t actually proven their allegations, and also because some in their party don’t support the effort. Comer has reportedly signaled to potential donors that he may settle for making a criminal referral to the justice department, rather than continuing to push for the president’s impeachment.In a lengthy letter to Biden, Comer proposed that he appear on 16 April:
    As the foregoing demonstrates, the Committee has compiled evidence -bank records, contemporaneous electronic communications, and witness testimony – showing your awareness, acquiescence, and participation in self-enrichment schemes of your family members.
    As Chairman of the Committee, in addition to requesting that you answer the questions posed in this letter, I invite you to participate in a public hearing at which you will be afforded the opportunity to explain, under oath, your involvement with your family’s sources of income and the means it has used to generate it. As you are aware, presidents before you have provided testimony to congressional committees, including President Ford’s testimony before the Subcommittee on Criminal Justice of the House Judiciary Committee in 1974.
    Then there’s the matter of the Senate. Democrats control it by a margin of just one seat, and their best path to maintaining their majority after next year is by getting Joe Biden and two of their senators representing red states re-elected. One of those two is Jon Tester of Montana, where the Guardian’s Kira Lerner reports the state’s highest court today struck down voting restrictions passed by its Republican government:In a significant win for voting rights, the Montana supreme court on Wednesday struck down four voting restrictions passed by the state’s Republican-controlled legislature in 2021.In a 125-page opinion, the state’s highest court affirmed a lower court’s ruling that the four laws, passed in the wake of Donald Trump’s 2020 election loss, violate the state constitution. The laws had ended same-day voter registration, removed student ID cards as a permissible form of voter ID, prohibited third parties from returning ballots and barred the distribution of mail-in ballots to voters who would turn 18 by election day.After a nine-day trial, the lower court found that the laws would make it harder for some state residents to register to vote and cast a ballot.A spokesperson for the Republican secretary of state, Christi Jacobsen, who appealed the lower court decision in an attempt to get the laws reinstated, said that she was “devastated” by the supreme court decision.“Her commitment to election integrity will not waver by this narrow adoption of judicial activism that is certain to fall on the wrong side of history,” the spokesperson, Richie Melby, wrote in a statement. “State and county election officials have been punched in the gut.”Mike Johnson’s time as House speaker may not last long – the Republican majority is small, and Democrats have the opportunity to flip the chamber back to their control in November. But there are lots of variables that will affect whether they are able to do that, including which congressional maps are used in which states. Today in South Carolina, the Guardian’s Sam Levine reports that Republicans scored a win in an important redistricting case:A federal court will allow South Carolina Republicans to use their congressional map for the 2024 election, it said on Thursday, despite an earlier finding that the same plan discriminates against Black voters. The decision is a big win for Republicans, who were aided by the US supreme court’s slow action on the case.In January 2023, a three-judge panel struck down the state’s first congressional district, which is currently represented by Nancy Mace, a Republican. The judges said legislative Republicans had impermissibly used race when they redrew it after the 2020 census. As part of an effort to make it more solidly Republican, lawmakers removed 30,000 Black voters from the district into a neighboring one. Republicans argued that they moved the voters to achieve partisan ends, which is legal. The district was extremely competitive in 2020, but Mace easily won the redrawn version in 2022.The ruling is a significant boon to House Republicans, who are trying to keep a razor-thin majority in Congress’s lower chamber this year.In a post on X, Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskiy said he spoke with Republican House speaker Mike Johnson, who has refused to say whether he will allow a vote on another round of military aid for the country.Zelenskiy said he updated Johnson about the situation on the battlefield in Ukraine, and continued: “In this situation, quick passage of US aid to Ukraine by Congress is vital. We recognize that there are differing views in the House of Representatives on how to proceed, but the key is to keep the issue of aid to Ukraine as a unifying factor.”Here’s more:Democrats around the US have enjoyed startling electoral successes through campaigning on Republican threats to women’s reproductive rights, just this week even taking a state seat in deep red Alabama.Marilyn Lands won that race after, in the words of our report, making “Alabama’s abortion ban and access to contraception and in vitro fertilization (IVF) central to her campaign, speaking openly about her own previous abortion experience in a TV ad that featured her saying that it was ‘shameful that today women have fewer freedoms than I had two decades ago’”.Today, Lucas Kunce, a Missouri Democrat hoping for an upset win over Josh Hawley, a prominent far-right presence in the US Senate, follows suit with a new campaign ad.In the short ad, headlines (including one from the Guardian) about Hawley’s refusal to back legislation protecting IVF and support for an anti-IVF judge appear on screen as Jessica, described as “a Missouri mother”, says:
    After years of trying and disappointment and struggle and health scares, I just had this beautiful baby and I held her and I just like knew I was meant to be her mom. Now there are efforts to ban IVF and Josh Hawley got them started. Josh Hawley has proven that he won’t protect ATF and he would let politicians make me a criminal. I want Josh Hawley to look me in the eye and tell me that I can’t have the child that I deserve.
    Kunce said: “Jessica and her family matter. Josh Hawley has built his career on a control-obsessed crusade to outlaw reproductive healthcare. It’s now a threat to IVF and to women in Missouri. We can’t risk giving Hawley’s crusade another six years in the US Senate.“This race is going to be about freedom. In Missouri, we’re tired of Big Brother elites like Josh Hawley telling us how to live and criminalising our freedoms.”Hawley’s wife, Erin Hawley, is a prominent lawyer in reproductive rights cases who this week argued before the supreme court that mifepristone, an abortion pill, should be banned.Here’s more on that case, from Melissa Segura and well worth a lunchtime read:Officials at the US Department of Defense are having preliminary “conversations” about how to stabilize Gaza with a peacekeeping force when, at some point, the current conflict between the Israeli government and Hamas, the Islamist group that runs the Palestinian territory, comes to an end, Politico reports.The US news outlet is reporting that Pentagon chiefs are talking about options, including the possibility that the Pentagon would help fund either “a multinational force or a Palestinian peacekeeping team”.The report points out that no options include US troops serving on the ground in the Gaza area, citing two Pentagon and other Biden administration officials, who won’t be named by Politico because of the highly-sensitive nature of the discussions.The outlets suggests any US funding “would go toward the needs of the security force and complement assistance from other countries”.Meanwhile, the Guardian reports that the International Court of Justice has ordered Israel to allow unimpeded access of food aid into Gaza, where significant sections of the population are facing imminent starvation, in a significant legal rebuke to Israel’s claim it is not blocking aid deliveries.Illinois Democrat Sean Casten’s not holding back about the right-wing majority House impeaching homeland security secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and impatiently expecting a trial in the Senate.“Reminder that MTG [Marjorie Taylor Green], Clay Higgins and Andy Biggs are all named impeachment managers. If you want to make the @HouseGOP look like the clown show it is on national television, this is how you do it,” the congressman posted on X/Twitter.Arizona Republican Andy Biggs had also posted, saying Mayorkas was “derelict in his duty” to secure the US-Mexico border.The House and Senate are on a two week recess at the moment.Reuters adds that: Federal officials including presidents, who are impeached by the House are subject to a trial in the Senate to determine whether they should be removed from office.Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer’s office issued a statement saying that senators will be sworn in as trial jurors the day after the articles are delivered. However, the Democratic-led chamber is highly unlikely to vote to remove Mayorkas from office.Some more details and reactions coming through on Republican House speaker Mike Johnson’s demand that the Senate’s Democratic majority leader, Chuck Schumer, schedule the trial of homeland security secretary Alejandro Mayorkas “expeditiously” after his impeachment last month. The speaker will transmit the articles of impeachment on April 10.Louisiana Republican congressman Clay Higgins getting very “we the people”…And, from the White House:Donald Trump’s legal team was in Atlanta to argue that the charges brought by Fulton county district attorney Fani Willis against the former president should be dismissed on first amendment grounds. Other defendants have tried unsuccessfully to make that argument, but Judge Scott McAfee wrapped up the hearing without giving any indication of how he may rule – or, perhaps more importantly, when Trump’s trial will actually start. Speaking of trials, Republican House speaker Mike Johnson sent the Senate’s Democratic leader Chuck Schumer a letter demanding he get started on homeland security secretary Alejandro Mayorkas’s impeachment trial as soon as the GOP transmits the charges on 10 April. Schumer’s office said the Senate leader plans to do so, but reports indicate that Democrats are considering voting to dismiss the impeachment articles.Here’s what else is going on:
    Progressive groups have written an open letter asking that Trump receive “a prompt and fair trial” in the New York hush money case.
    Joe Biden called New York City mayor Eric Adams to offer condolences on the death of police officer Jonathan Diller. Trump plans to attend his wake.
    The Republican National Committee wants to know if new hires think the 2020 election was stolen from Trump.
    Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer responded to Mike Johnson’s letter by saying they’d get the ball rolling on the impeachment trial as soon as House Republicans send the charges over.“As we have said previously, after the House impeachment managers present the articles of impeachment to the Senate, senators will be sworn in as jurors in the trial the next day. Senate President Pro Tempore Patty Murray will preside,” Schumer’s office said in a statement.There’s plenty they are not saying, including whether they’ll actually go through with holding the trial, or quickly vote on a motion to dismiss the charges, as Democrats are reportedly considering doing.The Republican speaker of the House, Mike Johnson, has demanded the Senate’s Democratic leader Chuck Schumer schedule the trial of homeland security secretary Alejandro Mayorkas “expeditiously” after his impeachment last month.“As Speaker and impeachment managers of the US House of Representatives, we write to inform you that we will present to you upon the Senate’s return, on April 10, 2024, the duly passed articles of impeachment regarding Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. We urge you to schedule a trial of the matter expeditiously,” Johnson and the 11 Republican impeachment managers wrote in a letter sent today to Schumer.They continued:
    We call upon you to fulfill your constitutional obligation to hold this trial. The American people demand a secure border, an end to this crisis, and accountability for those responsible. To table articles of impeachment without ever hearing a single argument or reviewing a piece of evidence would be a violation of our constitutional order and an affront to the American people whom we all serve.
    House Republicans alleged Mayorkas has mismanaged security on the border with Mexico, but Senate Democrats have shown no interest in removing him from office. They are reportedly considering dismissing the charges without holding a trial, and Schumer has said the allegations were ginned up at the behest of Donald Trump:
    This sham impeachment effort is another embarrassment for House Republicans. The one and only reason for this impeachment is for Speaker Johnson to further appease Donald Trump.
    House Republicans failed to produce any evidence that Secretary Mayorkas has committed any crime.
    House Republicans failed to show he has violated the Constitution.
    House Republicans failed to present any evidence of anything resembling an impeachable offense.
    This is a new low for House Republicans.
    Congress is currently out of Washington DC, with the Senate and House set to resume on 8 and 9 April, respectively.A coalition of progressive groups has released an open letter calling for Donald Trump to receive “a prompt and fair trial” in New York, where he faces charges related to making hush money payments prior to the 2016 election.Earlier this week, the judge overseeing that case set 15 April as its start date, making it the first of Trump’s four criminal indictments to go to trial. The other three cases remain mired in pre-trial motions and appeals, and it is unclear if verdicts will be reached in any prior to the November presidential election.“The facts alleged in the indictment recount much more than a sordid soap opera and corporate malfeasance; they also describe conduct that should matter to anyone who cares about democracy, voter information, and meaningful voter choice,” reads the letter, which was signed by 17 groups organized into the Not Above the Law coalition, including Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, MoveOn and Indivisible.In New York, Trump stands accused of channeling funds from his business to adult actor Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal in exchange for their silence on extra-martial affairs ahead of the 2016 election. He allegedly described the payments as legal costs, which New York prosecutors say broke the law.The groups say this amounted to an “instance of election interference” that “might also be understood as an early sign of Trump’s antipathy for voters, which surfaced again in behavior culminating in the January 6th violent attempt to overturn the 2020 election results and disrupt the peaceful transfer of power.”They continue:
    If the rule of law is to remain meaningful, no one — not even a former president — should be allowed to be above the law, and all the Trump criminal trials must play out. The first of these trials is important. We, the undersigned organizations, stand united in our desire for a prompt and fair trial that goes wherever the facts and the law lead. The undersigned organizations also express our hopes that as the Manhattan trial unfolds, the full context for the charges is made clear and understandable to the American public. Our nation deserves nothing less. More

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    Joe Lieberman, former US senator and vice-presidential nominee, dies at 82

    The former US senator Joe Lieberman, who ran as the Democratic nominee for vice-president in the 2000 election and became the first Jewish candidate on a major-party ticket for the White House, alongside presidential candidate Al Gore, has died at the age of 82.Lieberman died in New York due to complications from a fall, according to a statement from his family. He was a Connecticut senator for four terms.Lieberman took one of the most controversial arcs in recent US political history. Though he had the status of a breakthrough candidate for America’s Jewish community as Gore’s running mate, his support for president George W Bush’s Iraq war heralded a rightward journey that saw him anger many Democrats.Lieberman sought the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004 but his support for the war in Iraq doomed his candidacy with voters, amid increasing anger at the invasion and its bloody aftermath. It also meant Lieberman was rejected by Connecticut’s Democrats when he ran for a fourth Senate term there in 2006.However, in what he said was a vindication of his positions, he kept his Senate seat by running as an independent candidate, with substantial support from Republican and independent voters.By 2008, Lieberman was a high-profile supporter of Republican senator John McCain in his bid to defeat Democrat Barack Obama’s quest to become America’s first Black president.Thus Lieberman did manage to both impress and offend people across party lines. He expressed strong support for gay rights, civil rights, abortion rights and environmental causes that often won him praise of many Democrats, and he frequently fit mould of a north-east liberal. He played a key role in legislation that established the US Department of Homeland Security.He was also the first national Democrat to publicly criticize President Bill Clinton for his extramarital affair with then White House intern Monica Lewinsky. He scolded Clinton for “disgraceful behavior”, earning the ire of his party – though his position has become much more standard in the wake of the #MeToo movement.As he sought a political home outside Democratic politics, Lieberman’s close friend in the Senate John McCain was leaning strongly toward choosing him as vice-president for the 2008 Republican ticket, but Lieberman’s history of liberal policies were seen as too unpopular for McCain to pull off such a move with his conservative base. He plumped for Sarah Palin instead.In announcing his retirement from the Senate in 2013, Lieberman acknowledged that he did “not always fit comfortably into conventional political boxes” and felt his first responsibility was to serve his constituents, state and country, not his political party.Harry Reid, who served as Senate Democratic leader, once said that while he didn’t always agree with the independent-minded Lieberman, he respected him.“Regardless of our differences, I have never doubted Joe Lieberman’s principles or his patriotism,” Reid said. “And I respect his independent streak, as it stems from strong convictions.”After leaving the Senate, Lieberman joined a New York law firm and took up company boards – as is common for retiring senators. But his public positions continued to be a mish-mash of liberal and rightwing views.View image in fullscreenHe endorsed Donald Trump’s controversial decision to move the US Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and was a public supporter of Trump’s rightwing education secretary Betsy DeVos – a hated figure for many liberals. But at the same time, he endorsed Hilary Clinton in 2016 and Joe Biden in 2020 in their runs for the White House.Lieberman continued to push his message of compromise with his 2021 book The Centrist Solution, comparing far-right extremists to progressive leftists in a Guardian interview at the time, saying: “The divisive forces in both of our two major parties have moved further away from the centre. But I believe those more extreme segments of both parties are in the minority in both parties.”He also said he was optimistic that “more mainstream, centrist elements” in the Republican party would take over again.He remained active in recent years as the founding chairman of No Labels, an organization to encourage bipartisanship but which is currently exploring backing a third-party bid for the presidency as Trump and Biden face off again. Faced with criticisms that the group’s efforts could boost Trump’s chance at victory, Lieberman said last year he did not want to see Trump re-elected, but that he believed Democrats would fare better if Biden was not running. In recent weeks, No Labels has struggled to find a candidate as ballot deadlines near.Lieberman grew up in Stamford, Connecticut, where his father operated a liquor store. He was the eldest of three siblings in an Orthodox Jewish family. A Yale law school graduate, Lieberman went on to serve as Connecticut attorney general in 1983, before defeating the incumbent Republican, Lowell Weicker, to earn his Senate seat in 1988.Tributes poured in from both sides of the aisle on Wednesday night. Chris Murphy, a US senator from Connecticut, said in a statement that his state was “shocked by Senator Lieberman’s sudden passing”, adding: “In an era of political carbon copies, Joe Lieberman was a singularity. One of one. He fought and won for what he believed was right and for the state he adored.”Chuck Grassley, a Republican from Iowa and oldest sitting senator at 90, recalled working with Lieberman on whistleblower initiatives, saying in a statement: “Joe was a dedicated public servant working [with] anyone regardless of political stripe.”Gore published a tribute praising Lieberman as a “truly gifted leader, whose affable personality and strong will made him a force to be reckoned with”, recounting his former running mate’s support of the 1960s civil rights movement.Obama wrote that he and Lieberman “didn’t always see eye-to-eye”, but commended the former senator for supporting the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” and the passage of the Affordable Care Act: “In both cases the politics were difficult, but he stuck to his principles because he knew it was the right thing to do.”Paul Harris and the Associated Press contributed to this report More

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    Democrat wins election in conservative Alabama after focus on abortion and IVF

    An Alabama Democrat who campaigned against the state’s near-total abortion ban has won a special election to the state legislature, a stark signal that reproductive rights is a potent issue for Democratic candidates, even in the deep south.Marilyn Lands won the state house seat on Tuesday, defeating Teddy Powell, a Republican, by 63% to 37%. Lands, a licensed professional counselor, previously ran for the seat in 2022 and lost by 7% to David Cole, a Republican who resigned last year after pleading guilty to voter fraud.Lands made Alabama’s abortion ban and access to contraception and in vitro fertilization central to her campaign, speaking openly about her own previous abortion experience in a TV ad that featured her saying that it was “shameful that today women have fewer freedoms than I had two decades ago”.Lands said that her win sent a clear message in the wake of Alabama’s near-total abortion ban, which came into effect after the US supreme court struck down Roe v Wade in 2022. In February, there was also a highly controversial state supreme court decision that threatened the use of IVF.“This is a giant step forward for Alabama, this is a victory tonight for women, for families, for Alabama in general,” Lands told WHNT News 19 in the wake of her win.“It feels like it’s the start of a change here,” she added of the state’s politics. “I think we are ready for something different, we are tired of Alabama being 49th and 50th in all the key metrics. We can do better, we are better and I want to make that happen.”Lands said she would work to overturn Alabama’s abortion law, one of the most stringent in the US, which outlaws abortion at any stage of pregnancy with no exceptions for rape or incest. It is only permitted in situations where the life of the pregnant person is in danger.“Today, Alabama women and families sent a clear message that will be heard in Montgomery and across the nation,” she said in a statement. “Our legislature must repeal Alabama’s no-exceptions abortion ban, fully restore access to IVF, and protect the right to contraception.”The special election does little to tip the balance of power in conservative Alabama, with Republicans holding a commanding 75 to 27 advantage over Democrats in the state house.However, Democrats have hailed the victory as a further sign that restricting access to abortion has proved electorally damaging to Republicans, particularly in the sort of seat contested by Lands. The Democrat won in the state’s 10th district, which comprises parts of Huntsville and Madison, a relatively affluent and educated area of northern Alabama only narrowly carried by Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election.“This special election is a harbinger of things to come – Republicans across the country have been put on notice that there are consequences to attacks on IVF – from the bluest blue state to the reddest red, voters are choosing to fight for their fundamental freedoms by electing Democrats across the country,” said Heather Williams, president of the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, in a statement sent to Politico. More

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    The Guardian view on the UN security council’s ceasefire resolution: the US talks tougher on Israel | Editorial

    The extent of the Biden administration’s shift at the United Nations security council on Monday should not be underestimated. The US is not only by far Israel’s most important ally and supplier of aid, but has provided it with stalwart diplomatic support. That it abstained instead of vetoing a resolution demanding an immediate ceasefire – as it had previously done – was a major departure and leaves Israel looking extremely isolated, as Benjamin Netanyahu’s angry reaction showed.Yet the US has since done its best to talk down its decision, with officials insisting that there has been no change in policy and describing the resolution as non-binding. That is not the view of other security council members or the UN itself. António Guterres, the UN secretary general, wrote that it would be “unforgivable” to fail to implement the resolution, which also called for the unconditional release of hostages. But Israeli airstrikes have continued.The Biden administration is well aware that this war is ravaging its international standing: it is judged both complicit in the suffering in Gaza and ineffectual in its ability to restrain Israel’s conduct of the war. At home, it is costing the president vital Democratic support in an election year. But more Americans believe that Israel’s conduct of the war is acceptable than unacceptable, although there is a clear – and generational – divide.Mike Johnson, the Republican speaker of the US House of Representatives, has already said that he will invite Mr Netanyahu to speak before Congress. Though many in Israel fully understand the long-term damage the Israeli prime minister has done to his country’s interests as he fights for his own, there is no sign that US exasperation will speed his departure or moderate the conduct of this war.While the Biden administration treads gingerly, the humanitarian catastrophe gallops ahead in Gaza. The UN resolution stipulates a ceasefire for Ramadan – already half passed. More than 32,000 Palestinians have been killed, according to Gaza’s health authorities. Disease and starvation are claiming more lives as the most intense famine since the second world war takes hold – a famine entirely human-made by the destruction of so much of Gaza and the reduction of aid to a trickle. Unrwa, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees central to relief efforts, has said that Israel has banned it from making aid deliveries in northern Gaza.Mr Biden has described the placing of conditions on US military aid as a “worthwhile thought”, but it does not appear to be one that he intends to translate into reality, though past administrations have threatened or imposed them. Recipients of arms must now give assurances that they abide by international law, but the US says it has “no evidence” that Israel is not in compliance. Many Democrats disagree.Canada has already announced that it is suspending further sales. The UK shifted from abstaining to supporting the ceasefire resolution on Monday, and David Lammy, the shadow foreign secretary, has urged the Foreign Office to publish its formal legal advice on whether Israel is breaching international law in Gaza. The reality is, however, that 99% of Israel’s arms imports come from the US and Germany. Hand-wringing over humanitarian suffering is pointless when you continue to supply the weapons creating the disaster. Monday’s abstention was an important symbolic moment, but it appears that little will alter unless the US makes a substantive change.Do you have an opinion on the issues raised in this article? If you would like to submit a response of up to 300 words by email to be considered for publication in our letters section, please click here. More

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    ‘Unbought and unbossed’: the incredible, historic story of Shirley Chisholm

    Crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, earlier this month to mark the 59th anniversary of Bloody Sunday, a turning point in the struggle for civil rights, the Rev Al Sharpton’s thoughts turned to an old mentor.Shirley Chisholm was the first Black woman to serve in the US Congress and the first woman to seek the Democratic nomination for president. More than half a century later, Sharpton now stood with Kamala Harris, the first woman of colour to serve as vice-president.“I told her Mrs Chisholm – Mrs C as I called her – is smiling down on us,” Sharpton, 69, says by phone. “It’s a long road from her in ’68 to you on that bridge but we still got one more river to cross and that’s electing a woman president. When they do that then Mrs C can smile with that smile only she could have. She would be disappointed but not discouraged because she always believed you’ve got to keep fighting no matter how long it takes.”The story of Chisholm’s run for the presidency in 1972, smashing gender and race barriers and unsettling old school politicians, is told in Shirley, a film written and directed by John Ridley (an Oscar winner for his 12 Years a Slave screenplay) and starring Regina King, streaming on Netflix.Expect to hear more about the trailblazing politician, instantly recognisable for her puffy wigs and retro glasses, throughout this year, which marks the centenary of her birth. Among her evergreen quotations: “Tremendous amounts of talent are lost to our society just because that talent wears a skirt”; “If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring your own folding chair.”Chisholm was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1924, the daughter of Caribbean immigrants. Her mother was a seamstress and domestic worker, her father (a follower of Marcus Garvey) worked in a factory. She lived in Barbados from age five to nine with her maternal aunt and grandmother.She returned to Brooklyn in 1934 and excelled academically, graduating from Brooklyn College with honours in sociology and prizes for debating, and earning a master’s degree in early childhood education from Columbia University.Chisholm began her career as a teacher, advocating for better opportunities for minority students. Her outspoken passion for social justice led her to become involved in local politics and community activism. In the 1960s she served in the New York state assembly, where she fought for education reform, affordable housing and social welfare programmes.Sharpton first met her in 1968 when, as a 12- or 13-year-old boy preacher at a Pentecostal church in Brooklyn, he was supporting a friend of the bishop, James Farmer, in the election for New York’s 12th congressional district. “I went out and I met Shirley Chisholm, who was running against James Farmer, and she said, ‘Boy preacher, you’re on the wrong side.’ That’s how we started talking and she was very kind to me. In about two or three weeks, I switched sides.”Sharpton adds: “She was a very regal woman, an educator. She would always say, ‘Alfred, you’re not speaking proper English. Repeat that sentence!’ She was very formal but very much a grassroots person. She’d get on the corners and take the megaphone from me and she would draw her own crowd and she probably was one of the greatest underestimated orators of our time.”Using the slogan “unbought and unbossed”, Chisholm duly pulled off an upset victory, making history as the first African American woman elected to Congress. She declared: “Just wait, there may be some fireworks.”Washington was still dominated by white men who had grown up in the era of Jim Crow racial segregation. One of them harassed Chisholm every day about her making the same salary as him: “I can’t believe you’re making 42.5 like me.” Eventually she told him to vanish when he saw her enter the chamber.Historian Barbara Winslow, 78, founder of the Shirley Chisholm Project of Brooklyn Women’s Activism,, says: “How was she treated? Well, the white southerners were absolutely repulsive and disgusting. One of her aides told us the story of she would go into a congressional meeting, and you’d sit all around and, when she would get up to leave, this one congressman had a bottle of Lysol and wiped off her chair.”Leaders of the House of Representatives relegated Chisholm to the agriculture committee, a position she condemned as irrelevant to an urban district such as hers. She was reassigned, first to the veterans affairs committee and eventually to the education and labour committees. During seven terms in Congress she championed legislation to improve the lives of marginalised communities, advocating for childcare, education and healthcare reform.View image in fullscreenIn 1972 Chisholm became the first African American woman to seek the nomination for president from a major political party. She announced: “I am not the candidate of Black America, although I am Black and proud. I am not the candidate of the women’s movement of this country, although I am a woman and equally proud of that. I am the candidate of the people and my presence before you symbolises a new era in American political history.”It was always a long shot and she did not expect to win. But Shola Lynch, an award-winning film-maker whose directorial debut was the documentary Chisholm ’72: Unbought and Unbossed, understands why she did it.“Every time she went on a campus to speak, people would be like, Shirley Chisholm, you should be our president!” Lynch says. “She had defied odds twice to become something that nobody could imagine. So part of her was like, you know what? Let’s do it. That willingness to put yourself out there and to try and to go for it and to not limit yourself as a woman, as a Black woman, is an incredible example.“To have her in the documentary telling her own story, she becomes your relative, the aunt you wish you had who did the amazing thing you didn’t realise when you ignored her at Thanksgiving so many times because she had that weird fur on and then all of a sudden, you’re old enough to be like, hot diggity woman, you did that?!”With a coalition of students, women and minority groups serving as her campaign volunteers and a shoestring budget of $300,000, Chisholm entered a dozen state primaries and campaigned in several states in what became known as the “Chisholm Trail”. She seized the opportunity to rattle the status quo and advocate for issues such as gender and racial equality and economic justice.She also pushed into once unthinkable political territory. Winslow, author of Shirley Chisholm: Catalyst for Change, says: “She was in the Florida Panhandle. It’s pretty conservative, to put in bluntly, and she’s campaigning in a town where there had been a very famous lynching. She writes later that she’s campaigning under a Confederate statue of men with a rifle and she has a good-sized crowd. This elderly Black man comes up to her afterwards and says, ‘I never thought I’d live to see the day.’”Chisholm had the backing of the Black Panther party and the civil rights stalwart Rosa Parks. But she faced opposition, resistance and scepticism as she took on white male rivals including George McGovern, George Wallace, Hubert Humphrey and Edmund Muskie. Black activists such as Jesse Jackson, John Conyers Jr and Julian Bond supported McGovern.Sharpton says: “I remember going with her to meetings where she would come out almost with tears in her eyes because Black men, Black elected officials that she had fought for, would not support her only because she was a woman. She would always say to me, ‘Alfred, we are fighting racism and misogyny.’ I couldn’t believe these are guys that would preach Black power and they had already made their deals with McGovern and others and wouldn’t support her.”Chisholm boycotted 1972’s National Black Political Convention in Gary, Indiana, because it was dominated by men and the conveners could not decide whether to endorse her campaign.View image in fullscreenSharpton adds: “She was disappointed in a lot of the women’s groups and the Black groups that didn’t support her. I think that hurt her. I was more angry than she was because I felt as a kid that these guys and women’s groups weren’t who they said they were; this was my first exposure to the hypocrisy of a lot of them.“She would say, ‘Alfred, it is a scar but you have to learn to fight through your pain and keep going and keep going. She was determined to go ahead but I think it hurt her because she, in some cases, was as surprised as I was.”Chisholm alienated some Black voters when she visited Wallace, a governor of Alabama who had built his political career on racial segregation, in hospital as he recovered from an assassination attempt. It was a hugely controversial and divisive gesture.Congresswoman Barbara Lee, then a student president, Black Panther party volunteer and campaign organiser for Chisholm in California, was mortified. “I hated that,” she recalls by phone from Washington. “I was about ready to leave the campaign. Oh, my God, here I was, idealistic, young, first campaign, first time I registered to vote.“Got to know her, loved her dearly, loved her politics and then she goes to meet this segregationist who’s known as a racist who I couldn’t stand because of what he did to people in Alabama. Here he was running for president. I was furious. She took me to task and she used to shake her finger at me – she called me little girl – and she said you’ve got to stop and you have to be human.”Lee, 77, was later told by Wallace’s daughter, Peggy Wallace Kennedy, what had happened in the hospital meeting. “Shirley Chisholm said, I’m a Christian, and she prayed with him. She was the one responsible for George Wallace in his wheelchair (he was paralysed) rolling down the middle of Dexter Avenue Baptist church [in Alabama] apologising to the Black community for his segregationist views and the harm he had done. Of course, that was much too little too late and an expedient political move. But he did it.”Chisholm herself did not regret the meeting, arguing that Wallace always spoke well of her and helped her rally support among southerners in Congress for a bill to extend federal minimum wage provisions to domestic workers.It was a lesson that Lee, who appears as a character in Shirley, took to heart in her own political career. “There were people like George Bush I’ve had to deal with. I disagreed with him on everything when I brought to him my legislation, and talked to him about global Aids and needing to do something, he signed the bills that I put forth that established the Pepfar programme and the Global Fund and all of those global initiatives and helped save 25 million lives. That’s because I worked with a rightwing Republican who I voted against and disagreed with on every policy he put forward. So she taught me a lot.”She arrived at the 1972 Democratic national convention with 152 delegates, more than Muskie or Humphrey. But McGovern had put together 1,729 delegates and claimed the nomination. He went on to lose in a landslide to President Richard Nixon. Chisholm went back to Congress and rose in leadership to become the secretary of the House Democratic Caucus.View image in fullscreenShe retired in 1983, noting that “moderate and liberal” members were “running for cover from the new right” in the era of Ronald Reagan. In addition, her second husband, Arthur Hardwick, had been injured in a car accident and needed extensive care (her first marriage, to Conrad Chisholm, ended in divorce in 1977 and she did not have children).Chisholm co-founded the National Political Congress of Black Women, which represented the concerns of African American women, and taught politics and women’s studies at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts and Spelman College in Atlanta. She also had fun. Lee – who helped the film-makers with historical research, visited the set and attended this week’s premiere in Los Angeles – recalls: “She was always dancing and she came to my mother’s 75th birthday party in Berkeley.“She and my mother danced with the young guys until 2am, closed the place down. I have pictures of her on the dancefloor. She was a fun-loving person. She was very sensitive, though, and she cried a lot in private but you would never know it because she was a very stern, very tough, very brilliant strong Black woman.”President Bill Clinton nominated Chisholm to be US ambassador to Jamaica but she declined due to ill health. She died aged 80 in 2005 at her home in Ormond Beach, Florida. Lee has since fought hard to preserve her legacy. She arranged for a portrait of Chisholm to be displayed at the US Capitol and is now working on the creation of a congressional gold medal in her honour.When Harris made her own bid for the White House in 2019, she paid tribute to Chisholm in her campaign speeches, slogans and colours. But she abandoned her run before the Iowa caucuses, meaning that America is still waiting for its first female president after nearly 250 years.Sharpton reflects: “She was very proud of her race and her gender and she in private would say that it always takes people in history to take us to the next step and, if I’ve got to take America to the next step for Blackness and Black America to the next step for misogyny, then let me be that vessel.“The thing that was always striking to me about Mrs C is she never saw herself in contemporary terms. She saw herself as historic and that’s how she would talk about it. She would tell me, ‘Don’t pay attention to tomorrow’s tabloids; think about what history will say about you, young man.’ That’s how she thought.”
    Shirley is now available on Netflix More

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    New Jersey’s first lady suspends Senate run: ‘It’s time to unify, not divide’

    New Jersey’s first lady Tammy Murphy has announced the suspension of her Senate campaign.In a video message posted to Twitter/X on Sunday, Murphy said: “After many busy, invigorating, and yet challenging months, I am suspending my Senate campaign today. I’ve been genuine and factual throughout. But it is clear to me that continuing in this race will involve waging a very divisive and negative campaign, which I am not willing to do.”Murphy, wife of New Jersey’s Democratic governor Phil Murphy, was running to replace senator Bob Menendez who is currently facing federal corruption and foreign agent allegations involving Egypt and Qatar. On Thursday, Menendez, who has maintained his innocence, announced that he will not run in the Democratic primary. Nevertheless, he said he is hopeful for an exoneration and may run as an “independent Democrat” in the general election.In her video message, Murphy pointed to Donald Trump, saying that with him on the ballot and “with so much at stake for our nation, I will not in good conscience waste resources, tearing down fellow Democrats”.“Right now, our kids are growing up in a world where fire drills are being replaced by active shooter drills, a world where little girls have less rights than their mothers and climate change threatens all of us. That’s what’s at stake in this election. And as we face grave, dangerous threats on the national level, thanks to Donald Trump and far-right extremists, it’s time to unify, not divide,” Murphy added.She went on to pledge her focus towards re-electing Joe Biden and “ensuring Democratic victories up and down the ballot all across New Jersey”.With Murphy dropping out of New Jersey’s Senate race, the state’s Democratic representative Andy Kim – whom Murphy did not endorse in her address – is left as the clear winner for the Democratic nomination in the June primary.Kim, who has led a popular campaign fuelled largely by grassroots support, has focused his campaign largely on tackling corruption following the allegations surrounding Menendez, including the senator’s alleged acceptances of cash, gold bars, a Mercedes-Benz convertible, and luxury watches from foreign governments.skip past newsletter promotionafter newsletter promotionEarlier this month, Kim co-introduced a new bipartisan bill to strengthen federal bribery laws.“We live in a time of the greatest distrust in government in modern American history. As public servants we have a duty to be truthful and faithful to our oaths of office and to the people we serve above all else,” Kim said. More