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31-year-old man shot to death in Birmingham’s Tom Brown Village

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31-year-old man shot to death in Birmingham’s Tom Brown Village

An early-morning shooting in Birmingham’s Tom Brown Village housing community left one man dead.

Police identified the victim as Brandon Wilson. He was 31.

South Precinct officers were dispatched at 1:30 a.m. Saturday to the 500 block of 41st Street North after the city’s gunfire detection system – Shot Spotter – indicated shots fired in that location.  Officers were then updated that a person was down, said Officer Truman Fitzgerald.

Wilson was found wounded in the intersection of 41st Street and 5th Court North.

Birmingham Fire and Rescue Service rushed him to UAB Hospital where he was later pronounced dead.

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Fitzgerald said details are limited and no one is in custody.

Wilson is Birmingham’s 59th homicide of 2024. Of those, five have been ruled justifiable and therefore aren’t deemed criminal.

In all of Jefferson County, there have been 82 homicides including the 59 in Birmingham.

Anyone with information is asked to call Birmingham homicide detectives at 205-254-1764 or Crime Stoppers at 205-254-7777.

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US House holds attorney-general Merrick Garland in contempt over Biden audio recordings

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US House holds attorney-general Merrick Garland in contempt over Biden audio recordings

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The Republican-led US House of Representatives has voted to hold the country’s highest law-enforcement official in contempt of Congress for defying an order to hand over audio recordings of Joe Biden’s interviews with special counsel Robert Hur.

The House on Wednesday voted 216-207, along party lines, in favour of censuring attorney-general Merrick Garland, as allies of former president Donald Trump escalated their attacks on the Department of Justice.

House Speaker Mike Johnson, a Republican, said it was “up to Congress” to decide “what materials it needs to conduct its own investigations, and there are consequences for refusing to comply with lawful Congressional subpoenas”.

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He added: “This is a simple matter — we have the transcript, and we need the audio.”

Garland appointed Hur in January 2023 to investigate the president’s handling of classified information. The special counsel did not charge Biden but ignited a political firestorm in February when Hur’s report cast the president as an “elderly man” whose “memory was significantly limited” during interviews with investigators.

Last month, Biden blocked the release of audio recordings of his interviews with Hur, with the White House noting the DoJ had already released transcripts of those conversations.

Wednesday’s measure against Garland came just a day after Biden’s DoJ secured the conviction of the president’s son, Hunter, on federal firearm charges.

Republicans have repeatedly claimed, however, that the department has become part of Democratic efforts to prosecute Trump, who faces federal charges relating to his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election and to his mishandling of classified documents.

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In a letter seen by the Financial Times, Carlos Uriarte, head of the DoJ’s legislative affairs unit, told House Republicans last month that the department had “a responsibility to safeguard the confidentiality of law enforcement files where disclosure would jeopardise future investigations”.

Garland pushed back against Wednesday’s House vote, saying in a statement that it was “deeply disappointing” that the chamber “has turned a serious congressional authority into a partisan weapon”. 

“Today’s vote disregards the constitutional separation of powers, the justice department’s need to protect its investigations, and the substantial amount of information we have provided to the committees,” Garland added.

The House’s censure means Garland could face prosecution, but only if the DoJ decides to begin a legal process against him. It brings to a culmination a fraught battle between the DoJ and Republican lawmakers, who have also sought to probe alleged business connections between Biden and his son Hunter.

Garland has appointed a trio of special counsels in a bid to quash accusations of bias, Hur, prosecutor Jack Smith, who has obtained two federal indictments against Trump, and David Weiss, who brought the gun charges against Hunter Biden.

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After Hunter Biden was convicted on criminal gun charges on Tuesday, Weiss thanked Garland for ensuring his office had the “independence to appropriately pursue our investigations and prosecutions”.

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Hur’s report into the president’s handling of classified documents sent shockwaves through Washington and revived questions about the 81-year-old’s age and fitness for office.

While Trump is only a few years younger — he will turn 78 later this week — Biden’s age is seen as one of the president’s biggest liabilities on the campaign trail.

In an op-ed published in The Washington Post on Tuesday, Garland said there had been an escalation of “baseless, personal and dangerous” attacks on the DoJ in recent weeks. “Using conspiracy theories, falsehoods, violence and threats of violence to affect political outcomes is not normal,” he warned.

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“The short-term political benefits of those tactics will never make up for the long-term cost to our country,” he said. “This must stop.”

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ACLU sues Biden administration over new executive action on the southern border

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ACLU sues Biden administration over new executive action on the southern border

President Biden delivers remarks on June 4 on executive actions to limit asylum.

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Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images/Getty Images North America

The ACLU filed a lawsuit in federal court on Wednesday challenging the Biden administration’s new executive actions that block migrants from seeking asylum at the southern U.S. border when crossings surge.

Lee Gelernt, the lead attorney for the ACLU, told NPR that President Biden’s new measures are nearly identical “from a legal standpoint” to ones that former President Donald Trump used to try to ban migrants from seeking asylum between ports of entry.

But Gelernt said Congress has been “crystal clear” that asylum seekers can request relief “whether or not you enter at a port.”

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“We are challenging President Biden’s executive action because it’s flatly illegal and inconsistent with the asylum laws that Congress passed decades ago,” Gelernt said in an interview.

“President Trump enacted a nearly identical asylum ban, and we successfully challenged that. We have no choice but to challenge this one as well.”

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of two Texas advocacy groups: Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center and the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services.

The lawsuit doesn’t seek an emergency injunction for the new rules

The Biden administration announced the rules last week. Specifically, they bar migrants from seeking asylum when they cross into the country between ports of entry when border encounters rise above 2,500 per day.

The restrictions can be lifted two weeks after daily numbers dip below 1,500 people.

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Migrants walk on the U.S. side of the border wall in Jacumba Hot Springs, Calif., on June 5, after crossing from Mexico.

Migrants walk on the U.S. side of the border wall in Jacumba Hot Springs, Calif., on June 5, after crossing from Mexico.

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The lawsuit alleges the Biden rule violates legal procedures for agency rulemaking and adjudications because it did not justify “radical departures” from prior practices and because the public didn’t have the chance to comment before the rule took effect.

However, the lawsuit did not seek an emergency injunction to block the administration from applying the new rule. Gelernt said that is an option for the future once advocates find specific migrants who have been harmed by the measure.

Biden is under pressure over the border

The border has become an increasingly difficult issue for Biden, given the record number of migrants coming across the border – and because polls show most Americans don’t approve of the way he has handled the challenge.

When he announced the new measures last week, Biden said he was forced to take unilateral action after Republicans rejected a bipartisan compromise on legislation. Trump had opposed the compromise..

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The lawsuit was not unexpected. The ACLU announced its plans to sue as soon as Biden announced his measures. The Biden administration has said it is prepared to defend the new rules.

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Live news: US stocks hold gains as traders digest Fed outlook

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Live news: US stocks hold gains as traders digest Fed outlook

US stocks opened at fresh record highs and Treasury yields dropped following the release of cooler than expected US inflation data on Wednesday, as investors bet on more interest rate cuts this year.

The S&P 500 was 0.9 per cent higher shortly after the open, while the Nasdaq Composite rose 1.2 per cent.

After Wednesday’s figures, traders in the futures market fully priced in two interest rate cuts this year, beginning in November, according to Bloomberg. Previously the average estimate was between one and two.

Traders also amped up bets on a September cut, putting the odds at 84 per cent, compared with a 60 per cent chance beforehand.

The two-year Treasury yield, which moves with interest rate expectations, fell to its lowest level since early April, down 0.16 percentage points to 4.68 per cent.

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