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    New York judge finds Trump committed fraud by overvaluing business assets and net worth – live

    From 13m agoThe Senate majority leader, Chuck Schumer, and the Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell, reached an agreement on a stopgap spending plan that would keep the government open past Saturday.A bipartisan Senate draft measure would fund the government through 17 November and include around $6bn in new aid to Ukraine and roughly $6bn in disaster funding, Reuters reported.Speaking earlier today, Schumer said:
    We will continue to fund the government at present levels while maintaining our commitment to Ukraine’s security and humanitarian needs, while also ensuring those impacted by natural disasters across the country begin to get the resources they need.
    The 79-page stopgap spending bill, unveiled by the Senate majority leader, Chuck Schumer, and the Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell, would not include any border security measures, a major sticking point for House Republicans, Reuters reported.The short-term bill would avert a government shutdown on Sunday while also providing billions in disaster relief and aid to Ukraine.The bill includes $4.5bn from an operations and maintenance fund for the defense department “to remain available until Sept. 30, 2024 to respond to the situation in Ukraine,” according to the measure’s text.The bill also includes another $1.65bn in state department funding for additional assistance to Ukraine that would be available until 30 September 2025.The Senate majority leader, Chuck Schumer, and the Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell, reached an agreement on a stopgap spending plan that would keep the government open past Saturday.A bipartisan Senate draft measure would fund the government through 17 November and include around $6bn in new aid to Ukraine and roughly $6bn in disaster funding, Reuters reported.Speaking earlier today, Schumer said:
    We will continue to fund the government at present levels while maintaining our commitment to Ukraine’s security and humanitarian needs, while also ensuring those impacted by natural disasters across the country begin to get the resources they need.
    Joe Biden’s dog, Commander, bit another Secret Service agent at the White House on Monday.In a statement to CNN, a spokesperson, Anthony Guglielmi, said:
    Yesterday around 8pm, a Secret Service Uniformed Division police officer came in contact with a First Family pet and was bitten. The officer was treated by medical personnel on complex.
    Commander has been involved in at least 11 biting incidents at the White House and at the Biden family home in Delaware. One such incident in November 2022 left an officer hospitalized after being bitten on the arms and thighs.Another of the president’s dogs, Major, was removed from the White House and relocated to Delaware following several reported biting incidents.Ruling in a civil lawsuit brought by the New York attorney general Letitia James, Judge Arthur Engoron ordered that some of Donald Trump’s business licenses be rescinded as punishment after finding the former president committed fraud by massively overvaluing his assets and exaggerating his net worth.The judge also said he would continue to have an independent monitor oversee the Trump Organization’s operations.James sued Trump and his adult sons last year, alleging widespread fraud connected to the Trump Organization and seeking $250m and professional sanctions. She has said Trump inflated his net worth by as much as $2.23bn, and by one measure as much as $3.6bn, on annual financial statements given to banks and insurers.Assets whose values were inflated included Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, his penthouse apartment in Manhattan’s Trump Tower, and various office buildings and golf courses, she said.In his ruling, Judge Engoron said James had established liability for false valuations of several properties, Mar-a-Lago and the penthouse. He wrote:
    In defendants’ world: rent regulated apartments are worth the same as unregulated apartments; restricted land is worth the same as unrestricted land; restrictions can evaporate into thin air; a disclaimer by one party casting responsibility on another party exonerates the other party’s lies. That is a is a fantasy world, not the real world.
    Judge Arthur F Engoron’s ruling marks a major victory for New York attorney general Letitia James’s civil case against Donald Trump.In the civil fraud suit, James is suing Trump, his adult sons, Donald Trump Jr and Eric Trump, and the Trump Organization for $250m.Today’s ruling, in a phase of the case known as summary judgment, resolves the key claim in James’s lawsuit, but six others remain.Trump has repeatedly sought to delay or throw out the case, and has repeatedly been rejected. He has also sued the judge, with an appeals court expected to rule this week on his lawsuit.A New York state judge has granted partial summary judgment to the New York attorney general, Letitia James, in the civil case against Donald Trump.Judge Arthur F Engoron found that Trump committed fraud for years while building his real estate empire, and that the former president and his company deceived banks, insurers and others by massively overvaluing his assets and exaggerating his net worth on paperwork used in making deals and securing financing, AP reports:
    Beyond mere bragging about his riches, Trump, his company and key executives repeatedly lied about them on his annual financial statements, reaping rewards such as favorable loan terms and lower insurance premiums, Engoron found.
    Those tactics crossed a line and violated the law, the judge said in his ruling on Tuesday.The decision by Judge Engoron precedes a trial that is scheduled to begin on Monday. James, a Democrat, sued Trump and his adult sons last year, alleging widespread fraud connected to the Trump Organization and seeking $250m and professional sanctions.Joe Biden has warned that Americans could be “forced to pay the price” because House Republicans “refuse to stand up to the extremists in their party”.As the House standoff stretches on, the White House has accused Republicans of playing politics at the expense of the American people.Biden tweeted:For an idea of the state of play in the House, consider what Republican speaker Kevin McCarthy said to CNN when asked how he would pass a short-term funding measure through the chamber, despite opposition from his own party.McCarthy has not said if he will put the bill expected to pass the Senate today up for a vote in the House, but if he does, it’s possible it won’t win enough votes from Republicans to pass, assuming Democrats also vote against it.Asked to comment on how he’d get around this opposition, McCarthy deflected, and accused Republican detractors of, bizarrely, aligning themselves with Joe Biden. Here’s more from CNN, on why he said that:In a marked contrast to the rancor and dysfunction gripping the House, the Senate’s top Republican, Mitch McConnell, also endorsed the short-term government funding bill up for a vote today, Politico reports:McConnell’s comments are yet another positive sign it’ll pass the chamber, and head to an uncertain fate in the House.The Senate’s Democratic leader, Chuck Schumer, says he expects a short-term government funding measure to pass his chamber with bipartisan support, Politico reports:The question is: what reception will it get in the House? If speaker Kevin McCarthy puts the bill up for a vote, it may attract enough Democratic votes to offset any defections from rightwing Republicans. But those insurgents have made clear that any collaboration between McCarthy and Democrats will result in them holding a vote to remove him as speaker.The House and Senate will in a few hours hold votes that will be crucial to the broader effort to stop the government from shutting down at the end of the week.The federal fiscal year ends on 30 September, after which many federal agencies will have exhausted their funding and have to curtail services or shut down entirely until Congress reauthorizes their spending. But lawmakers have failed to pass bills authorizing the government’s spending into October due to a range of disagreements between them, with the most pronounced split being between House Republicans who back speaker Kevin McCarthy and a small group of rightwing insurgents who have blocked the chamber from considering a measure to fund the government for a short period beyond the end of the month.At 5.30pm, the Democratic-dominated Senate will vote on a bill that extends funding for a short period of time, but lacks any new money for Ukraine or disaster relief that Joe Biden’s allies have requested. Those exclusions are seen as a bid to win support in the Republican-led House.The House is meanwhile taking procedural votes on four long-term spending bills. If the votes succeed, it could be a sign that McCarthy has won over some of his detractors – but that alone won’t be enough to keep the government open.As GOP House speaker Kevin McCarthy mulls a meeting with Joe Biden to resolve the possibility that the federal government will shut down at the end of this week, here’s the Guardian’s Joan E Greve with the latest on the chaotic negotiations between Republicans and Democrats in both chambers of Congress on preventing it:With just five days left to avert a federal shutdown, the House and the Senate return on Tuesday to resume their tense budget negotiations in the hope of cobbling together a last-minute agreement to keep the government open.The House will take action on four appropriations bills, which would address longer-term government funding needs but would not specifically help avoid a shutdown on 1 October.The four bills include further funding cuts demanded by the hard-right House members who have refused to back a stopgap spending bill, known as a continuing resolution, that would prevent a shutdown.The House is expected to take a procedural vote on those four bills on Tuesday. If that vote is successful, the House Republican speaker, Kevin McCarthy, may attempt to use the victory as leverage with the hard-right members of his conference to convince them to back a continuing resolution.But it remains unclear whether those four appropriations bills can win enough support to clear the procedural vote, given that one of the holdout Republicans, Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, has said she will not back the spending package because it includes funding for Ukraine.Donald Trump has launched a lengthy and largely baseless attack on wind turbines for causing large numbers of whales to die, claiming that “windmills” are making the cetaceans “crazy” and “a little batty”.Trump, the frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination, used a rally in South Carolina to assert that while there was only a small chance of killing a whale by hitting it with a boat, “their windmills are causing whales to die in numbers never seen before. No one does anything about that.”“They are washing up ashore,” said Trump, the twice-impeached former US president and gameshow host who is facing multiple criminal indictments.
    You wouldn’t see that once a year – now they are coming up on a weekly basis. The windmills are driving them crazy. They are driving the whales, I think, a little batty.
    Trump has a history of making false or exaggerated claims about renewable energy, previously asserting that the noise from wind turbines can cause cancer, and that the structures “kill all the birds”. In that case, experts say there is no proven link to ill health from wind turbines, and that there are far greater causes of avian deaths, such as cats or fossil fuel infrastructure. There is also little to support Trump’s foray into whale science.The House speaker, Kevin McCarthy, said it would be “very important” to meet with Joe Biden to avert a government shutdown, and suggested the president could solve the crisis at the southern border unilaterally.Asked why he was not willing to strike a deal with congressional Democrats on a short-term funding bill to keep the government open, NBC reports that McCarthy replied:
    Why don’t we just cut a deal with the president?
    He added:
    The president, all he has to do … it’s only actions that he has to take. He can do it like that. He changed all the policies on the border. He can change those. We can keep government open and finish out the work that we have done.
    Asked if he was requesting a meeting with Biden, McCarthy said:
    I think it would be very important to have a meeting with the president to solve that issue.
    Here’s a clip of Joe Biden’s remarks as he joined striking United Auto Workers members (UAW) outside a plant in Michigan.Addressing the picketing workers, the president said they had made a lot of sacrifices when their companies were in trouble. He added:
    Now they’re doing incredibly well. And guess what? You should be doing incredibly well, too.
    Asked if the UAW should get a 40% increase, Biden said yes.Joe Biden became the first sitting US president in modern memory to visit a union picket line, traveling to Van Buren township, Michigan, to address United Auto Workers members who have walked off the job at the big three automakers. The president argued that the workers deserve higher wages, and appeared alongside the union’s leader, Shawn Fain – who has yet to endorse Biden’s re-election bid. Back in Washington DC, Congress is as troubled as ever. The leaders of the House and Senate are trying to avoid a government shutdown, but there’s no telling if their plans will work. Meanwhile, more and more Democratic senators say Bob Menendez should resign his seat after being indicted on corruption charges, including his fellow Jerseyman, Cory Booker.Here’s what else is going on:Here was the scene in Van Buren township, Michigan, as Joe Biden visited striking United Auto Workers members, in the first visit to a picket line by a US president: More

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    Donald Trump committed fraud as he built his real estate empire, New York judge rules

    Donald Trump committed fraud for years while building the real estate empire that catapulted him to fame and the White House, a New York judge ruled Tuesday in a strongly-worded rejection of the former president’s bid to throw out a civil lawsuit against him.Judge Arthur Engoron found that Trump and executives from his company, including his sons Eric and Donald Jr, routinely and repeatedly deceived banks, insurers and others by massively overvaluing assets and exaggerating his net worth on paperwork.His ruling came in a civil lawsuit brought by Letitia James, New York’s attorney general, days before the start of a non-jury trial that will hear accusations that Trump, and the Trump Organization, lied for a decade about asset values and his net worth to get better terms on bank loans and insurance.“The documents here clearly contain fraudulent valuations that defendants used in business,” Engoron wrote.James has said Trump had effectively engaged in a “bait and switch” operation, inflating his net worth by as much as $2.23bn, and by one measure as much as $3.6bn, on annual financial statements given to banks and insurers.Assets whose values were inflated include Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, his penthouse apartment in Manhattan’s Trump Tower, and various office buildings and golf courses, James said in the lawsuit filed in September 2022.Trump’s legal team had previously asked Engoron to dismiss the case against him, arguing James lacked authority to file the lawsuit because there was no evidence the public was harmed by Trump’s actions, and that many of the allegations were beyond the statute of limitations.But the judge indicated last week he was not inclined to be sympathetic, rebuking Trump’s lawyers for making “frivolous arguments” and stating he was considering sanctions against them.Chris Kise, who is also representing Trump in a federal indictment in Florida over the former president’s handling of classified documents after leaving the White House, argued: “What is happening here is what happens every day in complex business transactions”.Engoron was not swayed.“The fact that no one was hurt does not mean the case gets dismissed,” he said. In his ruling Tuesday, he granted a motion by James seeking sanctions against Trump’s legal team for repeatedly making arguments already rejected, fining five attorneys $7,500 each.Manhattan prosecutors had looked into bringing a criminal case over the fraudulent conduct but declined to do so, leaving James to sue Trump and seek penalties that could disrupt his and his family’s ability to do business in New York.Engoron’s ruling, in a phase of the case known as summary judgment, resolves the key claim in James’s lawsuit, although six others remain.skip past newsletter promotionafter newsletter promotionThe non-jury trial is scheduled to start on 2 October. James is seeking $250m in penalties and a ban on Trump doing business in New York, his home state. The hearing could last into December, Engoron has said.The judge has penalized Trump before. In early 2022, the former president paid $110,000 in fines after failing to meet case deadlines.The case is one of several that Trump, the runaway leader in the race for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, must navigate while appearing on the campaign trail. He faces 91 criminal charges under four indictments, for hush-money payments to an adult movie star, illegal retention of classified information, and election subversion at the federal and state levels.In civil court, he also faces a second defamation trial involving the writer E Jean Carroll, who said he sexually assaulted her in the 1990s. Found liable for defamation and sexual abuse, Trump has already been fined about $5m and adjudicated as a rapist.
    Martin Pengelly contributed reporting More

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    Congress returns with only days left to avert federal government shutdown

    With just five days left to avert a federal shutdown, the House and the Senate return on Tuesday to resume their tense budget negotiations in the hope of cobbling together a last-minute agreement to keep the government open.The House will take action on four appropriations bills, which would address longer-term government funding needs but would not specifically help avoid a shutdown on 1 October.The four bills include further funding cuts demanded by the hard-right House members who have refused to back a stopgap spending bill, known as a continuing resolution, that would prevent a shutdown. Because of House Republicans’ narrow majority, McCarthy can only afford to lose a handful of votes within the conference, and hard-right members have capitalized on that dynamic to push for policy concessions in the spending negotiations.The House is expected to take a procedural vote on those four bills on Tuesday. If that vote is successful, the House Republican speaker, Kevin McCarthy, will likely attempt to use the victory as leverage with the hard-right members of his conference to convince them to back a continuing resolution.But it remains unclear whether those four appropriations bills can win enough support to clear the procedural vote, given that one of the holdout Republicans, Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, has said she will not back the spending package because it includes funding for Ukraine.Speaking to reporters on Tuesday on Capitol Hill, McCarthy was asked whether it would be possible to take up a continuing resolution if the appropriations bills fail to advance.“I never give up,” McCarthy said. “I’ve got a lot of things I can try.”Even if House Republicans can pass their spending package, the proposal will be dead on arrival in the Senate, where the Democrats who hold the majority have roundly rejected additional funding cuts.While the House remains at odds, the Senate Democratic leader, Chuck Schumer, is taking matters into his own hands by attempting to advance a shell bill that could serve as a legislative vehicle for a continuing resolution. The Senate plans to hold an initial vote on that bill on Tuesday evening.“As I have said for months, we must work in a bipartisan fashion to keep our government open, avoid a shutdown and avoid inflicting unnecessary pain on the American people,” Schumer said last week. “This action will give the Senate the option to do just that.”As the House standoff stretches on, the White House has accused Republicans of playing politics at the expense of the American people. In a video shared to X, formerly known as Twitter, Joe Biden warned on Tuesday that a shutdown could force US service members to go without pay as they remain on duty.“I’m prepared to do my part, but the Republicans in the House of Representatives refuse. They refuse to stand up to the extremists in their party. So now everyone in America could be forced to pay the price,” Biden said. “Funding the government is one of the most basic responsibilities of the Congress. It’s time for these Republicans in the House to start doing their job – doing the job America elected them to do. So let’s get it done.”skip past newsletter promotionafter newsletter promotionBut Republicans simultaneously face pressure from the leader of their party, Donald Trump, to hold the line in the budget talks – even if that means risking a shutdown.Trump wrote in a post shared on his social media platform, Truth Social, on Sunday: “UNLESS YOU GET EVERYTHING, SHUT IT DOWN!”McCarthy could attempt to pass a continuing resolution with Democratic support, but such a choice would face immediate backlash from hard-right Republicans, who have threatened to oust the speaker if he opts for that bipartisan strategy.One source familiar with the thinking of more moderate House Republicans argued that only a bipartisan proposal can ultimately pass both chambers of Congress, criticizing hard-right members for seeking “to burn the place down”.“These are not serious people,” the source said. “They believe anything that Biden wants is bad, but the margins are so thin that their votes count.”Martin Pengelly contributed reporting More

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    Trump falsely claims wind turbines lead to whale deaths by making them ‘batty’

    Donald Trump has launched a lengthy and largely baseless attack on wind turbines for causing large numbers of whales to die, claiming that “windmills” are making the cetaceans “crazy” and “a little batty”.Trump, the frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination, used a rally in South Carolina to assert that while there was only a small chance of killing a whale by hitting it with a boat, “their windmills are causing whales to die in numbers never seen before. No one does anything about that.”“They are washing up ashore,” said Trump, the twice-impeached former US president and reality TV host who is facing multiple criminal indictments. “You wouldn’t see that once a year – now they are coming up on a weekly basis. The windmills are driving them crazy. They are driving the whales, I think, a little batty.”Trump has a history of making false or exaggerated claims about renewable energy, previously asserting that the noise from wind turbines can cause cancer, and that the structures “kill all the birds”. In that case, experts say there is no proven link to ill health from wind turbines, and that there are far greater causes of avian deaths, such as cats or fossil fuel infrastructure. There is also little to support Trump’s foray into whale science.“He displays an astonishing lack of knowledge of whales and whale strandings,” said Andrew Read, a whale researcher and commissioner of the Marine Mammal Commission, of Trump. “There is no scientific evidence whatsoever that wind turbines, or surveying for wind turbines, is causing any whale deaths at all.”The US has been slow, compared with other countries, to develop offshore wind farms but several projects are now under way off the east coast, enthusiastically backed by Joe Biden as a way to boost clean energy supply and combat the climate crisis.Critics of this push, including some environmentalists, have warned that whales are being imperiled by work to install these new offshore turbines, but scientists have largely dismissed these claims. “At this point, there is no scientific evidence that noise resulting from offshore wind site characterization surveys could cause mortality of whales,” the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has noted.Read said that there are some “broad concerns” about the overall industrialization of the oceans, but that the main threats to whales come from their being hit by boats and becoming entangled in fishing gear, and from warming oceans due to the climate change.“The population of humpback whales, in particular, is recovering from being hunted and they are coming closer to the coast to feed on prey, which means they are being hit as they come into shipping lanes, or being caught up in nets,” said Read.skip past newsletter promotionafter newsletter promotionA spate of dead whales that washed up along New York and New Jersey’s coasts earlier this year has fueled opposition to wind turbines, however, with Republicans in New Jersey attempting to halt construction of turbines.This opposition has been embraced not only as another culture war battle but also as a way to help businesses keen to stymie clean energy, with several rightwing groups funded by fossil fuel interests linked to seemingly organic community protests against wind farms.“It’s particularly sad to see well-meaning people who care about whales being persuaded that wind turbines are a risk to them,” said Read. “They are being manipulated by fossil fuel interests who see wind energy as a threat to those interests.” More

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    Cory Booker joins calls for Menendez to resign after bribery charges

    In a significant blow to Bob Menendez’s hopes of staying in the US Senate while under indictment for corruption, Cory Booker – his fellow New Jersey Democrat – joined calls for the senator to resign.“The details of the allegations against Senator Menendez are of such a nature that the faith and trust of New Jerseyans as well as those he must work with in order to be effective have been shaken to the core,” Booker said on Tuesday.Booker, who has been in the US Senate since 2013, added: “I believe stepping down is best for those Senator Menendez has spent his life serving.”By early afternoon, more than a dozen Democratic senators had called for Menendez to quit.Menendez, 69, was elected to the Senate in 2006. He survived a previous corruption investigation, which was dropped in 2017 after a jury failed to reach a verdict.Last week, Menendez was charged with using his position as chair of the Senate foreign relations committee to profit by assisting the government of Egypt, through three businessmen in his home state.The senator and his wife are alleged to have taken bribes including gold bars, a Mercedes-Benz car and more than $500,000 in cash.On Monday, speaking to reporters in Union City, Menendez said the cash was from his savings.“For 30 years,” he said, “I have withdrawn thousands of dollars in cash from my personal savings accounts, which I have kept for emergencies and because of the history of my family facing confiscation in Cuba.“Now this may seem old-fashioned, but these were monies drawn from my personal savings accounts based on the income that I have lawfully derived over those 30 years. I look forward to addressing other issues in trial.”He did not mention the gold bars or the car or say if he planned to seek re-election. He ignored questions from reporters.“Everything I’ve accomplished, I’ve worked for despite the naysayers and everyone who has underestimated me,” Menendez said.“I recognise this will be the biggest fight yet, but as I have stated throughout this whole process, I firmly believe that when all the facts are presented, not only will I be exonerated, but I still will be New Jersey’s senior senator.”To those calling for his resignation, he said: “The court of public opinion is no substitute for our revered justice system. Those who rushed to judgment, you have done so based on a limited set of facts framed by the prosecution to be as salacious as possible. Remember, prosecutors get it wrong.”Then, only one Democratic senator, John Fetterman of Pennsylvania, had joined influential Democrats including the governor of New Jersey, Phil Murphy, and the New York congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in calling for Menendez to quit.Many observers turned their gaze to Booker, a Menendez ally and high-profile Democrat who ran for the party’s presidential nomination in 2020.skip past newsletter promotionafter newsletter promotionPolitico observed: “Menendez might stick around no matter what Booker says, but if Booker calls for Menendez’s resignation it will make it safer and easier for every other Democrat who has remained mum to do the same. On the other hand, a supportive statement from Booker will be worth its weight in gold.”On Tuesday, Booker followed other Democratic senators – Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Peter Welch of Vermont, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Jacky Rosen of Nevada – in saying Menendez should go.“For nearly a decade,” Booker said, “I’ve worked in the Senate alongside Senator Menendez … I’ve witnessed his extraordinary work and boundless work ethic. I’ve consistently found Senator Menendez to be intellectually gifted, tough, passionate and deeply empathic. We have developed a working relationship and a friendship.”Saying the new indictment “contains shocking allegations of corruption and specific, disturbing details of wrongdoing”, Booker said he found that “hard to reconcile with the person I know”. He expected Menendez to mount “a vigorous defence”, he said.But, he said, “there is [a] higher standard for public officials, one not of criminal law but of common ideals. As senators, we operate in the public trust … The allegations against Senator Menendez are of such a nature that the faith and trust of New Jerseyans as well as those he must work with … have been shaken to the core.“… Stepping down is not an admission of guilt but an acknowledgment that holding public office often demands tremendous sacrifices at great personal cost. Senator Menendez has made these sacrifices in the past to serve. And in this case he must do so again.”Other Democratic senators followed in Booker’s footsteps.They included Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, Martin Heinrich of New Mexico, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Michael Bennet of Colorado, Mark Kelly of Arizona, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Ed Markey of Massachusetts and Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire.Jon Tester of Montana, a senator widely seen as vulnerable in his re-election fight next year, said: “I’ve read the detailed charges against Senator Menendez and find them deeply disturbing.“While he deserves a fair trial like every other American, I believe Senator Menendez should resign for the sake of the public’s faith in the US Senate.” More

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    Biden joins picket line to tell UAW strikers: ‘You deserve a significant raise’

    Joe Biden became the first sitting US president to appear on a picket line on Tuesday, joining a protest outside a Michigan car plant in solidarity with striking members of the United Auto Workers (UAW) union, which is locked in an escalating dispute with America’s three biggest carmakers.The UAW president, Shawn Fain, was the first to greet Biden after he arrived in Michigan on Air Force One, and he joined him in the presidential limousine for a ride to the picket line.“The fact of the matter is you guys – the UAW – you saved the automobile industry back in 2008 and before. You made a lot of sacrifices, gave up a lot. The companies were in trouble. Now they are doing incredibly well and guess what? You should be doing incredibly well too,” Biden said, addressing the cheering crowd through a bullhorn.“You deserve a significant raise and other benefits. Let’s get back what we lost,” said Biden.“Today, the enemy isn’t some foreign company miles away. It’s right here in our own area – it’s corporate greed,” Fain said as Biden, wearing a UAW baseball cap with the words “Union Yes” on the side, looked on. Biden later put his arm around one of the red T-shirt-wearing UAW strikers.“And the weapon we produce to fight that enemy is the liberators, the true liberators – it’s the working-class people,” Fain added.Standing on the picket line Larry Hearn, a 61-year-old UAW committee member, called Biden’s a “monumental and history-making” visit.“We’re out here on the frontline taking the brunt for everybody, losing money,” Hearn said. “The support feels good. We don’t need him to get in our business and secure us a contract, but his support is enough, it hits home with people.”Biden bills himself as the most pro-union president in history. No other sitting president has joined a picket line, according to Nelson Lichtenstein, a longtime labor historian at the University of California, Santa Barbara.“This is genuinely new – I don’t think it’s ever happened before, a president on a picket line,” Lichtenstein told the Guardian. “Candidates do it frequently and prominent senators, but not a president.”The US president’s visit comes a day before Donald Trump, his expected Republican opponent in next year’s poll, visits Detroit – the historic centre of the US car industry – to address workers in different industries in his own pitch for the strikers’ support.Trump, who won Michigan with the help of union members’ support in his 2016 election victory over Hillary Clinton before losing it four years later in his defeat to Biden, is not expected to visit a picket line.“Crooked Joe Biden, who is killing the United Autoworkers with his WEAK stance on China and his ridiculous insistence on All Electric Cars, every one of which will be made in China, saw that I was going to Michigan this week (Wednesday!), so the Fascists in the White House just announced he would go there tomorrow,” Trump posted on his Truth Social website this week.Biden voiced support for the strike by Ford, General Motors and Stellantis workers, which was entering its 12th day on Tuesday, when it started on 15 September and had announced he was dispatching his labour secretary, Julie Su, and Gene Sperling, a senior White House adviser, to help the union reach a settlement with company bosses.That plan was withdrawn after criticism from Fain, who has also flatly rejected Trump’s efforts at wooing the support of union members.Trump, who won significant union support in 2016 and needs to regain it if he is to prevail next year, has said workers are being betrayed by their leadership and also by Biden’s environmentally friendly policy of encouraging the three American car giants to convert to making electric vehicles.The UAW has withheld an endorsement of Biden so far, but union leadership has been critical of Trump, who has sought to capitalize on the strike and siphon support from the majority Democratic unions. Trump visits a non-union shop tomorrow, which was not lost on those outside the Wayne plant.“As long as Biden is going to come here then do something to help working people when he returns to Washington, then he is welcome,” said Walter Robinson, a 57-year-old quality inspector. “He is going to have to do that if he wants our endorsement. I think he will.” More

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    Cassidy Hutchinson says Republicans face ‘make-or-break’ moment on Trump

    The former Donald Trump White House aide who became a crucial witness to the January 6 attack says she believes the Republican party is facing a “make-or-break moment” over whether to nominate him in the 2024 presidential race.“We’re talking about a man who at the very essence of his being almost destroyed democracy in one day, and he wants to do it again,” Cassidy Hutchinson said of Trump during an interview with MSNBC’s Rachael Maddow on Monday, a clear reference to the assault on the US Capitol that the ex-president’s supporters staged after his electoral defeat to his Democratic rival Joe Biden nearly three years ago.“He wants to run for president to do it again.”Alluding to the more than 90 charges pending against Trump across four separate criminal indictments, Hutchinson added: “He has been indicted four times since January 6. I would not have a clear conscience and be able to sleep at night if I were a Republican … that supported Donald Trump. And I think that if they’re not willing to split with that, then we’re in serious trouble.”In a separate notable portion of her interview with Maddow, Hutchinson addressed and summarily dismissed rumors that she had dated Matt Gaetz, the far-right Republican US congressman from Florida who helped spread the claims himself.“I will say on behalf of myself – I never dated Matt Gaetz,” said Hutchinson, who appeared on Maddow’s show to promote her memoir Enough, hitting bookshelves on Tuesday. Explaining that the pair had an “amicable working relationship” and “were good friends at points”, she added: “I have much higher standards in men.”Those remarks seemingly build on a cameo from Gaetz in Enough, in which the congressman is shown to unexpectedly take Hutchinson up on an offer to meet several Washington DC political aides out for drinks one night. Later that evening, according to Enough, Gaetz brushes his thumb across Hutchinson’s chin and tells her: “Has anyone ever told you that you’re a national treasure?”Despite the prominence of men like Trump and Gaetz in her party, Hutchinson reiterated that she still considered herself a Republican, though more in the mold of Senator Mitt Romney or the late president Ronald Reagan, whom some see as more moderate conservatives in retrospect.“I do not believe that Mr Trump is a strong Republican,” Hutchinson said. “In this election cycle, in my opinion, it’s a make-or-break moment for the Republican party. Now is the time if these politicians [in the party] … want to make the break and want to take the stand – they have to do it now.”Under subpoena, Hutchinson gave some of the most dramatic testimony about the Capitol attack during live congressional hearings in the summer of 2022. One key moment she described being told about was Trump’s accosting of a Secret Service agent and his lunging for the steering wheel of the car he was in when he was told he would not be driven to the Capitol on the day of the attack.That wasn’t all she endured that day. In Enough, Hutchinson recounts how on January 6 she was groped by Rudy Giuliani, the Trump lawyer and former New York City mayor.A short while after Trump told his supporters to “fight like hell”, they mounted the January 6 attack on the Capitol in a desperate but unsuccessful maneuver aimed at preventing Congress from certifying Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election weeks earlier.The uprising has been linked to nine deaths. More than 1,100 people have been charged in connection with the attack, and the majority of them have either pleaded guilty or been convicted by judges or juries at trial.Trump has pleaded not guilty to all charges filed against him. The various charges collectively accuse him of retaining classified documents after his presidency, hush-money payments to the adult film actor Stormy Daniels, and efforts to subvert his 2020 defeat which led to the January 6 attack.Despite the legal peril, Trump maintains dominant polling leads over other candidates pursuing the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.Enough plots out the 27-year-old Hutchinson’s trek from being an earnest believer in Trump to disenchantment with him. She was working for Mark Meadows, Trump’s chief of staff, at the time of the January 6 attack.Martin Pengelly contributed reporting More

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    Democracy and distrust: overcoming threats to the 2024 US election

    The Guardian US and the Chicago Project on Security and Threats (Cpost) at the University of Chicago are co-hosting an event on Tuesday focusing on dangers to democracy and anticipated threats to the 2024 election.The Guardian’s Fight for Democracy project has been working with Cpost since June 2023, reporting on the project’s Dangers to Democracy surveys which dive into Americans’ views on political violence, conspiracy theories and threats to US elections. The first survey found that a staggering 12 million American adults, or 4.4% of the adult population, believe violence is justified to restore Donald Trump to the White House.The latest September survey found that Trump’s presidential candidacy and the now mounting indictments against him are radicalizing Americans on both sides of the aisle to support violence to achieve political goals.More specifically, the survey found that 5.5% of Americans, or 14 million people, believe the use of force is justified to restore Trump to the presidency, while 8.9% of Americans, or 23 million people, believe force is justified to prevent Trump from being president.The Guardian is committed to reporting on these threats as the 2024 election approaches, including what election officials and other policymakers are doing to combat them, how voters may be affected, how misinformation might amplify them, and how the country could be better prepared to prevent another violent attack like what occurred on 6 January 2021.In the past few months alone, the Guardian has tracked Republican efforts to use conspiracy theories to oust Wisconsin’s respected and bipartisan top election official, reported on various rightwing attempts to skew electoral maps to dilute the power of minority voters, and featured deep dives into the people trying to hold Trump and his allies accountable for attempting to steal the 2020 election.The Fight for Democracy team will continue to track these efforts and more as the next presidential election nears and threats become more pervasive, including publishing Cpost’s latest findings.“We are now in the age of what I call ‘violent populism’ where violent ideas by a dedicated minority are moving from fringe to mainstream, creating an environment where incendiary political rhetoric can stimulate violent threats to our democracy,” said Robert Pape, a professor at the University of Chicago who directs Cpost.The September survey found that Americans are more deeply distrustful of their democratic institutions and democratically elected leaders and more supportive of violence than in January 2023, when the survey about political violence was started, according to Pape.The survey has been assessing nine measures of antidemocratic attitudes, including the beliefs that elections won’t solve America’s fundamental problems and that political elites are the most corrupt people in the US. Eight of the nine measures are worse today than at the beginning of 2023, Pape said.Still, a vast majority of all Americans think Republicans and Democrats in Congress should make a joint statement condemning any political violence.“We need to lean into this finding with bipartisan cooperation among our frontline democratic institutions to safeguard democracy,” Pape said. “If incendiary rhetoric stimulates political violence, calming rhetoric can diminish it.” More