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Trump Probe May Be Complicated By Documents At Biden Office

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WASHINGTON — The U.S. The number of classified documents is vastly different, as are the discovery conditions.

But the revelation that President Joe Biden’s lawyers discovered a “limited number” of classified materials in a locked closet is an unexpected twist for a Justice Department already probing Donald Trump for the preservation of top secret documents at his Florida estate, Mar-a-Lago.

Despite significant factual and legal disparities between the scenarios, Trump seized on the news to mitigate his vulnerability – at least in the eyes of the public. The information is unlikely to impact the Justice Department’s decision to charge Trump. However, it may make a criminal case more difficult to sell politically, increasing the mistrust of Republicans in Congress and others who have questioned the basis for a plausible prosecution.

“I don’t think it affects Trump’s legal judgment at all, but it certainly affects the political narrative going forward,” said a U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama during Trump’s presidency.

A special counsel is leading the Mar-a-Lago investigation, and the Biden situation is being looked into by the top federal prosecutor in Chicago, who is still working for the Trump administration. All of this is taking place as newly elected Republicans gain control of the House, with plans to target the agency with allegations of politicized law enforcement.

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People Call for Raids Of Bidens Home

Rep. Mike Turner of Ohio, who is the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, has already asked the director of national intelligence for a damage assessment of the classified information that was leaked. And, in response to the FBI’s discovery of boxes of secret records at Mar-a-Lago in August, Trump wondered on Twitter, “When is the FBI going to raid Joe Biden’s numerous houses, possibly even the White House?”

DOJ investigating potentially classified Biden documents

The White House says the Justice Department is evaluating potentially secret materials discovered in President Joe Biden’s former institute’s Washington office space and swiftly turned over to the National Archives. (Jan. 10)

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He later questioned why “the ‘Justice’ Department” had not made the information public before the November midterm elections.Trump

The Differences Between Biden and Trump

There are differences between the situations of Trump and Biden, especially regarding the seriousness of the ongoing Mar-a-Lago grand jury investigation.

The search for his property came after months of back-and-forth between government officials and Trump representatives about the keeping of presidential records.

After finding classified information in a Palm Beach, Florida, home, the National Archives and Records Administration took 15 boxes from the House and called the FBI in January. However, Trump representatives rejected the Archives’ demands to surrender all papers for months. Even though officials from the Justice Department sent a subpoena for classified information and went to Mar-a-Lago last spring, they say that the former president’s staff did not give them all the documents.

Unclear When A decision Will be Made

FBI agents returned in August with a warrant indicating that they were investigating crimes such as deliberate retention of national security information and attempts to hinder the federal investigation. They say they found more than 300 of these papers in the building. They found documents marked “classified” in a storage room and an office desk drawer.

It’s unclear whether Trump or anyone else will face charges or when a decision will be made. The former president will face criminal charges in a separate investigation in Atlanta, where a special grand jury probing efforts to alter Georgia election results has completed its work.

The White House is also trying to tell the difference between the Mar-a-Lago case and the secret information found in Biden’s old institute’s Washington office.

Richard Sauber, the president’s lawyer, said on Nov. 2 that the president’s lawyers found “a small number of classified documents” from the Obama administration when they were putting files in a locked cabinet to leave the Penn Biden Center.

The statement stated that the White House contacted the Archives that day, that the Archives took possession of the materials the next morning, and that the Archives had not previously requested the records – a clear contrast to how the Trump administration handled Archives requests.

Even still, major concerns remain, such as the substance and exact amount of the Biden records, how they got to the center, why they stayed there, and why the administration took more than two months to disclose their finding. The Justice Department has remained silent as well.

The Biden news was a stroke of good fortune for the former president, who had earned the nickname “Teflon Don” during his long business career for frequently escaping repercussions, and who had for months falsely compared his treatment of presidential records to that of his predecessors.Trump biden

More Political accusations for Trump

Politically, the accusations come at a good time for Trump, who just launched a new presidential campaign at the end of last year and is getting ready to speed up his campaigning. More and more people are looking into how he handled sensitive documents and how he tried to change the results of the 2020 election. The new developments could give political cover, particularly among casual audiences who are too busy to dive into the specifics of either claim.

“Certainly, it offers him something to talk about. “Not that requiring something to be factual has ever stopped him before,” Tim Miller, a former Republican strategist turned Trump critic who worked on Jeb Bush’s 2016 campaign, said.

When looking into Espionage Act crimes, like the one the Justice Department did about Trump, the focus is often on whether or not the action was done on purpose or by accident.

That was going to be the case with the Trump investigation, but proving Trump’s willfulness beyond a reasonable doubt is likely to be especially important now if the Justice Department is to ensure public trust in any indictment it brings — and to demonstrate that the allegations amount to more than simple misplacement or mishandling of government secrets.

SOURCE – (AP)

 

World

Supreme Court Restores Trump To Ballot, Rejecting State Attempts To Ban Him Over Capitol Attack

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Trump Facing 37 Felony Charges, Indictment Unsealed

Washington — On Monday, the Supreme Court overwhelmingly reinstated Donald Trump on the 2024 presidential primary ballot, rejecting state attempts to bar the Republican former President over the Capitol brawl.

The judges concluded a day before the Super Tuesday primaries that states cannot use a post-Civil War constitutional provision to exclude presidential candidates from appearing on ballots. That authority rests with Congress, the court wrote in an unsigned ruling.

On his social media network, Trump said shortly after the ruling was announced, “BIG WIN FOR AMERICA!!!”

The case constituted the court’s first direct ruling on a presidential election issue in a generation, dating back to Bush v. Gore in 2000. However, it is unlikely to be the last, as Trump is facing four distinct criminal charges and has another Supreme Court appearance scheduled for April.

The verdict puts a stop to efforts in Colorado, Illinois, Maine, and other states to remove Trump, the front-runner for his party’s nomination, from the ballot due to his plans to recoup his 2020 election loss to Democrat Joe Biden, culminating in the January 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol.

Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold expressed dismay with the court’s judgment, noting that “Donald Trump is an eligible candidate in Colorado’s 2024 Presidential Primary.”

Trump’s case was the first before the Supreme Court to address a section of the 14th Amendment created after the Civil War to prohibit former officeholders who “engaged in insurrection” from holding office again.

Donald Trump is facing four criminal indictments and a civil suit. You can keep track of all the cases here.

Colorado’s Supreme Court ruled, in a first-of-its-kind decision, that the provision, Section 3, may be applied against Trump, whom the court said incited the Capitol attack. No court had before applied Section 3 to a presidential candidate.

In their judgments on Monday, the judges avoided the politically charged question of insurrection.

The court ruled that states can disqualify applicants for state office. “But States have no power under the Constitution to enforce Section 3 with respect to federal offices, especially the Presidency,” the court stated in its ruling.

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Supreme Court Restores Trump To Ballot, Rejecting State Attempts To Ban Him Over Capitol Attack

While all nine justices agreed that Trump should be on the ballot, the three liberal members of the court and conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett disagreed that their colleagues went too far in determining what Congress must do to disqualify someone from federal office.

Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, and Ketanji Brown Jackson agreed that upholding the Colorado decision could result in a “chaotic state-by-state patchwork,” but disagreed with the majority’s conclusion that a disqualification for insurrection can only occur when Congress enacts legislation. “Today, the majority goes beyond the necessities of this case to limit how Section 3 can bar an oathbreaking insurrectionist from becoming President,” the three justices wrote in a unanimous judgment.

It is still being determined whether the verdict allows Congress to refuse to certify Trump’s or any other presidential candidate’s election if it believes they violated Section 3.

Derek Muller, a legal professor at the University of Notre Dame, said, “It appears no,” noting that the liberals objected to the majority opinion eliminating any other options for Congress to implement the rule. Rick Hasen, a legal professor at the University of California-Los Angeles, said that Congress’s boundaries could be clearer.

Hasen was among those who urged the court to resolve the issue so that Congress would not reject Trump under Section 3 when electoral votes are counted on January 6, 2025.

“We may well have a nasty, nasty post-election period in which Congress tries to disqualify Trump but the Supreme Court says Congress exceeded its powers,” he warned in an email.

Both sides had asked for quick action from the court, which heard arguments less than a month ago, on February 8. The justices were preparing to decide in Trump’s favour.

Trump had been removed from the ballots in Colorado, Maine, and Illinois, but all three verdicts were on hold until a Supreme Court decision.

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Supreme Court Restores Trump To Ballot, Rejecting State Attempts To Ban Him Over Capitol Attack

The lawsuit is the court’s most direct participation in a presidential election since Bush v. Gore, which effectively gave the 2000 election to Republican George W. Bush. And it’s just one of several cases involving Trump that could affect his chances of reelection, including a late April hearing on whether he can be criminally prosecuted on election interference charges, including his role in the January 6 Capitol attack. Trump has claimed ultimate protection from prosecution. The timing of the high court’s intervention has sparked speculation that Trump will be tried before the November election.

The hearings in February marked the first time the high court heard a case utilizing Section 3. The two-sentence rule, intended to prevent some Confederates from gaining office again, states that those who breach oaths to support the Constitution are forbidden from holding different posts, including congressional seats or acting as presidential electors. However, it makes no specific reference to the presidency.

Both conservative and liberal judges questioned the case against Trump. Their primary worry was whether Congress should intervene before states could invoke the 14th Amendment. There were also disputes over whether the provision covers the President.

The lawyers for Republican and independent voters who sued to remove Trump’s name from the Colorado ballot argued that there is ample evidence that the events of January 6 constituted an insurrection, which was incited by Trump, who had urged a crowd of his supporters at a rally outside the White House to “fight like hell.” They claimed it would be ludicrous to apply Section 3 to everything except the presidency or that Trump is somehow exempt. They contended that the provision does not require any enabling legislation.

Following the verdict, the President of the liberal-leaning organization that represented the voters cited the court’s silence on whether Trump incited the revolt. “They had the opportunity to exonerate Donald Trump, but they did not do so,” said Noah Bookbinder of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.

trump

Supreme Court Restores Trump To Ballot, Rejecting State Attempts To Ban Him Over Capitol Attack

Trump’s lawyers made various points on why the Amendment cannot be used to take him off the ballot. They claimed the January 6 disturbance was not an insurrection and that, even if it was, Trump did not go to the Capitol or join the rioters. They further stated that the Amendment’s text excludes the presidency and presidential contenders. They asserted that even if all of those reasons failed, Congress must approve legislation to resurrect Section 3.

The case was resolved by a court that included three Justices Trump chose as President. They have considered other Trump-related issues in recent years, rejecting his spurious accusations of fraud in the 2020 election and refusing to protect tax information from Congress and New York prosecutors.

The 5-4 judgment in Bush v. Gore, issued more than 23 years ago, was the last time the court became so involved in presidential politics. Only Justice Clarence Thomas remains on the bench from that time. Thomas has rebuffed requests from several Democratic senators to withdraw from the Trump lawsuit since his wife, Ginni, supported Trump’s effort to reverse the 2020 election results and attended the rally preceding Trump supporters’ assault of the Capitol.

SOURCE – (AP)

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Zelensky Warns ‘Millions Will Be Killed’ Without US Aid To Kyiv, As Ukrainian Troop Deaths Reach At Least 31,000

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Zelensky: “Millions” of people may die in Ukraine’s war with Russia if US senators do not support President Joe Biden’s $60 billion aid request for Kyiv, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told CNN on Sunday.

When CNN’s Kaitlan Collins asked about US Senator J.D. Vance’s remark that the war’s outcome would not alter if Ukraine received the money, Zelensky said he was not convinced Vance “understands what is going on here.”

“Coming to the front line to see what’s happening, speaking with people, and then going to civilians to understand what will happen to them without this support is the key to understanding it.” He will understand that millions will be slain. “It is a fact,” Zelensky stated.

zelensky

Zelensky Warns ‘Millions Will Be Killed’ Without US Aid To Kyiv, As Ukrainian Troop Deaths Reach At Least 31,000

“Of course he doesn’t understand, God bless you don’t have the war on your territory,” he said.

Zelensky’s warning came only hours after the Ukrainian commander admitted to troop casualties for the first time at a conference in Kyiv, claiming that approximately 31,000 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed in the fight thus far.

Zelensky addressed the gathering and refuted Russian allegations of far more Ukrainian casualties. He also stated that “tens of thousands” of civilians have been killed in Ukrainian territories captured by Russian soldiers.

“It’s a huge loss for us. This war claimed the lives of 31,000 Ukrainians, including soldiers. Not 300,000. “Not 150,000, whatever (Russian President Vladimir) Putin is lying about,” Zelensky stated. “Every loss is a huge loss to us.”

CNN cannot independently verify the figures, which come on the same weekend that Ukraine marks two years since Russia’s full-scale invasion.

zelensky

Zelensky Warns ‘Millions Will Be Killed’ Without US Aid To Kyiv, As Ukrainian Troop Deaths Reach At Least 31,000

Throughout the crisis, Kyiv has been reticent to acknowledge how many soldiers have died. Former Ukraine Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov stated in June 2022 that he estimated tens of thousands of Ukrainians had been slain since February of the same year.

Two months later, Valerii Zaluzhnyi, then-head of Ukraine’s armed forces, announced that 9,000 troops had been slain.

According to US sources, over 70,000 soldiers have been dead, with roughly twice that many injured.

Meanwhile, Russia has lost a staggering 87% of its active-duty ground forces before the invasion, according to a source familiar with a declassified US intelligence estimate delivered to Congress in December.

Zelensky’s remarks come as his country suffers setbacks on the battlefield and struggles to gain additional aid from Western partners. In the United States, isolationist Republicans have blocked a foreign aid package in the House of Representatives.

zelesnky

Zelensky Warns ‘Millions Will Be Killed’ Without US Aid To Kyiv, As Ukrainian Troop Deaths Reach At Least 31,000

The Ukrainian leader stated that his country is waiting for Congress to act.

“They understand we need their help,” Zelensky said.

Zelensky also mentioned the prospect of attending a peace summit in Switzerland in the spring but cautioned that Russia might not be involved. He claimed that Putin “does not want to end this war.”\

SOURCE – (CNN)

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Alexei Navalny: Hundreds Chant Defiance As They Bid Farewell To Navalny

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Thousands of Russians ignored fear and turned out to say goodbye to opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

On February 16, President Vladimir Putin’s most vociferous critic died in jail.

Authorities had warned that any protest would be illegal. However, a large number of police officers stood by as the crowd yelled Navalny’s name or expressed their opposition to the Russian president.

Mr Putin’s supporters, relatives, and many international leaders have all blamed him for his death.

Russian authorities refute any such allegations, claiming Navalny died of natural causes. He was spending a lengthy sentence in an Arctic jail colony on fabricated charges.

navalny

Alexei Navalny: Hundreds Chant Defiance As They Bid Farewell To Navalny

Russian authorities refute any such allegations, claiming Navalny died of natural causes. He was spending a lengthy sentence in an Arctic jail colony on fabricated charges.

It was believed that authorities would crack down on Friday’s funeral.

Indeed, on Friday morning, a large police presence was seen in Maryino, the Moscow neighbourhood where the funeral was placed and where Navalny had resided with his family for many years.

Despite the grey winter’s day and temperatures hovering slightly around freezing, Navalny’s team estimated that the queue of people stretched for well over 1km (0.6 miles).

However, none of the police officers, many of whom were wearing full riot gear, intervened when expressions of support for Navalny became overtly political.

Thousands screamed “No to War,” “Russia Without Putin,” and “Russia Will Be Free,” sentiments that have previously cost numerous Russians in jail.

The memorial service started shortly after 14:00 Moscow time (11:00 GMT) at the Church of the Icon of Our Lady Quench My Sorrows.

It came after much confusion and protests from Navalny’s team that the authorities were making arrangements difficult, including locating a hearse.

However, hundreds began to come hours before the proceedings began. Foreign dignitaries, including ambassadors from the United States, Germany, and France, later joined them.

The ceremony inside the church was brief; a photograph on social media depicted an open casket, which is usual in Russia, with mourners paying their respects. Navalny’s mother, Lyudmila, and father, Anatoly, were spotted sitting together.

People threw flowers and carnations onto the hearse as the church bell tolled and Navalny’s casket was hauled outside, shouting, “We won’t forget you!”

Following the service, several people approached Lyudmila and hugged her, saying, “Thank you for your son” and “forgive us”.

Navalny’s widow, Yulia; his daughters Daria, 23; Zakhar, 15; and his brother, Oleg, are all believed to reside overseas and were absent.

navalny

Hundreds Chant Defiance As They Bid Farewell To Navalny

Yulia has lately stated that she will continue Navalny’s political activities, which may make it dangerous for her to return to Russia, where Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation has been branded an extremist organization.

While the burial occurred, she posted a heartfelt tribute on social media, praising Navalny for “26 years of absolute happiness”.

“I don’t know how to live without you, but I will try to do it so you – up there – can be happy and proud of me,” she said.

Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation team took the initiative to provide live feeds of the burial proceedings without independent Russian media.

The YouTube channel from which Navalny frequently addressed his fans streamed footage from his funeral. More than a quarter of a million people tuned in all day.

The burial was finally held in Borisovskoye Cemetery around 16:00.

Navalny’s coffin was lowered into the ground to the tune of Frank Sinatra’s My Way and an orchestral version of the Terminator 2 theme song. “Navalny thought The Terminator 2 was the best film in the whole world,” his spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh wrote on social media.

People continued to queue outside the cemetery as dusk fell, where a sign read: “Putin killed him but didn’t break him.”

“Now is not the time to be a coward. “Those people in our government are cowards because they are afraid of us,” one mourner told BBC Newshour. “We’re just humans with flowers and cemeteries. “That is all.”

By Friday evening, 45 people had reportedly been arrested throughout Russia for attending Navalny mourning rallies.

Overall, the brutal, broad crackdown that many had feared did not occur. In comparison, the authorities’ response to people leaving flowers at improvised memorials following Navalny’s death resulted in hundreds of arrests.

Police may seek out some people who attended today’s proceedings in the coming days. Earlier this week, it was claimed that surveillance cameras had been put around the cemetery.

navalny

Hundreds Chant Defiance As They Bid Farewell To Navalny

Before the funeral, First Department, a group of lawyers and human rights defenders, warned that detentions after the ceremony “could not be ruled out” and advised mourners to “stay under the radar of security forces – do not use public transport or apply for paperwork in the days after the funeral.”

Online initiatives, such as a website where people can light a “virtual candle” for Navalny, have drawn hundreds of thousands of visitors.

Today was the greatest opposition gathering in Russia since Navalny’s imprisonment in January 2021.
Many mourners may have felt it was their final opportunity to join with thousands of like-minded people.

Navalny organised protests and marches for nearly a decade that drew tens of thousands of people in Moscow and elsewhere.

With him gone, it’s still being determined who else could get the level of public support he did.

SOURCE – (BBC)

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