Newsroom

Adam Schiff

Watchdog investigates seizure of Democrats’ phone data

The US justice department’s internal watchdog launched an investigation on Friday after revelations that former president Donald Trump’s administration secretly seized phone data from at least two House Democrats as part of an aggressive leaks inquiry related to the Russia investigation into Trump’s conduct.

Capitol Riots

Intelligence failures left police officers exposed to a violent mob of Trump supporters

The deadly insurrection at the US Capitol was “planned in plain sight” but intelligence failures left police officers exposed to a violent mob of Trump supporters, a Senate investigation has found. The Capitol police intelligence division had been gathering online data since December about plots to storm the building on 6 January, including messages such as: “Bring guns. It’s now or never.” But a combination of bad communications, poor planning, faulty equipment and lack of leadership meant the warnings went unheeded, allowing the insurrectionists to overrun the Capitol and disrupt certification of Joe Biden’s election victory. Five people died.

Rudy Giuliani

Federal investigators seized more info in case against Trump ex-lawyer

New York federal prosecutors investigating Rudy Giuliani have seized material from a wider array of individuals than previously disclosed, including messages from email and iCloud accounts they believe belong to two former Ukrainian government officials, as well as the cell phone and iPad of a pro-Trump Ukrainian businessman, according to a court document unsealed Tuesday.

Donald Trump Investigation

Prosecutor in Trump criminal probe convenes grand jury to hear evidence

Manhattan's district attorney has convened the grand jury that is expected to decide whether to indict former president Donald Trump, other executives at his company or the business itself should prosecutors present the panel with criminal charges, according to two people familiar with the development. The panel was convened recently and will sit three days a week for six months. It is likely to hear several matters — not just the Trump case ­— during the duration of its term, which is longer than a traditional New York state grand-jury assignment, these people said. Like others, they spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation.

Mass shootings

Texas gets ready to allow unlicensed carrying of handguns

Texas is poised to remove one of its last major gun restrictions after lawmakers approved allowing people to carry handguns without a license, and the background check and training that go with it. The Republican-dominated Legislature approved the measure Monday, sending it to Gov. Greg Abbott, who has said he will sign it despite the objections of law enforcement groups who say it would endanger the public and police.

Barbara Starr

Trump administration secretly obtained CNN reporter's phone and email records

The Trump administration secretly sought and obtained the 2017 phone and email records of a CNN correspondent, the latest instance where federal prosecutors have taken aggressive steps targeting journalists in leak investigations. The Justice Department informed CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr, in a May 13 letter, that prosecutors had obtained her phone and email records covering two months, between June 1, 2017 to July 31, 2017. The letter listed phone numbers for Starr's Pentagon extension, the CNN Pentagon booth phone number and her home and cell phones, as well as Starr's work and personal email accounts.

Trump Organization

What’s really behind the New York Attorney General’s criminal probe

The announcement by New York Attorney General Letitia James that her office is “actively investigating the Trump Organization in a criminal capacity” was greeted with a wave of nearly unanimous snap analysis that this spelled big trouble for former President Donald Trump and his company. But behind the scenes, many lawyers, including experienced prosecutors in New York, expressed confusion about what the move actually signifies. It turns out that James’ unusual public statement portends bad news for Trump and his family-run operation but not for the reason you likely suspect.

Criminal Investigation

NY attorney general has been looking into the taxes of Trump Organization

The New York attorney general's office has opened a criminal tax investigation into top Trump Organization officer Allen Weisselberg, increasing the legal pressure on the long-time aide to former President Donald Trump, people familiar with the investigation say. The pressure on Weisselberg is mounting from two directions with the attorney general looking into his personal taxes, while prosecutors in the district attorney's office are digging into his role at the Trump Organization, his personal finances, and benefits given to his son Barry, a long-time employee of the Trump Organization.

Capitol Riots

House approves Jan. 6 commission over GOP objections

The House on Wednesday passed a bill to establish a commission to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, earning relatively little support from Republicans as GOP leaders sought to quash a bill negotiated by one of their own members. Lawmakers passed the bill in a 252-175 vote, with 35 Republicans joining all Democrats in support.

Matt Gaetz Scandal

Republican snorted cocaine with escort who had ‘No Show’ government job

When Matt Gaetz attended a 2019 GOP fundraiser in Orlando, his date that night was someone he knew well: a paid escort and amateur Instagram model who led a cocaine-fueled party after the event. The Florida congressman’s one-time wingman, Joel Greenberg, will identify that escort to investigators as one of more than 15 young women Gaetz paid for sex. But what distinguishes this woman, Megan Zalonka, is that she turned her relationship with Greenberg into a taxpayer-funded no-show job that earned her an estimated $7,000 to $17,500.

Matt Gaetz Scandal

Matt Gaetz scandal deepens as associate admits paying 17-year-old for sex

The scandal engulfing Matt Gaetz, one of Donald Trump’s brashest supporters in Congress, deepened on Friday after an associate admitted sex trafficking involving a minor and agreed to cooperate with investigators. Joel Greenberg, a former tax collector in Florida, said he and unidentified others paid a 17-year-old girl for sex and he provided the girl with drugs, according to court papers cited by multiple media outlets. Greenberg, 37, is expected to plead guilty to six federal charges, including financial crimes, in court in Orlando on Monday.

War

Death toll surges as Palestinians flee Israeli fire in Gaza

Thousands of Palestinians grabbed children and belongings and fled their homes Friday as Israel barraged the northern Gaza Strip with tank fire and airstrikes, killing a family of six in their house and heavily damaging other neighborhoods in what it said was an operation to clear militant tunnels.

National Garden of American Heroes

Biden kills Trump’s sculpture garden of ‘American heroes’

President Joe Biden on Friday revoked several of the executive orders issued in his predecessor’s last year in office that were penned to address conservative cultural grievances, including the sculpture garden he proposed on July 4 at an event at Mount Rushmore.

Vanessa & Tiffany Trump

‘Inappropriately close’ to Secret Service agents

Two Trump family members got “inappropriately – and perhaps dangerously – close” to agents protecting them while Donald Trump was president, according to a new book on the US Secret Service. Zero Fail: The Rise and Fall of the Secret Service, by the Washington Post reporter Carol Leonnig, is published next week. The Guardian obtained a copy.

USA

New study estimates more than 900,000 people have died of COVID-19

A new study estimates that the number of people who have died of COVID-19 in the U.S. is more than 900,000, a number 57% higher than official figures. Worldwide, the study's authors say, the COVID-19 death count is nearing 7 million, more than double the reported number of 3.24 million.

Kenneth Braithwaite

Donald Trump’s Navy Chief blew $2M on eight-month traveling spree

Former Navy Secretary Kenneth Braithwaite traversed the globe in his brief tenure under the Trump administration, spending about $2.4 million in air travel, according to figures and documents obtained by USA TODAY. Braithwaite spent $232,000 the week before President Joe Biden's inauguration to fly to Wake Island, a tiny Pacific atoll, where, according to Navy spokesman Capt. Jereal Dorsey, no sailors or Marines are stationed.

Office of Legal Counsel (OLC)

Judge's decision on Bill Barr memo puts spotlight on secretive DOJ office

A small but powerful section of the Department of Justice (DOJ) is under renewed scrutiny after a federal judge tore into former Attorney General William Barr and ordered the DOJ to release a memo that let former President Trump claim he was exonerated by the Mueller probe. Critics of the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC), which provides legal advice to the White House and Cabinet agencies, have long argued it acts as a rubber stamp for the president and essentially drafts laws behind closed doors.

General Ruslan Ryaboshapka

Former Ukrainian prosecutor says he was fired for not investigating Hunter Biden

Former Ukrainian Prosecutor General Ruslan Ryaboshapka said in an interview published on Wednesday that he believes he was fired from his position last year for refusing to investigate President Biden’s son Hunter Biden at the request of Rudy Giuliani and former President Trump.

National Public Radio

U.S.-Mexico efforts targeting drug cartels have unraveled, top DEA official admits

A senior Drug Enforcement Administration official told NPR efforts to target drug cartels operating inside Mexico have unraveled because of a breakdown in cooperation between law enforcement agencies and militaries in the two countries. "We're willing to share [intelligence] with our counterparts in Mexico but they themselves are too afraid to even engage with us because of repercussions from their own government if they get caught working with DEA," said Matthew Donahue, the DEA's deputy chief of operations.

Donald Trump

Inner circle is terrified the feds are coming for them next

If you haven’t been keeping up with the legal affairs of Donald Trump of late, what you should know is that the guy is very likely fucked. With the ex-president facing no fewer than 29 lawsuits and three criminal investigations, his tax returns are currently in the hands of Manhattan district attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., whose team is also working to flip the Trump Organization employee who knows where all the bodies are buried and has both (1) cooperated with prosecutors in the past and (2) made some rather interesting comments about the company’s legal dealings.

Modern Slavery

Judge rules South Carolina restaurant manager owes more than $500K to worker

A judge ruled that a former South Carolina restaurant manager who forced a Black man with intellectual disabilities to work more than 100 hours a week without pay, owes the former employee more than $500,000. According to The Post and Courier, Bobby Paul Edwards, 56, is serving a 10-year prison sentence for forcing John Christopher Smith, 43, to work at J&J Cafeteria without pay.

Ahmaud Arbery killing

Three men charged with federal hate crimes

The US justice department has indicted three men on federal hate crime charges in the killing of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia. Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man, was jogging when he was shot and killed in Brunswick on 23 February last year. Arbery’s family characterized his death as a modern-day lynching.

Shortnews

Deadly DUI Crash

Ex-Astronaut going to prison for 4 years

An ex-astronaut who killed two young Alabama girls while driving under the influence will spend at least four years behind bars after pleading guilty to manslaughter. James Halsell, 64, of Huntsville, was a Space Shuttle commander who flew five missions. Ten years after retirement, he crashed into another car in Tuscaloosa, leaving Niomi Deona James, 11, and Jayla Latrick Parler, 13, dead.

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Deadly DUI Crash

Ex-Astronaut going to prison for 4 years

An ex-astronaut who killed two young Alabama girls while driving under the influence will spend at least four years behind bars after pleading guilty to manslaughter. James Halsell, 64, of Huntsville, was a Space Shuttle commander who flew five missions. Ten years after retirement, he crashed into another car in Tuscaloosa, leaving Niomi Deona James, 11, and Jayla Latrick Parler, 13, dead.

“There are clearly no winners here. It’s a horrible thing for the family. You have a man who has done very good things, who in this case did a very, very, very bad thing,” Tuscaloosa County District Attorney Hays Webb said, according to AL.com.

“It just shows how thin the line is, and how fast and how far people can fall.”

The girls’ family prayed outside the courthouse.

“My daughters were amazing, beautiful, smart, strong little girls that could have been anything in this world if they had the opportunity to grow up, but that was taken from me and all of everyone else in this world,” their mother, Latrice Parler, told WAFF.

Colonial Pipeline

Gasoline demand spikes in several states after pipeline hack

A growing number of gas stations along the East Coast are without fuel as nervous drivers aggressively fill up their tanks following a ransomware attack that shut down the Colonial Pipeline, a critical artery for gasoline. The panic-buying threatens to exacerbate the supply shock."Panicked buying" is "running stations in the region dry," Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, told CNN Business.

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Colonial Pipeline

Gasoline demand spikes in several states after pipeline hack

A growing number of gas stations along the East Coast are without fuel as nervous drivers aggressively fill up their tanks following a ransomware attack that shut down the Colonial Pipeline, a critical artery for gasoline. The panic-buying threatens to exacerbate the supply shock.

As of 4 pm ET Tuesday, 8.5% of gas stations in North Carolina and 7.7% in Virginia didn't have gasoline, according to outage figures reported by GasBuddy, an app that tracks fuel prices and demand. The Virginia figure was flat from 11 am ET, while North Carolina was up from 5.8% previously.

Rising outages are also being reported at gas stations in Georgia (5.8%), Florida (2.8%) and South Carolina (3.5%), according to GasBuddy, which collects user reports and shares the information with the government during emergencies.

"Panicked buying" is "running stations in the region dry," Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, told CNN Business.
He warned that the "irrational behavior" could prolong supply issues "for weeks."

Tiffany Wright of AAA Carolinas criticized what she described as "irresponsible behavior at the pump."

The far right conspiracy

New York AG sues Jacob Wohl for $2.75 million over robocalls

New York Attorney General Letitia James announced Thursday that her office has filed a lawsuit against bumbling right-wing conspiracy theorists Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman over robocalls the pair allegedly made to suppress the Black vote ahead of the 2020 presidential election.

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The far right conspiracy

New York AG sues Jacob Wohl for $2.75 million over robocalls

New York Attorney General Letitia James announced Thursday that her office has filed a lawsuit against bumbling right-wing conspiracy theorists Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman over robocalls the pair allegedly made to suppress the Black vote ahead of the 2020 presidential election.

“Hi, this is Tamika Taylor from Project 1599, the civil rights organization founded by Jack Burman and Jacob Wohl,” the automated recordings told the targeted voters.

“Mail-in voting sounds great, but did you know that if you vote by mail, your personal information will be part of a public database that will be used by police departments to track down old warrants and be used by credit card companies to collect outstanding debts? The CDC is even pushing to use records for mail-in voting to track people for mandatory vaccines. Don’t be finessed into giving your private information to the man, stay home safe and beware of vote by mail.”

James says 5,500 New Yorkers were affected; she’s asking for Wohl and Burkman to pay $500 for each violation and forfeit all profits. If successful, they will be on the hook for $2.75 million, in addition to the felony charges they face in other states for the alleged scheme.

Wohl and Burkman have a history of failed schemes, including an attempt to pin false sexual assault allegations on now-U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, former special counsel Robert Mueller, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

Caron Nazario

Police Chief: No apology needed for pepper-spraying

After a video of Army Lieutenant Caron Nazario being pepper-sprayed by Windsor, Virginia cops during a traffic stop went viral last week, Police Chief Rodney D. Riddle said he didn’t feel Nazario was owed an official apology. “My guys missed opportunities to verbally de-escalate,” Riddle admitted of the incident late last year that saw two officers with guns drawn barking at Nazario to get out of his car for allegedly not having a rear license tag.

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Caron Nazario

Police Chief: No apology needed for pepper-spraying

After a video of Army Lieutenant Caron Nazario being pepper-sprayed by Windsor, Virginia cops during a traffic stop went viral last week, Police Chief Rodney D. Riddle said he didn’t feel Nazario was owed an official apology. “My guys missed opportunities to verbally de-escalate,” Riddle admitted of the incident late last year that saw two officers with guns drawn barking at Nazario to get out of his car for allegedly not having a rear license tag.

They pepper-spraying Nazario in the face, before realizing he did in fact have his license tag taped to the rear window of the new car. Riddle went so far as to partially blame Nazario, saying that he wished he’d “complied a whole lot earlier.” The incident is now the subject of a $1 million lawsuit against the officers involved, one of whom was fired earlier this week after an internal investigation.

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.

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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.