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    George Santos withdraws from House committees amid spiraling scandal

    George Santos withdraws from House committees amid spiraling scandalNew York Republican congressman under investigation over his largely made-up résumé and current campaign finance filings The Republican congressman George Santos has temporarily withdrawn from two House committees to which he was appointed by party leaders despite a spiraling scandal over his largely made-up résumé, bizarre past behavior and campaign finance filings.Donald Trump sues Bob Woodward over The Trump Tapes for $50mRead moreExplaining his decision, Santos said he wanted to “focus on serving the constituents of New York’s third congressional district and providing federal level representation without distraction”.Critics would argue Santos has provided plenty of distraction since winning his seat in November.Earlier this month, the House speaker, Kevin McCarthy, appointed Santos to the committees on small business and science, space and technology.The speaker did so despite confirming that a member of staff for Santos pretended to be McCarthy’s chief of staff while seeking campaign donations.But that was hardly the biggest news of Santos’s first month in Congress.Found to have largely fabricated his educational and professional résumé, Santos has denied or deflected reports about past conduct including an alleged fraud of a homeless veteran seeking medical care for his dog and appearances as a drag queen in Brazil, where he is also being investigated over alleged use of a stolen chequebook.Santos is under local, state and federal investigation in the US. Last week it emerged that the congressman, who has also been known as Anthony Devolder, faces a criminal investigation by the Department of Justice over campaign finance filings that have prompted questions about the source of his wealth and a possible link to a Russian oligarch.Santos’s district party and other New York Republicans have been joined by New York and national Democrats in calling for Santos to quit. Polling in the third district shows nearly 80% of voters there now think he should do so.But if he did, prompting a special election, McCarthy would face further erosion of an already slender majority.Before being sworn in, Santos backed McCarthy through 15 rounds of voting for speaker as the far right of the party rebelled. Since then, McCarthy and other party leaders have repeatedly said Santos should not resign.Santos has admitted “embellishing” his résumé but repeatedly denied wrongdoing, bemoaned the tone of media coverage and said he will not step down.News of his decision to step back from committee assignments came out of a closed-door party meeting on Capitol Hill on Tuesday morning.Multiple news outlets cited an unnamed source as saying the New Yorker told fellow Republicans he had become “a distraction”.McCarthy told reporters: “I met with George Santos yesterday and I think it was an appropriate decision that until he could clear everything up, he’s off committees right now … We had a discussion and he asked me if he could do that.”In a statement, Santos’s office said: “He is recusing himself until he is cleared. Please note that his seat will be reserved until the congressman has been cleared of both campaign and personal financial investigations.”In a subsequent personal statement, Santos said: “With the ongoing attention surrounding both my personal and campaign financial investigations, I have submitted a request to Speaker McCarthy that I be temporarily recused from my committee assignments until I am cleared.“This was a decision that I take very seriously. The business of the 118th Congress must continue without media fanfare. It is important that I primarily focus on serving the constituents of New York’s third congressional district and providing federal level representation without distraction.”Santos also thanked McCarthy “for meeting with me to discuss the matter and allowing me to take time to properly clear my name”.Republicans greeted Santos’s withdrawals.Marc Molinaro, another freshman from New York, told Politico: “The decision to not serve on committees is in his and our best interest. As I said, I think he should resign and focus on his defense. But I do welcome this decision.”Don Bacon of Nebraska, a Republican moderate, told the same outlet Santos “apologised and said he was going to recuse himself … for now. He just said he recused himself for a while and then he’ll come back”.‘We don’t know his real name’: George Santos’s unravelling web of liesRead moreMarjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, both a leading rightwing extremist and a solid McCarthy ally, told reporters Santos “asked that we all support him when everything settles down for him to serve on committees”.Pete Aguilar of California, the Democratic caucus chair, told reporters he was “struck by the chaos, confusion, dysfunction of the Republican conference.“They defended putting him on committees and now they’re announcing that he’s not going to serve on a committee, so I don’t understand what the play of the day is. We have said from the beginning that George Santos is not fit to serve on any committees.”Republicans, he said, were defending “someone who only has a passing relation to the truth”.Among media responses to Santos’s withdrawal, Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia, plumped for satire.“George Santos has stepped aside (with a push or two),” Sabato wrote. “… Is that any way to treat the founder of Walmart and the inventor of the iPhone?”TopicsHouse of RepresentativesRepublicansGeorge SantosUS politicsKevin McCarthynewsReuse this content More

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    Judge who told Pence not to overturn election predicts ‘beginning of end of Trump’

    Judge who told Pence not to overturn election predicts ‘beginning of end of Trump’‘What Trump has done is quite arguably the worst crime against the US that a president could commit,’ says J Michael Luttig The conservative judge who convinced Mike Pence he could not overturn the 2020 election has predicted “the beginning of the end of Donald Trump” – the former president who incited the January 6 insurrection but is now trying to return to the White House.Trump pleads the fifth more than 400 times in fraud deposition, video showsRead moreSpeaking to the Washington Post, J Michael Luttig also made a common comparison to another notorious former president, Richard Nixon, who resigned in 1974 over the Watergate scandal.“What Nixon did was just an ordinary crime,” Luttig said, referring to the cover-up of a break-in at Democratic headquarters. “What Trump has done is quite arguably the worst crime against the United States that a president could commit.”Luttig was a staffer for Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan and George HW Bush, who put him on the federal bench in 1991. Now 68, he is a retired conservative jurist widely deemed unlucky not to have made the supreme court. He came to national attention last June, when he appeared before the House January 6 committee.In a televised hearing, using precise and powerful words, Luttig explained why on 4 January 2021 he told Pence he could not do as Trump wished and block certification of Joe Biden’s election win, an argument Luttig also published on Twitter.Luttig went on to paint a stark picture of America “at war against herself” and warned that a year and a half after the deadly Capitol riot, Trump and his supporters still posed “a clear and present danger to American democracy”.Another six months on, Trump is in legal jeopardy amid investigations of his election subversion, his financial and campaign finance affairs and his retention of classified records, and a lawsuit brought by a writer who says he raped her, an allegation Trump denies.But Trump is still the only declared major candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024, dominating polls of the notional field.In a lengthy profile published by the Post on Tuesday, Luttig said he had seen “ample evidence” of criminal activity and believed Trump would be indicted. He also cautioned that any decision about indicting the former president should consider how it might “split the nation”, given the inevitable “spectacle” of Trump’s fight to beat any charges.But the Post said Luttig also thought Trump’s political future had been “dealt triple blows … by his recent assertion that parts of the constitution should be ‘terminated’ to return him to office, the criminal referrals by the January 6 committee and the failure of his favored candidates in the 2022 midterm elections”.Donald Trump sues Bob Woodward over The Trump Tapes for $50mRead moreTrump made his remark about the constitution in a social media post in December. The Biden White House rebuked him for remarks it said were “anathema to the soul of our nation”.The January 6 committee made four criminal referrals to the Department of Justice. The justice department investigation of Trump’s election subversion and incitement of the Capitol attack continues.High-profile Trump candidates were beaten at the polls in November, costing Republicans control of the Senate and, arguably, a healthier House majority.Luttig, the Post said, saw in the cumulative effect of such factors “the beginning of the end of Donald Trump”. But he added that Trump had not yet been stopped, and it might be down to the courts to do so.“Donald Trump has proven that the only thing that can stop him is the law,” Luttig warned.TopicsDonald TrumpUS Capitol attackMike PenceUS politicsUS elections 2020US elections 2024newsReuse this content More

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    Trump pleaded the fifth more than 400 times in fraud deposition, video shows

    Trump pleaded the fifth more than 400 times in fraud deposition, video showsFormer president repeatedly invoked constitutional right against self-incrimination in New York footage from late last summer Video released on Tuesday showed Donald Trump answering questions from the New York state attorney general, Letitia James, in a deposition in a civil fraud case late last summer.Video shows Trump taking the fifth 400 times in New York fraud deposition – liveRead moreQuestioned about his financial affairs, the former president repeatedly invoked his fifth-amendment right against self-incrimination – part of a refusal to answer he repeated more than 400 times.“Anyone in my position not taking the fifth amendment would be a fool, an absolute fool,” Trump said.On the advice of counsel, Trump said, he “respectfully decline[d] to answer the questions under the rights and privileges afforded to every citizen under the United States constitution”.The footage was obtained and reported by CBS News.Three of Trump’s children – Donald Trump Jr, Ivanka Trump and Eric Trump – were also deposed by James during an investigation which lasted for three years.In his deposition, Trump repeatedly claimed to have been treated unfairly.James told him: “Anything you say in this examination may be used in a civil proceeding, and that can include a civil enforcement proceeding or a criminal action. Do you understand that?”Trump replied: “I think.”James asked: “Is that yes?”Trump said: “I don’t know what I did wrong, but the answer is yes, I do understand.”Trump was also warned about the risk of perjury.Reading a prepared statement, he complained of “the greatest witch-hunt in the history of our country” and called James “a renegade and out of control prosecutor”.He added: “This whole thing is very unfair.”Trump acknowledged the deposition and his refusal to answer questions at the time, saying in a statement: “I once asked, ‘If you’re innocent, why are you taking the fifth amendment?’ Now I know the answer to that question.“When your family, your company, and all the people in your orbit have become the targets of an unfounded, politically motivated witch-hunt supported by lawyers, prosecutors, and the Fake News Media, you have no choice.”The deposition took place on 10 August, two days after Trump’s Florida home, Mar-a-Lago, was raided by FBI agents looking for classified documents.In his statement, Trump said the raid “wiped out any uncertainty” about whether he should take the fifth in his deposition by James.“I have absolutely no choice because the current administration and many prosecutors in this country have lost all moral and ethical bounds of decency,” he said.In late September 2022, James announced a wide-ranging civil suit against Donald Trump, Donald Trump Jr, Ivanka Trump, Eric Trump and the Trump Organization.01:13James said Trump “falsely inflated his net worth by billions of dollars to unjustly enrich himself and to cheat the system, thereby cheating all of us. He did this with the help of the other defendants.”Saying “the number of grossly inflated asset values is staggering”, the suit seeks to bar the Trumps from serving as executives in New York and to prohibit the company from acquiring commercial real estate or receiving loans from New York-based entities for five years.In November, Trump sued James, over what he called a “relentless, pernicious, public, and unapologetic crusade” against him.Trump dropped the suit this month, a day after a suit against Hillary Clinton was thrown out and Trump and his lawyer were hit with a near-$1m sanction.Ever litigious, on Monday Trump announced a near-$50m lawsuit against the Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward and the publisher Simon & Schuster, over an audio book, The Trump Tapes, for which Trump says he did not give permission.Woodward and Simon & Schuster said the suit was “without merit and we will aggressively defend against it”.Donald Trump sues Bob Woodward over The Trump Tapes for $50mRead moreEven as he steps up the pace in his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024, Trump faces legal jeopardy on numerous fronts aside from the New York state civil suit.Prosecutors in New York City who secured a conviction against Trump’s chief financial officer on tax offences have said they are looking again at a hush money payment to a porn star, made in 2016.Also in New York, Trump faces lawsuits from E Jean Carroll, a writer who says he raped her in the mid-1990s, an allegation Trump denies.The Department of Justice and state authorities are investigating Trump’s attempt to overturn the 2020 election and his incitement of the US Capitol attack, regarding which the House January 6 committee made four criminal referrals.The justice department also continues to investigate Trump’s retention of classified documents.On Monday, in a post to his Truth Social platform, Trump complained of “Democrat D.A.’s [sic], attorney generals and prosecutors” who he said were “very DANGEROUS to the well being of our country”.He also said he was being “hit” to keep him from running for the White House, “and all because I am leading by sooo much”.Trump is the only declared major candidate for the Republican nomination in 2024. His only close rival in polling of the notional field, the governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, has led some surveys.TopicsDonald TrumpNew YorkUS politicsnewsReuse this content More

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    Trump seems oddly relaxed about Republican rival Nikki Haley | Arwa Mahdawi

    Trump seems oddly relaxed about Republican rival Nikki Haley. Is it because she doesn’t stand a chance?Arwa MahdawiRon DeSantis would supposedly be ‘disloyal’ if he challenged Trump for the White House. Haley, meanwhile, ‘should do it’. Guess who’s a bigger threat? Has Donald Trump taken up meditation as his new year resolution? Is he mainlining sedatives? Did a demon snatch his soul and replace it with that of a reasonable person? I ask because the unthinkable has happened: Trump has responded to the idea of one of his former acolytes challenging his 2024 ambitions in a calm and measured manner, instead of with his usual insults.The acolyte in question is Nikki Haley, a former South Carolina governor and Trump’s US ambassador to the UN. There are mounting rumours that Haley is exploring a potential run against Trump in 2024 – a fact that doesn’t seem to bother her old boss very much. Speaking to reporters on his plane on Saturday, Trump said Haley had called him up to chat about running and he’d told her: “Go by your heart if you want to run.” To be fair, he couldn’t resist a little dig, noting Haley had “publicly said that ‘I would never run against my president – he was a great president.’” Still, he magnanimously told her she “should do it”.Trump wasn’t quite as high-minded about another of his former disciples who also has his eye on the White House. During the same press session, Trump attacked the Florida governor, Ron DeSantis, accusing him of trying to “rewrite” history as regards his Covid response. “When I hear that he might [run], I think it’s very disloyal,” Trump said, according to Politico, adding: “He won’t be leading. I got him elected. I’m the one that chose him.”Why is Trump bothered about DeSantis and blase about Haley? It’s not sedatives or soul-swapping demons at play, I reckon – it’s misogyny. My guess is that Trump thinks Haley has zero chance of the top job so he’s happy to humour the little lady. DeSantis, meanwhile, is far more of a threat.To be fair, the polls support this thesis. Three national polls released in January show Trump leads the field in a hypothetical 2024 Republican presidential primary, but DeSantis is firmly in second place. Haley, meanwhile, is polling at 3% – way behind Trump’s range of 48-55%. Still, if there’s one thing we’ve learned from recent years, it’s that polls should be taken with a very large pinch of salt. Just because it currently seems that Haley has little chance of winning the Republican nomination doesn’t mean it can’t happen. Remember how many people wrote Trump off in 2016.Haley, for her part, seems to think she’s in with a shot. In a recent interview with Fox News she noted that she’s “never lost a race … Stay tuned.” Meanwhile, one Republican told the Hill that the former governor “has decided her time is now and she’s about to take the gloves off when it comes to Trump, DeSantis and [Mike] Pompeo”. The gloves have already been slipping. Haley, 51, recently tweeted a clip from her Fox News interview during which she said, in a blatant reference to Joe Biden and Trump’s ages, that she thinks “it’s time for new generational change. I don’t think you need to be 80 years old to go be a leader in DC. I think we need a young generation to come in, step up and really start fixing things.” Look, I agree with the rabidly rightwing Haley on absolutely nothing but if she wants to define 51 as “young” (which it objectively is in the geriatric US government) I’m all for that.Also in Haley’s favour is that she has always cynically used the fact that she’s an Indian-American woman (her birth name is Nimrata Randhawa) and the child of immigrants to deflect from bigotry in the Republican party and seem palatable to some liberals. Simultaneously, however, she’s adept at throwing meat to the rightwing base and wading into culture wars. “CRT [critical race theory] is un-American,” she tweeted on Monday, for example.So could Haley be the first female president of the US? Again, I wouldn’t write it off. She’s smart, ambitious and apparently devoid of any sort of moral compass: all the qualifications you need to get to the top in politics.
    Arwa Mahdawi is a Guardian columnist
    TopicsUS politicsOpinionDonald TrumpRepublicansRon DeSantiscommentReuse this content More

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    Why Donald Trump’s return to Facebook could mark a rocky new age for online discourse

    Why Donald Trump’s return to Facebook could mark a rocky new age for online discourseThe former president was banned from Instagram and Facebook following the Jan 6 attacks, but Meta argues that new ‘guardrails’ will keep his behaviour in check. Plus: is a chatbot coming for your job?

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    It’s been two years since Donald Trump was banned from Meta, but now he’s back. The company’s justification for allowing the former president to return to Facebook and Instagram – that the threat has subsided – seems to ignore that in the two years since the ban Trump hasn’t changed, it’s just that his reach has reduced.Last week, Meta’s president of global affairs, Nick Clegg, announced that soon Trump will be able to post on Instagram and Facebook. The company said “the risk has sufficiently receded” in the two years since the Capitol riots on 6 January 2021 to allow the ban to be lifted.What you might not have been aware of – except through media reports – was Trump’s response. That is because the former US president posted it on Truth Social, his own social media network that he retreated to after he was banned from the others. And it is effectively behind a wall for web users, because the company is not accepting new registrations. On that platform, Trump is said to have fewer than 5 million followers, compared to 34 million and almost 88 million he’d had on Facebook and Twitter respectively.Meta’s ban meant that Trump wouldn’t have space on its platforms during the US midterms elections in 2022, but would anything have been different if Trump had been given a larger audience? As Dan Milmo has detailed, almost half of the posts on Trump’s Truth Social account in the weeks after the midterms pushed election fraud claims or amplified QAnon accounts or content. But you wouldn’t know it unless you were on that platform, or reading a news report about it like this one.If given a larger audience, will Trump resume his Main Character role in online discourse (a role that Twitter’s new owner, Elon Musk, has gamely taken on in the past few months)? Or has his influence diminished? This is the gamble Meta is taking.When Musk lifted Trump’s ban on Twitter in November after a user poll won by a slim margin, it was easy to read the former president’s snub of the gesture as a burn on the tech CEO. But it seems increasingly likely that the Meta decision about whether to reinstate him was looming large in Trump’s mind. Earlier this month, NBC reported that Trump’s advisors had sent a letter to Meta pleading for the ban to be lifted, saying it “dramatically distorted and inhibited the public discourse”. If Trump had gone back to Twitter and started reposting what he had posted on Truth Social, there would have been more pressure on Meta to keep the ban in place (leaving aside the agreement Trump has with his own social media company that keeps his posts exclusive on Truth Social for several hours).Twitter lifting the ban and Trump not tweeting at all gave Meta sufficient cover.The financialsThere’s also the possible financial reasoning. Angelo Carusone, the president of Media Matters for America, said Facebook is “a dying platform” and restoring Trump is about clinging to relevance and revenue.For months, Trump has been posting on Truth Social about how poorly Meta is performing financially, and in part trying to link it to him no longer being on Facebook. Meta has lost more than US$80bn in market value, and last year sacked thousands of workers as the company aimed to stem a declining user base and loss of revenue after Apple made privacy changes on its software (£).But what of the ‘guardrails’?Meta’s justification for restoring Trump’s account is that there are new “guardrails” that could result in him being banned again for the most egregious policy breaches for between one month and two years. But that is likely only going to be for the most serious of breaches – such as glorifying those committing violence. Clegg indicated that if Trump is posting QAnon-adjacent content, for example, his reach will be limited on those posts.The ban itself was a pretty sufficient reach limiter, but we will have to see what happens if Trump starts posting again. The unpublished draft document from staff on the January 6 committee, reported by the Washington Post last week, was pretty telling about Meta, and social media companies generally. It states that both Facebook and Twitter, under its former management, were sensitive to claims that conservative political speech was being suppressed. “Fear of reprisal and accusations of censorship from the political right compromised policy, process, and decision-making. This was especially true at Facebook,” the document states.“In one instance, senior leadership intervened personally to prevent rightwing publishers from having their content demoted after receiving too many strikes from independent fact-checkers.“After the election, they debated whether they should change their fact-checking policy on former world leaders to accommodate President Trump.”Those “guardrails” don’t seem particularly reassuring, do they?Is AI really coming for your job?Layoffs continue to hit media and companies are looking to cut costs. So it was disheartening for new reporters in particular to learn that BuzzFeed plans to use AI such as ChatGPT “to create content instead of writers”.(Full disclosure: I worked at BuzzFeed News prior to joining the Guardian in 2019, but it’s been long enough that I am not familiar with any of its thinking about AI.)But perhaps it’s a bit too early to despair. Anyone who has used free AI to produce writing will know it’s OK but not great, so the concern about BuzzFeed dipping its toes in those waters seems to be overstated – at least for now.In an interview with Semafor, BuzzFeed tech reporter Katie Notopoulos explained that the tools aren’t intended to replace the quiz-creation work writers do now, but to create new quizzes unlike what is already around. “On the one hand,” she said, “I want to try to explain this isn’t an evil plan to replace me with AI. But on the other … maybe let Wall Street believe that for a little while.”That seems to be where AI is now: not a replacement for a skilled person, just a tool.The wider TechScape
    This is the first really good in-depth look at the last few months of Twitter since Elon Musk took over.
    Social media users are posting feelgood footage of strangers to build a following, but not every subject appreciates the clickbaity attention of these so-called #kindness videos.
    If you’re an influencer in Australia and you’re not declaring your sponcon properly, you might be targeted as part of a review by the local regulator.
    Speaking of influencers, Time has a good explanation for why you might have seen people posting about mascara on TikTok in the past few days.
    Writer Jason Okundaye makes the case that it’s time for people to stop filming strangers in public and uploading the videos online in the hope of going viral.
    Nintendo rereleasing GoldenEye007 this week is a reminder of how much the N64 game shaped video games back in the day.
    TopicsTechnologyTechScapeSocial mediaDonald TrumpDigital mediaMetaFacebookInstagramnewslettersReuse this content More

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    Paul Pelosi attack: rightwing pundits backtrack after release of police video

    Paul Pelosi attack: rightwing pundits backtrack after release of police videoSeveral top commentators promoted conspiracy theories after news of attack at San Francisco home broke in October00:55Conservative commentators were forced to backtrack over conspiracy theories and jokes about the hammer attack on Paul Pelosi, after the release of police video and audio last week.Police body-camera video of Paul Pelosi hammer attack releasedRead moreOne Fox News commentator had to retreat from his claim there was no “evidence of a breaking and entering” when his host pointed out that footage of the attacker breaking into Pelosi’s home was playing on screen at the time.“Got it,” Brian Claypool said. “Yeah. OK. Can’t we talk more about what is the DoJ doing?”The Department of Justice has charged Pelosi’s attacker, David DePape, with assault and attempted kidnapping. The 42-year-old also faces state charges including attempted murder. He has pleaded not guilty.Pelosi, 82, was attacked in his San Francisco home in late October, a time when his wife, Nancy Pelosi, was still speaker of the US House. According to tapes released by the police, the attacker said he was looking for her. She was not present. Her husband suffered a fractured skull and injuries to his hand and arm.Republican leaders including Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell condemned the attack.But prominent rightwingers including Donald Trump Jr, the Fox News host Tucker Carlson, the Tesla and Twitter owner Elon Musk and Republican members of Congress including Ted Cruz and Marjorie Taylor Greene eagerly spread jokes, misinformation and conspiracy theories.Joe Biden said such reactions showed the Republicans were “extremely extreme”.Jill Filipovic, a Guardian columnist, wrote that though the attack “should shock the conscience of the nation … it has shown just how immune to human decency and empathy the Trumpist right has become”.Last week, a judge in San Francisco ordered the release of police and surveillance footage. On Friday, the footage played widely on TV and online.Musk said sorry – in answer to a tweet in which Juanita Broaddrick, an author who accuses Bill Clinton of rape, said the Pelosi footage showed what was “still a questionable and bizarre situation between two men in their underwear”. Other users pointed out that the footage showed neither man was wearing only underwear.Perhaps the most awkward reaction, however, came from Claypool, who according to his own website is “a nationally regarded trial attorney, trusted media personality, and a genuine ally to those who have endured sexual abuse and faced civil injustice”.Referring to a conspiracy theory which holds that Pelosi let DePape into his home, Claypool said: “The question they’ve not talked about is, and nobody wants to talk about, but let’s do it, is did Paul Pelosi know this guy?”Claypool pointed to the fact the footage shows Pelosi with a drink in his hand. The commentator also claimed a 911 call also released showed Pelosi to be “kind of passively in fear, it didn’t sound like he was in fear for his life”.Things started to go wrong for Claypool when his Fox News host, Sandra Smith, said: “Wasn’t that an effort to keep the attacker calm, potentially?“I think that’s the way a lot of us interpreted that 911 call … that this was somebody who had 911 on the line and that Pelosi was trying to convey that he was in distress, that he was in immediate danger, without escalating the situation with the attacker.“And, by the way, there’s clear footage … outside of the house, showing this attacker breaking through the glass windows on the side of the house.”Fox News rolled the footage. More

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    Donald Trump sues Bob Woodward over The Trump Tapes for $50m

    Donald Trump sues Bob Woodward over The Trump Tapes for $50mFormer president claims Washington Post reporter ‘never got his permission to release these tapes’ Donald Trump has sued Bob Woodward for a fraction less than $50m, claiming he did not agree to the veteran Washington Post reporter publishing tapes of their conversations as an audio book.The Trump Tapes: Bob Woodward’s chilling warning for US democracyRead moreWoodward’s publisher, Simon & Schuster, and its parent company, Paramount Global, were also named as defendants.The Trump Tapes was released in October 2022, under the subtitle Bob Woodward’s Twenty Interviews With President Donald Trump.Amid generally positive reviews, the Guardian called the audiobook “a passport to the heart of darkness” of Trump’s presidency.Woodward also wrote three print bestsellers about Trump and his administration: Fear, Rage and Peril – the last cowritten with Robert Costa. The interviews which formed The Trump Tapes were mostly carried out from December 2019 to August 2020, when Woodward was writing Rage.In the suit filed in the northern district of Florida on Monday, lawyers for Trump said their case “centers on Mr Woodward’s systematic usurpation, manipulation and exploitation of audio of President Trump”.They also alleged that one conversation was deceptively edited, citing a comparison with a recording made by Hogan Gidley, a Trump aide, at Mar-a-Lago in Florida on 30 December 2019.That recording, the suit says, contains an exchange in which Woodward tells Trump: “This again is for the book to come out before the election.”Rage was published in the US on 15 September 2020, a little less than two months before election day.Trump is seeking just under $50m in damages, a figure his lawyers say they reached by looking at sales of Fear, which “sold more than two million copies, which is the amount of copies that the audiotape can be estimated to sell.“Based upon the purchase price of the audiotape, $24.99, the damages President Trump has sustained due to the actions of the defendants as set forth herein are estimated to be at least $49,980,000.00, exclusive of punitive damages, attorney’s fees, and costs.”Trump first complained when the audiobook was released. Appearing on CNN, Woodward was asked about Trump’s claim that he “never got his permission to release these tapes”.Woodward said: “Well, they were done voluntarily, it was all on the record. I had used some of it before. So he’s president and … so he’s out there. And this is out there to the tenth power.”Woodward did not immediately comment on Monday. Simon & Schuster and Paramount Global also did not immediately comment.Trump is beginning to accelerate his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024, a contest in which he remains the only declared candidate.He faces legal jeopardy on numerous fronts: over his attempts to overturn the 2020 election, his financial and campaign finance affairs, his retention of classified records and an allegation of rape by the writer E Jean Carroll, which Trump denies.Trump has often sued media foes, CNN among them. A lawsuit against the New York attorney general was recently thrown out of court.The section of Trump’s suit against Woodward which alleges deceptive editing, meanwhile, contains an echo of the scandal that made the reporter famous: Watergate, which brought down Richard Nixon in 1974.In an exchange published in The Trump Tapes, Woodward and Trump discuss Trump’s first impeachment, over his approaches to Ukraine for dirt on political rivals.Trump says the affair was “peanuts” next to Watergate.Woodward says: “But as soon as the Watergate burglars were caught, if Richard Nixon had gone on television and said, ‘You know, I’m the man at the top. I’m indirectly responsible for this. I am sorry. I apologize,’ it would have gone away.”Trump says: “Yeah, Nixon should have done that … But I can’t, I shouldn’t have done that, because I did nothing wrong.”TopicsBob WoodwardDonald TrumpUS politicsnewsReuse this content More

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    Surge in complications from unsafe abortions likely post-Roe, doctors warn

    Surge in complications from unsafe abortions likely post-Roe, doctors warnPeople in underserved medical communities in states that ban abortions may be more likely to attempt self-managed abortions Top doctors in the US warn that surgeons should be prepared to treat more patients with complications from self-managed abortions and forced pregnancy after the overturning of Roe v Wade.In a recent opinion piece published in the BMJ, 17 experts from medical centers and universities including the University of Chicago, Duke Medicine and the University of Pennsylvania urged surgeons to be prepared to treat medical consequences related to a person’s inability to access an abortion.“In the aftermath of the supreme court’s Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health decision, acute care surgeons face an increased likelihood of seeing patients with complications from both self-managed abortions and forced pregnancy in underserved areas of reproductive and maternity care throughout the USA,” read the op-ed.The Dobbs v Jackson case eliminated the nationwide abortion rights established by Roe v Wade in 1972. While many states still provide access to abortions, many others now generally prohibit the termination of pregnancies.Physicians noted that self-managed abortions with pills such as mifepristone are extremely safe and used across the country to help provide access to abortion services.But physicians warned that people in underserved medical communities in states that ban abortions may be more likely to attempt a self-managed “by ingestion of toxic substances or by self-inflicted physical injury”.“Depending on their location and state laws regarding abortion access, trauma and acute care surgeons may find themselves providing care for people [affected] by the Dobbs ruling who undergo [self-managed abortion] and suffer injury as a result,” the op-ed noted.“While we should strive to prevent such injury by advocating for the protection of access to safe abortion care, surgeons should also prepare to treat resulting complications.”Doctors noted that surgeons must act to protect patient privacy and legal safety, especially as conservative states have weighed prosecuting pregnant people who seek an abortion in a state that prohibits it.“The patient’s legal safety should also be of utmost concern and underscores the significance of knowing your state laws around this issue,” the op-ed noted.“Providers have the ethical duty to protect patient privacy and to not report these complications which implicate self-induced abortion to law enforcement in states where this is prohibited.”Providers also warned that surgeons may have to deal with the medical complications associated with forced pregnancy, especially given higher rates of maternal morbidity and mortality in the US.“Again, in those states that restrict access to abortion care, maternal morbidity, and inevitably mortality, will increase and require physicians from all fields to expand their ability to care for these needs,” read the op-ed.Physicians warned that the consequences of abortion bans will most affect marginalized communities, including people of color and those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, who are overrepresented in patients seeking abortion services and are more likely to live in areas where abortion access is restricted.The op-ed urged medical professionals to become educated on how to treat pregnant patients who may face health consequences as a result of not being able to access an abortion.At least 22 states have taken some action to limit abortion access, with 12 states banning the procedure from conception.Medical providers in states that have banned abortion have stated that they are often delayed in providing life-saving treatment due to bans on the procedure.A recent study from Texas showed that even with high-risk pregnant patients, doctors were forced to wait until some were “at death’s door” before providing pregnancy termination services.A separate study from Texas found that delays in miscarriage care due to anti-abortion laws resulted in severe health consequences, including admission into an intensive care unit and a hysterectomy.Meanwhile, states have begun enshrining abortion protections amid the continuing battle over reproductive rights.Minnesota on Saturday became the first state to pass a bill that would codify abortion rights following the Dobbs decision.“This is a crucial first step in establishing rock-solid protections for everyone in Minnesota to make their own decisions about their reproductive destiny,” said Abena Abraham, campaign director for the advocacy group UnRestrict Minnesota, in a statement, according to the Star Tribune.TopicsUS newsAbortionRoe v WadeUS healthcareUS politicsnewsReuse this content More