Newsroom

Minneapolis

Officer Kimberly Potter who fatally shot Daunte Wright charged with manslaughter

Former police officer Kimberly Potter was charged with second-degree manslaughter on Wednesday after fatally shooting the 20-year-old Black motorist Daunte Wright, officials said. The white former suburban Minneapolis police officer was arrested earlier in the day in relation to the shooting dead of Wright during a traffic stop on Sunday in Brooklyn Center, a suburb of Minneapolis. The killing of Wright ignited days of unrest and clashes between protesters and police. The charge against Potter was filed on Wednesday, three days after Wright was killed.

Derek Chauvin trial

Defense opens its case with ex-police officer

The defense in the Derek Chauvin murder trial opened its case on Tuesday by attempting to show George Floyd had a history of failing to cooperate with the police while under the influence of drugs. Scott Creighton, a former Minneapolis police officer, testified that he stopped a vehicle in May 2019 in which Floyd was a passenger and found him incoherent and unable to obey orders.

George Floyd trial

Examiner Baker says police restraint 'just more than Mr. Floyd could take'

Dr. Andrew Baker testified in a Minneapolis courtroom Friday, as prosecutors try to prove former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was responsible for George Floyd's death in police custody last May. Prosecutor Jerry Blackwell questioned Baker about the autopsy report he had completed in Floyd's death, which cites "cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression." Baker concluded that Floyd's death was a homicide — which as a forensic pathologist he explained means that someone else was involved in the death.

COVID-19

Documents show Trump officials helped suppress coronavirus CDC reports

Top former Trump administration advisors helped suppress scientific information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention they felt was harmful to President Trump, and attacked the agency's credibility, according to documents obtained by House Democrats. The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis sent letters to former Trump advisers Scott Atlas, Paul Alexander, and Steven Hatfill, asking for documents and communications about the former administration's response to the pandemic.

Chauvin Trial

Expert Dr. Martin Tobin says George Floyd died from a lack of oxygen, not Fentanyl

Dr. Martin Tobin, a pulmonary specialist who works in critical care, testified Thursday that George Floyd died from a lack of oxygen, bolstering the prosecution's argument that former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin caused Floyd's death last May. As an expert witness for the prosecution, Tobin said the state asked him to review documents and videos depicting the circumstances of Floyd's death. Tobin watched some of those videos hundreds of times, he said. Prosecutors say Chauvin killed Floyd by pressing his knee on Floyd's neck.

Criminal Investigation

Investigators seize documents from Trump executive's former daughter-in-law

Officials from the Manhattan District Attorney's Office took possession of documents potentially related to the Trump Organization and its chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, on Thursday as part of an ongoing investigation into the former president's finances.

Matt Gaetz Scandal

The relationship with a scandal-prone local tax collector got him into big trouble

His Seminole County tax office was the only one in the state where employees were armed with pistols and body armor. He wore his own law enforcement badge and carried a sidearm at tax collector conferences. He let people pay property taxes with Bitcoin. He tweeted Islamophobic comments, installed a remote-controlled sprinkler system to spray petition gatherers he didn’t like and doled out fat contracts to his groomsmen shortly after winning the usually humdrum Orlando-area office with a campaign to stop “crony capitalism.”

Andrew Cuomo

Andrew Giuliani talked with Trump about a New York gov run

Andrew Giuliani, the son of Trump lawyer and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, said in an interview Wednesday that he is “seriously considering” a run for governor in 2020 and spoke with former President Donald Trump earlier this week about his political ambitions.

George Floyd

Chauvin's supervisor says there was no justification to keep knee on neck

Derek Chauvin’s police supervisor has told his murder trial that there was no justification for the officer to keep his knee on George Floyd’s neck for nine minutes. Sgt David Pleoger, who arrived at the scene shortly after Floyd was taken away by ambulance, said that Chauvin and other officers holding down the 46-year-old Black man should have stopped using force once Floyd stopped resisting. “When Mr Floyd was no longer offering up any resistance to the officers they could have ended their restraint,” he said.

Gilbert Chagoury

Foreign billionaire conspired to violate election law in straw donor scheme

A Lebanese-Nigerian billionaire agreed to pay the U.S. government $1.8 million to resolve allegations that he conspired to violate federal election laws in a “straw donor” scheme to route illegal foreign contributions to U.S. presidential and congressional candidates, the Justice Department announced Wednesday.

George Floyd

Defense takes aim at bystanders in murder case

To the prosecution, the witnesses who watched George Floyd’s body go still were regular people — a firefighter, a mixed martial arts fighter, a high school student and her 9-year-old cousin in a T-shirt emblazoned with the word “Love” — going about their daily lives when they happened upon the ghastly scene of an officer kneeling on a man’s neck.

Russia

Alexei Navalny on hunger strike in prison

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has started a hunger strike in prison to protest officials’ failure to provide proper treatment for his back and leg pains. In a statement posted Wednesday on Instagram, Navalny complained about prison authorities’ refusal to give him the right medicines and to allow his doctor to visit him behind bars.

Capitol Riots

Police officers sue Donald Trump for injuries resulting from Capitol riot

Two US Capitol Police officers have filed a lawsuit against Donald Trump, accusing him of inciting the deadly 6 January insurrection and saying he was responsible for physical and emotional injuries they suffered as a result.

George Floyd

Minneapolis: Trial begins for officer Derek Chauvin accused of murder

Opening arguments began Monday for the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer accused of killing George Floyd, the unarmed Black man whose death at the hands of law enforcement last May sparked a nationwide reckoning over institutionalized racism and police brutality. Minneapolis officers “take an oath that, ‘I will enforce the law courteously and appropriately’ and as you will learn, as it applies to this case, ‘never employing unnecessary force or violence,’” prosecuting attorney Jerry Blackwell told the jury. “You will learn that on May 25 of 2020, Mr. Derek Chauvin betrayed his badge.”

COVID-19

CDC director warns of 'impending doom' on potential new surge

The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Monday warned of "impending doom" over rising coronavirus cases, telling the public that even though vaccines are being rolled out quickly, a fourth surge could happen if people don't start taking precautions.

Fake News

Dominion Voting files $1.6B suit against Fox News over election fraud claims

The North American voting machine company Dominion has hit Fox News with a $1.6bn defamation lawsuit, accusing the network of spreading election fraud lies in a misguided effort to stop an exodus of enraged viewers after Donald Trump’s 2020 election loss. The complaint accuses some of Fox’s biggest personalities Maria Bartiromo, Tucker Carlson, Lou Dobbs, Sean Hannity, Jeanine Pirro “and their chosen guests” of spreading “defamatory falsehoods” about Dominion. The company said the lies had threatened its reputation and business.

POLITICO

Sources: Secret Service inserted itself into case of Hunter Biden’s gun

On Oct. 23, 2018, President Joe Biden’s son Hunter and daughter in law Hallie were involved in a bizarre incident in which Hallie took Hunter’s gun and threw it in a trash can behind a grocery store, only to return later to find it gone. Delaware police began investigating, concerned that the trash can was across from a high school and that the missing gun could be used in a crime, according to law enforcement officials and a copy of the police report obtained by POLITICO.

Awwad al-Awwad

Saudi accused of threat to Khashoggi UN investigator is human rights chief

The Saudi official who is alleged to have twice issued threats against the independent UN investigator Agnès Callamard is the head of the kingdom’s human rights commission, and formerly served as an aide to the crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman. Awwad al-Awwad is alleged by a person familiar with the matter to have twice threatened to “take care of” Callamard at a January 2020 meeting with senior human rights officials in Geneva.

Donald Trump aide

Jason Miller concealed work for PR firm and misled court to dodge child support

A top aide to Donald Trump was secretly re-engaged by a leading political strategy firm after being forced to step down after a social media scandal, the Guardian can reveal. The company, Washington-based Teneo, wanted access to top Republicans in the then president’s inner circle, and to conceal his ongoing work. Jason Miller – a senior adviser to the former president – also later appears to have misled a Florida court about this employment status, asserting in a sworn statement that he could no longer comply with a court order requiring him to pay child-support payments.

Kellye SoRelle

Oath Keepers’ best new hope is a lawyer who cites ‘Lord of the Rings’

The Oath Keepers militia has seen better days. Members of the far-right group’s leadership are facing conspiracy charges for their alleged role in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. Prosecutors are reportedly considering rare sedition charges against those members, and Oath Keepers’ fundraising efforts have stalled after companies like Amazon banned the group from their charity programs.

Boulder Mass Shooting

Suspect allegedly bought assault rifle after ban on sale was blocked

The suspect accused of opening fire inside a crowded Colorado supermarket was a 21-year-old man who allegedly purchased an assault weapon less than a week earlier, it has emerged. Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa bought the weapon on 16 March, six days before the attack at a King Soopers store in Boulder that killed 10 people, including a police officer, according to an arrest affidavit. It was not immediately known where the gun was purchased.

Freedom House

Three basic warnings: US sinks to new low in rankings of world's democracies

The US has fallen to a new low in a global ranking of political rights and civil liberties, a drop fueled by unequal treatment of minority groups, damaging influence of money in politics, and increased polarization, according to a new report by Freedom House, a democracy watchdog group. The US earned 83 out of 100 possible points this year in Freedom House’s annual rankings of freedoms around the world, an 11-point drop from its ranking of 94 a decade ago. The US’s new ranking places it on par with countries like Panama, Romania and Croatia and behind countries such as Argentina and Mongolia.

Shortnews

Fox & Friends

Harry and Meghan cause for Prince Philip's death

Minutes after the British royal family announced that Queen Elizabeth II’s husband, Prince Philip, had died at the age of 99, the sleuths at Fox & Friends blamed their inevitable culprits: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Host Brian Kilmeade immediately linked the death of the extremely old and sickly Duke of Edinburgh to Harry and Meghan’s interview with Oprah Winfrey, which aired last month and contained shocking claims of racism and cruel treatment against Meghan by royal family members.

Read More
Fox & Friends

Harry and Meghan cause for Prince Philip's death

Minutes after the British royal family announced that Queen Elizabeth II’s husband, Prince Philip, had died at the age of 99, the sleuths at Fox & Friends blamed their inevitable culprits: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Host Brian Kilmeade immediately linked the death of the extremely old and sickly Duke of Edinburgh to Harry and Meghan’s interview with Oprah Winfrey, which aired last month and contained shocking claims of racism and cruel treatment against Meghan by royal family members.

Kilmeade said on Friday’s show: “There are reports that [Philip] was enraged after the interview and the fallout from the interview with Oprah Winfrey, so here he is trying to recover and he’s hit with that.”

Kilmeade then went on to cite Piers Morgan, of all people, as evidence that Philip’s health was hit by the Oprah interview. Morgan resigned in disgrace from his show, Good Morning Britain, after thousands of people complained about his repeated attacks on Meghan. The low point came when he said didn’t believe her admission that she felt suicidal.

The Fox & Friends host said: “Piers Morgan was saying on his morning show, which he famously walked off of, is like ‘Really? Your grandfather is in the hospital, you know he’s not doing well, is this really the time you have to put out this interview?’ Evidently, it definitely added to his stress.”

Philip left his London hospital after a month-long stay for treatment of an unspecified infection. He also underwent a procedure for a pre-existing heart condition in that time. He was also 99 years old.

Ghislaine Maxwell

New charges as US prosecutors expand criminal case

Ghislaine Maxwell, the British socialite accused of aiding in her former partner Jeffrey Epstein’s sexual abuse of minor girls, faces two more charges, a new Manhattan federal court indictment filed on Monday reveals. This indictment also identified a new accuser in the case, referred to as “minor victim-4” in court papers, and expanded the timeframe of Maxwell’s alleged participation in Epstein’s abuse by seven years – from 1994 to 2004, rather than from 1994 to 1997. Maxwell now faces a total of eight counts.

Read More
Ghislaine Maxwell

New charges as US prosecutors expand criminal case

Ghislaine Maxwell, the British socialite accused of aiding in her former partner Jeffrey Epstein’s sexual abuse of minor girls, faces two more charges, a new Manhattan federal court indictment filed on Monday reveals. This indictment also identified a new accuser in the case, referred to as “minor victim-4” in court papers, and expanded the timeframe of Maxwell’s alleged participation in Epstein’s abuse by seven years – from 1994 to 2004, rather than from 1994 to 1997. Maxwell now faces a total of eight counts.

The new charges, sex trafficking conspiracy and sex trafficking of a minor, involve “minor victim-4”.

The indictment alleges that “minor victim-4” was “recruited to provide Epstein with sexualized massages” that he or his associates – including Maxwell – paid for.

Maxwell allegedly met “minor victim-4” at Epstein’s south Florida home around 2001, when the girl was around 14-years-old, and “interacted with [her] on multiple occasions”, according to court papers.

During their interactions, which happened from 2001 to 2004, Maxwell allegedly “groomed minor victim – 4 to engage in sexual acts with Epstein through multiple means.”

Maxwell did so by asking “minor victim-4” about her family and life. She “also sought to normalize inappropriate and abusive conduct by, among other things, discussing sexual topics in front of minor victim-4 and being present when minor victim-4 was nude in the massage room of the Palm Beach residence,” according to the court documents.

On multiple occasions from 2001 to 2004, this victim gave Epstein nude massages, during which he “engaged in multiple sex acts” with her. Maxwell would sometimes call this victim to schedule these massages, court papers allege.

During this timeframe, Epstein and Maxwell invited her to travel with him, and said they would help her get a passport. She declined their offer.

The court papers also allege that during this period, Epstein’s staff, including Maxwell, sent the victim gifts – such as lingerie – at her Florida home.

Maxwell and Epstein were both accused of encouraging this girl “to recruit other young females to provide sexualized massages to Epstein”.

She did so, the indictment claims, by bringing “multiple females, including girls under the age of 18” to Epstein’s south Florida home.

“On such occasions, both minor victim-4 and the girl she brought were paid hundreds of dollars in cash,” court papers state.

Maxwell has maintained her innocence since her arrest last summer at a secluded luxury home in New Hampshire.

When Maxwell was arrested, she faced six counts, including conspiracy to entice minors to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, enticement of a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, conspiracy to transport minors with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, and perjury.

Her attorneys did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the new charges.

She is being held in federal detention in Brooklyn.

Epstein, a convicted sex offender, was found dead in his cell in federal custody in New York in August 2019, where he was awaiting trial on serious charges just over a month after his arrest on charges of sex trafficking girls as young as 14.

Epstein and Maxwell’s arrests have spurred intense scrutiny of Prince Andrew, who was a friend of both purported sex traffickers.

Virginia Giuffre, one of Epstein’s many accusers, alleged in a civil lawsuit that Maxwell lured her into Epstein’s circle under the false pretense of massage work.

After being pulled into their orbit, Maxwell forced her to have sex with powerful men, including Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, when she was just 17, Giuffre claimed. Maxwell denies the claims. Andrew directly and via statements from Buckingham Palace has vehemently and repeatedly denied all of Giuffre’s claims.

William Walker

Pelosi taps D.C. National Guard chief as top House security official

Speaker Nancy Pelosi has tapped the head of Washington, D.C.,’s National Guard, Maj. Gen. William Walker, as the House’s new top security official. Walker, a 39-year military veteran, will become the House’s permanent sergeant-at-arms, Pelosi announced Friday. He succeeds Timothy Blodgett, who took over the post temporarily in the wake of the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol. The previous permanent sergeant-at-arms, Paul Irving, was pushed out of the job after Jan. 6, amid recriminations over the security failures that allowed a mob of thousands of Donald Trump's supporters to occupy the Capitol and delay Congress’ certification of the 2020 election results.

Read More
William Walker

Pelosi taps D.C. National Guard chief as top House security official

Speaker Nancy Pelosi has tapped the head of Washington, D.C.,’s National Guard, Maj. Gen. William Walker, as the House’s new top security official. Walker, a 39-year military veteran, will become the House’s permanent sergeant-at-arms, Pelosi announced Friday. He succeeds Timothy Blodgett, who took over the post temporarily in the wake of the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol. The previous permanent sergeant-at-arms, Paul Irving, was pushed out of the job after Jan. 6, amid recriminations over the security failures that allowed a mob of thousands of Donald Trump's supporters to occupy the Capitol and delay Congress’ certification of the 2020 election results.

“His historic appointment as the first Black American to serve as Sergeant-at-Arms is an important step forward for this institution and our nation,” Pelosi said in a statement. The California Democrat also noted that Walker had a long career as a special agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Walker has provided key information about the timeline of events that led to the security breakdown on Jan. 6. In Senate testimony earlier this month, he said he relayed an urgent plea from the head of the Capitol Police to senior Pentagon officials seeking backup for the overwhelmed police force.

But that request languished for more than three hours, Walker has said, until final approval just after 5 p.m. That delay in the official dispatching of the guard has become a key focus of lawmakers’ investigations into the riot.

Walker also has described a 2:30 p.m. phone call between Capitol Police and Pentagon brass and said senior Pentagon officials seemed to lack urgency despite frantic pleas from those inside the building.

Walker was the 23rd commanding general of the D.C. National Guard and previously spent three decades as a guardsman and DEA agent.

Asa Hutchinson

GOP Gov. admits ‘Near-Total Abortion Ban’ is unconstitutional

Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R-AR) said he only signed what has been widely described as a “near-total abortion ban” in his state this month because he hopes it leads to the Supreme Court taking away women’s rights to make decisions about their own bodies. Hutchinson was speaking during an appearance on CNN’s State of the Union, after host Dana Bash raised with the issue with him.

Read More
Asa Hutchinson

GOP Gov. admits ‘Near-Total Abortion Ban’ is unconstitutional

Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R-AR) said he only signed what has been widely described as a “near-total abortion ban” in his state this month because he hopes it leads to the Supreme Court taking away women’s rights to make decisions about their own bodies. Hutchinson was speaking during an appearance on CNN’s State of the Union, after host Dana Bash raised with the issue with him.

“Even when you signed it, you said you had reservations about the law, saying that it violates Supreme Court precedent,” Bash said. “So to be clear, did you sign this bill because you hope it will be a vehicle for the Supreme Court to look at overturning Roe v. Wade.

“Yes, that was the whole design of the law,” Hutchinson told Bash. “It is not constitutional under Supreme Court cases right now.”

Claiming that he “preferred a rape and incest exception,” the governor added, “I didn’t get a vote on that and so I signed it because it is a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade, that was the intent of it, I think there’s a very narrow chance that the Supreme Court will accept that case, but we’ll see.”

The new Arkansas law only allows abortion in cases where the life of the mother is directly threatened. It is not expected to be enforced until summer 2021 at the earliest, which allows time for challenges at the lower court level before it takes effect.

COVID-19

Mar-a-Lago partially closed due to outbreak

Former President Trump's luxury resort club Mar-a-Lago has reportedly been partially closed in response to an outbreak of COVID-19 at the Palm Beach, Fla. property. Sources confirmed to The Associated Press that Mar-a-Lago has been closed until further notice in a cautionary move that follows positive COVID-19 tests. Several workers have reportedly been quarantined. The extent of the outbreak and the identities of those who have tested positive were not immediately made known.