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Trump and Fox News, Twin Titans of Politics, Hit With Back-to-Back Rebukes

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Trump and Fox News, Twin Titans of Politics, Hit With Back-to-Back Rebukes

For the higher a part of a decade, Donald J. Trump and his allies at Fox Information have beguiled some People and enraged others as they spun up another world the place elections turned on fraud, one political social gathering oppressed one other, and one man stood in opposition to his detractors to hold his model of reality to an adoring voters.

Then this week, on two consecutive days, the previous president and the highest-rated cable information channel had been delivered a dose of actuality by the American authorized system.

On Thursday, Mr. Trump grew to become the primary former president in historical past to be indicted on legal prices, after a Manhattan grand jury’s examination of hush cash paid to a pornographic movie actress within the remaining days of the 2016 election.

The subsequent day, a decide in Delaware Superior Courtroom concluded that Fox hosts and friends had repeatedly made false claims about voting machines and their supposed position in a fictitious plot to steal the 2020 election, and that Dominion Voting Programs’ $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit in opposition to the community ought to go to trial.

Each defendants dispute the claims. Nonetheless, the back-to-back blows in opposition to twin titans of American politics landed as a reminder of the still-unfolding reckoning with the tumult of the Trump presidency.


For the left, the seismic week delivered an “I informed you so” years within the making. Democrats who’ve lengthy needed Mr. Trump criminally charged received the satisfaction of watching a prosecutor and a grand jury agree.

A day later, after years of arguing that Fox Information was hardly truthful and balanced, they may learn a decide’s discovering that Fox had not carried out “good-faith, disinterested reporting” on Dominion. Fox argues that statements made on air alleging election fraud are protected by the First Modification.

Whereas the 2 circumstances don’t have anything in frequent in substance, they share a uncommon and highly effective potential. In each, any remaining judgments can be rendered in a courtroom and never by bickering pundits on cable information and editorial pages.

“There’ll at all times be a remnant, regardless of how the matter is resolved in courtroom, who will refuse to just accept the judgment,” stated Norman Eisen, a authorities ethics lawyer who served as particular counsel to the Home Judiciary Committee throughout Mr. Trump’s first impeachment. “However once you have a look at different post-upheaval societies, judicial processes scale back factions down to some hard-core believers.”

He added, “A sequence of courtroom circumstances and judgments can break the fever.”


That, after all, might show to be a Democrat’s wishful pondering.

On this second of fixed campaigning and tribal partisanship, even the courts have had issue puncturing the ideological bubbles that Mr. Trump and Fox Information pundits have created. The authorized system produced a $25 million settlement of fraud prices in opposition to Trump College, dismissed dozens of lies about malfeasance within the 2020 election, pressed for the seek for lacking labeled paperwork and dominated quite a few instances that Dominion’s machines didn’t in truth change votes.

But lots of of 1000’s of People stay dedicated to each defendants.

Embarrassing and damaging materials has already come out by way of each circumstances, with little fast signal of backlash.

How Occasions reporters cowl politics. We depend on our journalists to be impartial observers. So whereas Occasions employees members might vote, they aren’t allowed to endorse or marketing campaign for candidates or political causes. This contains collaborating in marches or rallies in assist of a motion or giving cash to, or elevating cash for, any political candidate or election trigger.


1000’s of textual content messages, emails and different inside firm paperwork disclosed to Dominion and launched publicly painting high-level figures on the community as bent on sustaining scores supremacy by giving audiences what they needed, whatever the reality.

Texts present the star prime time host Tucker Carlson calling Mr. Trump a “demonic drive,” and the chairman of Fox Company, Rupert Murdoch, describing Sean Hannity as “privately disgusted by Trump.”

Fox Information has stated Dominion took non-public conversations out of context. Its scores dominance seems untouched by the unfavourable headlines in latest weeks. Information from Nielsen present that in March the ten top-rated cable exhibits in America had been all on Fox Information, led by “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” and that 14 of the highest 20 had been produced by the community.

Nonetheless, consultants consider the case has already resonated.

“I’ve by no means seen a case earlier than the place journalists stated they didn’t consider the story they had been telling however had been going to maintain telling it as a result of it’s what the viewers needed to listen to,” stated Lyrissa Lidsky, a professor of constitutional legislation on the College of Florida and an skilled on defamation legislation. “It’s a shock wave saying it’s time to get severe about accountability.”


Democrats, too, might see their illusions fall. Though many have clamored to see Mr. Trump charged, and felt vindicated this week, the dangers of failure are appreciable.

If Mr. Trump’s legal professionals file to have the costs merely dismissed as prosecutorial overreach and rapidly win, the results would virtually actually strengthen Mr. Trump, who will make the case — and probably others to comply with — central to his main marketing campaign.

However in a courtroom of legislation, the magnetism that Mr. Trump and Fox Information have over their audiences might lose a few of its energy. Regardless of what number of instances the previous president insists exterior the courtroom that he’s the sufferer of a political prosecution, contained in the courtroom his legal professionals should tackle the particular prices. They are going to win or lose primarily based on authorized arguments, not bluster.

“I’ve been round for 50 years, and I’ve heard the political argument earlier than,” stated Stanley M. Model, a veteran Washington protection lawyer. Mr. Model cited the “Abscam” bribery case of the Seventies, when the defendants accused President Jimmy Carter of orchestrating the bribery sting, or the investigation of Senator Robert G. Torricelli, which was additionally surrounded by prices of politics. “It’s by no means labored in a courtroom of legislation.”

James Bopp Jr., a conservative protection lawyer, stated he agreed with just about all Republicans that the Manhattan district lawyer had coaxed his grand jury to convey ahead a specious indictment for the political function of damaging Mr. Trump.


However, he stated, Mr. Trump’s legal professionals should reply the costs, not grandstand on the politics.

“A cost shouldn’t be robotically dismissible as a result of it’s introduced for political function,” he stated. “The motive of prosecutors could also be pertinent to the broader society. It’s not pertinent to a decide.”

The precise prices in opposition to Mr. Trump might not be identified till he’s arraigned on Tuesday. The grand jury that introduced the indictment was inspecting funds to Stormy Daniels and the core query of whether or not these funds had been illegally disguised as enterprise expenditures, a misdemeanor that might rise to a felony if these funds may very well be labeled an unlawful marketing campaign expenditure.

If previous authorized skirmishes are a sign, Mr. Trump is more likely to drag the proceedings out for months, if not years, with movement after movement as he builds his third presidential marketing campaign round what he known as on Friday the “unprecedented political persecution of the president and blatant interference within the 2024 election.”

Likewise, Fox Information will virtually actually proceed to border the Dominion case as that of an organization intent on stifling the First Modification’s ensures of free speech and freedom of the press.


“This case is and at all times has been in regards to the First Modification protections of the media’s absolute proper to cowl the information,” the community stated in a press release Friday.

Which may be left for a courtroom to resolve.

Ken Bensinger contributed reporting.

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Justice Dept. Reaches Cleanup Deal With Houston After Civil Rights Inquiry

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Justice Dept. Reaches Cleanup Deal With Houston After Civil Rights Inquiry

The Justice Department has reached an agreement with the City of Houston to improve trash removal and environmental monitoring after an investigation into the widespread dumping of garbage, including human bodies, in predominantly Black and Latino neighborhoods.

The pact, announced on Tuesday, was the result of a yearlong inquiry by the department’s civil rights division into dozens of complaints from residents. It includes a commitment by Mayor Sylvester Turner to fund cleanup projects, under the supervision of federal officials for three years.

The agreement, which followed weeks of negotiation between department officials and municipal leaders in Houston, is part of the Biden administration’s larger environmental justice agenda, which seeks to redress the disproportional impact of waste, air and water pollution on communities of color around the country.

“No one should have to live next to discarded tires, bags of trash, rotting carcasses, infected soils and contaminated groundwater, all caused by illegal dumping,” Alamdar S. Hamdani, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Texas, said on Tuesday during a news conference in Houston.

“For too long now, Houston’s underserved and low-income communities have had to bear the health burdens of the inaction and misdeeds of others,” he said.


Under the agreement, the city said it would provide additional data and information about its efforts to address illegal dumping. Local officials have also vowed to bolster enforcement actions against industrial and commercial polluters in a city whose notoriously lax zoning laws have resulted in the intermingling of industrial sites and residential neighborhoods.

The deal also requires Houston to develop an online “neighborhood equity dashboard” to analyze whether officials are fulfilling their commitments, which department officials hope will be a model for subsequent similar agreements.

The Justice Department opened a wide-ranging investigation last July after a local legal aid group lodged a federal civil rights complaint on behalf of Houston residents accusing the city of discriminating against residents of a neighborhood in the northeast, Trinity/Houston Gardens.

The heaps of household garbage, industrial waste and other items tossed into low-income neighborhoods in recent years included discarded furniture, mattresses, tires, medical waste, trash, dead bodies and vandalized A.T.M.s, Justice Department officials said at the time.

Lawyers with the legal aid group, Lone Star Legal Aid, spent months collecting complaints from people who called Houston’s 311 system to report illegal dumping and other environmental violations only to have their problems ignored.


At the time, Mr. Turner, a Democrat, blasted the department’s decision to open the investigation as “absurd, baseless and without merit.”

On Tuesday, Mr. Turner applauded the deal, but said it was an extension of initiatives his administration had already undertaken.

He ticked off a list of recent improvements under a plan he unveiled in March, saying the city had cut response times to illegal dumping complaints from 49 days to 11 days over the past year. It had also doubled the deployment of law enforcement officers to punish polluters, which has increased the total number of fines imposed from around 50 to more than 200 during the same period, he added.

“Despite all we have done and we continue to do, it was a little deflating,” Mr. Turner, who has been in office since 2016, said of the Justice Department’s decision to investigate the city.

Federal officials said they were more interested in improving conditions than denouncing the failures of the past.


Often, the department’s civil rights division releases investigative findings to the public before announcing voluntary agreements, or court-approved consent decrees, with the local authorities.

In this case, Kristen Clarke, the head of the Justice Department’s civil rights division, told reporters that the government had “suspended its investigation” into the city’s actions to focus “on remedying the problem.”

While the agreement alluded to the city’s troubled past, it did not include detailed investigative findings, or a deeper examination into the origins of some of its most chronic and consequential problems, including historic patterns of discrimination that led to the construction of 11 of 13 garbage incinerators in Houston’s Black and brown neighborhoods.

That is the same approach the department adopted in April, when officials announced a similar agreement — but no investigative report — after examining claims that state and local officials discriminated against Black residents in impoverished Lowndes County, Ala., by failing to adequately repair and maintain wastewater and sewage systems.

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Maine secretary of state accuses No Labels party of tricking voters as centrist group worries Dems

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Maine secretary of state accuses No Labels party of tricking voters as centrist group worries Dems

Maine’s Democratic secretary of state was questioned after claiming No Labels, a centrist group vying for a third-party spot on the 2024 ballot, was tricking voters into registering with the party.

“I am concerned about whether the secretary of state is creating concerns among voters who have voluntarily signed cards supporting the No Labels efforts.” Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine., co-chair of No Labels, told a local news outlet after Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows raised concerns about the group.

“I don’t know whether she sends a letter like that out to someone who registers for the Green Party or the Libertarian Party,” Collins added, revealing she found Bellows’ letter “surprising.”

Bellows initially suggested several complaints were made from concerned voters who did not realize they had been registered with the No Labels Party. Democrats then reached out to 6,456 Maine voters who were registered with the centrist group to verify whether they had knowledge of their political party affiliation and reportedly received about 300 calls and emails in response.



The secretary of state claimed No Labels was “highly misleading.” (Gordon Chibroski)

“Voter after voter is telling my team that they were instructed that they were merely signing a petition. They were not told they were changing their political party,” Bellows told NBC Monday. “We have had enough similar complaints from voters and clerks alike that it raises serious concerns in our office about No Labels Party organizers.” 


Democrats for months have called No Labels a spoiler effort designed to hurt President Biden in the 2024 election, but the group insists the U.S. is ready for a moderate alternative to both Republicans and Democrats.

Despite Bellows’ claims the group was “highly misleading” in its voter registration efforts, No Labels insists it was never made aware of any organizers asking Maine voters to sign a “petition.”

Susan Collins speaking to reporters

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, questioned whether Bellows would treat the Green or Libertarian parties the same way. (J. Scott Applewhite)

“Your office’s apparent effort to leak your letter immediately to the press without affording No Labels any opportunity to respond also raises legitimate questions about your objectivity,” the group said in a written response to Bellows. “No Labels provided detailed written guidance to all organizers in Maine on following all applicable laws and specifically instructed all organizers to ask voters to join the No Labels Party.”

No Labels said it complied with the state laws on voter registration and provided a copy of the packet that is referenced by its organizers when speaking with voters.

The “ask” portion of the packet directs the No Labels organizers what to say when speaking with voters. 

“Can you take 60 seconds to update your voter registration and change your party affiliation to the No Labels Party? If we can get just 5,000 voters to register with the No Labels party we can ensure you have more than just two options come the next election,” the packet says.

Joe Manchin speaking

Sen. Joe Manchin is being considered by No Labels as a potential third-party candidate to run in 2024. (Jonathan Ernst)


Former Sen. Joe Lieberman, a No Label co-founder, recently told Fox News Digital Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and former GOP Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland “would be naturals to consider” for the 2024 No Labels ticket if the party decides to run a candidate.

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Amid book ban fight, Newsom blasts school board president as ‘ignorant’ for calling Harvey Milk ‘a pedophile’

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Amid book ban fight, Newsom blasts school board president as ‘ignorant’ for calling Harvey Milk ‘a pedophile’

Gov. Gavin Newsom blasted a Temecula school board president who voted along with a majority of the panel to reject a curriculum because a textbook mentioned gay rights activist and San Francisco politician Harvey Milk.

During a public hearing on the curriculum, Temecula Valley Unified School District board President Joseph Komrosky called Milk a “pedophile.” In a Twitter post, Newsom fired back, calling Komrosky “ignorant.”

The feud has erupted amid a nationwide trend of book bans and attacks against schools for supporting the LGBTQ+ community.

A majority of Temecula Valley Unified’s five-person board rejected on May 16 a new social studies curriculum, which included a textbook that would be assigned to the district’s 18 elementary schools in southern Riverside County.


A supplemental section of the book includes a biography of Milk, a pioneering gay activist who served on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977. He was gunned down, along with Mayor George Moscone, the following year by a disgruntled former city supervisor.

The Temecula school board’s conservative majority claimed that parents did not have enough involvement in approving the social studies textbook, and two members — including Komrosky — said they opposed the book because of the section on Milk.

“My question is, why even mention a pedophile?” Komrosky asked during a hearing on the subject.

Members of the audience stammered in response and some shook their heads in video from the board meeting.

Board member Allison Barclay said, “He’s not a pedophile.”


“I beg to differ,” Komrosky said. “What does that got to do with our curriculum and schools? Why?”

Milk’s work focused on protecting classes of people from discrimination, including the LGBTQ+ community, Barclay said.

Komrosky asked, “So, you think pedophilia is protected?”

“Excuse me, absolutely not,” Barclay said. “I am not talking about pedophilia.”

Komrosky, who is a tenured college professor at Mt. San Antonio College, did not respond to requests for comment.


In a Twitter post Saturday, Newsom fired back at Komrosky.

“An offensive statement from an ignorant person,” the governor wrote. “This isn’t Texas or Florida. In the Golden State, our kids have the freedom to learn. Congrats Mr. Komrosky you have our attention. Stay tuned.”

The governor’s office did not immediately respond to requests for comment about how the state would respond, but last week, Newsom’s office, along with Atty. Gen. Rob Bonta, and California Supt. of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond called on school officials across the state to be careful around the topic of book bans.

“In the first half of this school year alone, 1,477 books were banned nationally, with teachers and librarians threatened with prison time for shelving the wrong book,” the officials wrote in their letter.

“As state leaders elected to represent the values of all Californians, we offer our response in one shared voice: Access to books — including books that reflect the diverse experiences and perspectives of Californians, and especially, those that may challenge us to grapple with uncomfortable truths — is a profound freedom we all must protect and cultivate,” the joint letter said.


The letter did not directly address the vote in Temecula, but warned that if school administrators in California remove or ban instructional materials from classrooms or libraries, the state may request information about the removal for analysis.

Before the Temecula school board rejected the social studies textbook, roughly 1,300 students were involved in a pilot program, using the curriculum material, and 45 parents responded to a survey asking for feedback about the curriculum, according to district staff.

Also, 47 teachers agreed that the district should adopt the textbooks California Studies Weekly for kindergarten students and TCI Social Studies Alive for first- through fifth-grade students.

The board shot down the adoption in a 3-2 vote. Board members Jennifer Wiersma, Danny Gonzalez and Komrosky voted against the curriculum, while board members Steven Schwartz and Barclay voted in favor.

Without the approval of the new curriculum, the district will be short of the books needed for students, which could run afoul of a California law that requires enough instructional materials, such as textbooks, be provided for every student.


Edgar Diaz, president of Temecula Valley Educators Assn., said having no materials means that teachers would need to find their own.

“There’s a tremendous amount of work to go out and do,” Diaz said.

The board did not offer any alternatives aside from rejecting the new textbooks, Diaz said, leaving the district stuck until a new decision is made.

“If they don’t, we’re going to have 11,300 students without textbooks next year,”

The educators organization, an advocacy group, plans to rally outside the next board meeting on June 16.


Wiersma, Gonzalez and Komrosky were voted into office last year, with the endorsement of the Inland Empire Family PAC, which aims to support candidates who oppose critical race theory, LGBTQ+ acceptance and the promotion of transgenderism, according to the political group’s website.

In December, the board banned teaching critical race theory in the school district.

Lawmakers in Sacramento are now considering a bill by State Assemblymember Corey Jackson (D-Riverside) that would require a super majority vote from a school district’s governing body to remove a book from a school’s curriculum. Assembly Bill 1078 also would create an appeal process for parents to challenge a book ban.

“As a Christian myself, I am deeply appalled that these individuals are perverting our faith to sow division and suppress the histories of others,” Jackson said in a statement. “This will not happen on my watch.”

Times staff writer Saumya Gupta contributed to this report.


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