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Fox News Parts Ways with Dan Bongino
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Citizen Frank

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Fox News has ended its relationship with Dan Bongino, who hosted the Saturday night show Unfiltered with Dan Bongino.

“Folks, regretfully, last week was my last show on Fox News on the Fox News Channel,” Bongino said on his podcast Thursday.

“It’s tough. It’s tough to say that. You know, I’ve been there doing hits and working there for ten years…so the show ending was tough. And I want you to know it’s not some big conspiracy. I promise you. There’s no acrimony. This wasn’t some WWE brawl that happened. We just couldn’t come to terms on an extension.”

Bongino’s Canceled in the USA show, which has streamed on Fox’s streaming service, Fox Nation, will end as well. In a statement, Fox News said, “We thank Dan for his contributions and wish him success in his future endeavors.” The last episode of Bongino’s Saturday night program aired on April 15th.

“It’s a sad day,” Bongino said on his podcast, noting that he was given the chance to do one final episode of the show, but he decided not to.

“The most important events in my life I learned about on Fox News,” Bongino said, reflecting on his long ties to the network. Fox will air Lawrence Jones Cross Country in place of Bongino’s show this Saturday, and the network says a new schedule will be announced “in the coming weeks.”

Bongino’s show, which aired at 9 p.m. ET on Saturdays, was a ratings success for Fox News, with last Saturday’s episode of Unfiltered—the final episode—drawing 1.179 million viewers. It ranked as the highest-rated show of the day Saturday.

For the first quarter of 2023, Unfiltered was the top show in prime time with 1.3 million viewers and 134,000 viewers in the key demographic of viewers 25-54, the group most valued by advertisers.

“We were the number one show 90% of the time,” Bongino said. “We had a great team.” Bongino said “you’re going to read a thousand left wing articles about some nonsense, and I’m guaranteeing you on my reputation, it is all made up. It’s a simple contract thing, and that’s it. It is no more complicated than that.”

For Fox, losing Bongino means possibly alienating his significant audience. Bongino, who has more than 4 million followers on Twitter, seemed to go to great lengths to tell his podcast listeners that he has no bad feelings toward Fox.

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Read 197 Comments
  • Avatar nhind says:

    Be careful FOX……you might be heading down the Bud Light highway! You do things your viewers dont like and there WILL be consiquences !

  • Avatar Ann K Gotti-Rauscher says:

    I won’t be watching fox anymore, I’ll keep watching Newsmax!

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    RESULTS: Texas Runoff Elections

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    Following Texas’ primary elections held in March, a handful of congressional races remained unresolved because candidates failed to clear the threshold necessary to clinch their respective party’s nomination outright.

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    WATCH: Chase Bank Branch Explodes in Ohio, Several Injured

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    A gas leak appears to have caused a large explosion in downtown Youngstown, Ohio, on Tuesday afternoon, reportedly blowing out the bottom floor of a 13-story building and injuring at least seven people.

    The first floor of the building, which houses a Chase Bank, appears to have been destroyed, according to NBC affiliate WFMJ of Youngstown.

    Two people, a man and a woman, were unaccounted for after the blast that occurred around 3 p.m., Youngstown Fire Chief Barry Finley told reporters at the scene.

    The man is believed to have worked for the bank, Finley said. A sheriff’s department drone was sent into the basement of the building, but there was little that could be seen, he said.

    “The floor’s collapsed in on itself, there nothing to see, so honestly we don’t know if that person is down there or not,” Finley said.

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    Trump Trial Moves Toward End: 5 Takeaways on the Closing Arguments

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    The moment of truth is near for former President Trump, after defense lawyers and prosecutors delivered closing arguments Tuesday in his New York case.

    The court’s day was prolonged well past its usual end time in order to hear summations in full — first from Todd Blanche in Trump’s defense and then from prosecutor Joshua Steinglass, who went on for nearly five hours.

    Judge Juan Merchan is expected to give instructions to the jury Wednesday, after which the matter will rest in the jurors’ hands.

    Trump is charged with 34 felony counts of falsifying business records.

    Those charges stem from a $130,000 payment made to porn actor Stormy Daniels in the final stretch of the 2016 presidential campaign. Trump denies the affair and knowledge of the payment.

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    Trump team takes hard aim at Cohen’s credibility

    Former Trump attorney Michael Cohen, who made the payment to Daniels to keep her from going public about the Trump affair, was always going to be a flawed star witness for the prosecution.

    Cohen, who was later reimbursed from Trump’s personal bank account and from a Trump trust, served time in prison after pleading guilty in 2018 to tax evasion, violating campaign finance laws and lying to Congress.

    The prosecution contends the reimbursements were falsely classified as legal expenses to conceal their true nature — part of a hush-money deal with Daniels. Prosecutors also say this was done to affect the election’s outcome, not merely to save Trump personal embarrassment, and therefore amounts to election interference.

    Trump’s team argues the money paid to Cohen, who in the past said he would take a bullet for Trump but has also become an aggressive critic of the former president, was indeed for legal services.

    Blanche sought to take a sledgehammer to Cohen’s credibility Tuesday.

    The Trump attorney’s most memorable line came when he accused Cohen of being “the MVP of liars.”

    Later, modifying a well-known acronym, Blanche called Cohen “the GLOAT: the greatest liar of all time.”

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    The jury only decides whether to convict or acquit. In the event of a conviction, the sentence will be a matter for the judge.

    After the jury was ushered out, Merchan told Blanche his statement was “highly inappropriate.” When the jury returned for the afternoon session, the judge told them to disregard Blanche’s comment.

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    The question of how jurors will separate their feelings about Trump from the facts before them has hung over the case since the beginning.

    Jury selection was aimed, in part, at weeding out potential jurors who had especially strong feelings toward the former president.

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    Israel Defense Forces (IDF) tanks reached the center of the town of Rafah on Tuesday. according to multiple media outlets, indicating that Israel intended to fight outwards toward the periphery rather than closing in from the outside.

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    US Military Suspends Aid Shipments to Gaza After Pier Damaged

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    New problems are mounting for the Biden administration’s $320 million floating Gaza aid pier which was already facing setbacks, despite becoming operational less than two weeks ago.

    The U.S. military was forced to halt aid shipments to Gaza on Tuesday after the floating pier was damaged by bad weather over the weekend. The damage sustained from the bad weather is only the latest in a string of logistical and operational problems that have plagued the pier since it was constructed in mid May.

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    Getting aid into Gaza via the JLOTS system requires several steps. Aid is first delivered by vessels to the floating pier roughly two miles off the Gaza coastline, where it is facilitated by U.S. officials. It is picked up by loading vessels and transferred back to a separate causeway pier attached to the shores of Gaza, then trucked by various aid groups to warehouses for distribution.

    Pentagon spokeswoman Sabrina Singh confirmed that U.S. aid deliveries had been halted after rough weather and choppy waters broke the causeway pier apart on Tuesday, rendering it useless for the time being. The pier will be removed from the coast of Gaza and towed northbound to Israel for repairs; it will take “at least over a week” to fix the pier before it can be re-anchored, Singh told reporters.

    “We had a perfect storm of high sea states… creating not an optimal environment to operate this JLOTS pier,” Singh said Tuesday, responding to a question as to whether the pier is too fragile to withstand tough conditions. “Hopefully weather conditions won’t hinder it anymore [once it is operational again].”

    The pier can only be operated during favorable sea conditions, in a maximum of three-foot waves and wind speeds not higher than 15 miles per hour. Aside from the minimum week timeline, reconstruction efforts cannot take place if sea conditions are poor, possibly adding further delays.

    The incident comes just a day after a separate stint of bad weather unmoored four U.S. Army vessels supporting the JLOTS system and sent them floating away from the operational site off the coast of Gaza. Two vessels floated north and were beached in Ashdod, Israel, while the other two anchored on the Gaza coast near the causeway. One of the vessels has been recovered, and the other three will be recovered by Thursday, Singh told reporters during Tuesday’s press briefing.

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    Mayor Shoots, Kills 3 Men After One ‘Forced Himself on His Wife’

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    A former law enforcement officer who served as the mayor of a small South Dakota town has been charged in the killings of three people.

    Jay Ostrem, 64, was jailed on $1 million cash-only bond on three counts of first-degree murder, South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley said.

    A probable cause affidavit identified the victims as two brothers Paul Frankus, 26, and his 21-year-old brother Zach and Timothy Richmond, 35.

    Ostrem worked in law enforcement for more than two decades in Wyoming and South Dakota.

    He served as mayor of Centerville, a tiny town of less than 1,000 people, some 40 miles south of Sioux Falls, about a decade-and-a-half ago, but the exact dates weren’t immediately available.

    The probable cause document said a man in Centerville, identifying himself as Zach Frankus, called police at 9:44pm on Monday night to report that his brother had been shot by ‘a guy from across the street’ and that the shooter had gone back home.

    Frankus was still on the phone with a dispatcher when he said that he had been shot, too. He was described as ‘frantic’. Frankus then stopped talking, charging documents state.

    Authorities raced to the scene, where a Game Fish and Parks officer saw Ostrem leaving the home identified as the scene of the shooting.

    Ostrem initially ignored commands to stop before laying down on the ground. He was arrested a short time later.

    An AR-style rifle was on the ground near him, and he had a handgun in his pocket.

    Police noted how Ostrem was bleeding from his left hand and that he smelled of alcohol.

    Officers then went to the home where the call originated and found all three victims.

    Ostrem’s wife, who is British, told police that a neighbor, Paul Frankus had sexually assaulted her on Thursday, and she told Ostrem about the assault Monday night.

    The pair had been drinking together when he forcibly kissed her, exposed his genitals and pressed himself against her, reports the Argus Leader.

    She said Ostrem ‘got up and went raging out of the house,’ according to the document.

    She explained to officers how her husband did not tell her where he was going and that he didn’t leave armed, although weapons were kept in the home and he likely had some in his car.

    Ostrem was booked on Tuesday morning into the Minnehaha County Jail in connection with the Centerville shootings.

    ‘Jay Ostrem has been arrested and charged with three counts of first degree murder, and law enforcement has secured the scene,’ Attorney General Jackley stated in a news release.

    ‘There is no further threat to the public.’

    Ostrem initial appearance is scheduled for 3pm on Wednesday.

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    Vivek Ramaswamy Demands BuzzFeed Hire Bill Maher, Tucker Carlson, Charles Barkley and Aaron Rodgers

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    Former GOP presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy wants Buzzfeed to hire the likes of Bill Maher, Tucker Carlson, Aaron Rodgers and Charles Barkley to help turn around the struggling news site’s fortunes.

    Ramaswamy, who recently disclosed an 8.3% stake in the failing media company, fired off a letter on Monday to BuzzFeed’s board demanding that the company slash jobs, appoint three new members to its board of directors and give more prominent roles to conservatives so as to embrace “greater diversity of thought.”

    Shares of BuzzFeed, which is listed on the Nasdaq, soared by around 20% last week after it was learned that Ramaswamy took an activist stake in the company.

    In his letter, Ramaswamy criticized BuzzFeed for several moves that fed into public “distrust of the media,” including its decision in 2017 to publish a dossier by ex-British spy Christopher Steele that contained salacious and unproven allegations against former President Donald Trump.

    “Distinguish yourself from competitors by openly admitting your past journalistic failures and redefine BuzzFeed’s brand around the pursuit of truth,” Ramaswamy wrote in the letter.

    Jonah Peretti, the founder and CEO of BuzzFeed, claimed in a written response that Ramaswamy held “fundamental misunderstandings” about BuzzFeed’s business operations, adding that Buzzfeed was “definitely not going to issue an apology for our Pulitzer Prize-winning journalism.”

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    Ramaswamy, who has thrown his support behind Trump in the 2024 election, wants BuzzFeed to scan “across the political and cultural spectrum” for talent.

    Ramaswamy proposed that BuzzFeed reach out to prominent media commentators such as Carlson, Barkley and Maher.

    “Cutting around the edges will not work,” Ramaswamy wrote in the letter. “You require a complete, ground-up re-think of every single piece of content being produced at the company.”

    “Stay tuned,” Tricia McLaughlin, a spokesperson for Ramaswamy, told The Post when asked for additional comment on Tuesday.

    Maher, the host of HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher,” is a former comedian and actor who has carved out a niche as a political commentator.

    Carlson, the former Fox News prime time star, formed his own media outlet that includes a streaming talk show available to subscribers.

    Barkley, the retired basketball Hall of Famer turned commentator, is a co-host of the popular “Inside the NBA” studio show on TNT.

    But all indications are that the NBA will turn its back on TNT parent company Warner Bros. Discovery and grant broadcast rights to NBCUniversal when its television contract expires at the end of next season — meaning that “Inside the NBA” will wrap up its decades-long run in a year from now.

    In light of the uncertainty surrounding TNT’s relationship with the NBA, Barkley’s future has been the subject of speculation.

    Rodgers, the Super Bowl-winning quarterback who is in the twilight of his career with the New York Jets, has generated buzz with his appearances on Pat McAfee’s popular podcast.

    The NFL star reportedly was in the running to be Robert F. Kennedy, Jr’s vice presidential candidate.

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    Earlier this month, BuzzFeed reported a first-quarter loss of $35.7 million, or 72 cents per share, on revenue of $44.8 million.

    Advertising revenue fell 22%, while content revenue declined 19% and the company is projecting a worsening revenue situation.

    BuzzFeed has struggled to prop up sales since it went public in 2021.

    In late 2022 job cuts began rolling out with the company citing a poor digital advertising environment, then early last year announced that it was shutting down its Pulitzer Prize winning digital media outlet BuzzFeed News.

    Peretti said in a memo to staff at the time that in addition to the news division, layoffs would take place in its business, content, tech and administrative teams.

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    Daily Beast Scrambles to Recruit Stelter Amid Massive Layoffs

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    Newly-installed Daily Beast boss Joanna Coles is scrambling to hire boldface names like ousted CNN host Brian Stelter – as she sharpens the ax to slash more than a third of the staff, The Post has learned.

    Coles — who was brought in by media mogul Barry Diller along with Disney bigwig Ben Sherwood last month to resuscitate the floundering news site — reached out to Stelter, the former anchor of CNN’s now-defunct “Reliable Sources,” to run the Beast’s media coverage, sources close to the situation told The Post on Tuesday.

    Coles’ purported attempt to lure Stelter comes as the outlet confirmed Tuesday that it offered voluntary buyouts to its 37 unionized staffers.

    A source close to The Beast said roughly 30% are expected to grab the lifeline before it expires in mid-June.

    “You either take the buyout or risk being laid off, as Coles wants to create a newsroom in her own image,” the source said, noting that layoffs will “likely be even worse” than the 30% figure.

    Coles and Sherwood hope to reap $1.5 million in cost savings from the union cuts, on top of the “millions” they are saving by reducing their footprint in the Frank Gehry-designed headquarters in Manhattan’s posh Chelsea neighborhood, another source said.

    Management has proposed a buyout package that would give the average Beast employee who has been at the company between two and four years roughly three to four months of pay, the first source noted.

    “The voluntary buyouts are part of a larger plan to reduce spending, grow revenue and put The Beast into a healthy and sustainable financial position,” a Beast spokesperson told The Post.

    “Everyone in digital media is facing tough choices. These buyouts are especially hard because we know some talented and valued colleagues will decide to leave next month. Throughout this process, we remain fully committed to The Beast’s core mission — great independent journalism that makes a difference.”

    The insider added that the heads of the non-unionized senior editors are also on the chopping block, including Daily Beast editor in chief Tracy Connor, as The Post previously reported.

    A second source said that job cuts will also hit the publication’s business side in the coming months.

    The rep would not comment on Connor’s future or that of other section heads.

    Coles, 61, was named chief creative and content officer after Diller gave her and Sherwood a minority stake in the tabloid-inspired site.

    Since grabbing the reins, the British-born editor has intimidated staffers with pointed questions about who they are and how they want to cover their beats, sparking anxiety over the possibility that they’d be replaced by new reporters with better ideas, sources told The Post.

    Employees are walking a tightrope in trying to please Coles — who is swanning around the office, the first source said. Meanwhile, Connor and executive editor Katie Baker have been laying low.

    “While Coles remains rather jovial and happy in the office, others feel as if the world is ending as they face the prospect of unemployment,” the source said.

    “No one has any idea who they should report to…Are Katie and Tracy still alive?”

    Ruffled by the changes and by Coles’ sometimes cheeky editorial direction — which includes covering lighter fare like Meghan Markle’s jam — a handful of journalists ran for the exits, including Washington DC bureau chief Matt Fuller.

    The staff was further demoralized by Coles’ announcement that the company would shrink its presence on the fifth floor of the sail-shaped IAC building, turning the newsroom into a “bullpen.”

    Coles, a former Guardian editor and Hearst exec, has hired Martin Pengelly, a longtime journalist at the UK-based publication, who in turn has tried to recruit other staffers, including reporter Hugo Lowell.

    Sources said Coles is also oddly obsessed with bringing on Hollywood writers to help punch up the site’s humor and culture coverage.

    She tapped Jill Twiss, a former writer for “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver,” who penned a listicle on former New York City mayor Rudy Guiliani, entitled: “7 More Embarrassing Things Rudy’s Done Than Peeing on Zoom,” among other things.

    She also hired Nell Scovell, a comedy writer who created the TV series “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” to write listicles, including “5 Rock Solid Theories on What Went Wrong for J.Lo and Ben,” as well as some opinion pieces on former President Donald Trump.

    The tension in the office has seemingly filtered down to Connor’s dog, Pearl, who has had “accidents” in the pet-friendly office.

    “Tracy’s dog crapped in the office,” a well-placed source said. “It triggered a complaint from a worker in the facilities department and now all dogs need to be on leashes!”

    There soon may be an edict issued that bans dogs from the office, the source added.

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    Judge Cannon Denies Jack Smith’s Request for Gag Order Against Trump

    Citizen Frank

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    Judge Aileen Cannon rejected special counsel Jack Smith’s request that former President Donald Trump be barred from speaking about the law enforcement agents who searched his Florida home for classified documents.

    On Friday, Smith requested that Trump be barred from talking about the law enforcement agents who searched his home for their safety. Cannon said Smith’s request was “wholly lacking in substance and professional courtesy” due to the timing of the request.

    “Sufficient time needs to be afforded to permit reasonable evaluation of the requested relief by opposing counsel and to allow adequate follow-up discussions as necessary,” Cannon wrote in response to Smith’s motion.

    “Because the filing of the Special Counsel’s motion did not adhere to these basic requirements, it is due to be denied without prejudice,” Cannon said.

    Cannon’s ruling echoes a motion Trump’s legal team filed on Monday, requesting Smith be sanctioned for his Friday evening request.

    They said the motion was filed Friday at 5:30 p.m. ahead of the Memorial Day weekend holiday, to which Trump’s team responded within 10 minutes.

    “We noted the suspicious timing of the communication,” the filing from Trump’s legal team said. Trump’s lawyers said they offered to meet with Smith’s team Monday evening, to which the special counsel called a conferral a “fruitless exercise.”

    On Friday afternoon, Smith requested a gag order against Trump because of the claim Trump made last week regarding the FBI agents who searched his home in August 2022, stating they were “authorized to shoot me” and were “locked & loaded ready to take me out & put my family in danger.”

    During the search, the FBI followed a standard use-of-force policy that prohibits the use of deadly force except when the officer has a reasonable belief that the subject being searched has an intent to harm the officer or another person.

    Cannon laid the groundwork for future motions and said failure to comply may result in sanctions.

    “Any future, non-emergency motion brought in this case — whether on the topic of release conditions or anything else — shall not be filed absent meaningful, timely, and professional conferral,” Cannon said.

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    Report: Secret Service Met with Jail Officials to Prepare for Possible Trump Imprisonment

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    The Secret Service has reportedly met with jail officials in New York in anticipation of a possible conviction in former President Donald Trump‘s hush-money case.

    A corrections source told CBS News that such preparations were underway as the Manhattan trial reached closing arguments and jury deliberations this week.

    The report said corrections officers would be responsible for protecting any Secret Service agents tasked with safeguarding Trump if he spends any time behind bars.

    Although the location of where Trump might serve jail time remains unclear, CBS noted shorter sentences can be served at the Rikers Island complex, which has two wings typically used for high-profile inmates.

    Trump’s allies expressed outrage in response to the report, criticizing the case brought by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg and pointing out how the defendant himself is a candidate for the presidency.

    “Today the government is trying to throw the leading candidate for President in prison on bogus charges in a city stacked with far left jurors,” political commentator Robby Starbuck said on X.

    “The lack of evidence won’t matter to many of these lunatics. Total commies. Trump’s only way out is if some sane people got on the jury,” he added.

    Social media influencer Rogan O’Handley, better known as “DC Draino,” said, “If Biden puts Trump in jail, Trump will win in a landslide we haven’t [seen] since Reagan.”

    The case involves 34 felony counts of falsifying business records to allegedly cover up damaging information as part of a “catch-and-kill” scheme to influence the 2016 election.

    Trump, who has pleaded not guilty to the charges, is also trying to fend off other criminal matters ahead of a potential 2020 rematch against President Joe Biden in November’s White House contest.

    If Trump is convicted in New York, POLITICO said the presiding judge would schedule a separate hearing to determine a sentence. He may not end up serving any prison time, with possible alternatives including probation or community service.

    During closing arguments, defense lawyer Todd got a scolding from Judge Juan Merchan for suggesting to the jury that Trump could go to jail if convicted, according to The Washington Post.

    “That was outrageous, Mr. Blanche. Someone who’s been a prosecutor as long as you have, someone who’s been an attorney as long as you have knows that is highly inappropriate,” he said.

    Merchan also reportedly announced that he would give the jury a curative instruction after a lunch break.

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    Politico: Dems in Full-Blown ‘Freakout’ Over Biden

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    President Biden’s consistently poor polling is triggering panic among Democratic operatives with a little more than five months to go before his likely election rematch against Donald Trump.

    The outlook has grown so dire, Politico reported Tuesday, that one adviser to major party donors has been circulating a running tally of nearly two dozen reasons why the incumbent is in trouble — including his age, frustration over immigration and inflation, and the unpopularity of Vice President Kamala Harris.

    “Donors ask me on an hourly basis about what I think,” the adviser told the outlet, adding that it’s “so much easier to show them, so while they read it, I can pour a drink.”

    “The list of why we ‘could’ win is so small, I don’t even need to keep the list on my phone,” the person went on.

    “You don’t want to be that guy who is on the record saying ‘We’re doomed,’ or ‘The campaign’s bad’ or ‘Biden’s making mistakes.’ Nobody wants to be that guy,” one Democratic operative in close touch with the White House told Politico, explaining why the president’s allies are putting on a brave face while privately having a “freakout” about the election’s perceived stakes.

    “This isn’t, ‘Oh my God, Mitt Romney might become president,’” the operative added. “It’s ‘Oh my God, the democracy might end.’”

    In addition to polls showing Trump, 77, leading Biden, 81, in the battleground states that will likely decide the presidency, the 45th president is also catching up in the money race.

    In April, the Trump campaign and Republican National Committee outraised the Biden campaign and the Democrats by $25 million — including a record $50.5 million cash grab from an April 6 event in Palm Beach.

    The money gap triggered an urgent appeal from Democratic Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey when Biden visited Boston for a pair of fundraisers last week.

    “To those of you who opened up your wallets, thank you,” Healey told the donors. “We’d like you to open them up a little bit more and to find more patriots — more patriots who believe in this country, who recognize and understand the challenge presented at this time.”

    The presumptive Republican nominee has also not been shy about courting traditional Democratic voting blocs, including black and Hispanic voters at a rally in the South Bronx last week.

    “New York Democrats need to wake up,” said Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine. “The number of people in New York, including people of color that I come across who are saying positive things about Trump, is alarming.”

    “I’m worried it’s going to be a 2022 situation, where everyone wakes up in the last seven weeks and has to scramble.”

    “The election is more competitive than it should be, given the wretchedness of who Donald Trump is,” admitted South Bronx Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-NY). “In a properly functioning democracy, Donald Trump should have no viable path to the presidency. The fact of a competitive race is cause for concern.”

    The Biden campaign dismissed the former president’s recent events in New York and New Jersey as “photo ops and PR stunts.”

    “The work we do every day on the ground and on the airwaves in our battleground states — to talk about how President Biden is fighting for the middle class against the corporate greed that’s keeping prices high, and highlight Donald Trump’s anti-American campaign for revenge and retribution and abortion bans — is the work that will again secure us the White House,” spokesman Kevin Munoz told Politico.

    “We have to run a campaign, where honestly, we drive home the message that Donald Trump takes us back to the 19th century. Biden takes us further into the 21st century,” agreed Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Mich.), who declined to say whether he thought the president’s campaign was doing a good enough job making that point.

    “There’s still a path to win this, but they don’t look like a campaign that’s embarking on that path right now,” said longtime Democratic strategist Pete Giangreco in dissent.

    “If the frame of this race is, ‘What was better, the 3.5 years under Biden or four years under Trump?,’ we lose that every day of the week and twice on Sunday,” he added.

    “In 2020, there was enough energy to get Donald Trump out and there were other things on the ballot that brought young people out in subsequent elections,” suggested Michigan state Rep. Laurie Pohutsky, a Democrat.

    “That’s not the case this time. I worry that because we’ve had four years with a stable White House, particularly young voters don’t feel that sense of urgency and might not remember how disastrous 2017 was right after the Trump administration took over.”

    California RNC Committeewoman Harmeet Dhillon backed Pohutsky’s diagnosis, saying no Democrats are expressing enthusiasm to her for the octogenarian commander-in-chief.

    “The most diplomatic thing I hear from Democrats,” she told Politico, “is, ‘Oh my God, are these the choices we have for president?’”

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    ‘Faggotry’: Pope Francis Apologizes for Using Vulgar Italian Slur to Refer to LGBTQ

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    Pope Francis apologized Tuesday after he was quoted using a vulgar term about gays to reaffirm the Catholic Church’s ban on gay priests.

    Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni issued a statement acknowledging the media storm that erupted about Francis’ comments, which were delivered behind closed doors to Italian bishops on May 20.

    Italian media on Monday had quoted unnamed Italian bishops in reporting that Francis jokingly used the term “faggotness” while speaking in Italian during the encounter.

    He had used the term in reaffirming the Vatican’s ban on allowing gay men to enter seminaries and be ordained priests.

    Bruni said Francis was aware of the reports and recalled that the Argentine pope, who has made outreach to LGBTQ+ Catholics a hallmark of his papacy, has long insisted there was “room for everyone” in the Catholic Church.

    “The pope never intended to offend or express himself in homophobic terms, and he extends his apologies to those who were offended by the use of a term that was reported by others,” Bruni said.

    Francis was addressing an assembly of the Italian bishops conference, which recently approved a new document outlining training for Italian seminarians. The document, which hasn’t been published pending review by the Holy See, reportedly sought to open some wiggle room in the Vatican’s absolute ban on gay priests.

    The Vatican ban was articulated in a 2005 document from the Congregation for Catholic Education, and later repeated in a subsequent document in 2016, which said the church cannot admit to seminaries or ordain men who “practice homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies or support the so-called gay culture.”

    Francis strongly reaffirmed that position in his May 20 meeting with the Italian bishops, joking that “there is already an air of faggotness” in seminaries, the Italian media reported, after initial reporting from gossip site Dagospia.

    Italian is not Francis’ mother tongue language, and the Argentine pope has made linguistic gaffes in the past that raised eyebrows. The 87-year-old Argentine pope often speaks informally, jokes using slang and even curses in private.

    He has been known for his outreach to LGBTQ+ Catholics, however, starting from his famous “Who am I to judge” comment in 2013 about a priest who purportedly had a gay lover in his past.

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    House GOP Investigates NIH Officer in COVID Cover-Up Inquiry

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    House Republicans are examining evidence that top leadership at the National Institutes of Health intentionally avoided compliance with Freedom of Information Act requests and other oversight efforts during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic Chairman Brad Wenstrup (R-OH) wrote to current NIH Director Monica Bertagnolli on Tuesday requesting more information regarding the agency’s document retention, personal email, and FOIA policies.

    His inquiry follows the revelation that the former senior adviser to Dr. Anthony Fauci at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, David Morens, used his personal email address to avoid FOIA and received assistance from the agency’s “foia lady” to obfuscate public records requests.

    “This evidence taken together suggests a conspiracy at the highest levels of NIH and NIAID to avoid public transparency regarding the COVID-19 pandemic,” Wenstrup wrote to Bertagnolli. “If what appears in these documents is true, this is an apparent attack on public trust and must be met with swift enforcement and consequences for those involved.”

    In an email chain between Morens and former NIH employee Gerald Keusch in February 2021, Morens referenced the so-called “foia lady” instructing him how to delete emails from NIH records.

    Keusch advised Morens to use his personal email address to discuss sensitive information regarding COVID-19 in order to protect their mutual friend Peter Daszak, the head of EcoHealth Alliance, which had funded coronavirus research in Wuhan, China, using an NIH grant.

    “You are right, i need to be more careful,” Morens responded to Keusch. “However, as i mentioned once before, i learned from our foia lady here how to make emails disappear after i am foia’d but before the search starts, so i think we are all safe. Plus i deleted most of those earlier emails after sending them to gmail.”

    Neither the emails nor the letter from Wenstrup references the NIAID FOIA office by name. The chairman of the full Oversight Committee, Rep. James Comer (R-KY), however, confirmed with Morens that the “foia lady” was Margaret Moore, who has subsequently retired from the agency.

    Morens told the select subcommittee when testifying in an open hearing last week that he had been in contact with the public records officer for NIAID but she had said there was no way to delete emails permanently from NIH records.

    Fauci’s top adviser also told the subcommittee last week that he did not realize emails from his government account constituted federal records.

    Evidence also uncovered by the subcommittee indicates that NIAID staff routinely misspelled keywords in their day-to-day email correspondence, such as COVID-19 and EcoHealth, in order to avoid FOIA requests with specific keyword searches.

    “After an agency receives a FOIA request, it is common to employ key word search terms to identify and subsequently produce responsive documents to the requester,” Wenstrup wrote to Bertagnolli. “However, it can be undermined by government employees that strategically use language to avoid key word searches.”

    A Department of Health and Human Services spokesperson told the Washington Examiner that the department had received the letter and “will respond directly to the Chairman.”

    Although the select subcommittee is sharply divided on the origins of COVID-19, there is strong bipartisan agreement that accountability for any corruption in government health agencies is essential to restoring public trust.

    A spokesperson for the subcommittee Democrats told the Washington Examiner that they “consider recordkeeping requirements to be an important tool for promoting transparency to American taxpayers so that they can continue to maintain the highest degree of confidence in our nation’s premier scientific and public health agencies.”

    The leading Democrat on the subcommittee, Raul Ruiz (D-CA), said in his opening statement at Morens’s hearing last week that the adviser’s behavior “willingly betrays decades of dedication, diligence, and decorum for the thousands of federal scientists and public health workers who came before [him].”

    “It is not anti-science to hold you accountable for defying the public’s trust and misusing official resources,” Ruiz said to Morens.

    Wenstrup requested a briefing from the NIH regarding the agency’s records policy to occur no later than June 4, one day after Fauci is scheduled to testify before the subcommittee.

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    ISIS Sends Threat to Launch Terror Attack on NYC

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    A Pro-Isis group has sent a chilling threat ahead of the T-20 World Cup game between India and Pakistan at the newly-opened Nassau Stadium in New York. The tournament is set to be held in the United States and the Caribbean in June.

    A previous report in the Express had revealed that online chat rooms were being used via the Matrix.org network by ISIS supporters as they urged followers to “prepare your weapon, devise your plan and then lure them in” in relation to targeting sporting events including the T-20 World Cup. Other events that they allegedly were encouraging followers to target were the Champions League final between Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund at Wembley stadium on June 1 and the Olympic Games in Paris.

    A threat posted by the group shows a graphic of a man in a hood, who is brandishing a rifle. According to the report, the post read: “You wait for the matches…”, alongside the chilling message: “And we wait for you…”

    The poster also namechecks the location of ‘Nassau Stadium’ as well as the date June 9, which is when India and Pakistan are set to play each other in the cricket tournament. The competition itself will commence on June 1, with countries contesting the tournament through until June 29.

    The graphic also depicts airborne drones above a rendering of a stadium, while also including a stick of dynamite, alongside a ticking clock. It is expected that a capacity crowd of 34,000 spectators will be present to see India and Pakistan play at the new ground, situated outside of Manhattan.

    This will be one of eight games which are planned for the temporary stadium at Eisenhower Park. Previously fears of terrorist attacks have been downplayed by the ICC. The prime minister of Trinidad & Tobago, Keith Rowley also said: “Unfortunately, the threat of terrorism in its many and varied expressions is an ever-present danger in the world of the 21st century.

    “Given the fact that bad actors can choose to misbehave in any way possible it makes it virtually impossible to completely seal off all opportunities.”

    He added: “However, in order to ameliorate these dangers, we at the local and regional levels have remained alert to many threats and singularly or together have our intelligence and other security agencies working to protect the population in countries and at venues throughout the tournament.”

    ICC and Cricket West Indies have not confirmed whether the post originated from the Islamic State or propaganda channel, Nashir-e Pakistan. However, the ICC and CWI did state: “We work closely with authorities in the host countries and cities, and continually monitor and evaluate the global landscape to ensure appropriate plans are in place to mitigate any risks identified to our event.

    “We want to assure all stakeholders that safety and security of everyone at the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup is our number one priority and we have a comprehensive and robust security plan in place.”

    Previously, Professor Dr. Christian Kaunert, Chair of Policing and Security at University of South Wales, said: “I would imagine this is a very, very high risk summer with a number of high profile events happening from the European Football Championships to the Olympic Games in Paris.

    “The current anti-Semitic, anti-Jewish, anti-Israeli climate makes a much more fruitful environment for ISIS to radicalise people as they try to outdo Hamas.”

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    Denver Police Say Drones Will Respond to 911 Calls Instead of Cops

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    The Denver Police Department has launched a new program that will include the use of drones as a tool to help officers respond to 911 calls.

    The law enforcement agency that was recently defunded by millions to pay for migrants is now launching its own drone program, along with other Colorado police departments.

    Robert White, the former chief of The Denver Police Department originally disagreed with the use of drones in 2013 and in 2018, and the agency’s only drone was shelved.

    Now, the department is planning on using a $100,000 grant from the Denver Police Foundation to start the program. Denver police plan to buy several drones with that money, and begin their drone program within six to 12 months.

    ‘We would never simply replace calls-for-service response by police officers,’ Phil Gonshak, director of the department’s Strategic Initiatives Bureau told The Denver Post.

    ‘The DPD would respond to any call for service where someone is physically requesting a police officer on scene. But if there was a fight at Colfax and Cherokee and we put a drone in the air and there is no fight and nothing causing traffic issues, then we would reroute our police officers to other emergent calls.’

    ‘It’s beginning to lift off,’ Gonshak said.

    ‘The long-term scope of what we are trying to do is drones as first responders,’ he added.

    ‘Basically, having stations on top of each one of our districts so we can respond with drones to critical needs or emergencies that arise throughout the city.’

    The Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office, based in Centennial, Colorado, has been using the robotic flying devices since 2017.

    ‘This really is the future of law enforcement at some point, whether we like it or not,’ Sgt. Jeremiah Gates, who leads the drone unit at the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office, said.

    The Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office has 14 pilots that have used 20 drones to conduct tasks, including tracking fleeing suspects, searching for missing people, providing overhead surveillance during SWAT operations, and mapping crash or crime scenes.

    Gates said that the department is now considering using its drones to respond ahead of officers and in some rare instances, instead of them attending at all.

    If a drone is deployed before an officer responds to a call, it could map out the area and send live streamed video footage back to the cop before they arrive.

    In the case that a drone is flown to the scene of a 911 call, the device will be able to determine the severity of the call to inform officers if they need to respond.

    ‘I could fly the drone over (a reported suspicious vehicle) and say, “Hey, that vehicle is not out of place,” and I never had to send an officer over to bother them and I can clear it with that,’ Gates said. ‘It’s saving resources.’

    The Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office is still in the ‘very early stages’ as they have to consider the cost, public opinion, and determine what kind of equipment will be needed to operate the drones for emergency calls.

    Gates said that the flying devices could also be used to respond to traffic light outages by sending a live video to officers.

    He added that the remote devices would get to emergency scenes faster than a cop would as they won’t have to deal with traffic congestion in the area.

    Gates told The Denver Post: ‘What if we get a call about someone with a gun, and the drone is able to get overhead and see it’s not a gun before law enforcement ever contacts them?’

    While Gates is for the use of drones, American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado staff attorney Laura Moraff, is worried that law enforcement agencies using drones could impact people’s rights.

    ‘We’re worried about what it would mean if drones were really just all over the skies in Colorado,’ Moraff said.

    ‘We are worried about what that would mean for First Amendment activities, for speech and organizing and protesting — because being surveilled by law enforcement, including by drones, can change the way people speak and protest.’

    Moraff also expressed concern that the deployment of drones could result in ‘more over-policing’.

    ‘We know there is a problem with people reporting Black people doing normal everyday things as if there is something suspicious going on,’ she said.

    ‘So sending out a drone for any time there is a 911 call, it could be dangerous and lead to more over-policing of communities of color.

    ‘There is also just the risk that the more that we normalize having drones in the skies, the more it can really affect behavior on a massive scale, if we are just looking up and seeing drones all over the place, knowing that police are watching us.’

    Meanwhile, Littleton Police Department only uses drones ‘proactively during large public events to monitor certain areas,’ spokeswoman Sheera Poelman said.

    The Loveland Police Department used a drone to deliver a defibrillator to a patient before paramedics and authorities were able to respond, Sgt. Bryan Bartnes said.

    ‘One drawback to it is, obviously, it requires the citizen on scene to apply it and put it on,’ Bartnes said. ‘Drones don’t do that yet.’

    The largest drone that the Loveland Police Department has can carry up to 16lbs, Bartnes explained.

    Ben Birdsell, the Commerce Police Department’s community service officer supervisor said that the agency plans to launch drones for 911 calls within the next year.

    ‘What we see out of it is, it’s a lot cheaper than an officer, basically,’ he said.

    Drones have to be flown at a limited range as they have to operate in the line of sight to the pilot, and have to follow the Federal Aviation Administration regulations around flights.

    White said that kickstarting a drone program for the Denver Police Department would cost about $1.5million to $2million.

    The department has already drafted up a ‘Drones as a First Responder Program’ policy and have several trained pilots on the force.

    Denver Police spokesman Doug Schepman said that the agency’s SWAT team uses a single drone for limited indoor searches and can use it for emergency response upon approval.

    ‘So there is no question about what we are doing, because I know there is concern about us flying drones and peering through windows without search warrants,’ Gonshak said.

    ‘We want to be very public-conscientious in our efforts.’

    In April, the Denver City Council’s Finance and Governance Committee approved plans to defund the police as the ongoing migrant crisis has cost the democrat-led city about $89.9million.

    The finance committee determined that $41 million in cuts from multiple city departments is needed to house migrants, KDVR reported.

    Following the decision, the department experienced $8.4million budget cuts, including the sheriff’s office which lost $3.8million, and the fire department that lost $2.4million.

    The sanctuary city’s progressive Mayor Mike Johnston unveiled the budget proposal, allocating $89.9million to assist incoming undocumented migrants, who he referred to as ‘newcomers.’

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    Nearly 80% of Americans Now Consider Fast Food a ‘Luxury’ Due to High Prices

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    Has a trip through the drive-through become an extravagance? The vast majority of Americans say so.

    A recent nonprobability survey conducted by LendingTree found 78% of consumers now consider fast food to be a “luxury” purchase due to how expensive the meals have become.

    Half of those polled said they view fast food as a luxury because they’re struggling financially. This is especially true among Americans who make less than $30,000 a year (71%), parents with young children (58%), and Gen Zers (58%).

    Americans love their fast food, but a majority say they are pulling back on their consumption due to high prices. The findings show 3 out of 4 Americans typically eat fast food once a week, but 62% of respondents said they are eating it less frequently due to the cost.

    Sixty-three percent of those surveyed agreed fast food should be cheaper than eating at home, but 75% say that is not the case. Nearly half of Americans (46%) say a meal at a fast-food restaurant costs about the same as one at their local sit-down restaurants, and 22% said fast food is actually more expensive.

    Fast-food price hikes have outpaced inflation in recent years. Data from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis shows the cost of fast-food meals is up 41% from 2017, while the consumer price index has risen by 35.9%.

    Columnist Dan O’Donnell of the free market think tank the MacIver Institute wrote in a blog post on Thursday that prices on “basic items like McDonald’s cheeseburgers and Chick-fil-A nuggets have risen as much as 200% in less than five years with dire consequences for the lower- and middle-class families who make up much of the fast food customer base.”

    “Fast food patrons are generally lower-income earners — many with young children — who rely on a quick, affordable meal before soccer practice or a band concert,” O’Donnell wrote. “When prices at these restaurants spike from $35-$40 for a family meal to $65-$70 in just a few years, those families either have to sacrifice a night out or extend themselves just a little further to afford it.”

    In the LendingTree survey, when asked about their go-to for an easy, inexpensive meal, 56% of respondents cited making food at home. And that is exactly what more people are doing.

    Global restaurant chains such as McDonald’s and Starbucks have seen lower-income customers opting to eat more meals at home amid a cost-of-living crisis, prompting the companies to offer steeper promotions in an attempt to lure customers back.

    This week, Wendy’s rolled out a $3 budget-friendly breakfast meal, and McDonald’s is planning a $5 combo meal in June. Both offerings will be for a limited time.

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    Everything You Need to Know as Trump Trial Heads to Verdict

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    Former President Donald Trump’s criminal trial is nearing an end, with closing arguments beginning on May 28. Here’s what you need to know to catch up with the case.

    What Are the Charges?

    Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg charged President Trump with 34 counts of falsifying business records in the first degree, a Class E felony.

    The former president was charged under the statute New York Business Law 175.10, which states, “A person is guilty of falsifying business records in the first degree when he commits the crime of falsifying business records in the second degree, and when his intent to defraud includes an intent to commit another crime or to aid or conceal the commission thereof.”

    The second crime in this case was the alleged violation of New York Election Law 17-152: “Conspiracy to promote or prevent election. Any two or more persons who conspire to promote or prevent the election of any person to a public office by unlawful means and which conspiracy is acted upon by one or more of the parties thereto, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.”

    The 34 records in this case consist of 11 checks cut to Michael Cohen, a former personal attorney to President Trump, and the corresponding vouchers and invoices. Prosecutors allege that these payments, categorized as legal expenses, were reimbursement for money Mr. Cohen paid to Stephanie Clifford, better known as adult actress Stormy Daniels, as part of a scheme to influence the 2016 elections.

    In order to prove their case, prosecutors need to show that President Trump had the intent to defraud—more specifically, the intent to conceal the alleged conspiracy—when causing the creation of the business records.

    Who Testified?

    David Pecker, former head of American Media Inc. (AMI) and publisher of the National Enquirer, was the first to take the witness stand.

    Over several days, he outlined an agreement with Mr. Trump and collaboration with Mr. Cohen as AMI purchased two stories that Mr. Pecker believed would harm the 2016 Trump campaign. Neither of the two deals Mr. Pecker was involved in are related to the current charges, but prosecutors argued that they provide important context and evidence of a conspiracy.

    Next, longtime Trump assistant Rhona Graff testified, affirming that she had entered contact information for key people in the case into her contact management system, offering evidence that Mr. Trump was in touch with alleged co-conspirators.

    Then, Gary Farro, a banker formerly with First Republic Bank, took the witness stand to confirm the creation of accounts for Mr. Cohen’s LLCs and a $131,000 wire transfer.

    Robert Browning, executive director of the C-SPAN Archives, took the witness stand to allow into evidence several video clips of President Trump’s campaigning. Philip Thompson, a regional director at Esquire Deposition Solutions, testified to the authenticity of a deposition transcript from another Trump case.

    Lawyer Keith Davidson testified next, detailing his representation of Karen McDougal and later Ms. Clifford and his dealings with Mr. Cohen to complete a settlement contract for Ms. Clifford. Several revealing texts were entered into evidence throughout his testimony, showing exchanges between Mr. Davidson and others.

    Then, two members of the district attorney’s office were called to the witness stand. Forensic analyst Doug Daus had reviewed Mr. Cohen’s cell phones, and through his testimony, phone records were admitted into evidence. Paralegal Georgia Longstreet had reviewed President Trump’s social media posts, and several were entered into the record, including ones depicting a change in attitude toward Mr. Cohen.

    Next, Hope Hicks, former Trump campaign communications director, testified and affirmed then-candidate Trump’s schedule on key dates, allowing into evidence emails exchanged within the Trump campaign.

    Jeffrey McConney, former Trump Organization comptroller, testified about his oversight of the process of accepting and processing Mr. Cohen’s invoices, which Mr. McConney categorized as legal expenses, allowing into evidence email exchanges about the payments. Deb Tarasoff, a bookkeeper for The Trump Organization who worked under Mr. McConney, testified that she processed these invoices, cutting the checks that Mr. Trump ultimately signed.

    Sally Franklin with Random House was then called to the witness stand to read into the record several excerpts from Trump books on life and business advice. Later during the trial, Tracey Menzies with Harper Collins read into the records excerpts from other Trump books.

    When Ms. Clifford took the witness stand, it was in a crowded courthouse. Ms. Clifford, whom the judge described as a “difficult to control” witness, gave salacious details in her testimony that led to the defense calling for a mistrial, which the judge denied on the basis that the issues could be resolved during cross-examination.

    Next, Trump Organization employee Rebecca Manochio testified that she shipped checks from Trump Tower to Washington for President Trump to sign in 2017. Former Oval Office Director of Operations Madeleine Westerhout testified that she saw President Trump signing checks, which had been sent through FedEx to bodyguard Keith Schiller and later herself.

    Daniel Dixon with AT&T and Jennie Tomalin with Verizon testified to the authenticity of phone records that were then entered into evidence. Paralegal Jaden Jarmell-Schneider, with the district attorney’s office, created summary charts of records from Mr. Cohen’s phone that the prosecutors believed relevant to the case.

    Finally, Mr. Cohen testified as the final witness for the prosecutors, with testimony lasting a week.

    The defense called few witnesses. Paralegal Danny Sitko, with defense attorney Todd Blanche’s office, had created summary charts of phone records between Mr. Cohen and attorney Robert Costello. Mr. Costello’s testimony refuted claims that Mr. Cohen made that Mr. Costello was meant to keep tabs on him for Rudy Giuliani, who later became an attorney to President Trump.

    Who Didn’t Testify?

    Two people frequently mentioned in testimony were unavailable to the court. The first, Dylan Howard, chief content officer for AMI, initially brought the Clifford deal to the attention of Mr. Pecker and Mr. Cohen. Mr. Howard facilitated the purchase of the three stories mentioned at trial and received and sent many texts shown in court exchanged between him and Mr. Davidson and Mr. Cohen. Mr. Howard now lives in Australia and is unable to travel because of a serious health condition.

    Also unavailable was Allen Weisselberg, who is currently serving a five-month prison sentence for committing perjury in a separate civil fraud case that went to trial last fall. Mr. Weisselberg, former chief financial officer of The Trump Organization, came up with the idea to pay Mr. Cohen $420,000. Mr. Cohen could not testify as to why his reimbursement request for $130,000 was grossed up to $420,000, saying that he “just wanted to get my money back.”

    Mr. Cohen also testified that Mr. Weisselberg requested that he call the payments legal expenses, when Mr. Cohen believed that they were not. Mr. Cohen testified that then-candidate Trump was fully briefed on these issues. President Trump didn’t take the witness stand.

    Why Didn’t Trump Testify?

    In a WABC Radio interview on May 22, President Trump said Justice Juan Merchan had “made rulings that [make] it very difficult to testify.”

    Before the trial, President Trump had made multiple public statements that he was willing to testify in all of his criminal cases. However, Justice Merchan issued a number of rulings leading up to the trial that were intended to prevent President Trump from repeating on the record the messages he often shared just outside the courtroom.

    The defense is barred from making arguments that the case was timed for election interference or that other agencies didn’t want the case but the district attorney picked it up because of political pressure, relying on a tell-all book from a prosecutor who claimed that he left the district attorney’s office in protest when they didn’t indict President Trump. The former president is also prohibited from arguing that he relied on the advice of his then-attorney Mr. Cohen, as the defense opted not to use an advice-of-counsel defense.

    “The other reason is because they have no case,” President Trump said during the WABC interview. “In other words, why testify when they have no case. … There’s no crime.”

    Will the Case Reach the Jury?

    Defense attorneys made two requests for the judge to make a significant decision before turning things over to the jury: to dismiss the case or to find Mr. Cohen’s testimony not credible.

    Justice Merchan is likely to issue a quick ruling on the motion, as he already instructed jurors to be present for closing arguments after the long weekend.

    What Happens Next?

    Justice Merchan asked jurors to prepare for a long day on May 28 following Memorial Day.

    Summations from both sides are expected to last the whole day, and the judge said his instructions to the jury would take an hour.

    Prosecutors will sum up their case by reminding jurors of what they believe is the most compelling evidence. But for the defense, especially having called only two witnesses, this will be a key moment to present their own narrative.

    Defense attorneys are expected to argue that nothing criminal occurred, as the nondisclosure agreements are legal, as is the payment of an attorney for legal services, and that the promotion of a person in an election through lawful means is not a crime.

    On May 21, the judge held a charge conference with attorneys, who debated over what language would be used to instruct jurors on the applicable laws and their interpretation.

    In some cases in which Justice Merchan rejected the attorneys’ proposed language, he said they could argue those points at summations on May 28.

    The charge conference allowed both parties to present to the judge arguments about why certain language would prejudice their side, allowing the judge to put together an instruction script that avoids such prejudice. How the judge delivers this interpretation of the law will inevitably influence the jury’s decision.

    Should jurors be instructed that President Trump needed to have “willfully” concealed intent to defraud? Should the instructions include an example explaining that a legal expense might not classify as a campaign expenditure? Should jurors be told up front all the things prosecutors are not required to show?

    Should jurors be given an example of what it means “to cause a false entry to be made”?

    The jurors will work on May 29, when previously they have taken Wednesdays off, to begin deliberations while closing arguments are still fresh in their minds.

    The jury’s job is to determine the facts of this case and decide whether those actions violated the law.

    If the 12 jurors don’t come to a unanimous decision, the case will end in a mistrial.

    There is no set time in which the jurors are required to return their verdict; a decision could be returned the same day or even take weeks.

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    NBA Legend Bill Walton Dies at 71

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    Bill Walton, a college basketball icon, former NBA MVP and Hall of Famer who then became a legendary broadcaster, died from cancer Monday surrounded by family, the league announced.

    He was 71 years old.

    “Bill Walton was truly one of a kind,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement.

    Walton starred at UCLA under John Wooden before being selected No. 1 overall in the 1974 NBA Draft, where he embarked on a career with the Trail Blazers, Clippers and Celtics across 10 seasons — with five seasons entirely lost to foot injuries mixed in.

    He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1993.

    Walton also had a long career as a broadcaster for CBS, NBC and ESPN.

    He initially joined ESPN in 2002 after 12 years at NBC to serve as their lead NBA analyst, and in 2012, he began calling games again with the network — this time as a college basketball analyst for Pac-12 broadcasts, where he became a figure symbolic of and connected with a league that held its final basketball games this year and final conference tournament this week with baseball.

    Walton, who won one NBA title with Portland and another with Boston, became known for his unique style of broadcasting, with bizarre and hilarious moments scattered throughout the games that often had little to do with the action on the court.

    There was the cupcake getting shoved into his mouth with a candle still burning.

    The collection of vibrant shirts.

    The camera with peanut butter that he licked.

    The easy-going nature — and so many other iconic moments while wearing a headset — that helped him mesh with a variety of play-by-play broadcasters.

    It all shaped the latest chapter in his legacy that didn’t even begin until after he retired from the NBA.

    “It’s very hard to put into words what he has meant to UCLA’s program, as well as his tremendous impact on college basketball,” UCLA head coach Mick Cronin said in a statement. Beyond his remarkable accomplishments as a player, it’s his relentless energy, enthusiasm for the game and unwavering candor that have been the hallmarks of his larger than life personality.”

    After Walton’s death was announced, memories, messages and iconic clips from Walton’s broadcasts were posted on X — with former players such as Julius Erving and former broadcasters such as Jason Benetti sharing tributes.

    Jay Bilas, a former Duke star who now serves as an ESPN college basketball analyst, said during a segment with the network that Walton might’ve been one of the greatest players to ever compete in college basketball.

    Walton had four sons — Nate, Adam, Chris and Luke, who has embarked on a coaching career and served as the head coach for the Lakers and Kings — and was also survived by his wife, Lori.

    “As a Hall of Fame player, he redefined the center position,” Silver continued in his statement. “His unique all-around skills made him a dominant force at UCLA and led to an NBA regular-season and Finals MVP, two NBA championships and a spot on the NBA’s 50th and 75th Anniversary Teams. Bill then translated his infectious enthusiasm and love for the game to broadcasting, where he delivered insightful and colorful commentary which entertained generations of basketball fans.

    “But what I will remember most about him was his zest for life. He was a regular presence at league events — always upbeat, smiling ear to ear and looking to share his wisdom and warmth. I treasured our close friendship, envied his boundless energy and admired the time he took with every person he encountered.”

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    Joe Biden Makes Surprise Nighttime Visit to Hunter’s Ex Days Before She Testifies in First Son’s Gun Trial

    Citizen Frank

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    President Biden made a surprise nighttime visit to the Delaware home of Hallie Biden on Sunday — just before she’s due to serve as one of the most important witnesses at first son Hunter Biden’s federal trial for alleged gun crimes.

    Biden stopped by Hallie’s home around 8 p.m. for a brief private talk eight days before the 54-year-old first son’s trial is scheduled to stand trial beginning June 3.

    Hallie dated Hunter at the time of his alleged gun crimes and is one of a dozen expected witnesses.

    She was married to the president’s son Beau Biden, who died in 2015 of brain cancer, before her relationship with his troubled younger brother.

    Prosecutors allege Hunter lied about his drug use on gun purchase forms and then briefly illegally possessed at least one weapon — which Hallie disposed of in a public dumpster in 2018.

    Although many commentators noted the awkward optics due to the looming trial, the visit came four days before the anniversary of Beau’s death.

    White House spokesman Andrew Bates told The Post that the president didn’t discuss the trial with Hallie Biden during the visit.

    “No,” he replied. “He visited her because of the approaching 9th anniversary of Beau’s passing.”

    The first son faces the possibility of prison time in his first of two scheduled criminal trials.

    Hunter is also set to stand trial in Los Angeles in September for allegedly failing to pay more than $1.4 million in federal taxes from 2016-2019.

    The pair of criminal trials follow an alleged Justice Department coverup to shield the Biden family from liability for foreign business dealings in which Joe Biden played a recurring role.

    Hunter agreed to a probation-only plea deal to the gun and tax crimes last June, but walked away from the “sweetheart” bargain at a July court hearing at which his attorneys demanded broad immunity of past conduct, including violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act, which could implicate his father.

    The 81-year-old president, an attorney and former law school instructor, has boasted of his past legal exploits — with the serial embellisher telling Howard Stern last month that as a young lawyer he had worked on “a couple murder cases,” though none are publicly known.

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    Mike Tyson Suffers Medical Emergency on Plane to Los Angeles

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    Boxing legend Mike Tyson had a medical scare, becoming nauseous and dizzy on a flight from Miami to Los Angeles on Sunday, his representatives told the New York Post.

    However, his team says the 57-year-old is “doing great” after the incident that occurred just before landing.

    “He became nauseous and dizzy due to an ulcer flare up 30 minutes before landing,” his representatives said in an email to The Post. “He is appreciative to the medical staff that were there to help him.”

    In Touch Weekly was first to report Tyson’s scare, which they categorized as a “medical emergency.”

    “Mike had some kind of medical emergency on the plane and paramedics boarded,” a source told In Touch Weekly. “Before the paramedics arrived, the flight issued an announcement asking for a doctor – the message even came on everyone’s screens.”

    That could certainly be a scary moment for all those involved who were unaware of what Tyson was going through. Luckily, it appears Tyson is doing much better.

    The medical scare reportedly delayed passengers from leaving the plane for 25 minutes.

    “He was in first class, but we were in an exit row and the stewardess was very chatty,” a source told In Touch Weekly. “They asked us to stay on the plane and landed, so paramedics could enter. She said something like, ‘He’s a really important passenger so we wanna make sure he’s OK.’ I knew it was him, but I just mouthed the words ‘Mike Tyson,’ and she nodded her head yes.”

    This scare for Tyson comes before his fight with Jake Paul, the YouTuber-turned-boxer, on July 20 at AT&T Stadium. The fight was sanctioned, meaning this will count toward both boxers’ professional records.

    There are some who have questioned whether Tyson can physically get back in the ring again. He will turn 58 years old next month (June 30), and he openly said his body feels like “s— right now” with soreness, during a press conference for the fight earlier this month.

    But, while he’s honest about how his body feels training for the fight, Tyson’s signature confidence has also been on display.

    “He’s going to knock me out? Anderson Silva. He couldn’t even knock out the little guys, how’s he going to knock me out?” Tyson said, while previously bringing up Paul’s fight with Nate Diaz as well

    “He never knocked out a real man, come on. He didn’t knock out Tommy Fury. I’m going to f— Jake up.”

    Meanwhile, Paul, 27, has oozed confidence throughout the press tour thus far.

    “I’m going to show the world that I can outbox Mike Tyson, prove everyone wrong, and show that I will be the one doing the killing,” Paul said in Brooklyn at the Barclays Center.

    The last time Tyson was in a boxing ring for a fight was an exhibition against Roy Jones Jr. in November 2020, which resulted in a draw. Tyson last fought in a sanctioned fight in June 2005.

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