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INTERNATIONAL news

Trump-appointed judge dismisses his lawsuit seeking to prevent house from exposing his tax returns

A Trump-appointed judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by the former president that was seeking to prevent the House Ways and Means Committee from publishing his tax returns.
D.C. District Court Judge Trevor McFadden wrote in his opinion Tuesday that the former president is “wrong on the law.”

“A long line of Supreme Court cases requires great deference to facially valid congressional inquiries,” McFadden wrote. “Even the special solicitude accorded former Presidents does not alter the outcome. The Court will therefore dismiss this case.”

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US govt to return migrants to Mexico as Biden restores Donald Trump’s policy

“The violence faced by migrants in Mexico is going to outweigh any sort of promise made by the Mexican government to try to make this better,” said Linda Rivas

The Biden administration’s move to revive Donald Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” policy will subject thousands of people to “enormous suffering” and leave them vulnerable to kidnap and rape as they languish in dangerous Mexican border cities, migration advocates have warned.

After reaching a deal with Mexico, the US will by 6 December start returning asylum seekers from other Latin American countries to Mexico, where they will be obliged to wait while their case is assessed.
Under the policy, first implemented by Trump, asylum seekers were left stranded in violent Mexican border cities where they were routinely targeted by organized crime groups for rape, robbery, extortion and abduction.

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INTERNATIONAL news politics

Judge rejects Trump’s bid to withhold records as capitol riot investigation continues

Trump “does not acknowledge the deference owed to the incumbent president’s judgment. His position that he may override the express will of the executive branch appears to be premised on the notion that his executive power ‘exists in perpetuity,'” the judge wrote. “But presidents are not kings, and plaintiff is not president.”

A US judge has ruled a congressional committee investigating the Capitol riot can access some of ex-President Donald Trump’s White House records.
Trump wanted to invoke executive privilege, under which presidential documents can be kept secret.
The inquiry by the congressional committee is trying to find out if Trump had prior knowledge of the capitol riot.
Trump supporters stormed the Capitol building on 6 January as Congress was certifying President Joe Biden’s election victory after Trump refused to acknowledge losing the election last year, claiming – without evidence – that it had been rigged.

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Metro news

Donald Trump questioned by lawyers as protesters allege his security guards violently attacked them

Donald Trump questioned by lawyers as protesters allege his security guards violently attacked them

Donald Trump has been questioned under oath as part of a lawsuit where protesters allege they were violently attacked by his security guards.



The former US president testified at Trump Tower in New York City for several hours on Monday, and video of his deposition will be played before a jury if the case goes to trial.

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National news

Senate Judiciary Committee issues sweeping report detailing how Trump and a top DOJ lawyer attempted to overturn 2020 election

The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday released a sweeping report about how former President Donald Trump and a top lawyer in the Justice Department attempted to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

Trump directly asked the Justice Department nine times to undermine the election result, and his chief of staff Mark Meadows broke administration policy by pressuring a Justice Department lawyer to investigate claims of election fraud, according to the report, which is based on witness interviews of top former Justice Department officials.

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Donald Trump ‘ordered ex-press secretary to defend the size and shape of his penis’

Former US president, Donald Trump allegedly ordered one of press secretaries to defend the size and shape of his penis. The claim was made in an upcoming book “I’ll Take Your Questions Now: What I Saw In The White House”, which is set to be released on 5 October.

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news

Afghan News: Gay man raped and beaten by the Taliban in Kabul after he was lured out of hiding

A gay man in Afghanistan has reportedly been raped and beaten by the Taliban in as the country returns to Islamist rule.

The man, who has not been identified, was said to have been lured out of hiding in the capital Kabul by two Taliban fighters who posed as a friend offering safe passage out of the country. Instead, they attacked and raped the man when he arrived to meet them, leaving him alive but terrified,

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US and Germany reach deal on controversial pipeline that Biden sees as a Russian ‘geopolitical project’

US and Germany reach deal on controversial Pipeline that Biden sees as a “malign influence project” that Russia could use to gain leverage over European allies.

“While we remain opposed to the pipeline, we reached the judgment that sanctions would not stop its construction and risked undermining a critical alliance with Germany, as well as with the EU and other European allies,” a senior State Department official.

The announcement is unlikely to end bitter divides over the pipeline, with US lawmakers condemning the agreement, Ukrainian officials immediately weighing in to say they are lodging diplomatic protests and even the US acknowledging their opposition to the project remains firm.

“I would just say emphatically that we still oppose Nord Stream 2, we still believe it’s a Russian geopolitical malign influence project, none of that has changed,” the senior official said.

In an attempt to prevent Russia from using the pipeline to increase European dependence on its energy supplies, Germany has agreed to take a series of measures meant to mitigate the risks to European energy security, to Ukraine, and to European Union and NATO countries close to Russian borders. In the past, Russia has cut off energy supplies to other countries, including Ukraine.

“Germany has really committed to taking swift action,” the senior official said in a call with reporters. “There are a number of tools that Germany and the EU have at their disposal to push back against Russian aggression or malign activities.”

‘Differences’

“We may have differences over Nord Stream 2, but we are united in pushing back against Russian aggression,” the senior official said.

The pipeline, which was more than 90% complete when the Biden administration took office and would carry gas from Russian fields to Germany via the Baltic Sea, has generated bipartisan anger and opposition in Congress, where some lawmakers have charged that the US strong-armed Ukraine into accepting the arrangement.

“We don’t threaten our partners,” the senior State Department official said, adding that the administration engaged Ukraine on deliberations with Germany, and expects to work trilaterally with Ukraine.

Ukrainian officials immediately registered their disappointment and disapproval, with the country’s foreign minister taking to Twitter.

“Under art. 274 of the Ukraine-EU Association Agreement, Ukraine is officially initiating consultations with EU Commission & Germany on NS2, which threatens Ukraine’s security, violates the diversification principle of the EU Energy Union,” Dmytro Kuleba wrote. “Notes to Brussels & Berlin already sent.”

Lawmakers made their unhappiness clear as well. The leading Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Jim Risch, said in a statement that “not a single member of Congress supports the completion of this pipeline.”

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, the New Hampshire Democrat who has co-authored legislation to halt construction of Nord Stream 2, said the pipeline would empower Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin.

“Germany is a critical U.S. ally and I welcome steps by the administration to try to negotiate a diplomatic path forward and consult with our European allies to mitigate the impact of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project,” Shaheen said in a statement. “However, I am not yet convinced that this agreement — or any bilateral agreement — can sufficiently provide assurances to our European allies and minimize the considerable economic impact and security implications of this pipeline’s completion.

I’ve long contended that the Nord Stream 2 pipeline should not be completed because it empowers the Kremlin to spread its malign influence throughout Eastern Europe, threatens the economic security of our European partners and puts our global stability at risk. I continue to believe that.”

The senior official said that the pipeline is at this point more about 95% complete, but would not say when it may become operational, whether the Biden administration would lift existing sanctions or its threat to drop the sanctions waiver it issued in May for the company building the pipeline and its German CEO.

The senior State Department official repeatedly pointed out that the Trump administration chose to levy only two sanctions against the pipeline, and that it waited until its very last day in office to do so. The Biden administration has applied 19 sanctions to entities and vessels related to the pipeline.

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Brazil’s scandal-plagued President may face a reckoning as lawmakers consider impeachment

Bolsonaro’s government has been implicated in corruption allegations, resulting in a parliamentary inquiry into the government’s handling of the pandemic.

Corruption inquiries, a spreading Covid-19 crisis, plunging popularity and persistent bouts of hiccups. Brazil’s scandal-plagued President Jair Bolsonaro just can’t seem to catch a break.

The President said he’s now feeling “100% well” after his recent health scare, a consequence he says of a failed assassination attempt in 2018, telling TV Brasil, “If God wishes, I’ll fulfill this mission until the last day.”

But that last day may come sooner than expected, with a majority of Brazilians for the first time in favor of lawmakers launching impeachment proceedings against their controversial leader, according to recent polling.

While impeachment is far from certain, a poll by Datafolha found 54% of Brazilians support a proposed move by lawmakers to open impeachment proceedings against Bolsonaro. The July poll also found 51% of Brazilians considered the Bolsonaro presidency “bad” or “awful.”

Meanwhile, the country is struggling through the devastating impact of its haphazard response to Covid-19.

There have been nearly 20 million cases of the virus reported in Brazil, according to the Johns Hopkins University database, ranking it third in the world after the United States and India. The death toll has topped 544,000 and there continue to be more than a thousand deaths each day. Only around 16% of the population is vaccinated.

Bolsonaro has been at the center of the storm, having downplayed the gravity of the virus from the beginning. This week, the President criticized governors for taking restrictive measures to contain the spread.

“Many governors have closed everything. They have destroyed jobs, especially informal ones. We have around 38 million people in Brazil who live from day to day, who work in the morning to eat at night,” he said. “They have lost everything. If there wasn’t emergency aid by the federal government, these people would be condemned to starvation.”

The so-called “Trump of the tropics” has also targeted the media.

During an interview with public network TV Brasil on Tuesday, Bolsonaro criticized the Brazilian press and congratulated his government’s handling of the pandemic.

“I have a clear conscience,” Bolsonaro said. “Brazil is one of the countries that has best behaved during the pandemic, period. Congratulations to Brazil. I thank my team of 22 ministers.”

In July 2020, Bolsonaro announced he tested positive for Covid-19, following months of downplaying the virus. He and his government have resisted lockdown measures and mask-wearing. Angry citizens, political adversaries and overwhelmed local officials have pressed Bolsonaro for more federal action, even as he has publicly shrugged off those concerns.

Corruption investigations and inquiries

The Brazilian Senate inquiry into the government’s response may hobble Bolsonaro’s reelection bid if it leads to an impeachment proceeding or criminal charges.

While those outcomes are considered by political analysts to be unlikely, Bolsonaro’s future may depend on his ability to keep the peace with lawmakers responsible for such proceedings.

Senate opposition leader Randolfe Rodrigues said what started as an investigation into omissions and misconduct has now turned into a corruption inquiry.

The accusations include claims Bolsonaro and his government sabotaged isolation measures, threatened governors and mayors who applied restrictive measures, and refused to wear masks or encourage their use. Brazilians have taken to the streets in large numbers to demand a better response.

The inquiry has also uncovered explosive claims from a witness that Bolsonaro was warned a proposed vaccine deal was padded with extra cash for corrupt officials. The Parliamentary Inquiry Committee (CPI) has opened an investigation over the deal to purchase 20 million doses of the Indian-made Covaxin vaccines, for 1,000% more than the initial quoted price.

Congressman Luis Miranda, a former ally of Bolsonaro, and his brother Luis Ricardo Miranda, a Ministry of Health employee, said they warned the President of irregularities in the contract, but he did nothing to resolve the issue. Bolsonaro told Radio Gaucha, “I can’t just, when anything comes to me, take action. I meet with more than 100 people a month.”

Speaking Sunday as he was being discharged from the hospital, Bolsonaro complained the CPI is too often accusing him of being corrupt. “Do you want to oust me from the government?” he said. “Only God (can) get me out of that chair. Didn’t they understand that only God takes me out of that chair? If there is any corruption in the government, I will be the first to find out and leave it in the hands of justice.”

He has accused the CPI of ignoring other allegations of corruption across Brazil to focus on him and his government. “They want to accuse me of genocide. Now, tell me in what country people have not died? This CPI has no credibility,” Bolsonaro said. The President added he is “sorry about the dead, but people who were healthy had little chance of dying.”

Impeachment risk

Political analyst Marco A. Teixeira told reporters that while unlikely, Bolsonaro may be at risk of impeachment. The Getulio Vargas University (FGV-SP) professor said while it’s not yet clear where the inquiry will lead, Bolsonaro’s government is compromised.

“It is a different situation from the last election, because he is already being judged and has pending explanations to give to society. He lost the position of opposition. He can no longer say that he ‘will do it’ because he is already in government,” Teixeira said.

“Now his story is that he is not allowed to do anything by the Supreme Court and the Congress. … He has a narrative for each occasion,” Teixeira added.

Da Silva has hinted at a presidential run in 2022 after his convictions for corruption and money laundering were annulled in March, effectively restoring his right to run for office.

Da Silva has savaged the efforts of the administration to contain the outbreak, saying “there is no control in Brazil.” He described lockdowns as “necessary” — restrictions that Bolsonaro has frequently rejected.

“(Bolsonaro) prefers to wake up at 4 o’clock in the morning, tell his lies through his mobile phone, through the social media, and we have been producing fake news as we’ve never seen in the history of Brazil, and he’s not dealing seriously,” da Silva has said.

Vying for votes

Bolsonaro — much like Trump during his reelection campaign — has been seeding doubt about the electronic voting machines used in Brazil, the very same system by which he and his sons were elected. He’s been pushing for the country to use printed ballots only, touting unproven claims previous elections were rigged using electronic voting.

Teixeira explains Bolsonaro’s recent health scare may work in his favor in terms of his popularity. He suggests supporters will rally around the President as they did at the time of his failed 2018 assassination attempt. An injury from that attempt has led to his current medical issues.

Bolsonaro’s eldest son, Sen. Flávio Bolsonaro, tweeted about his father’s recent hospital stay, “President @jairbolsonaro evolved for the better, he woke up in a good mood and, if he continues like this, he won’t need to undergo surgery! Thank you all for your prayers! #WhoOrderedTheBolsonaroAssassination.”

“Bolsonaro’s health problem creates a smokescreen that gives his family a kind of ‘revival’ from the stab he suffered four years ago, showing an instrumentalization of something that had significant weight in the past elections and that can affect voting intention for next year,” Teixeira said.

Arriving at the hospital last week, Bolsonaro said Brazil is on “the path to prosperity” and thanked supporters for their prayers.

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Kevin McCarthy’s picks for the 1/6 commission reveal his true goals

House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy sent a quite apparent signal to Democrats — and the country — on Monday: He has zero interest in getting to the bottom of what really happened (and why) when the US Capitol was stormed by rioters convinced by former President Donald Trump that the 2020 election had been stolen from him.

McCarthy made that crystal clear in the five Republican members of Congress he put forth for the House select committee formed to investigate the Capitol insurrection. The five: Republicans Jim Jordan of Ohio, Jim Banks of Indiana, Rodney Davis of Illinois, Kelly Armstrong of North Dakota and Troy Nehls of Texas.

Of the five, three — Banks, Jordan and Nehls — voted to object to the to the 2020 Electoral College results despite the fact that there is zero evidence of any widespread voter fraud or major irregularities. Both Banks and Jordan also signed on to a Texas lawsuit aimed at invalidating votes in several key swing states, a suit that was summarily rejected by the Supreme Court.

So, yes.

Even without all of that, the choice of Jordan alone makes very clear what McCarthy wants out of the committee. Jordan is extremely close to Trump and has built his reputation on his willingness to be a dogged interrogator of witnesses not to mention his willingness to carry the former President’s water — as he did during Trump’s first impeachment trial.

What Jordan’s presence on the committee ensures then is that it will be a circus. Jordan will try to focus on debunked conspiracy theories about Antifa being involved in the January 6 riots. He will bully witnesses brought by Democrats to testify about their recollection of that day. He will defend Trump despite the former President’s clear involvement in inciting the January 6 crowd and his unwillingness to immediately speak out when it became clear the protests had turned violent.

In short: Jordan will muddy the waters. He will make it impossible for the average American looking to understand the insurrection to do so. He will throw anything and everything at the wall in an attempt to distract people from the underlying facts of that day.

And, not for nothing, those facts are these: A mob overwhelmed police officers and stormed the US Capitol in an attempt to stop the certification of the Electoral College. In the process, more than 100 police officers were injured. Five people died as a result of the insurrection. And more than 500 people have now been charged for their roles in the riot that day.

Because of Republican obstruction in the Senate, the country will not get the sort of 360-degree view of what happened on January 6, how we got to that day and what we need to avoid it happening again — the sort of bipartisan report that came after the attacks of September 11, 2001. Because of McCarthy’s selections to this select committee, we will be subject to political posturing and point-scoring rather than any sort of attempt to truly address the failures of that day in the Capitol.