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    Bill Barr in ‘active discussions’ to testify before Capitol attack panel – live

    We’re still waiting for the final result from Tuesday’s Republican senate primary in Pennsylvania, in which Donald Trump’s endorsed candidate, celebrity TV doctor Mehmet Oz, and former treasury official David McCormick are separated by only a few hundred votes with 99% of the count in.But there was a clear winner in the race to become the Republican nominee for state governor in November’s midterms – Trump loyalist and big lie proponent Doug Mastriano.My colleague Sam Levine has this profile of the extremist, whom critics fear will be in charge of appointing officials to oversee the state’s elections if he wins later this year, and who will theoretically have the power to reject a result he doesn’t like:The Trump loyalist who could be a major threat to US democracyRead moreBill de Blasio, the former mayor of New York city, is running for Congress in a district that includes areas of Manhattan and his home in western Brooklyn.He made the announcement on MSNBC’s Morning Joe on Friday, shortly before his Bill de Blasio for Congress website went live with the campaign slogan: “The only way to save our democracy is to be a part of it”. De Blasio, whose second term as NYC mayor ended last year, is seeking election in New York’s 10th congressional district, currently represented by Democrat Jerry Nadler. Redistricting under the supervision of a New York judge, which Nadler says is unconstitutional, has forced him into a race for the 12th district with another Democratic incumbent, Carolyn Maloney, opening up the 10th for de Blasio’s run.The state’s primary has been pushed back from June to 23 August following legal wrangling over the legality of New York’s maps and a court’s decision last month that Democrats’ original proposals were too heavily in their own favor.De Blasio, 61, toyed with running for governor this year, the Associated Press says, but decided not to challenge incumbent Democrat Kathy Hochul. He also had a short-lived run for president in 2019. There’s more trouble at home for Joe Biden as he ends the first day of his Asian tour: his approval rating has dropped to the lowest point of his presidency.Raging inflation, soaring gas prices, the baby formula shortage and a failure to deliver on campaign promises were cited by respondents in an Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Research study that also reflects deepening pessimism among his own Democratic party.Only 39% of US adults approve of Biden’s performance as president, a further drop from already negative ratings a month earlier.Overall, only about two in 10 adults say the US is heading in the right direction or the economy is good, both down from about three in 10 a month earlier. Those drops were concentrated among Democrats, with just 33% within the president’s party saying the country is headed in the right direction, down from 49% in April.Of particular concern for Biden ahead of the midterm elections, his approval among Democrats stands at 73%, a substantial drop since earlier in his presidency. In AP-NORC polls conducted in 2021, Biden’s approval rating among Democrats never dropped below 82%.The findings reflect a widespread sense of exasperation in a country facing a cascade of challenges ranging from inflation, gun violence, and a sudden shortage of baby formula to a persistent pandemic.“I don’t know how much worse it can get,” Milan Ramsey, a 29-year-old high school counselor and Democrat in Santa Monica, California, told the AP. She said she and her husband had to move into her parents’ house to raise their infant son.“He hasn’t delivered on any of the promises. I think he’s tired and I don’t blame him, I’d be tired too at his age with the career he’s had.”Biden has been attempting to play up his successes at home over improved unemployment figures and his bipartisan infrastructure bill, and the White House sees his tour of Asia, including meetings with the leaders of South Korea and Japan, as an opportunity to market the US abroad.But the trip has already attracted unwelcome headlines. A member of Biden’s advance security detail was arrested for allegedly assaulting a South Korean citizen in Seoul in a dispute over a taxi, and CNN reports that two secret services agents have been sent home.It is not known if it relates to the same incident.Read more:Biden security team member arrested in Seoul over alleged drunken assaultRead moreBill Barr, the former attorney general who says he told Donald Trump his fantasy of a stolen election was “bullshit”, could soon be on the record with the 6 January House panel.Axios is reporting that Barr, who resigned in the waning days of Trump’s single term of office, is in negotiations with the committee to tell what he knows of the days surrounding the deadly insurrection, and Trump’s demand for the justice department to declare the election fraudulent.Details are scant, the committee is refusing to confirm the story, and it’s not known if Barr will be invited to take part in public hearings the panel will be holding this spring.But Axios says it has sources with knowledge of the situation who insist Barr is in “active discussions” to follow up his previous informal conversations with the committee with on-the-record testimony and transcribed interviews.The news comes at an important juncture for the bipartisan inquiry, which wants to complete its work ahead before November’s midterms, when Republicans are expected to win back control of the House and shut it down.What information Barr has to offer remains to be seen. Most of what we already know about his knowledge of Trump’s desperate efforts to stay in power comes from his book, which the Guardian reviewed in March as a “self-serving narrative that ignores tricky truths”. But the pace of the 6 January investigation is undoubtedly picking up as members scramble to complete their work.Separately on Friday, CNN reported that John Eastman, the rightwing attorney and Trump acolyte, was deeply involved in the plot to steal back the election, and has revealed in a court filing that he spoke regularly with, and had handwritten notes from the former president, concerning those efforts.The panel is chasing those documents, and on Thursday wrote to Georgia congressman Barry Loudermilk seeking information about “reconnaissance tours” of the Capitol the Republican is reported to have hosted on 5 January 2021, one day before Trump’s supporters ransacked the building in efforts to stop Congress certifying his defeat. Read more:Congress members led ‘reconnaissance tours’ of Capitol before attack, evidence suggestsRead moreGood morning blog readers, and welcome! We’ve made it to Friday, but as you know, the pace of US politics never winds down!We’re learning that Bill Barr, the former attorney general, is poised to give sworn testimony to the 6 January House committee investigating Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn his 2020 election defeat.Axios reports that Barr, who has already spoken informally to the panel, is in “active discussions” for a formal, transcribed interview. We’ll have more on that coming up, as well as the following:
    Joe Biden is in Seoul, South Korea, talking computer chips at a technology factory with ties to Texas. Meanwhile, his popularity rating back home has taken another dive.
    Vote counting from Tuesday’s Republican senate primary in Pennsylvania is limping towards the finish line, with Trump-endorsed TV doctor Mehmet Oz in a neck-and-neck race with former treasury department official David McCormick.
    Polls suggest Trump is set for a bruising in next week’s Georgia primary, where David Perdue, the former senator Trump wants to replace incumbent Republican governor Brian Kemp, has fallen further behind.
    Covid-19 cases are rising again across the US, and there’s little sign that Congress is willing to fund Biden’s requested $22.5bn relief package for vaccines, testing and therapeutics.
    A decision is expected imminently from a federal judge in Louisiana, who will decide if the Biden administration can proceed with plans to end next Monday the Trump-era Title 42 immigration policy keeping refugees at the border because of the pandemic.
    Stick with us as the days unfolds, and you can also follow developments in the Ukraine conflict in our global live news blog here. More

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    Tucker Carlson tried to use Hunter Biden to get his son into Georgetown

    Tucker Carlson tried to use Hunter Biden to get his son into GeorgetownEmails reveal the ‘extent’ which Carlson was willing to turn on Biden’s son since the 2020 election, Washington Post says As Tucker Carlson asked Hunter Biden for help getting his son into an elite Washington university in 2014, the Fox News host’s wife, Susie, reportedly wrote in an email: “Tucker and I have the greatest respect and admiration for you. Always!”Since the 2020 election, however, Carlson has fueled rightwing attacks on Joe Biden’s son, particularly over business affairs in which he allegedly benefited from his father’s position.The existence of emails about getting Buckley Carlson into Georgetown has been known for some time, thanks to a laptop once owned by Hunter Biden that was obtained by Donald Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and pushed to media in 2020.On Thursday the Washington Post revealed new emails and said analysis by security experts confirmed their authenticity.The emails, the Post said, “reveal the extent to which Carlson was willing to turn on a former associate as he thrives in a hyper-partisan media world in which conservatives have made Biden a prime target for attack.”“They also show how Carlson once sought to benefit from the elite political circles in Washington that he now regularly rails against as the ‘ruling class’.”Carlson told the Post that in 2014, when Joe Biden was vice-president, “Hunter Biden was my neighbor. Our wives were friends. I knew him well.“I talked to him many times about addiction, something I know a lot about. And I’ve said that. I think that Hunter Biden is an addict and that’s why his life is falling apart, and I feel bad for him. I’ve said that many times, and I mean it.”He also said he would not comment on the emails, as they “were described by our [intelligence] community as Russian disinformation. So why would I? And I read that in the Washington Post”.The Post said Carlson was “speaking with apparent irony”. He and others on the right charge that mainstream media willfully overlooked the Biden laptop in 2020, amid reports it could contain disinformation planted by Russia or other malign actors.The Post also said emails showed Carlson helping Biden in 2015, amid reports about the state of Biden’s marriage. Carlson has confirmed doing so.But the Post focused on Carlson’s apparent hypocrisy.Quoting Carlson accusing Hunter Biden of getting “lucrative jobs … because he had an important father”, the Post said the Fox News host did so without “disclosing that he had once enlisted Biden to help get his son into a prestigious private university”.On the same January 2020 show, Carlson said: “In America today, there’s nothing illegal about paying de facto bribes by handing fake jobs to the unqualified family members of powerful people. And since it is perfectly legal, naturally, Hunter Biden isn’t the only one shamelessly cashing in on his family name.”In another email reported by the Post, Susie Carlson wrote: “Tucker and I would be so grateful if you could write a letter or speak to someone in the Georgetown Admission’s [sic] Office about Buckley.”Biden reportedly agreed to write to the university president and said: “I will do anything you would like me to do.”According to the Post, Tucker Carlson wrote: “I can’t thank you enough for writing that letter to Georgetown on Bucky’s behalf. So nice of you. I know it’ll help. Hope you’re great and we can all get dinner soon.”Buckley Carlson went to the University of Virginia. Now communications director for Jim Banks, a House Republican from Indiana, he did not comment on the Post report.Amid reaction online, the author Radley Balko wrote: “The story here is that Tucker Carlson is the living embodiment of the unearned, privileged elitism that Tucker Carlson derides on his show every night. The Hunter Biden part is just gravy.”Rightwing accounts pointed to an NBC report which said Biden’s laptop and other sources showed that between 2013 and 2018, he and his company brought in about $11m from work linked to Ukraine and China.TopicsHunter BidenFox NewsJoe BidenUS politicsnewsReuse this content More

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    US Senate passes $40bn aid package for Ukraine – as it happened

    The US Senate has approved Joe Biden’s massive new military and humanitarian aid bill for Ukraine, with a huge bipartisan vote in favor of the package as allies boost the fight back against Russia’s invasion of its smaller neighbor.The final vote moments ago was 86 in favor, 11 against. The vote had been expected last week until Kentucky rightwinger Rand Paul blocked it.All 50 Democrats in the Senate and all but 11 Republicans supported the bill, which was larger than the original $33bn one first requested by Biden last month.The US president is expected to sign the bill into law as soon as possible. Russia invaded Ukraine three months ago.“Help is on the way, really significant help. Help that could make sure that the Ukrainians are victorious,” Senate majority leader and New York Democrat Chuck Schumer said.That’s a wrap for Thursday’s US politics blog, but our global live blog of the Ukraine conflict continues here.Here’s what we followed today:
    The US Senate has (finally) passed a $40bn package of military, economic and humanitarian aid for Ukraine.
    Joe Biden says he’s “proud” to support applications by Finland and Sweden to join Nato, after meeting the countries’ leaders at the White House, saying their addition will strengthen the defense alliance. But Turkey says it can’t support the move.
    Oklahoma has passed the nation’s most restrictive abortion law, a total ban beginning at conception which allows citizens to sue anyone who “aids or abets” a woman in terminating a pregnancy.
    The 6 January House panel wants to hear from Republican congressman Barry Loudermilk about a “tour” he allegedly hosted at the Capitol building the day before it was overrun by a mob of Donald Trump supporters.
    The homeland security department has suspended the government’s troubled new disinformation board after the resignation of its director and a wave of Republican criticism.
    Biden is on his way to Alaska, the staging post for his onward journey on Air Force One to Seoul and Tokyo and meetings with the leaders of South Korea and Japan in the coming days.
    The alleged white supremacist behind Saturday’s grocery store massacre in Buffalo, New York, made a brief court appearance this morning. House lawmakers sent the domestic terrorism bill to the Senate, where it faces an uncertain fate.
    National security adviser Jake Sullivan has been giving a preview of Joe Biden’s trip to South Korea aboard Air Force One as the president and his entourage travel on the first leg towards their staging post in Alaska.The audio feed from 38,000 feet is, how shall we say, patchy. But it seems Sullivan was asked about the likelihood of North Korea launching some kind of deliberate action or challenge to the US while Biden is in Asia to meet the leaders of South Korea and Japan:.css-knbk2a{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}Our analysis [is] that there is a genuine possibility, a real risk of some kind of provocation while we’re in the region, whether in South Korea or in Japan, that could take the form of a nuclear test, the seventh nuclear test that North Korea has conducted.
    It could take the form of a missile test. There have been a number of missile tests this year. And of course, North Korea has a long history going back decades of missile tests, both to advance their capabilities and to cause provocations.
    We are prepared for those eventualities, we are coordinated closely with both the ROK [Republic of South Korea] and Japan, we know what we will do to respond to that.
    One of the main messages we are sending on this trip is that the United States is here for our allies and partners. We are here to help provide deterrence and defense for the ROK and Japan. Our cooperation will only strengthen in the face of any further provocations by North Korea.Vladimir Putin “had to keep explaining things” to Donald Trump when Trump was US president, the former White House aide Fiona Hill said. “Putin doesn’t like to do that,” Hill told the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.“You could see that he got frustrated many times with President Trump. Even though he loves to be able to spin his own version of events, he wants to have predictability in the person that he’s engaging with.”Under Trump, Hill was senior director for European and Russian affairs on the national security council. She is now a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington.The British-born adviser come to prominence when she testified in Trump’s first impeachment for withholding military aid to Ukraine in an attempt to extract political dirt on opponents including Joe Biden.Putin ordered the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February. Bloody fighting continues. Biden has committed to supporting Ukraine.At the Chicago event, Hill said Putin “thought that somebody like Biden, who’s a trans-Atlanticist, who knows all about Nato, who actually knows where Ukraine is, and actually knows something about the history, and is very steeped in international affairs, would be the right person to engage with as opposed to somebody that you have to explain everything to all the time, honestly”.The Russian president, Hill said, might still be “waiting for us to sue for peace, [to] negotiate away Ukraine”.Trump and Republicans claim Putin would not have invaded if Trump was in power.The Trump administration was dogged by investigations of Russian election interference and links between Trump and Moscow.Read more:Putin ‘had to keep explaining things to Trump’, ex-White House aide saysRead moreThe 6 January House panel wants to hear from a Republican congressman about a “tour” he allegedly hosted at the Capitol building the day before it was overrun by a mob of Donald Trump supporters.The committee has written to Georgia representative Barry Loudermilk asking for his voluntary cooperation.According to a publicly released letter, panel chair and Mississippi Democrat Bennie Thompson wrote:.css-knbk2a{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}Based on our review of evidence in the select committee’s possession, we believe you have information regarding a tour you led through parts of the Capitol complex on January 5, 2021.
    Public reporting and witness accounts indicate some individuals and groups engaged in efforts to gather information about the layout of the US Capitol, as well as the House and Senate office buildings, in advance of January 6, 2021.Loudermilk did not immediately reply to a request for comment.The House committee is looking into Trump’s attempts to overturn his election defeat by Joe Biden and the deadly riot at the Capitol by his supporters on the day Congress was certifying the result.Today’s move suggests the panel has evidence pointing to certain “reconnaissance tours” taking place in the days before 6 January, potentially providing some rioters with a layout of the complex, the Guardian’s Hugo Lowell reports.Read more:January 6 panel evidence suggests Congress members led ‘reconnaissance tours’ of the Capitol before attackRead moreThe words “Donald Trump” and “risk averse” rarely appear in the same sentence, but after the former president suffered mixed fortunes in some Republican primary race endorsements, and a bloodied nose in others, he’s rethinking his strategy of prolifically backing candidates, according to CNN.The network says candidate in upcoming elections are likely to have a harder time winning Trump’s coveted endorsements.An adviser tells CNN that Trump is “agitated” by the inability of his pick Mehmet Oz, the celebrity TV doctor-turned-politician, to score a decisive victory over David McCormick in the Pennsylvania senate primary. The race is heading for an automatic recount with just a few hundred votes from Tuesday’s primary separating them.“This is not how he expected this to go,” the adviser tells CNN.“If Oz loses, it puts [Trump] in an awkward spot because he absolutely trashed David McCormick at his rally and pissed off quite a few allies who never thought he should have endorsed Oz.” While Trump has scored some wins, for example a convincing victory by Doug Mastriano in Pennsylvania’s gubernatorial primary, other endorsements have fallen flat. The scandal-plagued North Carolina congressman Madison Cawthorn lost his seat despite Trump’s (admittedly late-in-the-game) backing, and former senator David Perdue looks headed for a thumping loss to incumbent Brian Kemp in Georgia’s governor primary next Tuesday, according to Huffpost.A newly cautious approach to upcoming primaries by Trump would underscore his belief that in order to maintain influence inside the Republican party, his endorsement must remain powerful, CNN says.Oklahoma’s Republican-led legislature just passed the nation’s strictest abortion ban, which allows citizens to sue anyone who “aids or abets” a woman in terminating a pregnancy. The ban begins at conception.The law would take effect immediately if Republican governor Kevin Stitt signs the bill, which he is expected to do. It would allow litigants to sue for $10,000 and “emotional distress”. If the law goes into effect, it will make Oklahoma “the first state to successfully outlaw abortion and eliminate access while Roe v Wade is still standing,” according to a spokesperson for Planned Parenthood, and have profound effects for women in Texas. Oklahoma’s total abortion ban is modeled after a six-week abortion ban first passed by Texas. There, the state passed a law to allow anyone, anywhere to sue those who “aid and abet” an abortion. Texas’s law banned abortion at six weeks, which is before most women know they are pregnant. Consequently, thousands of Texan patients headed to Oklahoma seeking to terminate pregnancies. Oklahoma then passed a similar six-week abortion ban. The bill being considered by Stitt would outlaw abortion from the moment an egg is fertilized, even before it implants in the uterus. The right to obtain an abortion was established in the landmark 1973 supreme court decision Roe v Wade. The case provided a constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy up to the point a fetus can survive outside the womb. In early May, a leaked draft opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito Jr, one of the court’s conservatives, showed a majority of justices considered reversing Roe v Wade outright. If they followed through with that draft decision, at least 26 US states would be certain or likely to ban abortion. Thousands of patients in the Midwest and South would then be forced to seek care across state lines, sometimes traveling hundreds of miles. Perhaps as many as one-in-five, according to the estimates of one economist, would be forced to carry a pregnancy to term.Here’s a heartwarming image that encapsulates the US Senate’s celebrated spirits of bipartisanship, camaraderie and mutual friendship: Democratic and Republican senators prepare to take lunch with Sweden’s prime minister Magdalena Andersson and Finland’s president Sauli Niinistö on Capitol Hill today.The leaders held a closed-door meeting with the senators after their earlier summit with Joe Biden at the White House to discuss the Nordic nations’ historic application to join Nato.Time to take stock of developments so far today:
    The US Senate has (finally) passed a $40bn package of military, economic and humanitarian aid for Ukraine. Andriy Yermak, chief of staff to Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskiy, says thank you, and predicts it will spur his country to victory.
    Joe Biden says he’s “proud” to support applications by Finland and Sweden to join Nato, after meeting the countries’ leaders at the White House, saying their addition will strengthen the defense alliance. But Turkey says it can’t support the move.
    The homeland security department has suspended the government’s troubled new disinformation board after the resignation of its director and a wave of Republican criticism.
    Biden is on his way to Alaska, the staging post for his onward journey on Air Force One to Seoul and meetings with the leaders of South Korea and Japan in the coming days. We’ll hear from White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre and national security adviser Jake Sullivan aboard the flight a little later.
    The alleged white supremacist behind Saturday’s grocery store massacre in Buffalo, New York, made a brief court appearance this morning. House lawmakers have sent the domestic terrorism bill to the Senate, where it faces an uncertain fate.
    A top aide to Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy has thanked the US Senate after it approved nearly $40 billion in aid, saying this would help ensure the defeat of Russia, Reuters writes.Andriy Yermak, chief of staff to Zelenskiy, posted praise online.“Together we’ll win,” he tweeted.Thanks US Senate for the historic decision to provide $40 billion aid package to 🇺🇦. Together, we’ll win.— Andriy Yermak (@AndriyYermak) May 19, 2022
    He also said:.css-knbk2a{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;} We are moving towards victory confidently and strategically. We thank our allies.”In addition, Group of Seven (G7) financial leaders have agreed on $18.4bn (£14.7bn) to help Ukraine and said they were ready to stand by Kyiv and “do more as needed”, according to a draft communique seen by Reuters.Finance ministers and central bank governors of the US, Japan, Canada, Britain, Germany, France and Italy are holding talks as Ukraine is running out of cash.G7 countries have “mobilised $18.4 billion of budget support, including $9.2 billion of recent commitments” in 2022, the draft said.You can read more about this and all the news from the ground and Europe on the war in Ukraine in our global live blog on the crisis, here.The Senate passing the $40bn aid bill for Ukraine with a richly bipartisan vote was a glaring exception to the partisan divisions that have hindered work on other issues under Biden.They promise to become only less bridgeable as November’s elections for control of Congress draw closer, the Associated Press reports.That includes Republicans blocking Democrats from including billions to combat the relentless pandemic in the measure, leaving their efforts to battle Covid-19 in limbo.Last week the House approved the Ukraine bill 368-57, with all of those opposed Republicans. Though support in both chambers was unmistakably bipartisan, the GOP defections were noteworthy after Trump, still a potent force in the party, complained that such sums should first be targeted at domestic problems.Senate Majority leader and New York Democrat Chuck Schumer said there could be yet more aid packages for Ukraine from the US..css-knbk2a{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}They’re doing the fighting, they’re the ones getting killed, they’re the ones struggling and suffering. The least we can do is give them the weaponry they need,” he said. Schumer called it “beyond troubling” that Republicans were opposing the Ukraine assistance..css-knbk2a{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}It appears more and more that MAGA Republicans are on the same soft-on-Putin playbook that we saw used by former President Trump,” said Schumer, using the Make America Great Again acronym Democrats have been using to cast those Republicans as extremists.Senate Minority leader and Kentucky Republican Mitch McConnell, a strong backer of the measure, addressed concerns by his GOP colleagues, saying Ukraine’s defeat would jeopardize America’s European trading partners, increase US security costs there and embolden autocrats in China and elsewhere to grab territory in their regions..css-knbk2a{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}The most expensive and painful thing America could possibly do in the long run would be to stop investing in sovereignty, stability and deterrence before it’s too late,” McConnell said. The US Senate has approved Joe Biden’s massive new military and humanitarian aid bill for Ukraine, with a huge bipartisan vote in favor of the package as allies boost the fight back against Russia’s invasion of its smaller neighbor.The final vote moments ago was 86 in favor, 11 against. The vote had been expected last week until Kentucky rightwinger Rand Paul blocked it.All 50 Democrats in the Senate and all but 11 Republicans supported the bill, which was larger than the original $33bn one first requested by Biden last month.The US president is expected to sign the bill into law as soon as possible. Russia invaded Ukraine three months ago.“Help is on the way, really significant help. Help that could make sure that the Ukrainians are victorious,” Senate majority leader and New York Democrat Chuck Schumer said.The Buffalo massacre will be “a catalyst” for legislation to combat hate crime against Blacks, according to the prominent civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who is representing the families of several of the 10 victims.Crump says he’s also working with the Brady Center to achieve a reduction in gun violence in the US.His office released a statement this morning announcing Crump will be representing the families of Buffalo victims Andre Mackneil and Geraldine Talley. He was already acting for the family of victim Ruth Whitfield.Mackneil was killed as he was buying a cake for his son, whose third birthday was the day of the massacre. Talley was buying iced tea.All three families will join Crump and veteran civil rights activist Al Sharpton at a press conference in Buffalo on Thursday afternoon.Crump said:.css-knbk2a{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}I am honored to stand with these families in the face of such horror and hatred as we investigate and call for meaningful change to ensure no family has to feel such pain ever again.
    I hope that one day soon these families will know their loved ones’ deaths were a catalyst for long overdue Black anti-hate crime legislation – and for that we demand swift action from our elected officials.Gun reform legislation has stalled in the Senate amid opposition from Republicans. On Wednesday, the House passed the domestic terrorism bill including some gun reforms and new categories of offenses for some hate crimes. It, too, faces substantial headwinds in the Senate.Information is coming in that the government’s new disinformation board is out.The homeland security department has paused the work of the troubled panel and accepted the resignation of its director Nina Jankowicz.She told the Associated Press hours after resigning on Wednesday that a wave of attacks and violent threats she has fielded since the board’s launch will not stop her from speaking out about disinformation campaigns pulsing through the social media feeds of Americans:.css-knbk2a{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}We need to have a grownup conversation about how to deal with threats to our national security and that’s not what happened here. I’m not going to be silenced.It remains to be seen how the board’s disastrous rollout and ensuing criticism around it will damage ongoing US efforts to counter disinformation used as a weapon by Russia and other adversaries.The homeland security secretary, Alejandro Mayorkas, acknowledged the board’s controversy had become a distraction to the department’s other work, which includes safeguarding US elections, two officials familiar with his decision said.While the board has not formally been closed down, it will be reviewed by members of a DHS advisory council that is expected to make recommendations in 75 days. The Washington Post first reported the board’s pause.The department announced the formation of the Disinformation Governance Board on 27 April with the stated goal to “coordinate countering misinformation related to homeland security.” Read more:US homeland security pauses new disinformation board amid criticismRead more More

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    Biden tells Buffalo shooting mourners: ‘Evil will not win. Hate will not prevail’ – as it happened

    Joe Biden attacked the “hateful and perverse ideology” behind the Buffalo massacre as he and first lady Jill Biden visited the city and paid tribute to the victims.In an emotional but powerful address to mourners, officials and first responders, the president called on Americans to “enlist” in the fight against racial hatred:.css-knbk2a{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}In America, evil will not win. I promise you. Hate will not prevail. White supremacy will not have the last word.
    What happened here is simple and straightforward terrorism, domestic terrorism, violence inflicted in the service of hate, and a vicious thirst for power.
    The media, and politics, the internet, have radicalized angry and lost and isolated individuals into falsely believing that they will be replaced. That’s the word. Replaced by other people who don’t look like them.
    I call on all Americans to reject the lie, and those who spread the lie for power, political gain, and for profit.Biden condemned years of racially-based attacks across the country..css-knbk2a{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}We’ve seen the mass shootings in Charleston, South Carolina; El Paso, Texas and Pittsburgh. Last year in Atlanta, this week in Dallas, Texas. Now in Buffalo… Buffalo, New York…
    White supremacy is a poison. It’s a poison running through our body politic that’s been allowed to fester and grow right in front of our eyes. No more. No more. We need to say as clearly and forcefully as we can, that the ideology of white supremacy has no place in America.We’re closing our live blog now, but it’s far from the end of our political coverage for the day. It’s primary day in several states, with prominent Republican Senate and governor candidates in Pennsylvania notably going head to head.Please watch for my colleague Lauren Gambino’s coverage later, including TV doctor Mehmet Oz’s bid to advance his chase for a Senate seat and North Carolina extremist Madison Cawthorn’s efforts to hold on to his in the House of Representatives.The day was otherwise dominated by Joe Biden’s visit to grieve with the families of victims and survivors of the weekend’s massacre of 10 people at a grocery store in Buffalo.“Evil will not win. Hate will not prevail,” Biden said, calling white supremacy “a poison” that had no place in America. Here’s what else we followed:
    Buffalo mayor Byron Brown said he saw Biden’s “sense of resolve” to get something done about gun reforms following the grocery store massacre.
    Republicans in Wisconsin who submitted to Congress false ballots stating Donald Trump won the 2020 election in the state are facing a $2.4m lawsuit.
    The food and drug administration approved a Covid-19 booster shot for children aged five to 11.
    The FBI opened a federal hate crime investigation into a shooting at an Asian-American owned hair salon in Dallas that wounded three women.
    Black students in Georgia who say they were blocked from protesting a rule that allowed Confederate flags on clothing but not Black Lives Matter materials are suing their school district.
    02:19Donald Trump has received a savage Twitter smackdown from George Conway, a constant bête noire of the former president as co-founder of the Lincoln Project, and husband to his former adviser Kellyanne Conway.The Tuesday afternoon insult likening Trump to a caged monkey throwing feces came as part of a chain that began with news the 6 January committee was not expecting to call him as a witness in public hearings this spring.Jan. 6 committee chairman Bennie Thompson says its “not our expectation” to call Donald Trump as a witness. He said it’s not clear Trump would enhance investigators’ understanding of the evidence they’ve already unearthed.— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) May 17, 2022
    Lawyer Elizabeth de la Vega decided it was not something she wanted to see:Smart. Calling Trump as a witness in the June hearings would be a terrible move. https://t.co/FxCobKVb32— Elizabeth de la Vega (@Delavegalaw) May 17, 2022
    And Conway followed up with this:Yes. Displaying a monkey in a cage throwing its feces around would provide equal enlightenment, even if the monkey were sworn. https://t.co/6oHg2oWapd— George Conway🇺🇦 (@gtconway3d) May 17, 2022
    Thousands of ballots from several counties in today’s Pennsylvania primary election might not be able to be read “for several days”, the Associated Press reports, because of a printing error.Officials in Lancaster county, the state’s sixth most populous, said the problem involved at least 21,000 mailed ballots, only a third of which were scanning properly. The glitch will force election workers to redo ballots that can’t be read by the machine, a laborious process expected to take several days, the AP says. Officials in the Republican-controlled county pledged that all the ballots will be counted eventually.“Citizens deserve to have accurate results from elections and they deserve to have them on election night, not days later,” Josh Parsons, Republican vice chair of the county board of commissioners said at a news conference. “But because of this, we’re not going to have final election results from these mail ballots for probably several days”. pic.twitter.com/YacDxjCitN— Commissioner Ray D’Agostino (@CommissionerRD) May 17, 2022
    John Fetterman, frontrunner in today’s Democratic senate primary in Pennsylvania, is undergoing what campaign staff say is “a standard procedure” to install a heart pacemaker.The state’s lieutenant governor announced on Sunday he had suffered a minor stroke two days previously, but said he was recovering and his campaign “isn’t slowing down one bit”.“John Fetterman is about to undergo a standard procedure to implant a pacemaker with a defibrillator. It should be a short procedure that will help protect his heart and address the underlying cause of his stroke, atrial fibrillation (A-fib), by regulating his heart rate and rhythm,” the statement from his campaign said.Fetterman tweeted that he used “an emergency absentee ballot” to cast his vote today (presumably for himself) from his bed in Penn Medicine Lancaster general hospital.Just cast my Primary Election Vote from Penn Medicine Lancaster General Hospital using an emergency absentee ballot. ✅ pic.twitter.com/HftIKtZG2V— John Fetterman (@JohnFetterman) May 17, 2022
    Buffalo’s mayor Byron Brown has just been talking about Joe Biden’s visit to his city today, and what he sees as the president’s “sense of resolve” to get something done about gun reforms following the grocery store massacre.Brown told reporters that the president and first lady Jill Biden spent considerable private time with the families of the 10 killed by an alleged white supremacist, which he said he thought strengthened Biden’s “commitment to try to bring change”:.css-knbk2a{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}As it relates to gun control in this country change has been very elusive. There are those in Washington who have put the needs and the desires of the gun manufacturers ahead of the lives of Americans. That has to stop.
    The president talked about gun control. He talked about his concern for the families here. There was talk about what could be done to end these mass shootings.
    The president seemed very moved by what he saw here in this community. And I really felt a strong sense of resolve and commitment in the president to try to bring change as it relates to these kinds of situations.
    I saw him steel himself during this visit to get something done. I felt it, I think it’s powerful, and I think it’s real.Brown also paid tribute to police officers and fire fighters who responded to Saturday’s shooting, and credited Aaron Salter, the former police officer and Tops market security guard who lost his life in a firefight with the killer, for saving lives:.css-knbk2a{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}If not for the heroic actions of… Aaron Salter engaging the shooter and exchanging gunfire with the shooter that ultimately took his life, more people would probably have gotten killed inside the store.The US Congress held its first open briefing on UFOs in more than 50 years on Tuesday, but those seeking explanations for the numerous military sightings of unexplained objects were left disappointed, as defense officials appeared to hold their juiciest information for closed door hearings.During a 90-minute briefing in Washington a highlight was the release of two new videos showing unidentified aerial phenomena, although one of them was immediately debunked by Scott Bray, the deputy director of navy intelligence.The hearing, the first of its nature since 1966, came after a bumper year for UFO enthusiasts. In 2021, US intelligence released a landmark report which found 144 reports of unidentified aerial phenomenon, only one of which could be explained.The report followed US navy pilots publicly discussing their encounters with UAPs, with one retired lieutenant claiming he saw objects in the sky above the east coast “every day for at least a couple years”.On Tuesday Bray sought to defend the government’s investigation of UAPs – following accusations that the Pentagon is not taking the issue seriously enough – but also showed members of an intelligence subcommittee videos of airborne objects.One video, filmed during daylight, showed an object appearing to whiz past a military jet. The fleeting appearance of the object – it appeared on screen for less than a second – showed the difficulty in gathering data on some UAPs, Bray said.Another clip, recorded at night from a military plane at some time in 2019, showed triangle shapes appearing to hover in the sky. Bray then played another video that captured the same phenomena, but followed it up with a mundane explanation: the objects were drones, rendered triangular in shape and other-worldly in motion because of a quirk in the way video was captured through night-vision equipment.The debunking did little to counter accusations – including one leveled by Andre Carson, the committee chair – that the Pentagon has little interest in investigating the inexplicable. Read more:Out-of-this-world revelations in short supply at US Congress briefing on UFOs Read moreThe US has taken control of Afghanistan’s embassy in Washington DC, and consulates in New York and Beverly Hills, California, the state department has said.It moved to secure the properties Tuesday, according to the Associated Press, after determining Afghanistan “formally ceased conducting diplomatic and consular activities in the United States” at noon yesterday.In reality, there have been no formal diplomatic ties between Washington and Kabul since the Taliban assumed power after the chaotic US withdrawal last summer. The US does not recognize the Taliban as a legitime government.An official notice will be published in the federal register on Wednesday stating that the department had assumed responsibility for “protection and preservation” of the properties the AP said.Nobody will be allowed to enter the buildings without state department official, it said.The day has been dominated so far by Joe Biden’s visit to grieve with the families of victims and survivors of the weekend’s massacre of 10 people at a grocery store in Buffalo.The president and first lady Jill Biden met with the families, then he delivered a powerful address in which he called out the racial hatred behind the killings, and urged Americans to unite in the fight against “hateful and perverse ideology”.“Evil will not win. Hate will not prevail,” Biden said, calling white supremacy “a poison” that had no place in America.Elsewhere:
    Republicans in Wisconsin who submitted to Congress false ballots stating Donald Trump won the 2020 election in the state are facing a $2.4m lawsuit.
    The food and drug administration approved a Covid-19 booster shot for children aged five to 11.
    The FBI opened a federal hate crime investigation into a shooting at an Asian-American owned hair salon in Dallas that wounded three women.
    Black students in Georgia who say they were blocked from protesting a rule that allowed Confederate flags on clothing but not Black Lives Matter materials are suing their school district.
    Republicans in Wisconsin who attempted to overturn Joe Biden’s 2020 victory in the state, by submitting false electoral ballots to Congress declaring Donald Trump the winner, are facing a lawsuit.The legal action in Dane county circuit court says the decision by a Republican slate of electors to send the ballots saying Trump had won was “as legally baseless as it was repugnant to democracy”, the Associated Press says. Biden won the state, and its 10 electoral college votes, by almost 21,000 votes. The lawsuit, filed by three Democratic voters, names 10 Republicans and two attorneys it says were responsible and seeks up to $2.4m in damages, as well as disqualifying the Republicans from serving as electors in the future.“It’s essential to have accountability and to make sure this doesn’t happen again,” Jeffrey Mandell, an attorney for the plaintiffs, told the AP.“We have heard in the more than a year since the fraudulent electors met the excuse that what they did was not wrong, it was totally fine. We want a court to make clear that is not true”.Republican electors who have spoken publicly have argued they weren’t trying to change the Wisconsin result but attempting to “preserve legal options” if a court ruled in favor of Trump.Wisconsin was among a number of heavily contested swing states that Biden won to deny Trump a second term in office. The twice-impeached Trump has since expounded the big lie that the election was fraudulent and victory was stolen from him, and incited the 6 January Capitol riot by his supporters to try to cling on to power.Numerous conservative groups pushing the big lie are facing legal actions is several states, the Guardian reported last week.Read more:Groups perpetuating Trump’s 2020 election lie face scrutiny and lawsuitsRead moreA tweet from the president in Buffalo urges the nation “to find purpose to live a life worthy of those we lost. We must resolve that from tragedy will come hope and light and life”.Jill and I are in Buffalo to stand with the community and to grieve with the families. As a nation, we must find purpose to live a life worthy of those we lost. We must resolve that from tragedy will come hope and light and life. pic.twitter.com/Om8sTigHXl— President Biden (@POTUS) May 17, 2022
    An emotional Joe Biden, who received several bursts of applause during his Buffalo address, closed with a powerful call for Americans to come together to defeat what he said was a “hateful minority”:.css-knbk2a{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}We’re the most multiracial, most dynamic nation in the history of the world. Now’s the time for the people of all races, from every background, to speak up as a majority in America and reject white supremacy.
    These actions we’ve seen in these hate filled attacks represent the views of a hateful minority. We can’t allow them to distort America. We can’t allow them to destroy the soul of the nation.And he widened his comments to include the divisiveness of the current political climate:.css-knbk2a{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}I travel the world all the time. Heads of state in other countries ask me, ‘What’s going on? What in God’s name happened on January 6th? What happened in Buffalo?’
    We have to refuse to live in a country where black people going about weekly grocery shopping can be gunned down by weapons of war deployed in a racist cause.
    We have to refuse to live in a country where fear and lies are packaged for power and for profit.
    You must all enlist in this great cause of America. This is work that requires all of us, presidents and politicians, commentators, citizens, none of us can stay on the sidelines.
    We have to resolve that here in Buffalo, that from this tragedy, will come hope, in light, in life. It has to. And not on our watch… the sacred cause of America will never bow, never break, never bend. The America we love will endure.
    May the souls of the fallen rest in peace and rise in glory.The president said Americans had a duty to call out the hatred and racial bigotry behind the massacre in Buffalo, and countless other mass shootings. Then he turned to gun laws, and a call for Congress to pick up the baton:.css-knbk2a{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}The venom of the haters and their weapons of war… the violence in the words and deeds that stalk our streets, our stores, our schools. This venom, this violence, cannot be the story of our time. We cannot allow that to happen.
    Look, I’m not naive. I know tragedy will come again. It cannot be forever overcome. It cannot be fully understood either.
    But there are certain things we can do. We can keep assault weapons off our streets. We’ve done it before. We passed pass the crime bill last time and violence went down. Shootings went down.
    You can’t prevent people from being radicalized to violence but we can address the relentless exploitation of the internet to recruit and mobilize terrorism. We just need to have the courage to do that, to stand up. Biden went on the address the peril he said the US is in, if urgent action is not taken:.css-knbk2a{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}The American experiment and democracy is in a danger like it hasn’t been in my lifetime. It’s in a danger this hour.
    Hate and fear are being given too much oxygen by those who pretend to love America but who don’t understand America.
    To confront the ideology of hate requires caring about all people, not making distinctions.Joe Biden attacked the “hateful and perverse ideology” behind the Buffalo massacre as he and first lady Jill Biden visited the city and paid tribute to the victims.In an emotional but powerful address to mourners, officials and first responders, the president called on Americans to “enlist” in the fight against racial hatred:.css-knbk2a{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}In America, evil will not win. I promise you. Hate will not prevail. White supremacy will not have the last word.
    What happened here is simple and straightforward terrorism, domestic terrorism, violence inflicted in the service of hate, and a vicious thirst for power.
    The media, and politics, the internet, have radicalized angry and lost and isolated individuals into falsely believing that they will be replaced. That’s the word. Replaced by other people who don’t look like them.
    I call on all Americans to reject the lie, and those who spread the lie for power, political gain, and for profit.Biden condemned years of racially-based attacks across the country..css-knbk2a{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}We’ve seen the mass shootings in Charleston, South Carolina; El Paso, Texas and Pittsburgh. Last year in Atlanta, this week in Dallas, Texas. Now in Buffalo… Buffalo, New York…
    White supremacy is a poison. It’s a poison running through our body politic that’s been allowed to fester and grow right in front of our eyes. No more. No more. We need to say as clearly and forcefully as we can, that the ideology of white supremacy has no place in America.Joe Biden has just begun his remarks at the scene of the mass shooting in Buffalo that claimed 10 lives on Saturday.“We’ve come to grieve with you,” the president said, after being introduced by first lady Jill Biden.“The feeling like there’s a black hole in your chest, you’re suffocating, you’re unable to breath. The anger, and the pain, the depth of a loss that’s so profound”.Biden is naming the victims one by one, and telling his audience a little about them.He is expected to move on shortly to a call for Congress to tighten gun laws. More

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    Senate to vote on $40bn Ukraine aid bill initially blocked by Rand Paul – as it happened

    Joe Biden might finally score a victory for his Ukraine aid package as early as Wednesday after the Senate made moves on Monday to overcome the resistance of Republican holdout Rand Paul and set up a final vote.Minority leader Mitch McConnell downplayed Paul’s objections during his weekend visit to Kyiv with a group of fellow Republican senators, telling reporters that a bipartisan push involving an “overwhelming majority of Republicans in Congress” would nudge the $40bn package over the line.The Senate will move to invoke cloture, the ending of formal debate on a bill, later today, which would set up a floor vote probably on Wednesday.McConnell, according to Punchbowl’s Daily Punch podcast, said Paul’s resistance, and his demand for an inspector general to assess the impact of the aid package, was actually part of a healthy process..css-knbk2a{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}There’s always been isolationist voices in the Republican party. There were prior to world war two. That’s perfectly alright. This is a debate worth having, it’s an important subject. I think one of the lessons we learned in world war two was not standing up to aggression early is a huge mistake.Biden originally asked for $33bn for his latest Ukraine package last month, with $20bn for military supplies, $8.5bn in economic aid and $3bn for humanitarian relief.Lawmakers beefed up the amount for the military spending and humanitarian components by $3.4bn each, but despite initial optimism of speedy approval, the bill’s progress has crawled.It received overwhelming bipartisan backing in a 368-57 vote in the House last week, after Biden backed down on his insistence that it be coupled to a Covid-19 relief package opposed by Republicans.Read more:Senator Rand Paul single-handedly holds up $40bn US aid for UkraineRead moreWe’re closing the US politics blog now. The US Senate is edging closer to passing Joe Biden’s $40bn package of military, humanitarian and economic aid to Ukraine after a hold-up last week by Republican senator Rand Paul.It’s been a busy day:
    New White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre made her historic debut at the briefing room podium, calling out the hatred and bigotry behind the Buffalo mass shooting.
    Joe Biden paid tribute to retired police officer and nine other victims of the Buffalo massacre, and will visit the city tomorrow with first lady Jill Biden.
    Florida’s governor Ron DeSantis said his administration intends to take over the running of Disney’s government after stripping the company of autonomy for opposing his “don’t say gay” law.
    Vice-president Kamala Harris landed in Abu Dhabi with a US delegation for the funeral of United Arab Emirates president Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
    Liz Cheney, Wyoming Republican congresswoman and member of the bipartisan panel investigating the 6 January insurrection, accused Republican leadership of enabling “white nationalism, white supremacy, and anti-Semitism”, following the tragedy in Buffalo.
    Please join us again tomorrow, and remember you can follow developments in the Ukraine conflict on our live news blog here.Karine Jean-Pierre said the Biden administration would “continue to call out” anybody promoting the racist “great replacement theory” the Buffalo killer cited as a justification for the mass shooting, but would not be drawn into “a back and forth on names and who said what”.Senior Republican and conservative figures including congresswoman Elise Stefanik and Fox News host Tucker Carlson are under scrutiny for promoting the discredited conspiracy theory that immigration threatens white values and western civilization.Jean-Pierre was asked why she would not call out individuals:.css-knbk2a{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}If a person has a white supremacy kind of extremism, we need to call that out. It doesn’t matter who it is. I’m not going to speak or call out any individual names.
    [The president] is determined to make sure that we fight back against the forces of hate and evil and violence. That’s what we’re going to continue to call out, but we reject hatred and extremist ideologies.Before taking reporters’ questions, Karine Jean-Pierre acknowledged the significance of her appointment as White House press secretary..css-knbk2a{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}I am acutely aware that my presence at this podium represents a few firsts. I am a Black, gay, immigrant woman, the first of all three of those to hold this position. I would not be here today if it were not for generations of barrier-breaking people before me. I stand on their shoulders.
    This room, this building, belong to the American people. We work for them. It’s not about me. It’s about them. On Jen [Psaki]’s first briefing, she made clear that the president’s, and her priority, was to bring truth and transparency back to this briefing room.
    Jen did a great job at that and I will work everyday to continue to ensure we are meeting the president’s high expectation of truth, honesty, and transparency.
    The press plays a vital role in our democracy. And we need a strong and independent press, now more than ever. We might not see eye to eye here in this room all the time, which is okay. That give and take is so incredibly healthy, and it’s a part of our democracy.Karine Jean-Pierre’s first White House press briefing is under way a little later than scheduled, and she is paying tribute to the victims of Saturday’s mass shooting in Buffalo that claimed 10 lives.“I want to take a moment to recognize the lives lost and forever changed in Buffalo,” she said, before reading out the names and ages of those killed and a few details about them. She started with Aaron Salter, 55, the retired Buffalo police officer and security guard at Tops Friendly Market, who fired at the gunman but was struck and killed himself in the exchange. Joe Biden earlier paid his own tribute, and Jean-Pierre said:.css-knbk2a{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}We recognize their lives today. And those lost and affected by gun violence this weekend in Houston, in Southern California, Milwaukee and communities across the country.Jean-Pierre said the president and first lady Jill Biden will visit Buffalo on Tuesday:.css-knbk2a{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}[They will] meet with families of the victims, first responders and community leaders, they will comfort the families of the 10 people whose lives were senselessly taken in this horrific shooting, and they will express gratitude for the bravery of members of law enforcement and other first responders who took immediate action to try to protect and save lives.The federal food and drug administration (FDA) is set to announce action on baby formula imports as soon as this afternoon to ease a chronic nationwide shortage, Reuters reports.FDA commissioner Robert Califf told NBC News he does not expect the shortage of the critical baby product to last until the end of year, adding in a later appearance on CNN that he expects the situation to gradually improve in the coming weeks.He did not provide a preview of what the measures would be.Legislation introduced to the House on Monday seeks to ease restrictions on imports of formula from south America and Europe, and the surgeon general Vivek Murthy has just been on CNN saying that safety would be a priority:.css-knbk2a{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}The one thing the FDA will not compromise on in terms of these imports are the quality and safety of the products, and so they are setting up a process to be able to ascertain the quality of the ingredients, and the process in which these products are made to ensure that they’re safe.The White House said it was continuing talks with the major formula manufacturers to identify logistical hurdles and provide any transportation support that could help them and major retailers get formula to where it is needed, Reuters says. A historic moment is about to take place in the White House briefing room, where the newly appointed Karine Jean-Pierre is set to make her debut at the podium as the first Black press secretary.Jean-Pierre’s appointment was announced earlier this month after Joe Biden’s only previous press secretary to date, Jen Psaki, said she was standing down.Jean-Pierre, a political analyst, was Kamala Harris’s chief of staff during the vice-president’s presidential campaign in 2020 and served on Barack Obama’s campaigns in 2008 and 2012. She was also an adviser and spokesperson for MoveOn.org, a progressive political action committee.She is the first Black person and first out gay person in the role. We’ll bring you coverage as she speaks.Read more:Biden names Karine Jean-Pierre press secretary as Jen Psaki steps downRead moreFlorida’s Republican governor Ron DeSantis has revealed who he’s going to place in charge of the Disney government he moved to abolish over the company’s resistance to his “don’t say gay” bill: himself.At an event in Sanford, close to Disney’s Orlando theme park empire, on Monday, DeSantis laid out a new plan for the future of the company’s autonomous Reedy Creek development district, which was to have ceased to exist next summer.Florida’s Republican-dominated legislature quickly acceded to his wish to pass legislation abolishing Reedy Creek in a special session last month, but failed to properly look at the economics involved.Critics have pointed out that absorbing Reedy Creek into two local authorities per state law would likely land local taxpayers with an additional $1bn in debt burden, so DeSantis has had a rethink. Now, according to the Orlando Sentinel, instead of abolishing Reedy Creek, he says he wants the state government he heads to take it over, and is working on an alternative proposal for the legislature later this year.“I’d much rather have the state leading that effort than potentially having local government [in charge],” DeSantis said Monday, according to the Sentinel.“Disney will have to follow the same laws that every other company has to follow in the state of Florida. They will pay their share of taxes, and they will be responsible for paying the debts.”State will likely take over Disney World’s Reedy Creek, DeSantis says https://t.co/H7eBZTRX2S pic.twitter.com/DZOJnLJDJU— Orlando Sentinel (@orlandosentinel) May 16, 2022
    DeSantis, seen as a likely Republican presidential candidate for the 2024 election, has been feuding with Disney, the state’s largest private employer, over the “don’t say gay” law banning classroom discussion of gender identity and sexual orientation.Disney, which is noted for the diversity of its workforce, known as cast members, angered DeSantis by halting political donations and pledging to help overturn the law.Vice-President Kamala Harris has landed in Abu Dhabi and disembarked Air Force Two, while on her visit leading the presidential delegation to the United Arab Emirates.The White House pool reports that Harris was greeted on the tarmac by a group of UAE and US officials. Among those already in the country from the US and greeting Veep were secretary of state Antony Blinken, defense secretary Lloyd Austin and Barbara Leaf, the national security council’s top Middle East and North Africa specialist. She is being accompanied on the trip also by climate envoy John Kerry and CIA director Bill Burns, among others.I am traveling to Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates to express condolences on the passing of the President of the UAE, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. I will emphasize the importance our partnership and the desire to further strengthen our ties.— Vice President Kamala Harris (@VP) May 15, 2022
    Harris’s official purpose on the visit is to offer condolences on the death of the president of the UAE, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who suffered a stroke in 2014, and was 73.She is meeting with the new president, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who has been regarded as the de facto leader of the country in recent years. Harris spoke out strongly yesterday against the mass shooting in Buffalo, New York, where the suspect has published white supremacists screeds.She said: “Racially motivated hate crimes are harms against all of us.”Our hearts are broken and we grieve for the victims of the horrific act of gun violence in Buffalo. Doug and I are praying for those who lost loved ones. Racially-motivated hate crimes are harms against all of us. We must do everything to ensure that our communities are safe.— Vice President Kamala Harris (@VP) May 15, 2022
    She said more on the tarmac on her way to Abu Dhabi, including:.css-knbk2a{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}In our country we have to recognize that we may very well be experiencing an epidemic of hate towards so many Americans.
    That is wrong. It is taking on a level of violence in the case of what happened in Buffalo and we’ve seen it in other places in our country.
    And we all must speak out against it. I think we all have to know that this is something that we have to not only speak about, but we’ve got to do everything in our power as a nation to stop it, to stop it.
    There’s too much at stake. We should be working at it and thinking about it, not hating one another.”Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot has tightened a citywide curfew for young people, a day after she restricted access by unaccompanied minors to downtown’s Millennium Park following the weekend shooting death of a 16-year-old boy near “The Bean” sculpture at the park, the Associated Press reports.The citywide weekend curfew for minors now will begin each night at 10pm, instead of the 11pm curfew in place since the 1990s, Lightfoot said.As a City, we must ensure that our young people—no matter what neighborhood they are from or are hanging out in—have safe spaces to congregate, and that in those spaces, they are peaceful and protected from harm. https://t.co/aVK2I8UA5k— Lori Lightfoot (@LoriLightfoot) May 16, 2022
    At Millennium Park, which is a popular stop for tourists and Chicago residents, minors will not be allowed in the park after 6pm Thursday through Sunday without an adult..css-knbk2a{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}We need to make sure they are safe and importantly that our young people understand and respect basic community norms, respect for themselves, respect for each other, and we must ensure that every one of our residents and visitors no matter who they are or where they come from or how old they are are able to safely enjoy our public space.
    My interest is not rounding up young people and throwing them in the back of a wagon… [but] we’re not going to hesitate to take action.On Sunday, police announced that a 17-year-old boy who was taken into custody following Saturday evening’s shooting had been charged with second-degree murder, aggravated unlawful use of a weapon and aggravated battery.Another teen, who was allegedly armed with a ghost gun, a weapon that does not have a serial number and can’t be traced, was arrested in connection to the shooting, police said.In total, 26 minors and five adults were arrested during the gathering in the park on Saturday evening.Hundreds of people were at the park earlier Saturday as part of demonstrations around the US against the recently leaked draft opinion that suggests the US Supreme Court is prepared to overturn the nationwide right to abortion afforded by the 1973 landmark ruling Roe v Wade.As @chicagosmayor has made clear.All youth are still welcome in Millennium Park.After 6pm on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, young people must be accompanied by a responsible adult.— Ryan Johnson (@Ryan_Johnson) May 16, 2022
    There’s been a stream of US politics news so far today and there will be more to come. The new White House press secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, will hold her first briefing in the role today, expected at 2.30pm ET. Meanwhile, here’s where things stand:
    Joe Biden has paid tribute to the retired police officer, Aaron Salters Jr, 55, who was shot dead in Saturday’s Buffalo grocery store mass shooting that killed 10.
    The latest, massive, $40 billion US aid package for Ukraine could be passed by Congress this Wednesday. The bill has bipartisan support but was held up last week by libertarian Republican Rand Paul, of Kentucky.
    Liz Cheney, Wyoming Republican congresswoman and member of the bipartisan panel investigating the insurrection on Jan 6 2021 by extremist Trump supporters, has accused Republican leadership of enabling “white nationalism, white supremacy, and anti-Semitism”, following the tragedy in Buffalo. More

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    The Guardian view on the Buffalo shooting: a wake-up call for the Republican right | Editorial

    The Guardian view on the Buffalo shooting: a wake-up call for the Republican right EditorialVersions of ‘replacement theory’ are becoming dangerously close to mainstream in American politics According to a poll published in the United States earlier this month, one in three adults believes that an attempt is being made “to replace native-born Americans with immigrants in order to achieve electoral gains”. A similar proportion sees the cultural and economic influence of US-born Americans diminishing as a consequence. The vast majority of those holding these views are likely to be white. From being a fringe notion on the extreme right, “replacement theory” appears to be entering the bloodstream of mainstream political discourse in the US.This should be seen as an insidious, disturbing backdrop to the mass shooting that took place in Buffalo at the weekend. Payton Gendron, the teenage suspect, is charged with shooting 13 people – 11 of them black – in a supermarket in a black neighbourhood of the city. Ten died. The action appears to have been carried out alone, and the suspect reportedly posted an online “manifesto” in which replacement theory is melded with anti-black racism and antisemitic content and tropes. Most of its material seems to have been culled via solitary immersion in far-right websites. Black people, read one passage, were equivalent to immigrants in that they “invade our lands … live on government support and attack and replace our people”.Buffalo joins Charleston, El Paso and Pittsburgh as a site of bloody tragedy, after murderous attacks by lone white attackers. Last year the FBI identified the lethal rise of far-right terrorism aimed at minority ethnic groups as the biggest domestic security threat to America. Inevitably, there will now be renewed focus on President Biden’s stalling gun control programme – the latest to come up against the seemingly insuperable intransigence of Congress and the influence of the National Rifle Association. This was the deadliest mass shooting in America in 2022, but also the 198th to claim the lives of four or more people since the turn of the year. Despite Mr Biden’s commitment to reform, improved background checks and a ban on the kind of assault weapon used in Buffalo seem as far away as ever. Social media platforms will also come under renewed and deserved scrutiny.But there is a wider political context that needs to be recognised. The post-Trump radicalisation of parts of the Republican right has led to the cultivation of demographic and racial anxiety, succouring extremist views. Explicit references to race or ethnicity are usually absent from such interventions, allowing plausible deniability. The Fox News political commentator, Tucker Carlson, who hosts one of the most popular cable news shows in the US, regularly ploughs this furrow: in one show last year, Mr Carlson argued that Democrats are seeking “the replacement of legacy Americans with more obedient people”, who are “newly arrived from the third world”.Channelling and perpetuating the Trumpian “build a wall” mindset, senior Republican politicians have also used the language of replacement and “invasion” in relation to the southern border. Proposals for immigration amnesties have been conspiratorially framed as a means to secure a permanent liberal majority in Washington. Meanwhile the caricature of “critical race theory” as a pro-black threat to white identity has incubated the fear of a kind of “replacement” from within. In the wake of the Buffalo shootings, Mr Biden said that hate “remains a stain on the soul of America”. The radical Republican right and their cheerleaders are coming perilously close to being its enablers.TopicsBuffalo shootingOpinionUS politicsJoe BidenDonald TrumpAntisemitismThe far righteditorialsReuse this content More

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    How senior GOP figures tried to oust Trump: Politics Weekly America podcast

    This week Jonathan Freedland speaks to Jonathan Martin of the New York Times after the publication of his new book This Will Not Pass and what he and his co-author Alexander Burns unearthed about events behind the scenes in the run-up to the 2020 presidential election, why all is not well for the Biden administration, and what all of this says for the future of the two-party system

    How to listen to podcasts: everything you need to know

    Archive: PBS Newshour, NBC You can buy This Will Not Pass here. Listen to Thursday’s episode of Politics Weekly UK with Rafael Behr. Sign up to First Edition for free at theguardian.com/firstedition. Send your questions and feedback to podcasts@theguardian.com. Help support the Guardian by going to gu.com/supportpodcasts. More

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    Biden marks imminent ‘tragic milestone’ of 1m US Covid deaths in address to global summit – as it happened

    Joe Biden marked the imminent “tragic milestone” of 1m deaths in the US in his address to the second global Covid-19 summit this morning, and renewed his call to Congress to strike a deal on a coronavirus relief package.Biden highlighted the urgency of his $22.5bn request, which he says is crucial to fund vaccines, treatments and testing domestically, as well as boosting global efforts to end the emergency:.css-knbk2a{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}Today, we’re at a new stage in fighting this pandemic, facing an evolving set of challenges. We have to double down on our efforts to get shots in people’s arms, country by country, community by community, ensure we have reliable and predictable supplies of vaccines and boosters for everyone, everywhere, expand access globally to testing and treatments. And we have to prevent complacency.Biden’s demand of US lawmakers has stumbled, one of a number of growing headaches for the president amid crises over inflation and abortion rights. An on-again, off-again bipartisan Covid deal was scuppered by political wrangling over immigration specifically. Republicans agreed to a $10bn compromise “in principle”, without money for global initiatives, then backed out when the Biden administration insisted on pushing ahead with the termination of the Trump-era Title 42 policy that blocked refugees at the southern border because of coronavirus concerns. As long as COVID-19 is present in one country, it impacts all of us. This morning I join @USAmbUN at the Second Global COVID Summit to discuss our path forward. Tune in. https://t.co/BiSN2peafu— Vice President Kamala Harris (@VP) May 12, 2022
    Officially, the Covid-19 death toll in the US is not yet at 1m, Johns Hopkins reporting on Thursday a tally of 999,000. But the inevitable reaching of that grim figure in the coming few days fired Biden’s new call to action, at home and internationally:.css-knbk2a{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}I continue to call on Congress to take urgent action to provide emergency Covid-19 funding that is vital to protect Americans, to make sure that we maintain our supplies and Covid-19 tests, treatments and vaccines, including next-generation vaccines that are being developed.
    The request also includes $5bn to keep up our global partnership in the fight against Covid-19 and sustain our efforts to get shots in people around the world, expand access to treatments and save lives everywhere.
    We can do this, we can control Covid-19, we can start to build a better, healthier and more secure future today if we all do our part, and if we step up together. He announced new global initiatives including sharing of US Covid-19 technologies, partnerships to expand access to rapid testing and antiviral treatments in harder to reach areas, and $450m seed funding for a pandemic preparedness and global health security fund to be established this summer:.css-knbk2a{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}The US has provided more than $19bn to help countries fight Covid-19, life saving medicines, oxygen, tests, equipment, supplies, and partnered with countries to improve their capacity to manufacture vaccines.
    We’ve delivered more than 500m vaccines to 115 countries and we’re going to… deliver another 500m doses.
    But there’s still so much left to do. This pandemic isn’t over. We mark a tragic milestone here in the US, 1m empty chairs around the family dinner table, irreplaceable losses that each leave behind a family or community forever change because of this pandemic.Read the White House proclamation on 1m Covid-19 deaths here.Thanks for joining us for a whirlwind day in US politics! We’re closing this blog now, but you can keep on top of developments in the Ukraine-Russia conflict in our 24-hour live blog here.In a solemn start to the day, Joe Biden marked the imminent “tragic milestone” of 1m Covid-19 deaths in the US, and used the second global Covid-19 summit to renew his call for Congress to approve a deal on a relief package.“There’s still so much left to do. This pandemic isn’t over,” the president said.“We mark a tragic milestone. One million empty chairs around the family dinner table, irreplaceable losses that each leave behind a family or community forever changed because of this pandemic”. Biden ordered flags to fly at half-mast around the country until the end of the weekend.Here’s what else we followed today:
    Joe Biden is considering a visit to the Korean demilitarized zone, when he makes the first trip to Asia of his presidency, White House press secretary Jen Psaki indicated.
    Senate leaders Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnell urged senators from both parties to pass a $40bn Ukraine aid package, although objections in the chamber looked set to delay the vote.
    Federal prosecutors opened a grand jury investigation into Donald Trump’s handling of classified White House material.
    The House committee investigating the 6 January Capitol attack incited by Trump subpoenaed the Republican House minority leader Kevin McCarthy and four other congressmen.
    Nancy Pelosi explained why Democrats rejected legislation proposed by Republican senators that would codify abortion rights, claiming states would still have too much power in determining women’s right to choose.
    The nine US supreme court justices met for the first time since last week’s leak of the draft opinion that would overturn almost half a century of abortion protections.
    Joe Biden is considering a visit to the Korean demilitarized zone, when he makes the first trip to Asia of his presidency, White House press secretary Jen Psaki indicated moments ago.The US president plans a trip to South Korea and Japan later this month. It came up at the briefing at the White House today, which is still underway, that Biden may go to the narrow neutral zone between North and South Korea.The Biden administration also believes North Korea could be preparing for a new significant missile test, Psaki indicated.A reporter asked: Does [Biden] intend to visit the DMZ and what’s your current assessment of the threat of a North Korean nuclear test?Psaki responded:.css-knbk2a{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}Well, on the first question, we’re still finalizing details of the schedule for the trip and what it looks like. Obviously, that is a step that is taken by many who visit the region. But I expect we’ll have our national security adviser here in the briefing room next week with Karine [Jean-Pierre] to preview the trip.
    In terms of whether we expect a test. The United States assesses that [North Korea] could be ready to conduct a test there as early as this month.
    This would be its seventh such test. We’ve shared this information with allies and partners and are closely coordinating with them.
    As you noted, the president is traveling to the Republic of Korea and Japan next week, where he will continue strengthening these alliances and make clear our commitment to the security of the Republic of Korea. The trip to Asia is scheduled from May 20 to May 24.In 2019, then-president Donald Trump became the first incumbent US president to step into North Korea, after entering the DMZ, and he met North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.There was no tangible outcome from the meeting, in terms of North Korea pulling back on its nuclear weapons program or other issues.Joe Biden has spoken with retailers and manufacturers to address a chronic shortage of baby formula in stores nationwide, the White House has said.In her afternoon briefing, press secretary Jen Psaki said the president demanded that safe supplies be restored as soon as possible.Earlier today, leading manufacturer Abbott Laboratories warned it could take two months for its products to reach shelves after a nationwide recall.Psaki said Biden spoke with chief executives of Walmart and Target to focus on restocking shelves, and said the administration would be looking at improving supplies through more imports, as well as asking the the federal trade commission and state attorneys general to clamp down on price gouging:.css-knbk2a{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}We’ve already seen an increase in supply over the past couple of weeks. What we are seeing, which is an enormous problem, is hoarding, people hoarding because they’re fearful, and people hoarding because they are trying to profit off fearful parents.
    We do not want parents, mothers, families out there to be stressed and worried about feeding their babies.
    Our message to parents is we hear you, we want to do everything we can, and we’re going to cut every element of red tape to help address this and make it better.Ahead of huge protests planned this weekend against the prospect of Roe v Wade being overturned, US attorney general Merrick Garland has announced ramped up security for the Supreme Court justices. “The Attorney General directed the U.S. Marshals Service to help ensure the Justices’ safety by providing additional support to the Marshal of the Supreme Court and Supreme Court Police,” the Department of Justice said in a press statement on Wednesday. The attorney general’s orders came after more than 100 protestors marched earlier this week to the home of Justice Samuel Alito. Alito wrote the 98-page draft opinion about Roe v Wade, leaked to Politico and published on May 2.The final court decision on whether to remove the constitutional right to seek an abortion in the US, afforded by the landmark 1973 Roe ruling, is expected next month.In addition to Alito, protestors also gathered outside the homes of Chief Justice John Roberts, even though he was not one of the five conservative justices from the nine-member bench, who signed onto the draft opinion.And there were also demonstrations outside the home of justice Brett Kavanaugh, who did sign on, in the draft opinion, to overturn Roe.According to federal statute Title 18, Section 1507 of the US code, it is illegal to picket or parade “in or near a building or residence occupied or used by such judge, juror, witness, or court officer” with the “intent of influencing any judge.” On Monday, senators swiftly passed the Supreme Court Police Parity Act which seeks to expand protection of the justices and their families. The bill is awaiting to be passed onto the House where if approved, will then be transferred to the president for his signature. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that protests “should never include violence, threats, or vandalism.”Workers took Donald Trump’s name off his hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington DC on Wednesday, after the completion of the $375m sale of the lease to investors from Florida. House Democrats estimate the former president, under legal and financial pressure on multiple fronts, will reportedly gain $100m from the sale, once a loan for the renovations is paid off.One ethics group called the hotel “a sinkhole of corruption”. During Trump’s four years in the White House, the hotel became a magnet for aides, supporters and foreign businesses seeking favour.Critics and ethics groups were particularly concerned about the situation as Trump did not formally divest himself from the Trump Organization. The presidential historian Michael Beschloss predicted that even after the sale “political ghosts will linger”.The hotel lost more than $70m in the four years of Trump’s presidency, including losses each year before pandemic shutdowns in 2020. Many hotel brokers, owners and consultants did not expect the 263-room hotel, located close to the White House, to fetch such a high price.The price of the lease, equivalent to more than $1.4m a room, has drawn scrutiny from Democrats in Congress. The New York Times reported that JLL, a real estate firm, put the average sales price for hotels in Washington in 2020 at $354,000 per room.CGI Merchant Group, the buyer, reportedly plans to turn the hotel into a branch of the Waldorf Astoria hotel chain. Earlier this month, the House oversight committee requested documents from CGI, listing all investors, which reportedly include the former New York Yankees slugger and confessed drugs cheat Alex Rodriguez.Read more:‘Sinkhole of corruption’: Trump Organization sells Washington hotelRead moreSenators were urged to pass a $40bn package of military, economic and humanitarian aid for Ukraine by the end of the day, despite last-minute obstacles placed by rogue Republicans.Democratic and Republican leaders tried clearing the way for its passage Thursday afternoon, the Associated Press reports. The measure passed the House 368-57 on Tuesday.Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell called on “both sides to help us pass this urgent funding bill today”. The Kentucky Republican’s pointed inclusion of his own colleagues came as the only apparent stumbling block seemed to be a demand from Rand Paul, the state’s other senator, for an inspector general to scrutinize the new spending.“I’m not allowing a speedy passage of the bill without having something fiscally responsible in the bill,” Paul told reporters.New York Democrat Chuck Schumer, the senate majority leader, backed McConnell’s call:.css-knbk2a{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}Republicans shouldn’t block this bill. There is no reason, no reason whatever, not to get Ukraine funding approved fast.Joe Biden has promised to quickly sign the bill, which he says is crucial to keep military aid, including howitzer artillery and other weaponry, flowing to Ukraine.McConnell said:.css-knbk2a{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}Helping Ukraine is not an instance of mere philanthropy. It bears directly on America’s national security and vital interests that Russia’s naked aggression not succeed and carries significant costs. In probably the least surprising development of an already toxic Republican senate primary race in Pennsylvania, Donald Trump has weighed in to savage a rival – albeit a far-right one – challenging his favored candidate, the television personality Mehmet Oz.The recipient of Trump’s snark is the self-declared “America First” hopeful Kathy Barnette, a political commentator who has surged in popularity in recent weeks to a point where, according to Axios, Republicans are “panicking” she might actually win.Barnette, who claims she was the product of her mother’s rape at the age of 11, has a long history of controversial and extremist views. She is in the almost certainly unique position of being a Black Republican who has drawn criticism from all wings of the party, from Trump to Pat Toomey, the moderate senator whose retirement has opened up the Pennsylvania seat.“Kathy Barnette will never be able to win the General Election against the Radical Left Democrats,” Trump declares in his statement, littered as always with unorthodox grammar and punctuation, and random uppercase letters.“She has many things in her past which have not been properly explained or vetted, but if she is able to do so, she will have a wonderful future in the Republican Party – and I will be behind her all the way.“Dr Oz is the only one who will be able to easily defeat the Crazed, Lunatic Democrat in Pennsylvania. A vote for anyone else in the Primary is a vote against Victory in the Fall!”Oz has a narrow advantage in the polls for the 17 May primary over Barnette and David McCormick, an Army veteran and George W Bush administration official favored by many mainstream Republicans.But Maga voters, as the Guardian’s Ed Pilkington found at a Trump rally in Greensburg earlier this month, don’t quite know what to make of him.Exactly who is the “crazed lunatic” Trump refers to is anyone’s guess. There are four candidates for the Democratic nomination, including congressman Conor Lamb and Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor John Fetterman.It’s been a lively morning so far in US political news and there is more to come, so do stay tuned.Here’s where things stand:
    Federal prosecutors have opened a grand jury investigation into Trump’s handling of classified White House material, the NYT reports
    The House committee investigating the January 6, 2021 Capitol riots subpoenaed Congressman Kevin McCarthy, the top Republican in the House of Representatives, along with other lawmakers on Thursday
    House speaker Nancy Pelosi has explained why Democrats rejected legislation proposed by Republican senators that would codify abortion rights, saying: “What’s in the Republican bill would enable states to do very destructive things when it comes to a woman’s right to choose”
    All nine US Supreme Court justices are meeting for the first time on Thursday since last week’s leak of the draft opinion that would overrule Roe v Wade
    Joe Biden has marked the “tragic milestone” of 1m Covid-19 deaths in the US by renewing his calls to Congress to strike a deal on a relief package
    Federal prosecutors have opened a grand jury investigation to try to establish whether Donald Trump mishandled classified White House materials that he had access to while he was the president and that have since been found at Mar-a-Lago, the residence he moved to after he lost the election to Joe Biden, the New York Times reports.The outlet speaks of an “intensifying inquiry” indicating that the Department of Justice is looking into how Trump and senior aides handled sensitive documents in the dying days of the Republican’s one-term presidency.It writes:.css-knbk2a{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}In recent days, the Justice Department has taken a series of steps showing that its investigation has progressed beyond the preliminary stages. Prosecutors issued a subpoena to the National Archives and Records Administration to obtain the boxes of classified documents, according to the two people familiar with the matter, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the ongoing investigation.
    The authorities have also made interview requests to people who worked in the White House in the final days of Mr. Trump’s presidency, according to one of the people.
    The investigation is focused on the discovery by the National Archives in January that at the end of Mr. Trump’s term he had taken to his home at the Mar-a-Lago resort 15 boxes from the White House that contained government documents, mementos, gifts and letters.
    After the boxes were returned to the National Archives, its archivists found documents containing “items marked as classified national security information,” the agency told Congress in February. In April, it was reported that federal authorities were in the preliminary stages of investigating the handling of the classified documents.The intensifying inquiry suggests that the Justice Department is examining the role of Mr. Trump and other officials in his White House in their handling of sensitive materials during the final stages of his administration. @maggieNYT @nytmike https://t.co/mEmD78IIvN— Adam Goldman (@adamgoldmanNYT) May 12, 2022
    The select committee empowered the panel’s chairman, congressman Bennie Thompson, to move ahead with subpoenas to House minority leader Kevin McCarthy and other Republicans including Jim Jordan, Scott Perry, and Andy Biggs and Mo Brooks, the sources said.Members on the select committee empowered Thompson to take the extraordinary step to subpoena Republican members of Congress after the five flatly refused to accept invitations to provide voluntary assistance to the investigation, the sources said.The select committee is seeking to compel some of the most sensitive information about Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election in its subpoenas to the Republican members of Congress, the sources said.The Guardian reported earlier this week that the panel was moving closer to issuing subpoenas to Republican members of Congress, appalled at their refusal to assist the investigation in any way despite prima facie connections to the events of 6 January.What changed for members of the select committee, according to sources familiar with internal deliberations, was that they could no longer ignore what appeared to be deep involvement in Trump’s unlawful schemes to overturn the 2020 election results.The scope and targets of the subpoenas are not final until the orders are made public, and the sources cautioned that details could still change. But the subpoenas are expected to encompass the contents of the letters seeking voluntary cooperation, they said.That would indicate the select committee intends to ask McCarthy – the top Republican in the House – about what he knew of the former president’s involvement in, and response to, the Capitol riots, as well as why Trump believed he was at fault for the riot.It also suggests House investigators are interested in seeking more detail about meetings between Trump and Republican members of Congress at the White House before the Capitol attack where they strategized ways to stop Joe Biden’s certification on 6 January.Congressman Kevin McCarthy, the top Republican in the US House of Representatives, and other lawmakers on Thursday received subpoenas from the House committee investigating last year’s attack on the US Capitol by supporters of then-president Donald Trump, an escalation of the panel’s efforts to secure their testimony, Reuters reports.The January 6 House Select Committee had previously sent letters to Republican lawmakers, asking for their voluntary cooperation with the panel’s investigation. The panel had a renewed interest in McCarthy’s cooperation after new reporting last month showed he had told the Republican leadership days after January 6 that Trump admitted to him at least partial responsibility for the Capitol attack, sources said.The select committee is particularly focused on whether Trump might have indicated to McCarthy why he believed he was culpable for the Capitol attack, the sources said, and whether the former president knew he may have acted unlawfully on January 6.A huge, violent mob invaded the Capitol in an attempt to prevent the official certification by a joint session of Congress – ie the Senate and House – of Joe Biden’s victory over Trump in the November 2020 presidential election.Trump had earlier goaded crowds at a rally near the White House to make their way to Capitol, urging supporters that they needed to “fight like hell” to defend his presidency.The insurrection ultimately failed and Biden’s win was certified in the early hours of the next day, after lawmakers, media and staff had run for their lives from the deadly rioters.Nancy Pelosi has been explaining why Democrats rejected legislation proposed by Republican senators Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski that would codify Roe v Wade abortion protections into federal law.At her weekly briefing, the House speaker spelled out why her party pushed the women’s health protection act, which failed in the US Senate yesterday, instead of backing the more restrictive but still protective reproductive rights act from the pro-choice Republicans, seen as more likely to have attracted bipartisan support..css-knbk2a{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}It’s not enough just to pass a bill to have a compromise. It’s not a compromise, because what’s in the Republican bill would enable states to do very destructive things when it comes to a woman’s right to choose.Pelosi explained that while both bills would have enshrined into law the basics of Roe v Wade, the 1973 ruling guaranteeing abortion protections, which the supreme court looks set to reverse, the Democrats’ act would go further.It would, she said, have added the protections given by the 1992 Planned Parenthood v Casey ruling, which dealt with other issues including the viability of a fetus and restrictions on how far states could go in tinkering with the provisions of Roe:.css-knbk2a{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}This is not a public policy debate that is isolated from the personal impact that it has on the lives of women, whether it’s contraception, whether it’s invitro fertilization, whether it’s a post-miscarriage care, whether its size and timing of a family.
    It is personal between a woman, her doctor, her God [and] her family, not the supreme court, or the Congress of the United States. The US was today confirmed as the host of the 2031 men’s Rugby World Cup and the 2033 women’s event. This is not particularly political news, except Joe Biden formally supported the bid, as we reported here, and has been known to be very enthusiastic about the game, as we reported here. And here. We (OK, I) have also reported about how politicians from both sides of the aisle have played and loved the game, here, here and elsewhere.The Guardian is working on a follow-up piece about what the bid announcement might mean for American rugby, and in the course of harvesting statements has spoken both to the Congressional Rugby Caucus (co-chairs Eleanor Holmes Norton, Democrat of Washington DC and Alex Mooney, Republican of West Virginia). Statements are awaited. In the meantime Chris Murphy, the Democratic senator from Connecticut, has confirmed he was a college rugby player and said the following:.css-knbk2a{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}“I was first introduced to rugby at Williams, and although I wasn’t very good, I loved the sport and made lifelong friends. I am excited that the U.S. will host the men’s and women’s Rugby World Cups and look forward to it introducing even more Americans to the game.For further reading, here’s the US Eagles men’s fly-half or full-back Will Hooley on What This All Means For The Game:We can build it, they will come: a USA Rugby World Cup will be a gamechanger | Will HooleyRead more More