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Joe Biden cuts Donald Trump’s lead on handling of US economy

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Joe Biden cuts Donald Trump’s lead on handling of US economy

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Donald Trump has lost some of his edge over Joe Biden on the economy in a monthly poll of American voters, one of the first signs that months of strong economic data may finally be boosting the president’s re-election prospects.

Trump’s lead among registered voters who were asked which of the two candidates they trusted more to handle the economy was just four points in June, down from 11 in February, according to the latest survey conducted for the Financial Times and the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business.

The poll was conducted from May 30 to June 3 — immediately after Trump’s criminal conviction in New York over “hush money” payments made to porn actor Stormy Daniels — and found 41 per cent of registered voters nationwide said they trusted Trump, compared with 37 per cent who put their trust in Biden. Seventeen per cent said they trusted neither.

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Despite Biden’s seven-point improvement since February, the survey still showed some grim sentiment for the Democratic party candidate, who has battled persistently low approval ratings on his management of the economy — which voters say is their top issue heading into November.

The survey results come despite the continuing strength of the US economy, with robust consumer spending and low employment helping to propel gross domestic product and push stock markets to record highs.

But the FT-Michigan Ross poll continued to reveal anxieties about costs for housing and food, among other goods, with about 80 per cent of respondents citing inflation as among their top three sources of financial stress. The Federal Reserve is expected to keep high US borrowing costs unchanged at its meeting on Wednesday in its ongoing effort to tame prices.

The improving numbers for Biden come with five months left before election day, with the president sharpening his attacks on his predecessor. On Friday, the president used a D-Day commemoration speech in France to call on American voters to stand up for democratic rights that he has said are under threat from Trump.

The two men are set to face off in a live televised debate later this month in Atlanta, Georgia.

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“The Trump campaign should be worried about his shrinking lead on who voters trust with the economy because the economy is voters’ biggest issue,” said Erik Gordon of the Ross School of Business.

“Voters are more concerned with the economy than with other campaign issues like immigration and foreign policy,” Gordon added. “To win the election, you have to convince voters that you will do the best job with the economy.”

The latest survey showed that Biden enjoys a particular advantage with older voters, while younger adults favour Trump on economic stewardship. Among voters between the ages of 18 and 54, Trump enjoys a 10-point advantage on his handling of the economy. Biden leads Trump by one point among voters over the age of 55.

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Biden’s advantage with older voters was also laid bare by a new question in the poll, asking which candidate people trusted more to lower healthcare costs, including drug prices and insurance premiums. Biden had an edge over Trump, with 41 per cent of voters saying they trusted him versus 39 per cent picking his Republican rival. Among Americans older than 55, Biden had a seven-point advantage.

The president’s re-election campaign has often cited his administration’s efforts to cap the price of insulin at $35 a month for seniors who get their health insurance through Medicare, the federal provision for Americans over 65.

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Still, the FT-Michigan Ross poll continued to show vulnerabilities for the president, whose economic approval ratings have remained depressed amid continued public frustration with high prices and inflation.

Just one in five American voters said this month that they were financially better off since Biden became president, while just over half said they were worse off.

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Pro-Palestinian protesters barricade building housing president's office at Cal State LA

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Pro-Palestinian protesters barricade building housing president's office at Cal State LA

LOS ANGELES (KABC) — Pro-Palestinian protesters have barricaded a building at Cal State Los Angeles, where the president of the campus is apparently stuck sheltering in place in her office, Eyewitness News has learned.

Protesters had already set up encampments on another section of campus more than a month ago. But on Wednesday a group broke off and started piling up furniture, overturned golf carts and tables to create barriers in front of the Student Services Building and surrounding plaza.

They also removed copy machines and furniture from inside the building to continue reinforcing the barricade late into the evening.

The office of Campus President Berenecea Johnson Eanes, who was appointed last year and started this January, is on the eighth floor of the building.

The college was asking employees in the Student Services Building to shelter in place, while employees elsewhere on campus were instructed to leave.

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Pro-Palestinian encampment at CSULA linked to vandalism, anti-semitic graffiti

CSULA students not involved in the protest say their classmates have the right to express themselves but the encampment is blocking campus access and linked to vandalism and graffiti.

By late afternoon much of the campus beyond the SSB appeared empty as AIR7 HD flew overhead. A campus spokesperson confirmed that less than a dozen school employees were still in the SSB as of Wednesday evening but would not confirm if Eanes was still among them.

“I can confirm that there are still a small number of administrators in the building,” campus spokesperson Erik Hollins said. “We are working through options to bring this fluid situation to the best resolution possible.”

A group of protesters, many of them covering their faces, were stationed in front of the building’s entrance. There was pro-Palestinian graffiti covering many windows on the ground floor and some on upper floors that was apparently painted from the inside.

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There did not appear to be many campus police, or any officers from outside agencies, in the area. LAPD told Eyewitness News they have not been asked to get involved.

The school referred to the group as “unauthorized protest activity.”

Some protesters were bringing in food, supplies – even diapers – to the building, signs they were prepared to stay for some time.

Copyright © 2024 KABC Television, LLC. All rights reserved.

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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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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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