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    TikTok Bill to Be Bundled With Aid to Ukraine and Israel, House Speaker Indicates

    A new measure attempts to force the Senate’s hand on passing legislation to ban TikTok or mandate the app’s sale.The House on Wednesday made another push to force through legislation that would require the sale of TikTok by its Chinese owner or ban the app in the United States, accelerating an effort to disrupt the popular social media app.Speaker Mike Johnson has indicated that he intends to package the measure, a modified version of a stand-alone bill that the House passed last month, with foreign aid for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan.While the new legislation would still require TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, to sell the app to owners that resolved national security concerns, it includes an option to extend the deadline for a sale to nine months from the original six months, according to text of the legislation released by House leadership. The president could extend the deadline by another 90 days if progress toward a sale was being made.House lawmakers are expected to vote Saturday on a package of legislation that includes the TikTok ban and other bills popular with Republicans, a maneuver intended to induce lawmakers to vote for the foreign aid. If the package passes, the measures will be sent as a single bill to the Senate, which could vote soon after. President Biden has said he’ll sign TikTok legislation into law if it reaches his desk.The move “to package TikTok is definitely unusual, but it could succeed,” said Paul Gallant, a policy analyst for the financial services firm TD Cowen. He added that “it’s a bit of brinkmanship” to try to force an up-or-down vote without further negotiation with the Senate.The new effort is the most aggressive yet by legislators to wrest TikTok from its Chinese ownership over national security concerns. They cite the potential for Beijing to demand that TikTok turn over U.S. users’ data or to use the app for propaganda. The earlier House bill faced skepticism in the Senate over concerns that it would not hold up to a legal challenge.We are having trouble retrieving the article content.Please enable JavaScript in your browser settings.Thank you for your patience while we verify access. If you are in Reader mode please exit and log into your Times account, or subscribe for all of The Times.Thank you for your patience while we verify access.Already a subscriber? Log in.Want all of The Times? Subscribe. More

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    Inside the Manhattan Courtroom Where Trump Is on Trial

    Protesters railed outside, media and security swarmed the area, and inside the courtroom, Donald J. Trump appeared to nod off.It was about 2:30 on Monday afternoon when the first 96 potential jurors filed into a drab courtroom in Lower Manhattan to encounter the world’s most famous defendant: Donald J. Trump.Some craned their necks to catch a glimpse, an indication of the undeniable power of Mr. Trump’s celebrity.But not long after, more than 50 of those same prospective jurors — drawn from one of the nation’s most liberal counties — were dismissed because they said they could not be impartial about the 45th president.The beginning of the first criminal trial of a former American president drew intense security, loud demonstrations and smothering media coverage to a dingy Lower Manhattan courthouse that will be the unlikely center of American politics for the next six weeks.Who Are Key Players in the Trump Manhattan Criminal Trial?The first criminal trial of former President Donald J. Trump began Monday. Take a closer look at central figures related to the case.And if the first day is any indication, the trial may well be a surreal experience, juxtaposing the case’s mundane-sounding criminal charges — falsifying business records — against the potentially seismic effect it could have on the presidential race.We are having trouble retrieving the article content.Please enable JavaScript in your browser settings.Thank you for your patience while we verify access. If you are in Reader mode please exit and log into your Times account, or subscribe for all of The Times.Thank you for your patience while we verify access.Already a subscriber? Log in.Want all of The Times? Subscribe. More

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    Could Ecuador’s Diplomatic Spat With Mexico Be a Boon for Noboa?

    Analysts believe that President Daniel Noboa’s re-election hopes are what motivated the arrest of an Ecuadorean politician taking refuge at the Mexican Embassy.Ecuador’s decision to send police officers into the Mexican Embassy to arrest a politician who had taken refuge there inflamed tensions between two countries that were already at odds, but it may prove a political boon for the Ecuadorean president.President Daniel Noboa has been faced with flagging approval ratings amid rising violence weeks before a referendum that could affect his prospects for re-election next year. The spat with Mexico, which suspended diplomatic relations, may be just what he needed.The politician who was arrested, Jorge Glas, a former vice president of Ecuador, had been sentenced to prison for corruption and living at the Mexican Embassy in Quito since December. Then on Friday, Mexico granted him asylum, and the Ecuadorean police moved in.Mr. Noboa’s office said that the arrest had gone forward because Mexico had abused the immunities and privileges granted to the diplomatic mission, but the message it sent was also in keeping line with Mr. Noboa’s hardhanded approach to tackling violence and graft in Ecuador.The 36-year-old center-right leader came to power in November after President Guillermo Lasso, facing impeachment proceedings over accusations of embezzlement, called for early elections. Mr. Noboa is in office until May 2025, the remainder of Mr. Lasso’s term.Mr. Noboa’s ability to show that he can restore law and order to the nation of nearly 18 million may prove critical to his re-election, and that means tackling the country’s gangs, as well as corruption within the government that has enabled criminal groups, analysts say.We are having trouble retrieving the article content.Please enable JavaScript in your browser settings.Thank you for your patience while we verify access. If you are in Reader mode please exit and log into your Times account, or subscribe for all of The Times.Thank you for your patience while we verify access.Already a subscriber? Log in.Want all of The Times? Subscribe. More

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    Help Ukraine Hold the Line

    After more than two years of brutal, unrelenting war, Ukraine is still ready and has the capacity to defend its democracy and territory against Russia. But it cannot do so without American military assistance, which the United States had assured the Ukrainians would be there as long as it was needed.A majority of Americans understand this, and believe that curbing the revanchist dreams of Russia’s leader, Vladimir Putin, is America’s duty to Ukraine and to American security. A survey by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and Ipsos found that 58 percent of Americans favor providing economic help to Ukraine and sending more arms and military equipment to the Ukrainian government. And 60 percent of respondents said that the U.S. security relationship with Ukraine does more to strengthen American national security than to weaken it.While that support has declined somewhat since the beginning of Russia’s invasion, and it is weaker among Republicans, many Republican members of Congress also support continuing military aid. So it is distressing that the fate of Ukraine has fallen prey to internecine Republican politicking. House Speaker Mike Johnson has the power to do the right thing, but time is running critically short.Without American artillery, as well as antitank and antiaircraft shells and missiles, Ukraine cannot hold off an army that has a far deeper supply of men and munitions. “Russia is now firing at least five times as many artillery rounds as Ukraine,” as Andrew Kramer of The Times reported. As summer approaches, Russia is expected to prepare a new offensive thrust. Mr. Johnson knows this. He also knows that, if he brings it to a vote, a $60.1 billion aid package for Ukraine would most likely sail through the House with bipartisan support. Many Republican members and most Democrats want to pass it. The Senate passed it in February.Yet so far, Mr. Johnson has avoided a vote, fearing that a clutch of far-right House members, who parrot the views of Donald Trump and oppose any more aid for Ukraine, could topple him from the speaker’s post. To placate them, the speaker has said he will produce a proposal with “important innovations” when legislators return to work on Tuesday. These may include lifting the Biden administration’s hold on liquefied natural gas exports, including a proposed terminal in his home state, Louisiana; calling the aid a loan; or seizing billions of frozen Russian assets.None of those conditions are wise. Tying aid for Ukraine to unrelated political goals, such as undoing President Biden’s climate change agenda, may be typical of congressional horse trading, but it turns Ukraine into a pawn in partisan conflict. “This is not some political skirmish that only matters here in America,” Donald Tusk, the Polish prime minister, said on his visit to Washington last month. The speaker’s decision, he said, “will really cost thousands of lives there — children, women. He must be aware of his personal responsibility.”We are having trouble retrieving the article content.Please enable JavaScript in your browser settings.Thank you for your patience while we verify access. If you are in Reader mode please exit and log into your Times account, or subscribe for all of The Times.Thank you for your patience while we verify access.Already a subscriber? Log in.Want all of The Times? Subscribe. More

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    When Food, War and Politics Collide

    It is usually an afterthought in politics, but the power of food was made clear this week.The deadly Israeli strike on an aid convoy that killed seven workers for the relief group World Central Kitchen in the Gaza Strip shook official Washington this week. It prompted President Biden to issue his sharpest public criticism of Israel to date and spurred Israel’s military to make a rare admission of fault.It also revealed the power of something that is usually an afterthought in national and global politics: food.José Andrés, the celebrity chef who built World Central Kitchen from a scrappy outfit feeding hurricane victims to a $500 million relief organization operating in war zones, dialed up political pressure on both Biden and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel. He spoke directly with Biden, White House officials said on Tuesday, and on Wednesday, in an interview with Reuters, he accused the Israel Defense Forces of “systematically” attacking the three-car convoy.On Thursday, Biden held a tense call with Netanyahu, threatening to place conditions on future support for the country. Hours later, Israel said it would permit more aid deliveries in Gaza. It also promised new steps to reduce civilian casualties and broker a temporary cease-fire in exchange for the release of hostages who are being held in Gaza by Hamas militants after they attacked Israel on Oct. 7, killing some 1,200 people.I spoke with my colleague Kim Severson, a reporter who covers food for The New York Times and has written extensively about Andrés, about the celebrity chef’s political activism and why the deaths of these seven workers have drawn so much attention in a war that has already been so deadly. The interview was edited and condensed.JB: We know José Andrés as a celebrity chef who brings relief efforts all over the world, and who doesn’t hesitate to wade into politics. How did his message evolve over the course of this week?We are having trouble retrieving the article content.Please enable JavaScript in your browser settings.Thank you for your patience while we verify access. If you are in Reader mode please exit and log into your Times account, or subscribe for all of The Times.Thank you for your patience while we verify access.Already a subscriber? Log in.Want all of The Times? Subscribe. More

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    Melania Trump to Attend Fund-Raiser for the Log Cabin Republicans

    Melania Trump, who has been mostly absent from public view while her husband, Donald J. Trump, campaigns for president this year, will appear at a fund-raiser at Mar-a-Lago on April 20 for the Log Cabin Republicans, the group’s president said.The event, which was first reported by Politico, is a return of sorts to the political arena for Mrs. Trump, who has consistently stayed away from campaign events.Mr. Trump has insisted for months that Mrs. Trump would join him on the trail. He invokes her often during his rallies, to cheers from the crowd, even as she has not traveled with him. And she did not join him at a Super Tuesday party at Mar-a-Lago, the couple’s home in Palm Beach, Fla.Last month, Mrs. Trump made a rare public appearance with Mr. Trump, accompanying him when he cast his ballot during Florida’s primary. When asked if she would appear more regularly this year, Mrs. Trump replied, “Stay tuned.”Mrs. Trump remains a popular surrogate for the former president, but she has shown little interest in hitting the campaign trail.The fund-raiser for the Log Cabin Republicans, a group of L.G.B.T. conservatives, will still keep her largely out of the public eye. The group’s president, Charles T. Moran, said that Richard Grenell, Mr. Trump’s former ambassador to Germany, was also set to appear.Mrs. Trump has maintained ties to the Log Cabin Republicans for years. In a financial disclosure last year, she reported receiving a $250,000 payment from the group in December 2022. On Twitter that month, the group posted a photo saying she was the special guest at a “private dinner” and thanking her for “continuing the projects she worked on while in the White House.”Mrs. Trump’s few public appearances over the last year have been largely disconnected to Mr. Trump’s campaign. Last month, she joined Mr. Trump as he hosted Viktor Orban, the prime minister of Hungary, at Mar-a-Lago.In January, she delivered a eulogy at the funeral for her mother, Amalija Knavs. And she gave a speech last December at a naturalization ceremony in Washington, where she told new American citizens that citizenship meant “actively participating in the democratic process and guarding our freedom.”In November, she joined Mr. Trump at a funeral for his older sister. And she attended a memorial service for Rosalynn Carter with other first ladies from both parties. It was the first occasion that all of the living first ladies had been in one place since George H.W. Bush’s funeral in 2018. More

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    Canadian Politicians Were Targeted by China in 2021, Report Says

    Lawmakers testified at a public hearing on foreign interference that they had been caught in China’s cross hairs after criticizing it over human rights.A top-secret intelligence report drafted a week before Canada’s 2021 general election warned about ongoing attempts by the Chinese government to meddle in specific races, saying that Beijing had “identified Canadian politicians considered” to be opponents of China.Those politicians had become the targets of a shadowy media campaign, with suspected links to the Chinese government, that spread “false narratives” about them and encouraged Canadians to vote against them.The intelligence about possible interference in Canada’s last general election was included in documents released on Wednesday at a public hearing before a commission investigating foreign interference. Their release followed Canadian news reports over the past year outlining the Chinese government’s actions and raised concerns about the vulnerability of Canada’s democratic institutions.Canadian politicians believed to have been targeted by Beijing also testified at the hearing on Wednesday, saying that they had drawn the ire of the Chinese government by criticizing its record on human rights, among other issues.Kenny Chiu, a former member of Parliament from the Vancouver area whose 2021 loss has been at the heart of investigations into Chinese election interference, said he was dismayed to learn Wednesday that intelligence officials had been aware of China’s actions at the time of the election but had not told him.“It’s almost like I was drowning and they were watching,” said Mr. Chiu, a Conservative Party member who was a fierce critic of Beijing’s security crackdown in Hong Kong. He was also the chief proponent of a bill to create a registry of foreign agents in Canada to try to curb foreign interference.We are having trouble retrieving the article content.Please enable JavaScript in your browser settings.Thank you for your patience while we verify access. If you are in Reader mode please exit and log into your Times account, or subscribe for all of The Times.Thank you for your patience while we verify access.Already a subscriber? Log in.Want all of The Times? Subscribe. More

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    Nebraska Republicans Renew Push for ‘Winner Take All’ Electoral System

    A renewed push by Nebraska Republicans to move to a “winner-take-all” system in presidential elections has raised the prospect that the 2024 contest could end in an electoral college tie — with the House of Representatives deciding the winner.Nebraska and Maine are the only states that divide their electoral votes according to the presidential winners of congressional districts. In 2020, Joseph R. Biden Jr. won the eastern district around Omaha and its one vote. On Tuesday, Gov. Jim Pillen of Nebraska, a Republican, threw his support behind a G.O.P.-led bill languishing in the state’s unicameral legislature that would end the practice.“It would bring Nebraska in line with 48 of our fellow states, better reflect the founders’ intent, and ensure our state speaks with one unified voice in presidential elections,” Mr. Pillen wrote in a statement.The resurrection of the state bill was sparked this week by Charlie Kirk, the chief executive of Turning Point USA, a pro-Trump conservative advocacy group, who pressed the state legislature to move forward on social media.Former President Donald J. Trump quickly endorsed the governor’s “very smart letter” on his social media site.And for good reason. If Mr. Biden were to hold Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, but lose Georgia, Arizona, Nevada and the one Nebraska vote he took in 2020, the electoral college would be deadlocked at 269 votes each. The House would then decide the victor, not by total votes but by the votes of each state delegation. That would almost certainly give the election to Mr. Trump.But that Sun-Belt-sweep-plus-one scenario still might be out of reach. Democrats in the legislature expressed confidence on Tuesday that they could filibuster the measure, and the state legislative session is set to end on April 18.Conversely, Maine, where Democrats hold the governor’s office and a majority in the legislature, could change its system to take back the electoral vote that Mr. Trump won in 2020. Mr. Biden won Maine by nine percentage points, but Mr. Trump took a vote in the electoral college by winning the state’s rural second district. More