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FBI Record Shows Biden as 'Big Guy' in Ukraine Deal
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President Joe Biden was referred to as the “big guy” by the Ukrainian oligarch who owned the Hunter Biden-employing energy giant Burisma, sources say an FBI record reveals.

Mykola Zlochevsky, the Ukrainian owner of Burisma, was the “foreign national” involved in the alleged “criminal bribery scheme” detailed in an FBI confidential human source form, and Zlochevsky referred to Joe Biden as the “big guy” during a conversation a number of years before the June 2020 date of the bureau form, according to sources familiar with the FBI record who described its contents to the Washington Examiner.

The sources told the Washington Examiner that the Ukrainian oligarch discussed an alleged bribe of $5 million to Joe Biden and of $5 million to Hunter Biden, according to the paid FBI informant who said he heard this from Zlochevsky. The sources said Zlochevsky said he believed it would be difficult to unravel the alleged bribery scheme for at least 10 years because of the number of bank accounts involved.

Zlochevsky’s alleged reference to Joe Biden as the “big guy” appears independent of the apparent reference to the now-president as the “big guy” by a Hunter Biden business associate during negotiations with Chinese intelligence-linked businessmen. The China-related reference occurred in a May 2017 email not made public until October 2020.

The existence of the Ukraine-related FD-1023 appears to have been revealed to Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) by whistleblowers in 2022, and Grassley told the Justice Department and FBI back in October to hand over “all records,” including “FD-1023” documents that “reference Mykola Zlochevsky, Hunter Biden, James Biden, and Joe Biden.”

Amid the threat of being held in contempt of Congress for failing to comply with a subpoena, FBI Director Christopher Wray allowed members of the committee to review the FD-1023 on Thursday.

House Republicans said the alleged bribery scheme was related to Joe Biden’s efforts as vice president to pressure the Ukrainian government to fire Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin. Republicans said the FBI form indicated the alleged bribes were aimed at shaking off a corruption investigation.

Grassley said in October that the FBI is in possession of “voluminous evidence” of “potential criminal conduct” by Hunter Biden related to his overseas business dealings with China and Ukraine, according to whistleblower disclosures. These details were sent to Wray, Delaware federal prosecutor David Weiss, and Attorney General Merrick Garland.

The whistleblower allegations relate to Hunter, as well as James Biden (Joe’s brother and Hunter’s uncle), regarding the duo’s dealings with the Chinese government-linked energy conglomerate CEFC China Energy. They also relate to the younger Biden’s work for Burisma.

Hunter joined the board of Ukrainian energy giant Burisma in 2014, and he was reportedly paid $50,000 or more each month.

Grassley and Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) released a joint report in 2020, with much of its focus on then-Vice President Biden’s role in helping guide the Obama administration’s Ukraine policy while Hunter Biden held a lucrative position on the Burisma board.

“The FBI has within its possession a series of documents relating to information on Mykola Zlochevsky, the owner of Burisma, and his business and financial associations with Hunter Biden,” Grassley wrote in an October letter last year. “The documents in the FBI’s possession include specific details with respect to conversations by non-government individuals relevant to potential criminal conduct by Hunter Biden.”

Hunter Biden said in 2019 that he spoke with his father about his position on the Burisma board just once, saying his father told him, “I hope you know what you are doing.” Hunter Biden says he replied, “I do.”

A witness who testified in front of the Hunter Biden grand jury in Delaware was reportedly asked about the identity of the “big guy” in relation to the president’s son’s business efforts with Chinese energy conglomerate CEFC.

The now-infamous “big guy” email, which emerged in October 2020, detailed an attempted business deal between the Chinese company and Hunter Biden. The email referenced “10 held by H [Hunter] for the big guy.”

The email is from businessman James Gilliar to Hunter Biden and others, dated May 13, 2017, and it discusses “expectations” of a potential deal and its “remuneration packages.” The email notes that “Hunter” would receive “850” ($850,000) and lists him as “Chair/Vice Chair depending on agreement with CEFC.”

The email goes on to say that “the equity will be distributed” with “20” (20%) for “H” (Hunter). The email also points to “10” for “Jim” (James Biden).

Tony Bobulinski, a former Navy lieutenant who had been business partners with Hunter Biden, was one of the email recipients, and said in October 2020 that “the big guy” is “a reference to Joe Biden.” Bobulinski said before the final Trump-Biden debate that “Hunter Biden called his dad ‘the Big Guy’ or ‘my chairman,’ and frequently referenced asking him for his sign-off or advice on various potential deals.”

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‘I’m Sick’: Biden Tests Positive for Covid, Cancels Speech in Las Vegas

President Joe Biden tested positive for Covid-19 on Wednesday, the White House said.

The president, who was delivering speeches in Las Vegas, “is experiencing mild symptoms,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement.

Biden “will be returning to Delaware where he will self-isolate and will continue to carry out all of his duties fully during that time,” she said.

“The White House will provide regular updates on the President’s status as he continues to carry out the full duties of the office while in isolation.”

Biden boarded Air Force One in Las Vegas around 6:30 p.m. ET, the White House pool reported. The president did not appear to be wearing a mask as he boarded the plane.

Biden’s doctor said that the president came down with a runny nose and a “non-productive cough” on Wednesday afternoon.

“He felt okay for his first event of the day, but given that he was not feeling better, point of care testing for COVID-19 was conducted, and the results were positive for the COVID-19 virus,” the physician said in a statement shared by the White House.

Biden’s symptoms “remain mild,” with a normal temperature and respiratory rate and a 97% pulse oximetry reading.

“The President has received his first dose of Paxlovid,” the doctor said. “He will be self-isolating at his home in Rehoboth.”

Biden was scheduled to deliver remarks Wednesday afternoon at the UnidosUS Annual Conference in Las Vegas, after an interview with Univision at the Original Lindo Michoácan Restaurant.

Photos show Biden shaking hands with patrons at that restaurant.

But Biden did not show up to the conference at his scheduled speaking time of 4:30 p.m. ET.

After 6 p.m. ET, UnidosUS President Janet Murguia announced to the crowd that Biden had tested positive for the virus.

“Regrettably, I was just on the phone with President Biden, and he shared his deep disappointment at not being able to join us this afternoon,” she said. “The president has been at many events, as we all know, and he just tested positive for Covid.”

“He said to tell my folks that we’re not going to get rid of him that quickly,” she added. “He’s just really sorry he couldn’t be with us.”

The illness comes as Biden, 81, has come under mounting pressure from his fellow Democrats to withdraw from the presidential race against Republican nominee Donald Trump.

A growing number of Democratic lawmakers, along with top donors and other allies, have urged Biden to step aside after his disastrous debate performance stoked panic about his fitness to campaign.

Biden has repeatedly rejected those calls and defended his physical and mental health.

But in an interview with BET on Tuesday, Biden said that he might reconsider his decision to stay in the race if a “medical condition” emerged.

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CNN: Biden Is More Open to Idea of Quitting Race Against Trump

As President Joe Biden flies back to Delaware from Las Vegas on Wednesday night, cutting his trip short after testing positive for Covid-19, he faces one of the most momentous decisions of his long political life: Should he heed the rising calls from his fellow Democrats to extinguish his bid for reelection?

For Biden, is it a new moment?

Even though anger and panic have been steadily rising inside the Democratic Party for nearly three weeks, after the president’s alarming debate performance in Atlanta, the White House and the Biden campaign are in a new place, multiple Democratic officials told CNN.

“The private conversations with the Hill are continuing,” a senior Democratic adviser told CNN, speaking on condition of anonymity to avoid alienating the campaign and the White House. “He’s being receptive. Not as defiant as he is publicly.”

“He’s gone from saying, ‘Kamala can’t win,’ to ‘Do you think Kamala can win? “ the adviser said. “It’s still unclear where he’s going to land but seems to be listening.

The Biden campaign, which is also facing a growing outcry from Democratic donors, dismissed the suggestion the president was rethinking his candidacy.

“If the facts matter – and they should – here is one: President Biden is the Democratic nominee and he is going to win this November,” Kevin Munoz, a Biden spokesman, told CNN.

The developments come at a crucial time for the Biden campaign. ABC News’ Jonathan Karl reported earlier Wednesday that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer told Biden on Saturday that it would be best if Biden bowed out of the presidential race.

In a statement responding to the ABC News reporting, a Schumer spokesperson said, “Unless ABC’s source is Senator Chuck Schumer or President Joe Biden the reporting is idle speculation. Leader Schumer conveyed the views of his caucus directly to President Biden on Saturday.”

What that statement did not say, however, was three important words that Schumer has included every time he is asked whether Biden’s candidacy should proceed: “I’m with Joe.”

The private meeting between Schumer and Biden, which was held at the president’s beach house Saturday in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, is seen by Democratic officials as one of the most important moments in this escalating drama.

Earlier Wednesday, Rep. Adam Schiff, who’s running for Senate in California, became the latest high profile member of Biden’s party to call on the president to exit the race, the first congressional Democrat to do so publicly following the assassination attempt against former President Donald Trump.

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Schumer Told Biden It Would Be Best to End Candidacy: ABC News

Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer told President Joe Biden in a private meeting it would be best to end his presidential bid, ABC News reported on Wednesday evening.

“Schumer forcefully made the case that it would be better for Biden, better for the Democratic Party, and better for the country if he were to bow out,” Jonathan Karl said while reporting from the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee.

Karl said there has been no denial from Schumer’s camp. The senator’s office said, “Leader Schumer conveyed the views of his caucus.”

Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries has made similar statements “directly to the president,” Karl added.

Last week, Schumer signaled in private that though he backs Biden publicly, he was open to having another person at the top of the Democratic ticket.

Biden, 81, has been facing growing calls to end his reelection bid after his disastrous debate performance last month and subsequent interviews in which he did little to quell fears he can defeat former President Donald Trump in November and serve another four years.

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Adam Schiff Calls on Biden to Drop Out of the Race

Rep. Adam Schiff on Wednesday became the most prominent elected Democrat to publicly call on President Joe Biden to drop out of the race.

The announcement by Schiff, who is running for US Senate in California, makes him the first Democrat to urge Biden to step aside since the failed assassination attempt on former President Donald Trump over the weekend.

Schiff’s call also is notable as he, unlike many of the other Democrats who have so far publicly called for Biden to drop out, is not in a swing district and he is close to former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

“While the choice to withdraw from the campaign is President Biden’s alone, I believe it is time for him to pass the torch. And in doing so, secure his legacy of leadership by allowing us to defeat Donald Trump in the upcoming election,” Schiff said in a statement.

The California Democrat served as an impeachment manager during one of Trump’s impeachments and has been one of the sharpest critics of the former president. In his statement, Schiff praised Biden’s legacy but added, “our nation is at a crossroads.”

“A second Trump presidency will undermine the very foundation of our democracy, and I have serious concerns about whether the President can defeat Donald Trump in November,” he continued.

Previously, in the aftermath of Biden’s disastrous performance in the CNN debate last month, Schiff would only go so far as to say the president “should take a moment to make the best-informed judgment” about the future of his campaign.

A Biden campaign official responded to the call from Schiff by pointing to a July 8 letter from Biden to congressional Democrats noting his intention to stay in the race, along with his support from Democratic lawmakers, like Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chair Nanette Barragan, among others.

The Democratic Party remains roiled about the path forward amid fears that, in light of the debate, Biden cannot defeat Trump and he risks taking down-ballot Democrats with him in November.

Earlier Wednesday, CNN reported that the Democratic National Committee is moving ahead with its controversial plan to virtually nominate Biden ahead of the Democratic convention in Chicago next month – ignoring the growing calls from some of the party’s elected officials to ditch that strategy given the serious ongoing debate about whether the president should continue to seek a second term.

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Secret Service Spotted Thomas Crooks on Roof 20 Minutes Before He Shoot Trump

Law enforcement officials investigating the assassination attempt on Donald Trump told lawmakers Wednesday that 20 minutes passed between the time U.S. Secret Service snipers first spotted the gunman on a rooftop and the time shots were fired at the former president, according to several law enforcement officials and lawmakers briefed on the matter.

Officials said the snipers spotted the suspect, 20-year-old Thomas Matthew Crooks, on the roof of a building outside the security zone at the rally Saturday in Butler, Pennsylvania, at 5:52 p.m. ET. The shooting happened at 6:12 p.m. ET, 20 minutes later, the sources said.

In the days since the shooting, the Secret Service has come under scrutiny for its response to the assassination attempt and the agency’s director, Kimberly Cheatle, has been subpoenaed to testify before Congress. A Department of Homeland Security spokesperson said she “welcomes the opportunity to testify.”

The revelation of the timeline came as sources told ABC News that Crooks searched on his phone for images of President Joe Biden and former President Trump and searched for the dates of Trump’s rally in Butler and for dates of the Democratic National Convention in Chicago.

The phone search history revealed no indication of Crooks’ political views and investigators were trying to determine his motive.

The FBI director, his deputy director and the head of the Secret Service told lawmakers Crooks was identified as a person of interest a full 62 minutes before the shooting took place, according to the law enforcement officials and lawmakers briefed.

According to the sources, the timeline presented in the briefing was as follows:

  • 5:10 p.m. Crooks was first identified as a person of interest
  • 5:30 p.m. Crooks was spotted with a rangefinder
  • 5:52 p.m. Crooks was spotted on the roof by Secret Service
  • 6:02 p.m. Trump takes the stage
  • 6:12 p.m. Crooks fires first shots

From the time Crooks fired his first shot to the gunman being killed was just 26 seconds, according to law enforcement officials. Eleven seconds after the first shot, Secret Service counter snipers acquired their target — and 15 seconds after that, Crooks was shot dead.

Briefers told lawmakers that Crooks purchased an ammunition box at a Walmart on July 5, two days after the rally was announced. On July 13, he went to the rally site in the morning, was there for an hour and then left. He came back sometime in the early 5 p.m. hour and tried to enter the security perimeter.

New analysis by ABC News’ visual verification team reveals that one of two sniper teams posted atop buildings to the north and south behind the rally stage repositioned before the first gunshots were fired. At 6:09 p.m., three minutes before the first gunshots rang out, the sniper team on the roof of the building south of the stage, the furthest away from the shooter’s location, repositioned, turning from the south to the north in the direction of the shooter’s location.

The motive for the assassination attempt remains a mystery, according to the briefers, and they have not identified any ideological nexus to Trump and/or Biden.

Based on interviews with the shooter’s parents, law enforcement told members they believe that neither has strong political leanings.

The FBI told lawmakers they’ve conducted 200 interviews as part of the investigation, a source said.

Timeline comes into focus

Though law enforcement sources said Crooks is believed to have purchased a 5-foot ladder at a Home Depot before the shooting, it does not appear to have been used to climb on the roof and was not found at the scene.

Crooks was able to get a clear shot at the former president by scaling an air conditioning unit accessible from the ground and pulling himself up to the top of a building outside the security perimeter, sources told ABC News. From there he gained access to the top of the neighboring American Glass Research (AGR) building, sources said.

Witnesses told ABC News they saw him shimmying up the slope of the AGR building’s roof to the area where he got off up to eight shots at Trump who was speaking at a podium about 400 feet away.

Trump said he suffered a bullet wound to his right ear. Three rallygoers were shot in the incident, including 50-year-old volunteer firefighter Corey Comperatore, who was killed shielding his family from the gunshots, officials said. The two other rallygoers were listed in stable condition.

Minutes before pulling off the brazen assassination attempt, Crooks was seen walking around near the magnetometers where rallygoers were being scanned for weapons before entering the outdoor venue, according to law enforcement sources.

New bystander video obtained exclusively by Pittsburgh ABC affiliate WTAE appears to show Crooks pacing just beyond the boundaries of the Trump rally at 5:06 p.m. Saturday — about 1 hour and 5 minutes before shots were first fired. Law enforcement sources said they believe this video shows Crooks.

Crooks’ presence in the area of the metal detectors in the minutes before the shooting caught the eye of someone in law enforcement who became suspicious and started to approach him, multiple sources told ABC News. At that point, the would-be assassin backed up and faded into the crowd, according to sources. It was not clear how long before the shooting this happened.

Between the time he was spotted near the magnetometers and when Crooks allegedly fired at Trump, there were two sets of radio transmissions, one reporting that police were looking for a suspicious person and another more generic warning that officers were following up on something suspicious, sources said.

As officers began searching for the suspicious person, Crooks made his way to the area of the AGR building, the sources said. At the time, the building was being used as a staging area for local police, who were inside the structure, the Secret Service director, Cheatle, told ABC News in an exclusive interview this week.

More specifically, sources told ABC News that there were local police personnel and counter-sniper units in the AGR building where Crooks eventually took up a position to fire at Trump, sources said. Investigators believe that could have led to confusion as Secret Service snipers were trying to determine whether there was a threat to Trump and where it might be coming from, according to the sources.

Secret Service counter snipers positioned on buildings close to the rally stage were aware the AGR building was being used as a staging area by law enforcement, sources said. Investigators believe that could have led to a delay in the Secret Service sharpshooters’ reactions because they had to first figure out whether the suspect was a threat, sources said.

But once shots were fired at the former president, the Secret Service snipers could not wait any longer and took out the gunman, sources said.

“Seeking that person out, finding them, identifying them, and eventually neutralizing them took place in a very short period of time, and it makes it very difficult,” Cheatle said during the interview with ABC News.

Meanwhile, two sources familiar with the situation told ABC News Wednesday that before the rally, the Secret Service requested a local police cruiser to be positioned at the AGR building, but local police officials were not able to provide one. The detail was first reported by the Washington Post.

As the FBI investigation continued Wednesday, questions swirled about how the gunman was able to ascend unimpeded to the roof, gain a direct line of sight and fire a barrage of shot at the former president.

While Crooks was making his way to his shooting position, Secret Service agents were listening to radio traffic about a suspicious person police were looking for and heard local law enforcement talking about some sort of confrontation involving police, the sources said.

Butler County Sheriff Michael T. Slupe told ABC News that he was informed by other law enforcement officials that a Butler Township police officer searching for the suspicious person was vaulted onto the AGR building’s roof and briefly confronted the gunman, who turned his weapon to the officer, causing him to retreat back down. Shots rang out moments later.

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Menendez Set to Resign from Senate After Bribery Conviction

Newly minted felon New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez has told allies that he plans to resign following his conviction on federal bribery charges, according to a report Wednesday.

NBC News, citing two unnamed sources “directly familiar with those conversations,” reported that the three-term Democrat voiced his intent to call it quits.

Menendez, 70, was convicted by a Manhattan federal jury Tuesday of 16 counts for trading his political power to benefit three Garden State businessmen and the governments of Egypt and Qatar in exchange for hundreds of thousands in cash, gold bars and gifts.

He refused to say whether he would step down while leaving court Tuesday — even as Democrats, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and fellow New Jersey Democratic Sen. Cory Booker called on him to resign.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and other Democrats like Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) called for a vote to expel Menendez should he refuse to resign himself.

If either occurs before the end of the term, Murphy would be able to appoint a temporary replacement to fill the seat until January 2025.

Menendez had briefly weighed an independent run to keep his seat, but the November election will now have Rep. Andy Kim (D-NJ) facing off against Republican opponent Curtis Bashaw.

Senate Ethics Committee chairman Chris Coons (D-Del.) and ranking member James Lankford (R-Okla.) also pledged Tuesday to “promptly” conclude a separate probe of the senator that would include a “full range of disciplinary actions available.”

The Garden State Democrat stepped down as chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee after his indictment in September — but was still receiving some classified briefings.

Menendez won’t be sentenced for the bribery conviction until Oct. 29.

Reps for his congressional office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

His wife, Nadine Arslanian, 57, had her trial indefinitely postponed hours before her husband’s verdict — despite accepting lavish gifts from the same business associates as him, as well as a black Mercedes-Benz convertible.

Wael Hana and Fred Daibes, two of the three businessmen indicted as co-defendants with Menendez and his wife, were also convicted Tuesday.

Jose Uribe, the other businessman, flipped on the senator and pleaded guilty before the start of the trial.

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Update: Conditions Improve for Two Men Injured in Trump Assassination Attempt

Two men who were critically injured Saturday during the assassination attempt on former President Donald Trump have seen their conditions upgraded, according to a hospital official.

James Copenhaver, 74, and David Dutch, 57, had arrived at Allegheny General Hospital in critical condition, but their statuses improved to “serious condition” on Wednesday, an Allegheny Health Network official told the Washington Examiner.

The pair were wounded when a gunman opened fire at Trump’s rally in Butler, Pennsylvania. A third man, 50-year-old Corey Comperatore, died at the scene.

Copenhaver’s family members said in a statement Tuesday that he had suffered “life-altering injuries.”

“At this time, the Copenhaver family would kindly request that friends, the public, and the media respect the family’s privacy and allow for Jim to recover from the life-altering injuries that he sustained on July 13, 2024,” they wrote. “The Copenhaver family would like to thank you for your continued thoughts, prayers, and support as Jim and his family recover from this horrible, senseless, and unnecessary act of violence.”

Dutch, who was also injured, is a member of the Marine Corps League, which is a veterans group.

“Our immediate support continues for David and his family as he continues his recovery from this attack,” the group wrote in a statement on Facebook. “We offer solace for David and his family along with eternal thoughts and prayers for all the victims of this tragedy.”

Dutch was shot twice, in the liver and stomach, Fox News reported.

Authorities say 20-year-old Thomas Matthew Crooks crawled to the top of a building outside the security perimeter of Trump’s rally on Saturday with a rifle and attempted to assassinate the former president. A bullet hit Trump in the ear, but he ducked behind his podium while Secret Service snipers fired at Crooks, killing him.

The Secret Service is now facing multiple investigations into the security failures that allowed Crooks to fire multiple rounds at Trump and into the crowd at the rally.

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Politico: Every Other Democrat Polls Ahead of Biden in 2024 Race

This polling memo from BlueLabs Analytics is circulating among party officials still keen to convince Joe Biden to step aside and prevent his party from suffering what many fear will be a historic loss to Donald Trump.

The topline findings from interviews with over 15,000 voters in seven battleground states:

  1. “Alternative Democratic candidates run ahead of President Biden by an average of three points across the battleground states. Nearly every tested Democrat performs better than the President. This includes Vice President [KAMALA] HARRIS who runs better than the President (but behind the average alternative).”
  2. “Some of the gains are coming from winning undecideds and those previously supporting a third party. However, alternative candidates are also pulling votes from Donald Trump. All candidates continue to hold the Democratic base.”
  3. “Voters are looking for a fresh face. Those more closely tied to the current administration perform relatively worse than other tested candidates.”

The data here opens a new front in the fight to replace Biden, strongly arguing that the best chance to defeat Trump is with a new Democratic nominee independent of the incumbent administration.

In other words: not Kamala Harris.

The strongest potential candidates are (in alphabetical order) Arizona Sen. MARK KELLY, Maryland Gov. WES MOORE, Pennsylvania Gov. JOSH SHAPIRO and Michigan Gov. GRETCHEN WHITMER. All four outpaced Biden “by roughly 5 points across battleground states.”

This data supports the views of strategists like JAMES CARVILLE and those arguing that blindly rallying around Harris would be as big a mistake as blindly supporting Biden’s reelection was. “Nearly twice as many voters say delegates should nominate the best candidate over picking the next in line,” the memo says. This faction of the #DumpBiden movement wants an open process to replace Biden — who, by the way, still says he has no intention of stepping aside.

On Monday, we checked in with one of the leaders of the effort in Congress, who gave us this update.

“The shooting clearly helped the strategy of Biden’s team to run out the clock,” this Democratic lawmaker said. “It also stopped what would have been a number of members going public after the very unhelpful calls with members on Saturday. But it’s not over. Senior D leaders have not changed their minds that Biden needs to get out. I think a final push will come once the R convention ends on Thursday.”

Yesterday, this same person told Playbook, “Quiet efforts continue to urge the president to step aside, and team Biden remains dug in.”

Cracks in The Unity Façade — For two days, the Republican Party has shown a remarkable level of unity in Milwaukee. Saturday’s assassination attempt bonded together all the quarrelsome factions of the GOP that we have grown so used to covering. (Remember the House Speaker’s race?)

But behind the scenes of the made-for-primetime programming, there are notable cracks in the unity here. The source of the tension is what it’s been ever since June 16, 2015: the tectonic plates of the old Republican Party and the Trump insurgency crashing against each other in fits and starts to create something new.

This morning, we’ll take stock of the notable changes happening off-stage in Milwaukee that are being papered over by the understandable effect of what happened in Butler, Pennsylvania.

By picking Sen. J.D. Vance (R-Ohio) as his running mate, Trump has inflamed the most passionate fight in the Republican Party.

“While toeing the party line and praising Vance in their public comments, in private the interventionists ranged from horrified to merely alarmed that one of the loudest critics of aiding Ukraine could soon be first in line for the presidency”.

“The grimaces, sighs and whispered frustrations from the old guard as they made their way through the convention reception circuit were easy to find in the day after the selection.”

Some of the reactions he hunted down as he roamed the Fiserv Forum:

  • “Representative KEN CALVERT (R-Calif.), who oversees military spending as the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee chair, told one associate, according to a person familiar the exchange: ‘The Ukrainians better hurry up and win.’”
  • “Another influential congressional Republican simply told me about the Vance selection: ‘I’m scared to death.’”
  • “On Monday night, TOMMY HICKS, a close friend of Trump’s son and former RNC co-chair, sent an email to KARL ROVE, the former GEORGE W. BUSH strategist, who had praised North Dakota Gov. DOUG BURGUM as a potential running mate. ‘Karl – you fucked up,’ Hicks wrote in the note, which has been forwarded to others, who showed me, in the day since, ‘We will remember.’”
  • In their despair, the anti-Vance wing has started to plot how to box the veep out by pushing to stock a second Trump presidency with their own kind. Sen. JOHN THUNE (R-S.D.), who is running to lead Senate Republicans, told JMart, “It would be good, as they think about populating their cabinet and these key agencies and positions, to make sure that all those voices within the Republican heritage when It comes to national security policy are heard.”
  • “No less a dedicated Vance supporter than DONALD TRUMP JR. said the selection of the Ohioan represented a win but not the end of the internecine war. ‘I don’t know if it ever ends, right?’ Trump told me when I asked if he was ready to declare victory.”

Meanwhile, Adam Wren, Olivia Beavers, and Megan Messerly take stock of all the ways the convention is putting on display deep changes in the Republican Party, including:

  • “Increasingly embracing economic populism at home and isolationism abroad”
  • “shifting its decades-long position on abortion”
  • becoming “not only leery of, but hostile to, certain business interests,” a shift exemplified by the stemwinder delivered by Teamsters President SEAN O’BRIEN on Monday night.

Note this eye-popping summation of the changes from MARC SHORT:

“‘I think what we’re witnessing now is a full on frontal assault on conservatism,’ said Marc Short, who served as chief of staff to Vice President MIKE PENCE from 2019 to 2021, who is so estranged from this new version of the party that he was advised to skip the convention. ‘And you can look at the platform walking away from issues like life and traditional marriage, embracing tariffs across the board, but I feel like yesterday and last night went a step further when you have speakers that are basically saying NATO was at fault for [Russian President VLADIMIR] PUTIN’s invasion of Ukraine, and referring to job creators as ‘corporate pigs’ and and denouncing national Right to Work.’

“He said, ‘That’s an enormous departure from where our party has been and I don’t think it’s a prescription for success.’”

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Biden to Endorse Sweeping Changes to Supreme Court: Term Limits, Ethics Code

President Biden is finalizing plans to endorse major changes to the Supreme Court in the coming weeks, including proposals for legislation to establish term limits for the justices and an enforceable ethics code, The Washington Post reported.

He is also weighing whether to call for a constitutional amendment to eliminate broad immunity for presidents and other constitutional officeholders, the people said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss private deliberations.

The announcement would mark a major shift for Biden, a former chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, who has long resisted calls to make substantive changes to the high court.

Biden previewed the shift in a Zoom call Saturday with the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

“I’m going to need your help on the Supreme Court, because I’m about to come out — I don’t want to prematurely announce it — but I’m about to come out with a major initiative on limiting the court. … I’ve been working with constitutional scholars for the last three months, and I need some help,” Biden said, according to a transcript of the call obtained by The Washington Post.

Term limits and an ethics code would be subject to congressional approval, which would face long odds in the Republican-controlled House and a slim Democratic majority in the Senate. Under current rules, passage in the Senate would require 60 votes. A constitutional amendment requires even more hurdles, including two-thirds support of both chambers, or by a convention of two-thirds of the states, and then approval by three-fourths of state legislatures.
The details of Biden’s considered policies have not been disclosed.

Shortly after The Post published this story, former president Donald Trump criticized the move on Truth Social: “The Democrats are attempting to interfere in the Presidential Election, and destroy our Justice System, by attacking their Political Opponent, ME, and our Honorable Supreme Court,” he wrote. “We have to fight for our Fair and Independent Courts, and protect our Country.”

Biden’s private remarks about his high-court plans came more than two weeks after his wobbly performance at a June 27 debate with Trump, which prompted calls from some Democrats for him to step aside as the party’s presidential nominee. Among those who have rallied to his side are many liberals who strongly support calls to remake the court.

Four days after that debate, the Supreme Court ruled that Trump was immune from prosecution for official acts during his first term in office. Less than an hour later, Biden called Laurence Tribe, a constitutional law professor at Harvard Law School, to discuss the ruling and the arguments for and against remaking the court.

“This decision today has continued the court’s attack in recent years on a wide range of long-established legal principles in our nation, from gutting voting rights and civil rights to taking away a woman’s right to choose, to today’s decision that undermines the rule of law of this nation,” Biden said in public remarks later that day.

The next week, Biden called Tribe again, and the two discussed a Guardian opinion piece he wrote endorsing reforms to the Supreme Court. Among the options they discussed: term limits, an enforceable ethics code and the constitutional amendment to address presidential immunity.

Tribe confirmed that he spoke with Biden but declined to comment on their discussion.

During the 2020 presidential race, Biden rebuffed calls from liberals who advocated expanding the court, but he promised he would create a commission to study potential changes. He followed through on that promise after being elected, and the commission issued a 294-page report to the president. Biden has not acted on the commission’s report since it was approved in December 2021.

Eight Democratic senators have co-sponsored a bill that would establish 18-year terms for Supreme Court justices, with a new justice appointed every two years. The nine most recently appointed justices would sit for appellate jurisdiction cases, while others would be able to hear original jurisdiction cases or to step in as a substitute if one of the most recent nine is conflicted or cannot hear a case for another reason.

The legislation was introduced by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), but it has been co-sponsored by several Democrats: Cory Booker (N.J.), Richard Blumenthal (Conn.), Alex Padilla (Calif.), Jeff Merkley (Ore.), Peter Welch (Vt.), Brian Schatz (Hawaii) and Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.).

Democrats have offered other legislation to deal with ethics concerns about the high court, including a bill by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) that caps gifts judges can receive, requires the court to follow the judicial code of conduct and requires justices to provide written recusal decisions upon request from litigants, among other changes.

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RNC Day 2: Top Takeaways

The second full day of the Republican National Convention featured two of former President Donald Trump‘s fiercest primary rivals praising him onstage.

Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) both had complicated relationships with Trump in their unsuccessful primary challenges but have ultimately thrown their support for Trump.

The Trump campaign buoyed by a triumphant Monday night that saw Trump appear onstage is now claiming that several states including Minnesota, Virginia, New Jersey, and New Mexico as toss-ups while Maine could be in play. The former president appeared at the Fiserv Forum for the second night in a row, where he received a standing ovation, but did not address the crowd.

Tuesday night’s theme was “Make America Safe Once Again” as several speakers slammed President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris over the crisis of unchecked immigration at the southern border. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), for instance, claimed the U.S. was facing an “invasion” at the border while victims of crime derided the Biden administration.

Here are the top takeaways from RNC Day 2.

Nikki Haley is unequivocally backing Trump

After a bitter primary against Trump, Haley officially folded back into the Trump-led GOP when she spoke to the convention Tuesday evening. “I’ll start by making one thing perfectly clear: Donald Trump has my strong endorsement. Period,” Haley said unequivocally throwing her weight behind Trump.

“You don’t have to agree with Trump 100% of the time to vote for him,” Haley added, claiming the two former rivals agreed on the safety of America. Attendees of the convention appeared to support Haley’s attempts to reunite the GOP giving her a loud applause during her comments supporting Trump.

The former U.N. ambassador did not hesitate to attack Biden over the concerns he is too old to serve. “For the sake of our nation, we have to go with Donald Trump,” Haley implored claiming Harris should not become the next president of the U.S.

Other lawmakers repeatedly stressed that after the failed assassination plot against Trump it was imperative for the party to come together. “After President Trump got shot a couple of days ago, we now realize that this is not a time for Republican infighting. That’s over. Primaries are like that for a reason. And now it’s time for all of us to come together,” said Rep. Wesley Hunt (R-TX).

The Texas GOP delegation was warned not to boo Haley when she spoke however Princess Anne Gonzalez, an alternate delegate, was skeptical. “We might not be booing but I feel like other people from the other states might,” she said. But no discernible shouts of displeasure against Haley were heard during her speech.

Ron DeSantis continues the GOP unity tour, slams Biden

DeSantis, another tough primary rival of Trump’s, addressed the convention immediately after Haley and echoed much of her main points to the crowd.

“My fellow Republicans, let’s send Joe Biden back to his basement and let’s send Donald Trump back to the White House,” DeSantis said to cheers from the crowd.

Just as Haley did during her speech, DeSantis hit Biden over his age and concerns that he is not mentally capable to serve another four more years. “We need a commander-in-chief who can lead 24 hours a day and seven days a week,” DeSantis said before referencing a 1989 movie. “America cannot afford four more years of a weekend at Bernie’s presidency.”

DeSantis was once seen as Trump’s most competitive rival during the primary but after DeSantis campaign’s continued stumbles he dropped out of the race one week after the Iowa caucuses in January. The Florida governor and Trump would later end the tensions between the two after the former president became the presumptive GOP nominee earlier this year.

“Let’s make the 45th president of the United States, the 47th president of the United States,” DeSantis said urging the crowd to show up for Trump at the polls.

Lara Trump reflects on assassination attempt

RNC co-chair and Trump daughter-in-law Lara Trump shared somber words after Trump survived a plot to take his life. The speech she had planned to give was scrapped after Trump’s near-death encounter. “Our family has faced our fair share of deaths, mysterious powders sent to our homes, tasteless and violent comments directed towards us on social media,” the younger Trump said. “But none of them prepares you as a daughter-in-law to watch in real time someone try to kill a person you love.”

But Lara was quick to point to the unity of the GOP and the nation, as well as the well wishes of supporters. “Last Saturday was a dark reminder that we as Americans must always remember there is more that unites us than divides us,” she counseled.

Much of Lara Trump’s speech was dedicated to championing Trump’s record as president, including low gas prices, a more secure border, and low unemployment rates for black and Hispanic Americans. She also cautioned viewers at home to view Trump not how the media has portrayed but how his family sees him: as a caring father, father-in-law, and grandfather.

“I have seen this man dragged through hell and back, in and out of courtrooms, indictments, impeachments, mug shots, and even an assassination attempt. And yet, he has never backed down,” she said to the crowd’s approval.

Congressional leaders show a display of force with Trump

House and Senate GOP leaders championed Trump’s agenda in another display of GOP unity as they hope to retake the White House and the Senate from Democrats, creating a GOP trifecta. House Republicans, specifically, painted Biden as a danger to the nation and blamed him as the cause of the financial hardships Americans are facing, as they took the stage Tuesday evening.

“I’ve seen some crazy things in my time. But New Orleans has nothing on Washington, D.C., these past four years,” House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA) said. “Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have spent your tax dollars trashing America’s finances in ways no sane or sober-minded person ever would.”

“We fought back against Democrats’ reckless spending that caused record-breaking inflation for hardworking Americans,” added House Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-MN). “When we grow our majority, when we flip the Senate, and when we send President Donald J. Trump back to the White House, we won’t just be holding the line anymore — we’ll be moving forward.”

Lawmakers in the upper chamber blamed Harris for the growing immigration problem, given her role as the “border czar.” Stopping immigrants from entering the nation illegally has been one of the top three issues for the average American voters, giving the GOP another line of attack against Democrats in the battle to retake the Senate.

“They have encouraged millions of illegal aliens to invade America,” Bernie Moreno, the Republican Senate candidate in Ohio, said during his speech. He later claimed that “the Democrat Senate have put the welfare of illegals ahead of our own citizens.”

“Who’s ready to retire Joe Biden and send border czar Kamala Harris back to California?” Dave McCormick, who is running against Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) in Pennsylvania, said.

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Cops Found Remote Detonator Next to Thomas Crooks’ Phone in Bomb Plot

A remote detonator was found on would-be assassin Thomas Crooks’ body alongside his cell phone after he was shot dead by Secret Service snipers at a Donald Trump rally in Pennsylvania on Saturday.

A picture first published by Pittsburgh’s WPXI showed the detonator, a rectangular grey device with a keypad similar to a television remote control, alongside the gunman’s cellphone.

It was earlier reported that investigating FBI agents recovered explosive materials, ammo and a bullet proof vest inside of the troubled 20-year-old’s car. CNN reports that the bombs were connected to the detonator.

Crooks attracted the attention of security at the rally, held in the town of Butler, 30 miles north of Pittsburgh, shortly after he arrived in the vicinity at approximately 3:00pm.

The shooter was behaving strangely around the metal detectors, at least an hour before the attempted assassination, and was later seen using a range finder.

The gunfire rang out at the rally at 6:11 pm. Trump took to the stage at 6:03 pm, an hour later than advertised.

Four days after the shooting, law enforcement have not commented on what they believe Crooks may have been planning to do after the shooting with the Secret Service facing increasing scrutiny for their inability to secure the event.

Channel 11′s Nicole Ford, who obtained the exclusive photo, revealed that law enforcement agents saw Crooks outside of the the single-story AGR International building from which he shot the ex-President.

This new development comes as Secret Service director Kimberly Cheatle faces fresh questions after local law enforcement officials directly contradicted her claim that a Beaver County sniper team was stationed in the very building from which Trump was shot.

It emerged on Tuesday that the killer penetrated the security area of the rally a full three hours before carrying out his attack, after driving the 50 miles north from his home in Bethel Park on the southern outskirts of Pittsburgh.

At 3pm Crooks triggered a metal detector as he tried to gain access to the site, and was found to be carrying a rangefinder – a gun sight typically used by hunters and marksmen preparing to shoot at distance.

But security officers allowed him in while keeping an eye on him until he left the secure area a short time later, the official said.
He then fell off the radar until shortly before 5.45pm when an officer with the Beaver County Police Department saw him acting suspiciously near the outer perimeter and took a photograph.

It was claimed on Monday that a team of police snipers was stationed in the AGR International building, and that they saw him outside three times in the minutes leading up to the attack.

A law enforcement official told CBS that no action was taken after one of the snipers first spotted Crooks looking up at the roof of the building.

The gunman disappeared around a corner before he was seen a second time, sitting down and looking at his phone, prompting one of the snipers to take his picture.

The sniper then radioed to a command post after seeing Crooks take out his rangefinder.

But no further action was taken before Crooks reappeared a third time, this time wearing a backpack and disappearing from sight as he walked to the back of the building.

A further radio report relaying the information was submitted by the sniper team who did not realize that Crooks was now scaling their building.

Channel 11 said multiple sources on Tuesday confirmed that Crooks was on the roof with a gun for fewer than seven minutes before he was confronted by a Butler Township police officer.

That officer retreated after Crooks swung his AR-style weapon in his direction leaving the killer free to aim at his target.

Investigators have yet to figure out a motive for Crooks who had a minimal social media presence, and are hoping his phone may hold some clues.

But they found a bulletproof vest, three fully-loaded magazines containing around 100 bullets, and two remote-controlled explosive devices in Crooks’ car after the shooting it emerged on Tuesday.

Another bulletproof vest, and third remote-controlled bomb was later discovered at the house he shared with his parents.

The latest revelation that a transmitter was also with him has raised fears that Crooks may have been planning to continue his killing spree if he had escaped from the roof with his life, and may have had an accomplice to help him.

Hours earlier Crooks had asked his boss for the day off, telling him he had ‘something to do’, before travelling to Saturday’s rally.

The would-be assassin told colleagues at the Bethel Park Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Center that he would see them on Sunday.

But a Secret Service agent at the Butler rally ensured that he would be the last person Crooks saw as he locked eyes with the killer before shooting him dead, graphic video has revealed.

Agents found him in their sights and one pulled the trigger seconds after the 20-year-old shot dead Pennsylvania fire chief Corey Comperatore, critically injured two others and hit Trump in the right ear from his vantage point 147 yards away.

‘They were looking at him while he was looking at them,’ a senior federal law enforcement official told CNN.

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RNC Day 3: Full Speaker List and Schedule

The third day of the Republican National Convention will feature some of the party’s biggest names as the convention turns it focus to foreign affairs and “border security.”

Among the most notable highlights will be the first public address of Ohio Sen. JD Vance, named former President Donald Trump’s running mate this week, as well as Donald Trump Jr.

The theme for the third day of the convention will be “Make America Strong Once Again,” according to the GOP.

Here’s who will be speaking on Day 3 of the RNC:

RNC Day 3: Full speaker list and schedule

SESSION TIME: 5:38 PM – 9:58 PM CT

5:44PM – VIDEO

5:59PM – VIDEO

6:01PM – Rep. Brian Mast (FL-21)

6:04PM – Rep. Nancy Mace (SC-01)

6:07PM – Rep. Ronny Jackson (TX-13)

6:12PM – VIDEO

6:13PM – Ric Grenell, Former Acting Director of National Intelligence

6:17PM – Rep. Matt Gaetz (FL-01)

6:24PM – Callista Gingrich, Former Ambassador to the Holy See

6:32PM – Newt Gingrich, Former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives

6:36PM – Peter Navarro, Former Director of the U.S. O`ice of Trade and Manufacturing Policy

6:44PM – Rep. Monica De La Cruz (TX-15)

6:47PM – Thomas Homan, Former Acting Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement

6:50PM – David Lara – Business Owner and Community Activist

6:53PM – Jim Chilton – Rancher

7:02PM – Governor Greg Abbott (TX)

7:10PM – Sarah Philips – Petroleum Engineer

7:13PM – Mayor Trent Conway (East Palestine, Ohio)

7:16PM – Governor Doug Burgum (ND)

7:28PM – Kellyanne Conway, Former Counselor to the President

7:33PM – VIDEO

7:36PM – Rep. Anna Paulina Luna (FL-13)

7:40PM – Staff Sergeant David Bellavia Ret., Medal of Honor Recipient

7:43PM – Scott Neil – Decorated War Hero & Founder, Horse Soldier Bourbon

7:46PM – Kimberly Guilfoyle

8:05PM – Rep. Michael Waltz (FL-06)

8:08PM – VIDEO

8:14PM – Alicia Lopez and Herman Lopez // Cheryl Jules and Christy Shamblin. Gold Star Families

8:20PM – Performance – Brian Kelley, Country Music Artist, and the Holy Redeemer Church of God in Christ Choir. UNC Frat Boys.

8:25PM – Shabbos Kestenbaum – Jewish American & Alumnus, Harvard University

8:32PM – Neutra Family – Family of Hamas Hostage

8:35PM – VIDEO

8:37PM – Sergeant William Pekrul – Decorated War Hero, World War II and D-Day Veteran

9:00PM – Kai Trump, Daughter of Donald Trump Jr.

9:05PM – Donald Trump Jr.

9:27PM – Usha Chilukuri Vance, Wife of Senator J.D. Vance, Vice Presidential Nominee

9:31PM – Senator J.D. Vance, Vice Presidential Nominee

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DHS Launches Investigation Into Secret Service After Trump Assassination Attempt

The Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general has opened an investigation into the Secret Service’s handling of security for former President Trump’s rally in Pennsylvania over the weekend.

In a brief notice posted to the inspector general’s website, the agency said the objective of the probe is to “Evaluate the United States Secret Service’s (Secret Service) process for securing former President Trump’s July 13, 2024 campaign event,” during which there was an assassination attempt against Trump.

There was no date given for when the investigation was launched. The notice was among a long list of ongoing cases that the inspector general’s office is pursuing. President Biden had already directed an independent review of the security at the rally.

Questions remain on Wednesday surrounding how the 20-year-old shooter, Thomas Matthew Crooks, managed to climb on top of a building and open fire at Trump and rally attendees in Butler, Pennsylvania.

Secret Service Director Kimberly Cheatle said in an interview Tuesday that her agency was “solely responsible” for the implementation and execution of security there.

Cheatle told CNN that no assets from the rally were diverted on the day Trump was shot, even though other events in the state required Secret Service protection.

“At that particular site, we divided up areas of responsibility, but the Secret Service is totally responsible for the design and implementation and the execution of the site,” Cheatle said.

Cheatle, in a separate interview with ABC News, said the agency was aware of the security vulnerabilities presented by the building Crooks took a sniper’s position on aiming at Trump.

“That building in particular has a sloped roof at its highest point. And so, you know, there’s a safety factor that would be considered there that we wouldn’t want to put somebody up on a sloped roof. And so, you know, the decision was made to secure the building, from inside,” she said.

But the “sloped roof” comment is facing scrutiny, with critics on social media calling it a “total BS excuse” that “defies believability.”

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Peter Navarro Released from Prison, Will Speak at RNC

Former Donald Trump White House adviser Peter Navarro was released from a Miami federal prison Wednesday after completing his four-month sentence for defying a subpoena from the January 6 congressional committee.

Navarro is expected to quickly travel to Milwaukee so he can appear at the Republican National Convention, where his former boss has been formally nominated as the GOP’s 2024 presidential nominee.

He is one of two members of Trump’s circle who were convicted for failing to comply with subpoenas from the now-defunct House Select Committee that investigated the January 6. Trump adviser Steve Bannon started serving his four-month sentence earlier this month at a federal prison in Connecticut.

Navarro, who is in his 70s, worked as a law library clerk during his time in the prison camp, his prison consultant Sam Mangel told CNN.

“Everybody has to work,” Mangel said. “It gave him a chance to write.”

Mangel said Navarro was liked and respected by his fellow inmates while in the prison.

“When I went to visit him, guys were coming up to him, high-fiving him,” Mangel said.

When lawmakers demanded Navarro’s participation in their probe, they pointed to reports that he was involved in efforts to delay Congress’ certification of the 2020 presidential results.

After just a few hours of deliberations, a federal jury found Navarro guilty last summer on two counts of contempt: for his failure to produce documents and for not showing up for an interview that the committee had demanded.

Before the trial, Navarro had sought to argue to the jury that he was acting at the direction of Trump, who had invoked executive privilege, when he refused to comply with the subpoena. The judge, however, barred him from putting forward that defense, having concluded that the former White House aide had not present sufficient evidence that Trump had formally asserted the privilege.

While Navarro was unsuccessful in an emergency appeal to delay his prison sentence, he is now appealing his conviction on the merits.

The federal correctional facility where Navarro has lived since March is one of the oldest prison camps in the country, housing fewer than 200 inmates in its aging infrastructure, with a large Puerto Rican population.

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WATCH: Biden Teases Harris ‘Could Be President’ in NAACP Speech

President Biden said Tuesday that Vice President Kamala Harris “could be president of the United States” while addressing the NAACP’s annual convention — as fellow Democrats try to convince him to step aside ahead of the Nov. 5 election.

“She’s not only a great vice president, she could be president of the United States,” the 81-year-old chief executive said of Harris, 59, who would be best positioned to replace him if he decides to retire.

Biden gave no indication, however, that he would do so — telling the crowd that he had a plan for the first 100 days of a second term, including signing voting rights legislation “come hell or high water.”

The incumbent repeatedly attacked Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump in his remarks — despite calling on Americans to “lower the temperature” of the campaign in a rare Oval Office address Sunday, after Trump, 78, was wounded Saturday in an assassination attempt.

“Donald Trump’s presidency was hell for black America,” Biden exclaimed at one point.

“What the hell’s the matter with this man?” Biden said at another point, recounting how the National Guard responded to protests and riots in 2020 following the murder of George Floyd.

Trump is “lying like hell” about their respective black unemployment records, the president also said — ridiculing Trump’s focus on growing “black jobs.”

“I love this phrase, ‘black jobs,’ tells us a lot about the man and about his character,” Biden jabbed.

“Folks, I know what a black job is. It’s the vice president of the United States. I know what a black job is: the first black president in American history, Barack Obama.”

Trump is “a guy who spread the birthism lie about Barack Obama, saying he wasn’t born in America and he wasn’t a US citizen,” Biden said.

The president said Republicans would “undo everything the NAACP stands for.”

Democrats plan to nominate Biden virtually as early as this month — ahead of the Aug. 19-22 Democratic convention — though congressional dissenters are expected to mount a fresh push to convince the oldest-ever sitting president to stand down following his disastrous June 27 debate performance.

So far, 20 House Democrats and one Democratic senator have publicly asked Biden to do so, citing concerns about his cognitive fitness.

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Trump Jr. Says He’s Been Blacklisted by Fox News

Donald Trump Jr. said during an Axios House event on Tuesday that he’s been blacklisted from Fox News, although the network said in a statement that “he is and always has been welcome on all FOX News Media platforms.”

Trump Jr. also said that media mogul and Fox News owner Rupert Murdoch’s influence over the conservative media landscape “is not what it used to be.”

“There was a time where if you wanted to survive in the Republican Party, you had to bend the knee to to him or to others,” former President Trump’s eldest son told Axios’ Mike Allen on the second day of the convention.

“I don’t think that’s the case anymore.”

Trump Jr. was interviewed by Fox News correspondent Aishah Hasnie during a media scrum on Monday at the RNC.

“Prior to the Axios event, Fox & Friends asked him to appear on the show on Wednesday and he has since accepted that booking,” a Fox News spokesperson said in a statement.

“He is and always has been welcome on all Fox News Media platforms.”

Prior to Monday, Trump Jr. hadn’t been on Fox on a weekday in more than two years, according to Matthew Gertz of Media Matters.

Trump Jr. told Axios he was scheduled to be interviewed multiple times during that period but was bumped at the last minute. He believed that was because management had intervened to keep him off the air.

Trump Jr. is a powerful voice within Trump’s MAGA-wing of the GOP, and he’ll likely carry on his father’s legacy for decades to come.

Trump Jr.’s role as GOP kingmaker expanded on Monday, when Sen. J.D. Vance (R-Ohio) was named as Trump’s running mate.

Trump Jr. is a close friend of Vance’s and advocated for him to get the coveted job.

Trump Jr. is set to speak at the Republican National Convention on Wednesday just before Vance delivers his remarks.

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Senator Menendez Found Guilty in Bribery Scheme

Sen. Bob Menendez was found guilty on all counts Tuesday in his federal corruption trial.

Federal prosecutors in New York alleged the New Jersey Democrat accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes in the form of cash, gold bars, mortgage payments and more in exchange for the senator’s political clout. Three New Jersey businessmen who were also charged, along with the governments of Egypt and Qatar, were the alleged recipients. Two of those co-defendants, Wael Hana and Fred Daibes, were also convicted of all counts they faced.

The jury deliberated for about 13 hours over three days.

‘I have never, ever been a foreign agent,’ Menendez says

Menendez pleaded not guilty to 16 federal charges including bribery, fraud, acting as a foreign agent and obstruction. He said he plans to appeal his conviction and is “deeply disappointed” by the jury’s decision.

“I have never violated my oath,” he said outside the courthouse Tuesday. “I have never been anything but a patriot of my country and for my country. I have never, ever been a foreign agent.”

He added that the jury’s decision would “put at risk every member of the United States Senate in terms of what they think a foreign agent would be.”

Menendez did not respond to questions on whether he will resign.

He will be sentenced on Oct. 29 and faces decades in prison.

Calls to resign

Menendez is not required to resign despite his conviction, though could be expelled.

Majority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called for his resignation immediately after the verdict.

“In light of this guilty verdict, Senator Menendez must now do what is right for his constituents, the Senate, and our country, and resign,” he said.

Sen. Cory Booker, Menendez’s New Jersey counterpart, and New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy joined in the calls for his immediate resignation. If the senator refuses to vacate his office, Murphy said he will call on the U.S. Senate to expel him.

The Senate Ethics Committee said it will “promptly” complete the investigation into Menendez’s conduct that it undertook when the allegations against him first surfaced.

The committee said it will consider the “full range of disciplinary actions available under the Rules of Procedure,” which include expulsion and censure.

He is not required to resign despite his conviction, though could be expelled.

‘Shocking levels of corruption’

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams, whose office prosecuted the case, said following the verdict that this “has always been about shocking levels of corruption.”

“Hundreds of thousands of dollars of bribes, including gold, cash, and a Mercedes-Benz. This wasn’t politics as usual; this was politics for profit,” Williams said in a statement. “Because Senator Menendez has now been found guilty, his years of selling his office to the highest bidder have finally come to an end. Corruption isn’t costless: it erodes public trust, and it undermines the rule of law. That’s why we’re so committed to fighting it, regardless of political party.”

Prosecutors claimed Menendez, 70, “put his power up for sale” in exchange for the gold, envelopes stuffed with money, checks to his wife for a no-show job and a Mercedes-Benz convertible. The FBI found gold bars and more than $400,000 in cash stashed in places including jackets and shoes throughout his home, prosecutors said.

“It wasn’t enough for him to be one of the most powerful people in Washington,” federal prosecutor Paul Monteleoni said during his closing argument on July 8. “Robert Menendez wanted all that power and he also wanted to use it to pile up riches for himself and his wife.”

Defense derided DOJ’s case as ‘cherry-picked nonsense’

The defense, meanwhile, maintained that all of the actions in the indictment fell within the scope of Menendez’s position and that prosecutors failed to prove he took any bribes.

During his closing argument, defense attorney Adam Fee mocked the government’s case as “cherry-picked nonsense” and accused prosecutors of “fudging” the facts.

“The only honest verdict I submit here is to acquit him on each count,” Fee told the jury on July 9. “His actions were lawful, normal and good for the country.”

Menendez declined to testify in his own defense. While leaving court after the defense rested its case on July 3, he told reporters, “From my perspective, the government has failed to prove every aspect of its case.”

He said he expected his lawyers to present a “convincing and powerful summation” and that the jury would find him not guilty.

New Jersey businessmen, Menendez’s wife charged in case

Prosecutors told the jury that Menendez promised to use his power to help Egypt. According to the indictment, the arrangement was brokered by Hana, a New Jersey businessman and friend of Menendez’s wife, Nadine, who prosecutors said received the senator’s help preserving a halal meat monopoly.

Menendez was also accused of receiving a $60,000 Mercedes-Benz convertible in exchange for help disrupting a case by the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office.

Prosecutors said that in the spring of 2019, another New Jersey businessman, Jose Uribe, who pleaded guilty in the case, handed Nadine $15,000 in cash that she used as a down payment for the car. She texted Menendez, “Congratulations. We are the proud owners of a 2019 Mercedes,” according to prosecutors. Uribe kept making the monthly payments, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors claimed the senator promised a third businessman, Daibes, that he would interfere with Daibes’ federal prosecution and help the government of Qatar by supporting a Senate resolution praising the country.

Daibes’ fingerprints were found on the envelopes of cash found at Menendez’s home and serial numbers on the gold bars traced them to Daibes and Hana, according to prosecutors.

During the two months of testimony, jurors heard his sister explain why Menendez was caught with wads of cash stuffed into his embroidered congressional jacket: “It’s a Cuban thing,” Caridad Gonzalez said.

The defense also told jurors that Menendez and his wife, who has also been charged in the case, led separate lives and she had financial concerns that she kept from her husband.

Daibes and Hana pleaded not guilty to their charges. Uribe pleaded guilty and testified against the three defendants during the trial.

Menendez’s wife has pleaded not guilty to her charges and will be tried separately in August due to a medical condition. She is battling Grade 3 breast cancer, the senator revealed in mid-May at the beginning of the trial.

2nd corruption case against Menendez

Menendez, who has served as senator for New Jersey since 2006, is the first sitting member of Congress to be charged with conspiracy by a public official to act as a foreign agent.

In June, he filed a petition to get on the U.S. Senate ballot in New Jersey as an independent candidate.

He refused to resign, though he did step down as the chairman of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee following the initial indictment in September 2023.

This marked the second time the senator was charged with corruption. A 2015 indictment ended in a mistrial in 2018 after a jury failed to reach a verdict on all counts.

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RNC Day 2: Here’s What to Expect from the Second Night

Republicans from across the country are returning Tuesday to Milwaukee’s Fiserv Forum for Day 2 of the Republican National Convention, after a busy kickoff day that featured a formal nomination of former President Donald Trump, the highly anticipated announcement of his running mate — and Trump’s first public appearance since an attack on his life over the weekend.

Delegates gathered on the floor of Fiserv Forum Monday afternoon, where the GOP adopted its 16-page platform, which was heavily influenced by the former president. The delegates went on to officially nominate Trump as the Republican presidential nominee before nominating his vice presidential pick, Sen. JD Vance of Ohio. Trump first announced Vance as his running mate in a social media post, calling Vance the “person best suited” for the job while touting his education, military and business records.

A number of prominent Republican lawmakers, candidates and officials spoke on the first day of the convention, including Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, Gov. Glenn Youngkin of Virginia and Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Byron Donalds of Florida. With a focus on the economy, the Republicans took aim at President Biden, while touting a better outlook under a second Trump administration.

Near the night’s close, Trump made an appearance at the convention center. With a bandage on his ear, the former president joined members of his family and his new running mate in a box, as chants of “we love Trump” reverberated through the crowd. Trump is expected to accept the party’s nomination on Thursday, as the convention continues.

What’s on the agenda?

Each day of the convention features a theme that plays off of Trump’s “Make America Great Again” tagline. While Monday’s theme was “Make America Wealthy Once Again,” Tuesday’s theme is “Make America Safe Once Again.”

The theme is a nod to what the Trump campaign calls the Biden administration’s “soft-on-crime” policies that it says have created “dystopian nightmares” out of American cities and communities, which Trump plans to correct.

The first official session of the day gets underway at 5 p.m. CT, or 6 p.m. ET. For a detailed schedule of events, see the RNC’s master calendar on their website.

Who’s speaking?

A slew of GOP Senate candidates are set to take the stage, including Kari Lake, who’s seeking an Arizona seat. West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice, who’s also running for Senate, is on the schedule as well, as is Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders. And top members of House Republican leadership, including Speaker Mike Johnson, are set to address the convention.

Some of Trump’s former rivals in the primary — Vivek Ramaswamy, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley — are likewise expected to address the crowd. And Sen. Marco Rubio, who was a top contender for Trump’s vice presidential pick, will also speak.

Convention-goers will hear from the first Trump family member Tuesday night, RNC co-chair Lara Trump, who is married to his son Eric Trump.

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Homeless Suspect Wielding Knives Shot Dead ‘In Back’ by Cops Near RNC

A knife-wielding homeless man who allegedly “heard voices” was shot dead outside the Republican National Convention Tuesday — marking the second fatality at a GOP event in days.

A witness at the scene told The Post that the man was swinging two steak knives at police about five blocks away from the GOP event’s headquarters — just two hours before the nation’s leading party members were slated to take the stage.

“He had this look in his eyes that was nothing I’ve ever seen before in four months of knowing him,” said Edward Watkins, a fellow homeless man who claimed to be the victim’s best friend.

Several eyewitnesses said the victim was “shot in the back” while he was trying to run away from security. At least eight gunshots were heard, with some claiming the bullets came from up to eight police officers.

The Columbus, Ohio, Fraternal Order of Police confirmed members of its department were involved in the shooting, but had little details about what led to the incident.

Alexi Worley, a spokesperson in the convention’s joint command center, said there was nothing to suggest the shooting was related to the convention itself.

A man claiming to be the victim’s brother told The Post that the unidentified man was homeless — there is a large “tent city” in the area.

Watkins identified the dead man as “Sam,” but said he was known to others in the encampment as “Jehovah,” referring to a voice Sam heard in his head.

It was known in the community that Sam “wanted to die,” Watkins said, adding that “Jehovah” made frequent appearances in the past few days.

“He just told me he was having these thoughts in his head. And he said, “Jehovah’s coming down.” And I believed him, because I hear voices, too,” Watkins said.

“So when he ran toward the front with the knives, I knew he was ready to go.”

Watkins claimed Sam wasn’t waving the knives at police or trying to engage with them when he was gunned down.

The grieving man did not know Sam’s last name and said that the two only knew one another for four months. Both lived in the tent city and did crack cocaine together, he said.

“That’s what we love to do. When we’re in Tent City, we feel we’re free,” Watkins said.

Milwaukee officials could not confirm the identity of the victim, though the county medical examiner confirmed an adult male was shot and killed.

The shooting comes just three days after former President Donald Trump was nearly assassinated in a shooting on Saturday. There has been a heavy police presence at the RNC throughout the week.

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US Received Intel of Iranian Plot to Assassinate Trump: CNN

US authorities obtained intelligence from a human source in recent weeks on a plot by Iran to try to assassinate Donald Trump, a development that led to the Secret Service increasing security around the former president, multiple people briefed on the matter told CNN.

There’s no indication that Thomas Matthew Crooks, the would-be assassin who attempted to kill the former president on Saturday, was connected to the plot, the sources said.

The existence of the intelligence threat from a hostile foreign intelligence agency — and the enhanced security for Trump — raises new questions about the security lapses at the Saturday rally in Butler, Pennsylvania, and how a 20-year-old man managed to access a nearby rooftop to fire shots that injured the former president.

A US national security official said the Secret Service and Trump campaign were made aware of the threat before Saturday’s rally.

“Secret Service learned of the increased threat from this threat stream,” the official told CNN. “NSC directly contacted USSS at a senior level to be absolutely sure they continued to track the latest reporting. USSS shared this information with the detail lead, and the Trump campaign was made aware of an evolving threat. In response to the increased threat, Secret Service surged resources and assets for the protection of former President Trump. All of this was in advance of Saturday.”

The Trump campaign would not disclose whether it was made aware of the Iran threat. “We do not comment on President Trump’s security detail. All questions should be directed to The United States Secret Service,” the campaign said in a statement.

Secret Service officials have warned the Trump campaign repeatedly against holding outdoor rallies, which pose greater risks than events to which the agency can better control access, people briefed on the matter said. The warnings have been more general in nature, the sources said.

“The Secret Service and other agencies are constantly receiving new potential threat information and taking action to adjust resources, as needed,” Anthony Guglielmi, an agency spokesman, said on Tuesday. “We cannot comment on any specific threat stream, other than to say that the Secret Service takes threats seriously and responds accordingly.”

At one point during this election cycle, the campaign stopped holding spontaneous off-the-record events where guests weren’t swept by Secret Service beforehand due to security concerns, a source familiar with the matter told CNN.

The FBI, which is conducting the investigation into Saturday’s shooting, declined to comment.

NSC spokesperson Adrienne Watson said there’s no known link between shooter Thomas Matthew Crooks and anyone else at the moment.

“The investigation of Saturday’s attempted assassination of former President Trump is active and ongoing. At this time, law enforcement has reported that their investigation has not identified ties between the shooter and any accomplice or co-conspirator, foreign or domestic,” Watson said.

The Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations denied there is an Iranian plot to assassinate Trump.

“These accusations are unsubstantiated and malicious. From the perspective of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Trump is a criminal who must be prosecuted and punished in a court of law for ordering the assassination of General Soleimani. Iran has chosen the legal path to bring him to justice,” a spokesperson for the mission told CNN.

Trump and the Republican vice presidential nominee, Sen. JD Vance of Ohio, will hold their first official campaign rally together on Saturday at an indoor arena in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the campaign announced Tuesday.

Surge of threats from Iranian state-backed media

Iran has repeatedly vowed revenge for the US military’s killing of Qasem Soleimani, the commander of the Iranian military’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, in January 2020. And former senior Trump administration officials who worked on national security have had tight security since leaving the government.

In August 2022, the Justice Department announced criminal charges against a member of the IRGC for allegedly trying to orchestrate the assassination of John Bolton, who served as Trump’s national security adviser. US prosecutors said the plot against Bolton was “likely in retaliation” for Soleimani’s assassination.

Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was also a target of the Iranian assassination plot, according to a federal law enforcement source familiar with the investigation and a source close to Pompeo.

Trump’s former national security adviser, Robert O’Brien, had a US government security detail due to threats from Iran, like Pompeo and other former Trump officials, but that detail was dropped last summer, according to sources familiar with the matter. O’Brien is now paying for his own private security detail, sources said. Lawmakers were not given a specific reason for the decision, which led to frustration. O’Brien did not respond to a request for comment.

Bolton still has his Secret Service detail.

For months, law enforcement officials have been concerned about the persistent threat of Iran potentially attempting to assassinate former Trump officials and the former president himself, according to multiple sources familiar with the matter. But the recent intelligence suggested a significant uptick in the threat, the sources told CNN.

Warnings about that operational planning have coincided with a noticeable surge of online messaging from Iranian accounts and state-backed media mentioning Trump, which has raised security concerns among US officials, one of the sources told CNN.

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