Left-Wing Media Outlet Vox Announces Mass Layoffs, Union ‘Furious’
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Leftist media outlet Vox announced layoffs that will impact 7% of employees as other companies in the sector implement similar measures.

Vox CEO Jim Bankoff said in a note to staff members obtained by Axios that several teams across the company’s revenue, editorial, and operations departments will be impacted by the dismissals. The company, which executed two less severe layoffs last year, currently employs some 1,900 people, indicating that roughly 130 could lose their jobs.

“Unfortunately, in this economic climate, we’re not able to sustain projects and areas of the business that have not performed as anticipated, are less core to where we see the biggest opportunities in the coming years, or where we don’t have enough rationale to support ongoing investment in what could be a prolonged downturn,” Bankoff said.

The Vox Media Union announced that some of its members were affected by the dismissals. “We’re furious at the way the company has approached these layoffs, and are currently discussing how to best serve those who just lost their jobs,” the group said on social media.

The News Guild of New York added that layoffs related to the “poor economic climate” never mention “bloated executive salaries or millions spent on stock buybacks,” remarking that the layoffs at Vox and other outlets undermine “the essential work of their employees.”

Bankoff said in the note that the company does not expect further layoffs, but will “keep a tight control on expenses and consider implementing other cost savings measures as needed.”

The layoffs follow other reductions in headcount from leading companies in the media and entertainment industry. CNN CEO Christ Licht initiated hundreds of dismissals last month and ended live programming on cable channel HLN. In a memo to employees, Licht said that the goal of the strategic review that led to the dismissals was to “better align our people, processes and resources with our future priorities, strengthen our ability to deliver on CNN’s core journalistic mission and enable us to innovate in the years ahead.”

Washington Post CEO Fred Ryan likewise told employees at a recent town hall meeting that the outlet cannot “keep spending on initiatives that no longer align with readers’ interests.” Viral footage from the event showed several employees complaining about the job losses, prompting Ryan to add that he would not allow the meeting to devolve into a “grievance session.”

The outlet could increase overall headcount in the near future as the company shifts resources toward new verticals; The Washington Post Guild nevertheless lambasted Ryan for dismissing features and magazine employees without offering them “jobs elsewhere in the newsroom.”

Layoffs at prominent legacy media outlets also come as companies in the technology sector dismiss thousands of employees. Microsoft, Google, and Amazon revealed their intentions to reduce headcount by a combined 40,000 workers over the past few weeks.

Reporters asked White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre earlier this week about the layoffs and whether they present a bad omen for overall economic growth. “I don’t have a comment on specific moves announced by particular companies,” she responded. “As you know, we’re very careful from here talking about private companies. But more broadly speaking, layoffs remain near record lows according to job openings data.”

Read 8 Comments
  • Gail Honadle says:

    BIDEN DEPRESSION 2 HITS MSM, NOT HARD ENOUGH, 40,000 between Amazon, Google and Microsoft, 900 CVS stores closing, Bed, Bath and Beyond, many small busineses. And Mexican cheaper egg smuggling is up 180% Along with dope smuggling. Support stores will lose jobs too.

  • Gail Honadle says:

    The only bad thing is they will want Taxpayer Unemployment.

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    Trump Lawyers in Classified Documents Case Resign



    Two lawyers who represented Donald Trump in the months before the former president was indicted on federal charges over his handling of classified documents resigned Friday morning.

    The attorneys, Jim Trusty and John Rowley, did not explain in detail why they had resigned, other than to say in a joint statement that “this is a logical moment” to do so given his indictment Thursday in U.S. District Court in Miami.

    Trusty and Rowley also said they will no longer represent Trump in a pending federal criminal probe into his alleged efforts to overturn Georgia’s 2020 election results.

    Trusty had made multiple appearances on television news shows Thursday evening and Friday morning to discuss the indictment of Trump in his capacity as his lawyer.

    Trump first announced the two lawyers were leaving his cases in a post on his Truth Social platform.

    He said he would now be represented by Todd Blanche, a New York lawyer who is representing him in another criminal case in Manhattan Supreme Court.

    Trump is charged there in a state grand jury indictment with falsifying business records related to a hush money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels shortly before the 2016 presidential election.

    He has pleaded not guilty in that case.

    “We will be announcing additional lawyers in the coming days,” wrote Trump, who is due to appear Tuesday in Miami court on the indictment charging him with several crimes.

    Trump is charged over his retention of hundreds of classified government documents at his residence at his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida, after he left the White House, as well as with obstruction for his failure to return those records in the face of demands from U.S. officials.

    In a joint statement, Trusty and Rowley wrote: “This morning we tendered our resignations as counsel to President Trump, and we will no longer represent him on either the indicted case or the January 6 investigation.”

    “It has been an honor to have spent the last year defending him, and we know he will be vindicated in his battle against the Biden Administration’s partisan weaponization of the American justice system,” the attorneys said.

    “Now that the case has been filed in Miami, this is a logical moment for us to step aside and let others carry the cases through to completion,” they wrote. “We have no plans to hold media appearances that address our withdrawals or any other confidential communications we’ve had with the President or his legal team.

    Go deeper ( 2 min. read ) ➝


    Here Are the 7 Charges Trump is Facing in Classified Documents Indictment



    The federal indictment lodged against former president Donald Trump includes seven charges that carry a maximum 75-year prison sentence if convicted on all counts.

    Trump was indicted by a federal grand jury Thursday on criminal charges relating to his alleged mishandling of classified White House documents that were recovered at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida and allegations he tried to obstruct the government’s attempts to retrieve them.

    The charges against Trump include: willfully retaining the national defense documents, conspiring to obstruct justice, withholding the documents, corruptly concealing the records, concealing a document in a federal investigation, scheming to conceal and making false statements, sources told ABC News.

    All seven charges “break out from an Espionage Act charge,” his lawyer Jim Trusty confirmed to CNN.

    “It does have some language in it that suggests what the seven charges would be. Not 100% clear that all of those are separate charges, but they basically break out from an Espionage Act charge,” Trusty said.

    Each charge could carry a prison sentence.

    Retaining classified documents

    Trump is accused of hoarding hundreds of classified materials inside his Palm Beach resort that were recovered in two separate FBI raids last year.

    He claimed he declassified everything that came from the White House.

    A section of the Espionage Act prohibits any individual — including the president — from “willfully retain[ing]” national defense information and “fail[ing] to deliver it to the officer or employee of the United States entitled to receive it.”

    The statute carries a maximum sentence of 10 years and/or a fine.

    Conspiring to obstruct justice

    The ex-commander-in-chief is accused of telling others to mislead government officials while they were working on gathering the classified documents in his possession, a crime that would constitute an obstruction of justice charge.

    Federal law prohibits anyone from making “threats or force” that would “influence, intimidate, or impede” any US officials from conducting their work.

    The statute carries a maximum sentence of 10 years and/or a fine.

    Withholding a document or record

    Investigators allege that Trump purposely leafed through some of the boxes of top-secret government documents in an apparent effort to retain some of the material.

    Similar to the Espionage Act charge, the unauthorized removal and retention of classified documents or material charge prohibits an individual from “knowingly removing such documents or materials without authority and with the intent to retain such documents or materials at an unauthorized location.”

    The statute carries a maximum sentence of 5 years and/or a fine.

    Corruptly concealing a document or record

    The corruptly concealing a document charge includes language for both threatening others to mislead a federal investigation and illegally retaining classified documents, both of which Trump is accused of doing.

    The charge targets “whoever corruptly alters, destroys, mutilates, or conceals a record, document, or other objects, or attempts to do so, with the intent to impair the object’s integrity or availability for use in an official proceeding; or otherwise obstructs, influences, or impedes any official proceeding, or attempts to do so.”

    The charge carries one of the heftiest sentences — Trump could face a 20-year punishment and/or a fine.

    Concealing a document in a federal investigation

    Trump could face another two decades if convicted of purposefully hiding the classified documents while federal investigators were searching for them inside his private residences last year.

    “Whoever tampers with evidence, such as by altering, destroying, or concealing a record, document or other tangible objects with an intent to obstruct or impede a court proceeding can be punished,” according to the statute.

    The statute carries a maximum sentence of 20 years and/or a fine.

    Scheme to conceal

    Trump is accused of knowingly hiding the classified documents while and immediately after serving within the “executive, legislative, or judicial branch of the Government of the United States,” according to the statute.

    The statute carries a maximum sentence of 5 years and/or a fine.

    If found to have been involved in domestic terrorism, the charge could land Trump an 8-year sentence.

    False statements and representations

    Finally, for allegedly lying about keeping top-secret government papers inside his private home, Trump could face charges for making false statements and representations.

    The statute carries a maximum sentence of 5 years and/or a fine.

    If convicted on all seven charges, the ex-president could face a 75-year prison sentence.

    Go deeper ( 3 min. read ) ➝


    Trump-Appointed Judge Who Issued Rulings Favorable to Him Assigned to Oversee Case



    A Trump-appointed Florida federal judge who previously selected a special master in the FBI’s Mar-a-Lago investigation might now oversee the criminal case brought against former President Donald Trump by special counsel Jack Smith.

    Judge Aileen Cannon, a district court judge in Florida who gave Trump a temporary win when she appointed Judge Raymond Dearie to be the special master in the Mar-a-Lago saga in September, has been assigned to oversee the criminal case against Trump in southern Florida, according to multiple outlets. Dearie was picked by Cannon to be the short-lived special master after his name was put forward by Trump.

    Trump revealed Thursday evening that Smith, who was hand-picked by Attorney General Merrick Garland, had informed him he was being indicted related to his alleged mishandling of classified records and that he had been summoned to appear in a Miami federal courthouse on Tuesday afternoon.

    Cannon was nominated by Trump to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida in May 2020, and she was confirmed by the Senate in November 2020. If she remains the overseer of Trump’s criminal case, this means she could oversee a jury trial and be empowered to decide what prison sentence Trump would receive if convicted.

    Cannon ruled in September that she “temporarily enjoins the Government from reviewing and using the seized materials for investigative purposes pending completion of the special master’s review or further Court order.”

    She said at the time that her ruling “shall not impede” the classification review and intelligence assessment being conducted by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence related to the records seized in the FBI’s unprecedented August raid of Trump’s Florida resort home. Nevertheless, an ODNI spokesperson told the Washington Examiner in September it had “paused” the classification review following consultation with federal prosecutors.

    Cannon’s own pause on the DOJ’s use of classified documents was then reversed by an appeals court later in September, and the entire special master process was tossed out by a higher court in December.

    Trump said he had been summoned to appear at the federal courthouse in Miami on Tuesday at 3 p.m. The former president is believed to face at least seven criminal charges, although the indictment has not been unsealed.

    “The corrupt Biden Administration has informed my attorneys that I have been Indicted, seemingly over the Boxes Hoax,” Trump posted on his Truth Social social media site Thursday evening, declaring, “I AM AN INNOCENT MAN!”

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    DOJ Claims Tape Contains Trump’s Admission of Guilt — Transcript Released



    DOJ says former President Donald Trump was recorded in 2021 acknowledging that he had kept “secret” military documents from his time in office without first declassifying them.

    The tape has been obtained by federal prosecutors, who secured an indictment of Trump on charges including willful retention of national defense information after retrieving thousands of documents from his Mar-a-Lago resort.

    CNN obtained the transcript of a portion of the meeting where Trump is discussing a classified Pentagon document about attacking Iran:

    “As president, I could have declassified, but now I can’t,” Trump says, according to the transcript.

    “Secret. This is secret information. Look, look at this,” Trump says at one point, according to the transcript. “This was done by the military and given to me.”

    “Well, with Milley – uh, let me see that, I’ll show you an example. He said that I wanted to attack Iran. Isn’t that amazing? I have a big pile of papers, this thing just came up. Look. This was him,” Trump says, according to the transcript. “They presented me this – this is off the record, but – they presented me this. This was him. This was the Defense Department and him. We looked at some. This was him. This wasn’t done by me, this was him.”

    Trump continues: “All sorts of stuff – pages long, look. Wait a minute, let’s see here. I just found, isn’t that amazing? This totally wins my case, you know. Except it is like, highly confidential. Secret. This is secret information. Look, look at this.”

    Special Counsel Jack Smith indicted Trump on seven counts as part of an investigation into Trump’s mishandling of government documents after leaving the White House in January 2021.

    Trump’s attorney, Jim Trusty, told CNN Thursday night that the ex-commander-in-chief had received a summons to appear in Miami federal court on Tuesday afternoon.

    Trusty added the summons included references to a violation of the Espionage Act and charges of obstruction of justice, destruction or falsification of records and potentially conspiracy.

    “Again, this is not Biblically accurate because I’m not looking at a charging document,” he noted.

    It’s not clear whether any of the charges stem from the recorded July 2021 meeting.

    Trump has maintained that he declassified all documents he took with him when he began his post-presidential life at Mar-a-Lago.

    During the meeting, the former president apparently discussed “a four-page report” from the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley, which contained plans for an Iran strike involving massive numbers of US troops.

    Prosecutors in Smith’s office have reportedly questioned Milley as a witness for their investigation.

    A July 2021 article in The New Yorker quoted Milley as saying Trump wanted to move forward with the strike after the 2020 election, to which the general responded, “If you do this, you’re gonna have a f—king war.”

    But Trump blamed Milley the same month for having authored the military plan, according to the meeting transcript reported by CNN.

    “Well, with Milley — uh, let me see that, I’ll show you an example. He said that I wanted to attack Iran. Isn’t that amazing? I have a big pile of papers, this thing just came up. Look. This was him,” he said. “They presented me this — this is off the record, but — they presented me this. This was him. This was the Defense Department and him. We looked at some. This was him. This wasn’t done by me, this was him.”

    “All sorts of stuff — pages long, look. Wait a minute, let’s see here. I just found, isn’t that amazing? This totally wins my case, you know. Except it is like, highly confidential. Secret. This is secret information. Look, look at this,” Trump added.

    The meeting occurred at the former president’s golf resort in Bedminster, N.J., where staff and communications aide Margo Martin were discussing an autobiography of former chief of staff Mark Meadows.

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    Elon Musk, and Republicans Respond to Trump Indictment



    Top Republicans and conservatives from around the country were outraged on Thursday in response to the news that former President Donald Trump had been indicted.

    A federal grand jury in Florida reportedly indicted the former president on seven charges in the criminal investigation into his handling of classified material after leaving office. While no one has seen the charges, reports indicated that they range from willful retention of national defense information, conspiracy to obstruct justice, and false statements.

    Elon Musk

    Twitter owner Elon Musk responded, “There does seem to be far higher interest in pursuing Trump compared to other people in politics.”

    “Very important that the justice system rebut what appears to be differential enforcement or they will lose public trust,” Musk continued.

    Ron DeSantis

    “The weaponization of federal law enforcement represents a mortal threat to a free society,” DeSantis, who is also running for president, said in a statement. “We have for years witnessed an uneven application of the law depending upon political affiliation.”

    “Why so zealous in pursuing Trump yet so passive about Hillary or Hunter?” he continued. “The DeSantis administration will bring accountability to the DOJ, excise political bias and end weaponization once and for all.”

    Kevin McCarthy

    House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) said that it was a “dark day for the United States of America” and added that House Republicans would “hold this brazen weaponization of power accountable.”

    Ted Cruz

    Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) responded: “Indicting Donald Trump is the culmination of what Merrick Garland has been pushing for since he became Attorney General. The weaponization of our Department of Justice against enemies of the Biden admin[istration] will do enormous damage to the rule of law & have a lasting impact.”

    Mike Pence

    “I’m deeply troubled to see this indictment move forward,” Pence said in an interview to conservative talk radio host Hugh Hewitt. “Yesterday on the road in Iowa, I had said I had hoped that the DOJ would see it’s way clearer not to move forward here. But let me be very clear: No one is above the law.”

    Mitt Romney

    “Mr. Trump brought these charges upon himself by not only taking classified documents, but by refusing to simply return them when given numerous opportunities to do so. These allegations are serious and if proven, would be consistent with his other actions offensive to the national interest, such as withholding defensive weapons from Ukraine for political reasons and failing to defend the Capitol from violent attack and insurrection.”

    Go deeper ( 2 min. read ) ➝


    WATCH: DeSantis Attack Ad Uses Fake AI Images of Trump Hugging Fauci



    An attack ad released by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ presidential campaign used AI-generated images of former President Donald Trump hugging Dr. Anthony Fauci.

    AFP reported Wednesday that three of the images in the 44-second attack ad are fakes.

    As audio of Trump explaining why he never fired Fauci plays, a collage of six images of the two men together are shown – with three real pictures and three deep fakes.

    The words ‘Real Life Trump’ were placed over the collage.

    ‘It was sneaky to intermix what appears to be authentic photos with fake photos, but these three images are almost certainly AI generated,’ Hany Farid, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley and expert in digital forensics, misinformation and image analysis told AFP.

    Farid and two other experts interviewed by AFP noted that the images had unusual characteristics, which often expose photos as being AI creations.

    ‘These images contain many signs indicating that they were AI-generated,’ Matthew Stamm, an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at Drexel University, who specializes in detecting falsified images and videos, told AFP.

    Trump’s hair, Stamm said, gave it away.

    ‘For example, if you look closely at Donald Trump’s hair in the top-left, bottom-middle, and bottom-right images, you can see that it contains inconsistent textures and is significantly blurrier than other nearby content such as his ears or other regions of his face,’ he said.

    The photo on the upper lefthand side of the collage also appears to show Trump kissing Fauci on the face in the White House briefing room.

    However, on closer inspection, the words behind the two men are jibberish – and not ‘The White House: Washington’ – what a real photo would show.

    Instead a back-and-forth over the use of the images played out on Twitter.


    DeSantis’ Rapid Response Director Christina Pushaw tweeted out Thursday a Truth Social post from Trump that showed DeSantis riding a rhinoceros.

    A RINO – a ‘Republican in name only’ – is a dig against Republicans who are too moderate or not aligned enough with Trump.

    ‘I think this might be an AI-generated image. Who knows?’ Pushaw commented about the clearly fake image.

    Matt Wolking, a spokesperson for the Never Back Down PAC, which is supporting DeSantis, told The Verge that the Trump campaign’s use of deepfakes has been more problematic.

    ‘No campaign has pushed more misleading deepfakes, false photoshops, and outright fabrications than the Trump campaign,’ Wolking said. ‘It is 100 percent true that Donald Trump empowered and embraced Fauci — he even gave him a presidential commendation,’ he added.

    Wolking declined to answer whether the DeSantis campaign used AI technology on the ad.

    ‘You’ll have to ask the campaign,’ he said.

    Trump spokesperson Jason Miller highlighted the reports about the images on Twitter Thursday.

    ‘DeSanctimonious!!!’ Miller exclaimed.

    Donald Trump Jr. responded directly to Pushaw’s rhino posting.

    ‘It’s also hilarious to watch the DeSantis campaign actually try to justify getting caught red-handed using Deep Fake images in their ad with the caption “real life Trump,” by comparing it to my dad posting a joke meme of Ron riding his favorite animal,’ Trump Jr. said.

    Go deeper ( 2 min. read ) ➝


    Las Vegas Police Bodycam Captures UFO — and Residents Claim to See Aliens



    Police bodycam footage has captured a suspected UFO sighting in Las Vegas after residents reported seeing ’10ft aliens with large shiny eyes.’

    A Vegas officer’s camera picked up the object at about 11:50 pm on April 30 after a resident reported something ‘100 percent not human’ on their property, local TV channel 8 News Now reported.

    The footage shows a bright blue ball of light travelling through the dark sky at speed.

    Approximately 39 minutes after the first call, another resident contacted 911, saying that there were two unknown entities in his backyard after he saw an object fall from the sky.

    ‘There’s like an 8-foot person beside it and another one is inside us [sic] and it has big eyes and it’s looking at us — and it’s still there,’ the homeowner told police in audio obtained by the TV channel.

    ‘In my backyard. I swear to God this is not a joke, this is actually — we’re terrified,’ the caller claimed.

    ‘They’re very large. They’re like 8 foot, 9 feet, 10 foot. They look like aliens to us. Big eyes. They have big eyes. Like, I can’t explain it. And big mouth. They’re shiny eyes and they’re not human. They’re 100 percent not human,’ he claimed.

    The responding officers expressed their trepidation at the odd events.

    ‘I’m so nervous right now,’ one officer can be heard telling his partner.

    ‘I have butterflies, bro — saw a shooting star and now these people say there’s aliens in their backyard.’

    ‘I don’t believe in it but what I saw right now, I do believe in it,’ one of the reported witnesses said to police.

    The area of the alleged sighting was searched and the witnesses interviewed but no new information was found.

    The LVPD has since closed the case, 8 News Now reported.

    It comes after a former intelligence officer turned whistleblower has recently claimed the US has a trove of parts and equipment from ‘non-human origin’ UFOs which have crash landed on earth.

    David Charles Grusch said the US and other nations are also engaged in top-secret operations that attempt to ‘reverse-engineer’ the pieces to create weapons.

    But Grusch also claims that the information has been illegally withheld from Congress as the government tried to hide the finds, which are involved in an ’80-year arms race’ to take advantage of the technology.

    He told The Debrief: ‘We are not talking about prosaic origins or identities. The material includes intact and partially intact vehicles.

    ‘The existence of complex historical programs involving the coordinated retrieval and study of exotic materials, dating back to the early 20th century, should no longer remain a secret.’

    Grusch, who served in Afghanistan and worked for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) and National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), has handed over details of the alleged operations to Congress and the Intelligence Community Inspector General.

    He has also filed a complaint against the Department of Defense and claims he’s been ostracized for his decision to blow the whistle.

    The 36-year-old worked on the Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force from 2019-2021.

    Go deeper ( 2 min. read ) ➝


    Asian-American Teen Who Could End Affirmative Action in Supreme Court



    An Asian-American teenager who could help end affirmative action has been pictured for the first time, as he spoke out against racist discrimination he says he suffered.

    Jon Wang, 18, got a 1590 on his SAT and a 4.65 high school grade point average but was rejected by six top schools.

    He is one of the plaintiffs in a Supreme Court case seeking to end the practice over claims it unfairly discriminates against high-performing Asian Americans.

    In January, the high court said it will take up lawsuits from anti-affirmative action group Students For Fair Admission claiming that Harvard University, a private institution, and the University of North Carolina, a state school, discriminate against Asian American applicants.

    The suits claim that affirmative action – policies meant to favor members of historically disadvantaged groups – gives an edge to African Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans over Asian students.

    A decision against the schools could mean the end of that practice and disregard race altogether in college admissions. Wang has sued a public and private college in the hopes of having the practice struck down at all universities nationwide.

    He said despite his terrific scores – and a perfect score on his math SAT – he was rejected by Harvard, as well as MIT, CalTech, Princeton, Carnegie-Mellon and UC Berkeley.

    Wang, who has come forward to speak for the first time alleges he was warned in advance that it’s ‘gospel’ that it’s ‘tougher to get in, especially as an Asian American’ by friends and guidance counselors.

    Wang’s parents are both immigrants from China and said he felt pressure about advocating for himself publicly.

    ‘I was scared of getting backlash on social media for it,’ Wang told Fox News. ‘For fighting for what I think is a really important issue.’

    Students for Fair Admissions, Wang said, were willing to be honest with him about his chances and about how he was being discriminated against.

    ‘I gave them my test scores, and then they must’ve ran the model on that… [they] told me I had a 20 percent chance of getting accepted to Harvard as an Asian American and a 95 percent chance as an African American,’ he said.

    Wang now attends Georgia Tech and has no worries with potential backlash for his future career.

    ‘I feel like, if I’m looking back, 10 or 20 years from now, if I didn’t do it [speak up], I’d be pretty upset with myself,’ said Wang.

    The Supreme Court’s decision to take up the case was praised by Republicans in Congress but criticized by others who say abolishing affirmative action is removing a guardrail against inequality.

    Lower courts had previously rejected the challenges to admissions practices, citing more than 40 years of Supreme Court rulings that allow colleges and universities to consider race in admissions decisions in a bid to admit more students from underrepresented backgrounds. But the colleges and universities must do so in a narrowly tailored way to promote diversity.

    The last time the issue came before the court was in 2016, when justices ruled in favor of the University of Texas and its admissions program in a 4-3 decision. That case had been brought by a white woman.

    But the court has undergone a massive shake-up since then that’s seen three conservative justices appointed to the bench by Donald Trump.

    Two members of 2016’s four-justice majority are gone from the court: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died in 2020, and Justice Anthony Kennedy retired in 2018.

    The three dissenters in the case, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, remain on the court.

    Roberts, who’s been known to side with the liberal justices on occasion as a moderating influence on the court, has also criticized using race as a major factor in public programs.

    ‘It is a sordid business, this divvying us up by race,’ he once wrote.

    Go deeper ( 3 min. read ) ➝


    Trump Indicted in Classified Docs Probe — Here’s Everything We Know



    Former President Donald Trump said Thursday that his legal team has been told he’s been indicted in an investigation into his handling of classified documents. Trump has been summoned to appear in federal court in Miami on Tuesday afternoon.


    The corrupt Biden Administration has informed my attorneys that I have been Indicted, seemingly over the Boxes Hoax, even though Joe Biden has 1850 Boxes at the University of Delaware, additional Boxes in Chinatown, D.C., with even more Boxes at the University of Pennsylvania, and documents strewn all over his garage floor where he parks his Corvette, and which is “secured” by only a garage door that is paper thin, and open much of the time.

    I have been summoned to appear at the Federal Courthouse in Miami on Tuesday, at 3 PM. I never thought it possible that such a thing could happen to a former President of the United States, who received far more votes than any sitting President in the History of our Country, and is currently leading, by far, all Candidates, both Democrat and Republican, in Polls of the 2024 Presidential Election. I AM AN INNOCENT MAN!

    This is indeed a DARK DAY for the United States of America. We are a Country in serious and rapid Decline, but together we will Make America Great Again!

    7 CHARGES:

    Trump has been charged with seven counts in the indictment, according to another source familiar with the matter.

    “We’re learning from our sources that there appears to be at least seven counts here. This ranges from everything from the willful retention of national defense information to conspiracy to a scheme to conceal to false statements and representations,” ABC News’ Katherine Faulders reported during a special report on the network.

    The reported charges break down into the following three categories, according to The New York Times:

    • Deliberate withholding of national defense secrets: Former President Donald Trump has been indicted on this charge, which involves the intentional act of not disclosing important information related to national defense. This charge likely falls under the purview of the Espionage Act, which deals with the protection of classified information.
    • Conspiracy to obstruct justice: Trump faces an indictment for conspiring to obstruct justice, indicating that he is accused of collaborating with others to impede or hinder the proper functioning of the justice system. It’s important to note that the charge of conspiracy to obstruct justice requires the involvement of at least two parties who work together to obstruct the legal process.
    • Issuance of false statements: Another charge outlined in the indictment is the alleged act of making false statements. This charge suggests that Trump is accused of intentionally providing inaccurate or misleading information to investigators. It is possible that this charge may also be considered a conspiracy charge, as it could require evidence of Trump and at least one other person agreeing to mislead investigators and taking overt actions to further that plan.


    Earlier today, dozens of out-of-town reporters, photographers and TV camera crews gathered in front of the downtown federal courthouse in hopes of getting a morsel of news from a secret grand jury which has been reviewing evidence in the Justice Department’s probe into Trump’s handling of classified materials at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach.


    Special counsel Jack Smith has been overseeing the investigation into Trump’s handling of classified documents since he was appointed to the role in November.

    Trump’s attorneys met earlier this week with Justice Department officials, including Smith. Experts widely viewed the meeting as a sign that Smith’s investigation was winding down.

    On May 6, 2021, the National Archives first alerted Trump that it was seeking approximately two dozen boxes of records be returned to it as required by the Presidential Records Act. The National Archives warned Trump in late 2021 that they could escalate the issue to prosecutors or Congress if he continued to refuse to hand over the documents. He was also warned by former Trump White House lawyer Eric Herschmann that he could face serious legal jeopardy if he did not comply.

    In January 2022, about 15 of the boxes were returned, at which time officials discovered there were hundreds of pages of classified material in the boxes. Federal law enforcement was notified of the discovery and later came to believe that there were more materials that had not been turned over, and a criminal investigation was subsequently launched.

    In May 2022, a federal grand jury issued a subpoena seeking additional classified documents and, a few weeks later, the DOJ visited Mar-a-Lago and Trump’s legal team signed a written statement claiming that all the classified material had been returned. Over the course of the summer, investigators interviewed members of Trump’s staff and subpoenaed surveillance footage from the property.

    On August 8, the FBI raided Mar-a-Lago recovered 27 boxes, 11 of which contained classified documents. Four sets were marked “Top Secret,” the highest level of classification the government can give information; three were marked “Secret,” the second-highest level, while another three were marked “Confidential,” the lowest classification level.  The remaining set was marked “Various classified/TS/SCI documents,” which is the abbreviation for “top secret/sensitive compartmented information,” a special category meant to protect the nation’s most important secrets — which if revealed publicly would harm US interests.


    House Speaker Kevin McCarthy: “It is unconscionable for a President to indict the leading candidate opposing him. Joe Biden kept classified documents for decades. I, and every American who believes in the rule of law, stand with President Trump against this grave injustice. House Republicans will hold this brazen weaponization of power accountable.”

    Rep. Jim Jordan: “Sad day for America. God Bless President Trump/”

    Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy: “We cannot devolve into a banana republic where the party in power uses police force to arrest its political opponents. It’s hypocritical for the DOJ to selectively prosecute Trump but not Biden.”

    Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene: “Ultimately the biggest hypocrisy in modern day history,” she wrote on Twitter. “A complete and total failure to the American people. A stain on our nation that the FBI and DOJ are so corrupt and they don’t even hide it anymore.”

    Rep. Matt Gaetz: “Imagine being naive enough to believe that the Biden Bribe evidence and Trump indictment happening the same day was a coincidence.”

    Go deeper ( 4 min. read ) ➝


    Details: Criminal Allegations Against Biden in FBI Document Revealed



    President Joe Biden was allegedly paid $5 million by an executive of the Ukrainian natural gas firm Burisma Holdings, where his son Hunter Biden sat on the board, a confidential human source told the FBI during a June 2020 interview, sources familiar told Fox News Digital.

    The sources briefed Fox News Digital on the contents of the FBI-generated FD-1023 form alleging a criminal bribery scheme between then-Vice President Joe Biden and a foreign national that involved influence over U.S. policy decisions.

    The FD-1023 form, dated June 30, 2020, is the FBI’s interview with a “highly credible” confidential source who detailed multiple meetings and conversations he or she had with a top Burisma executive over the course of several years, starting in 2015. Fox News Digital has not seen the form, but it was described by several sources who are aware of its contents.

    An FD-1023 form is used by FBI agents to record unverified reporting from confidential human sources. The form is used to document information as told to an FBI agent, but recording that information does not validate or weigh it against other information known by the FBI.

    The Burisma executive sought the advice of the confidential source, a business professional, on gaining U.S. oil rights and getting involved with a U.S. oil company, the sources familiar with the document said. The Burisma executive was speaking with the confidential source to “get advice on the best way to go forward” in 2015 and 2016.

    According to the FD-1023 form, the confidential human source said the Burisma executive discussed Hunter’s role on the board. The confidential human source questioned why the Burisma executive needed his or her advice in acquiring access to U.S. oil if he had Hunter Biden on the board. The Burisma executive answered by referring to Hunter Biden as “dumb.”

    The Burisma executive explained to the confidential source that Burisma had to “pay the Bidens” because Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin was investigating Burisma, and explained how difficult it would be to enter the U.S. market in the midst of that investigation.

    The confidential source further detailed that conversation, suggesting to the Burisma executive that he “pay the Bidens $50,000 each,” to which the Burisma executive replied, it is “not $50,000,” it is “$5 million.”

    “$5 million for one Biden, $5 million for the other Biden,” the Burisma executive told the confidential human source, according to a source familiar with the document.

    A source familiar said according to the document, the $5 million payments appeared to reference a kind of “retainer” Burisma intended to pay the Bidens to deal with a number of issues, including the investigation led by Shokin. Another source referred to the arrangement as a “pay-to-play” scheme.

    Sources familiar told Fox News Digital that the confidential human source believes that the $5 million payment to Joe Biden and the $5 million payment to Hunter Biden occurred, based on his or her conversations with the Burisma executive.

    The confidential source said the Burisma executive told him he “paid” the Bidens in such a manner “through so many different bank accounts” that investigators would not be able to “unravel this for at least 10 years.”

    The document then makes reference to “the Big Guy,” which, has been said to be a reference to Joe Biden.

    The Burisma executive told the confidential source that he “didn’t pay the Big Guy directly.”

    Fox News Digital has learned that the confidential human source has been used by the FBI as a regular, reliable source of information since 2010 and has been paid approximately $200,000 by the bureau.

    Sources said the Burisma executive appears to be at a “very, very high level” of the company. One source familiar suggested the confidential source could be referring to the head of Burisma, Mykola Zlochevsky, but said the name of the Burisma executive is redacted in the document.

    Biden has acknowledged that when he was vice president, he successfully pressured Ukraine to fire prosecutor Viktor Shokin. At the time, Shokin was investigating Burisma Holdings, and at the time, Hunter had a highly-lucrative role on the board receiving thousands of dollars per month. The then-vice president threatened to withhold $1 billion of critical U.S. aid if Shokin was not fired.

    “I said, ‘You’re not getting the billion. I’m going to be leaving here in,’ I think it was about six hours. I looked at them and said: ‘I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money,’” Biden recalled telling then-Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. Biden recollected the conversation during an event for the Council on Foreign Relations in 2018.

    “Well, son of a bitch, he got fired,” Biden said during the event. “And they put in place someone who was solid at the time.”

    Biden allies maintain the then-vice president pushed for Shokin’s firing due to concerns the Ukrainian prosecutor went easy on corruption, and say that his firing, at the time, was the policy position of the U.S. and international community.

    In 2019, then-President Donald Trump, pressed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to launch investigations into the Biden family’s actions and business dealings in Ukraine —specifically Hunter Biden’s ventures with Ukrainian natural gas firm Burisma Holdings and Joe Biden’s successful effort to have Shokin ousted.

    Trump’s request was regarded by Democrats as a quid pro quo for millions in U.S. military aid to Ukraine had been frozen. Democrats also claimed Trump was meddling in the 2020 presidential election by asking a foreign leader to look into a Democratic political opponent.

    Trump was later impeached by the House of Representatives for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress — all stemming from the phone call and the question about the Bidens’ dealings. The Senate voted for acquittal in February 2020.

    The confidential source, according to the sources familiar with the FD-1023 form, told the Burisma executive he should “get away” from the Bidens and said the executive should “not want to be involved” with them.

    A source familiar with the document told Fox News Digital that the confidential human source goes on to detail a later conversation with the Burisma executive following the 2016 presidential election. The confidential source asked the Burisma executive if he was “upset” that Donald Trump won.

    The source said the Burisma executive told the confidential source that he was “an oracle,” referring to his or her advice to “get away” from the Bidens due to fears of potential investigations into their dealings.

    The House Oversight Committee had subpoenaed the FBI for the FD-1023 document. After a back-and-forth between the committee and the bureau, and amid threats of holding FBI Director Christopher Wray in contempt of Congress, the FBI allowed all committee members to view the document in a secure setting on Capitol Hill.

    The revelations of the document came after a whistleblower approached GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer, R-Ky., The whistleblower said the FBI was in possession of a document – the FD-1023 form dated June 30, 2020.

    Go deeper ( 4 min. read ) ➝


    Biden Responds to Bribery Scandal Allegations



    President Biden responded to questions Thursday about his alleged involvement in an international bribery scandal with a simple joke.

    “Where’s the money?” he quipped when asked by a reporter for his response to Rep. Nancy Mace, R-S.C., a member of the House Oversight Committee investigating the president, who said earlier in the day the allegations are “worse than has been reported so far.”

    “I’m joking. It’s a bunch of malarkey,” Biden added.


    Mace, who reviewed the FD-1023 document an FBI whistleblower said proved Biden’s participation in the bribery scandal, told Fox News Digital on Thursday there is “damning evidence the sitting President of the United States sold out his country in an ongoing bribery scheme.”

    House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer, R-Ky., and Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, were first approached by the whistleblower who said the FBI was in possession of the document, dated June 30, 2020, that explicitly detailed information provided by a confidential human source who alleged that Biden, while serving as vice president, was involved in a $5 million criminal bribery scheme with a foreign national in exchange for influence over policy decisions.

    After being subpoenaed for the document, FBI Director Christopher Wray on Monday allowed Comer and House Oversight Committee ranking member Jamie Raskin, D-Md., to view the document in a secure sensitive compartment information facility.

    The FBI agreed on Wednesday to allow the full Oversight Committee to view the document after Republicans on the committee threatened to hold Wray in contempt of Congress.

    The information in the document, according to the whistleblower, reveals “a precise description of how the alleged criminal scheme was employed as well as its purpose” and details an arrangement that involved an exchange of money for policy decisions.

    Go deeper ( 2 min. read ) ➝


    WATCH: Tucker Carlson Drops Episode #2



    Tucker Carlson warned viewers Thursday to “cling” to their “taboos” to fight back against the “people in charge.”

    Carlson’s second episode, “Cling to your taboos!” came out two days after the first episode released on Twitter on Tuesday. The Daily Caller co-founder began his new show, “Tucker on Twitter,” in June after departing from Fox News in April.

    In the newest episode, Carlson called on Americans to “cling” onto taboos as elites target people for crimes they cannot define.

    “When a crime has no definition, anyone can be guilty of it,” Carlson said. “It’s hard to relax in a country like that. The old system was better. Government operated on the basis of laws, not amorphous moral terror. Politicians couldn’t accuse you of something they couldn’t define. The legal code was straight forward. Child molestation was a crime. Having unfashionable opinions was not. Outside of the public sphere, the population mostly governed itself as it does in every society, and used taboos to do it.”

    “You knew what was allowed and what wasn’t because the rules didn’t change very often. The taboos were organic. They derived from collective experience and instinct. The two most reliable guides to life. They evolved for a reason. They still do. Our job at this point is to protect them, despite the hectoring and the nonstop hectoring from the people in charge,” he added.

    “So don’t let them talk you out of what you can smell. Don’t let them rationalize away your intuitive moral sense. Cling to your taboos like your life depends on them, because it does.”

    Carlson criticized left-wing politicians for targeting “white supremacy” and anyone asking questions about the 2020 presidential election while ignoring the threat of child pornography and pedophilia. He raised the reports of child predators take advantage of Instagram’s algorithms and networking.

    “So far this month, the FBI’s Washington field office has issued 11 press releases. Ten out of 11 have been about January 6th. Keep in mind that January 6th happened more than two-and-a-half years ago. Now you know why the Feds were ignoring kid touchers on Instagram. They’re too busy to respond. They’ve got much more important things to do, like finding white supremacists. White supremacists are America’s new child molesters. We’ve got zero tolerance for white supremacists because no one threatens the life of this country more than they do.”

    After citing President Joe Biden calling white supremacy “the most dangerous terrorist threat to our homeland,” Carlson mocked the current elites of being more concerned about white supremacy than Mexican drug cartels or a possible nuclear war with Russia, while being unable to define the term.

    He pointed to Emmanuel Cafferty, who was fired after being accused of making a white supremacy symbol with his knuckle in front of a Black Lives Matter protest. Cafferty said he did not know of any white supremacy symbol and simply just cracked his knuckle.


    Go deeper ( 2 min. read ) ➝


    J&J’s COVID Vaccine Taken by 19 Million Americans is Pulled by FDA



    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has revoked authorization of Johnson & Johnson’s Covid vaccine after it was paused over rare blood clot concerns, which sent demand plummeting.

    The move was not unexpected because J&J’s parent company Jannsen had requested that federal regulators at the FDA withdraw authorization for its vaccine after it was revealed that the last tranche of doses – about 12.5 million – had expired.

    As of year three of the Covid pandemic, nearly 231 million Americans have received either one J&J shot or two doses of an mRNA vaccine from Pfizer or Moderna.

    Vaccination fatigue has swept the US, with millions of Americans frustrated by the fact that a shot does not guarantee immunity from the virus but rather protects against severe illness, and all those who had planned on getting fully vaccinated are believed to have done so by now.

    With a renewed wave of demand for J&J’s single-dose vaccine highly unlikely, coupled with a beleaguered history of production hiccups and health concerns that severely eroded public trust, the pharmaceutical company has opted to step away from the Covid vaccine field.

    Citing ever-shrinking demand, J&J told the FDA it would not update formulations of its shot to confront emerging strains better, a step that Moderna and Pfizer took last year to address the devastating omicron variant.

    Dr Peter Marks, Director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research said: ‘Because FDA understands that… Janssen Biotech, Inc. has requested that FDA withdraw the EUA for the Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine, FDA has determined that it is appropriate to protect the public health or safety to revoke this authorization.’

    A fraction of Americans have received J&J’s vaccine compared to the other vaccines approved for use in the US.

    Nearly 367 million Americans have received a Pfizer shot while over 232 million have received a dose of Moderna’s vaccine. A paucity of the total shots administered in the US since early 2021 – just over 19 million – were made by J&J.

    Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine was plagued by controversy since it entered the market in February 2021. By that time, more than 2.1 million mRNA shots had already been administered and those from Pfizer and Moderna became the gold standard.

    Less than a month after the J&J vaccine was granted emergency use authorization from the FDA, it became mired in controversy over a small but growing number of severe blood clotting disorders called thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS) in people who got the shot.

    Thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome is a severe condition characterized by thrombosis formation, or blood clots, combined with thrombocytopenia, a severely low platelet count that hinders the body’s ability to stop a wound from bleeding.

    Symptoms of TTS, also known as Vaccine-induced prothrombotic immune thrombocytopenia (VIPIT) or vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT), typically come on between four and 42 days following vaccination.

    The FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a sweeping pause on administering the shots in April 2021, citing six cases of the rare clotting disorder.

    The agencies performed an investigation into the cases and re-assessed the risk-to-benefit ratio, concluding that they ‘have confidence that this vaccine is safe and effective in preventing COVID-19’ and that ‘the available data show that the vaccine’s known and potential benefits outweigh its known and potential risks in individuals 18 years of age and older.’

    Meanwhile, it had been revealed that the Baltimore-based Emergent BioSolutions manufacturing plant making the J&J vaccines had inadvertently ruined about 15 million doses after cross-contamination between that vaccine and a similar one from AstraZeneca meant for the UK.

    US regulators stripped Emergent of its responsibility to produce the AstraZeneca vaccine and granted J&J full control over the manufacturing process of its shots at the Baltimore plant. When all was said and done, J&J was ordered to toss out 60 million doses of its vaccine out of contamination concerns.

    Despite the federal government lifting the recommended pause on J&J’s shot after about a week and a half, the damage to its reputation had been done. Public trust in the single-dose vaccine eroded drastically and it soon became the object of derision.

    Comedy superstar Dave Chappelle, for instance, quipped that he chose the ‘third best option’ when it came time to get vaccinated, adding, ‘I’ll have what the homeless people are having.’

    The J&J vaccine was widely expected at first to be a boon for people experiencing homelessness and other disenfranchised people who could not guarantee to be able to get the requisite second shot of Moderna or Pfizer.

    One online jokester quipped, ‘Johnson and johnson made the temporary tattoo of vaccines,’ and another said: Johnson and Johnson is The Godfather Part 3 of vaccinations.’

    In December 2021, the panel of vaccine experts at the CDC voted to recommend the use of the Moderna and Pfizer mRNA vaccines over the J&J amid growing reports of TTS. They pointed out that the problem is rare, occurring in about one case in every 100,000 doses given to women aged 30 to 49, the group at highest risk for TTS.

    Subsequently, in May of 2022, the FDA limited its use to adults 18 and older who were unable to get an mRNA vaccine due to an allergy to it or lack of availability.

    Go deeper ( 3 min. read ) ➝


    Project Veritas Names New CEO



    Project Veritas has named Hannah Giles as its new CEO following the departure of its founder James O’Keefe.

    In a Thursday press release, titled “The Mission Continues,” the nonprofit known for its undercover investigations announced O’Keefe’s replacement, hailing Giles’ resume as an investigative journalist and businesswoman.

    “I’m honored to lead this amazing team at Project Veritas! We are more committed than ever to producing stories that expose the stubborn false narratives that plague our society,” Giles said in a tweet.

    Giles is known for her 2009 bombshell undercover investigation into the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), which she performed with her predecessor O’Keefe. Giles dressed up as a prostitute and went with O’Keefe to several ACORN offices, taking videos of ACORN employees assisting the journalists with tax evasion and other paperwork to run a fake child prostitution business. The footage appeared on television and resulted in the U.S. Government defunding ACORN and the organization disbanding.

    On the heels of the story, O’Keefe founded Project Veritas in 2010, placing its headquarters in Mamaroneck, New York. The nonprofit’s founder described Giles as a “national treasure” in his bestselling book Breakthrough.

    After the ACORN investigation, Giles founded the American Phoenix Foundation, training hundreds of college journalists across the country. She also owned C3 Strategies, a “community transformation consulting firm that grew to over 450 employees” under her stewardship. Giles stepped away to run a sustainable farm that was featured in several magazines.

    “With your support and my core vision on what needs to be done, Project Veritas will shine light into the darkest corners and will continue to resurrect great journalism,” Giles proclaimed in the announcement video.

    Project Veritas’ announcement comes months after a messy breakup with their founder O’Keefe. O’Keefe was accused by the nonprofit’s board in February of acting unprofessionally by “bullying staff.” In May, the non-profit sued its founder, alleging he started a competing company — O’Keefe Media Group — against his employment contract.

    After O’Keefe’s ouster, Project Veritas released a comprehensive investigation into several gender clinics across the country, exposing how these clinics were prescribing sex change medications to children as young as eight years old, transitioning minors without restrictions, and “cashing in on life-long patients.”

    Project Veritas’ investigation into the clinics prompted Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton to investigate the Dell Children’s Medical Center in Austin and the clinic ceasing transgender treatments on minors.

    Go deeper ( 2 min. read ) ➝


    CIA Roasted Over Pride Month Post



    The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) was roasted by social media users after it posted a Pride Month tribute on Twitter.

    In a tweet Thursday, the CIA said Pride Month is a time to recognize the agency’s “rich history” of “LGBTQ+ officers” and their work.

    “Pride Month is an occasion for all of us at the Agency to pay tribute to the rich history, community, and mission contributions of our LGBTQ+ officers,” the CIA tweeted.

    The tweet prompted immediate ridicule from social media users. Some commenters asked whether the post was real, attempting to make sure it was not from a CIA parody account.

    “Well this is wildly dystopian,” tweeted The Daily Wire podcast host Ben Shapiro.

    “In fairness to the CIA, ‘Pride’ is a massive psyop,” The Daily Wire host Michael Knowles tweeted.

    “Re-branding US foreign policy and the US intelligence agencies, including the CIA, as a crusade for LGBTQ2AI+ rights is a truly genius feat of marketing,” tweeted journalist Glenn Greenwald. “It’s one of the reasons – not the only – that US liberals now regards the CIA and US foreign policy as so benevolent.”

    “Can’t believe this is real,” tweeted Senator J.D. Vance (R-OH).

    “How is this not a parody account???” tweeted Donald Trump Jr., the son of former President Donald Trump.

    “The CIA is a woke spa, not a spy agency to protect America from foreign infiltration,” Fox News host Laura Ingraham tweeted.

    “This you?” tweeted Washington Free Beacon investigative reporter Chuck Ross, along with 1980 guidance from the CIA on “homosexual investigations.”

    The 43-year-old CIA document says “homosexual investigations” are extremely complex and sensitive.

    “One of the most common mistakes made by the average person is the conviction that he can recognize a homosexual on sight. This is similar to recognizing a Communist. The subject has a mental or emotional problem rather than a physical one,” the old guidance says.

    Lesbians and gay men were once unable to obtain security clearance to work in the CIA over concerns that they were a security risk because they were subject to blackmail. In 1995, former President Bill Clinton signed an executive order ending the practice of barring gay men and women from joining the CIA. Over the last decade, the CIA has begun actively recruiting people from those demographics.

    In the same Pride Month tweet, CIA said its 2023 theme for Pride Month is “WELCO-ME!” which stands for Wellness, Equity, LGBTQ+, Community, Openness, and “ME!”

    Several other government agencies have shared Pride Month messages on social media, including the Transportation Department, which is run by Pete Buttigieg, who recently adopted newborn twins with his husband.

    Go deeper ( 2 min. read ) ➝


    US Mom Kidnapped in Mexico — FBI Offers $20,000 Reward



    A US woman who was kidnapped in Mexico in February was heard desperately begging to be freed in a proof-of-life audio recording, according to her daughter, who tearfully appealed to President Biden and his Mexican counterpart for help.

    Maria del Carmen Lopez, 63, a US-Mexican dual citizen, was dragged from her home in Pueblo Nuevo, Colima state, on Feb. 9.

    Nearly four months later, the mom-of-seven, grandmother of 19, and great-grandmother of two remains missing, despite a $20,000 reward being offered for her safe return.

    Zonia Lopez, the kidnapped woman’s grown daughter, held a news conference in Los Angeles Wednesday, during which she revealed that the last time the family heard from her mom was eight weeks ago, when the kidnappers sent them a proof-of-life audio recording, reported the station KTLA.

    “She is pleading for her life, and she names a few of my brothers and sisters, and she’s saying: ‘Please hurry, act quickly, my children, and give them what they want. My life depends on it,’” the daughter said, adding that she and her siblings have not heard anything from their mom since.

    The family believes Lopez is still alive and being held for ransom by what they described as a “fringe Mexican kidnapping organization.”

    Speaking through tears, Zonia begged President Biden and Mexican President Andreas Manuel Lopez Obrador to join forces and help rescue her mother from captivity.

    “Work together to prioritize the rescue and safe return of Mother,” she pleaded. “Use all resources, both human and technological to bring an end to this nightmare that has haunted my family for far too long. I beg you, do not let my mother’s voice fade into darkness. Do not let this be another unsolved kidnapping. Bring her home.”

    The missing woman’s children claimed that the investigation into the kidnapping has been slow-moving and that there has been a “disconnect” between the US and Mexican authorities regarding keeping the family apprised of the latest developments.

    “We miss her with a pain that defies words,” Zonia said. “I implore you to hear my words, to feel my anguish. I implore you to take immediate action.”

    The daughter also addressed her mother’s kidnappers directly, appealing to their humanity.

    “We’re hurting for her,” Zonia said. “She deserves to be home with us. Please give her back.”

    Maria del Carmen Lopez had lived for some time in Southern California before retiring in Colima state, Mexico, where she has family, about 10 years ago.

    The matriarch regularly traveled back and forth from California, however, for medical appointments and to visit her children and grandchildren.

    On Feb. 9, she was gardening at her home in Pueblo Nuevo when, according to her family, several men arrived in a white van and took her away.

    Daughter Zonia previously told CBS Los Angeles that her mother was overheard telling the men that she would not get into their vehicle.

    “Two individuals picked her up and another one came out of the van,” Zonia said. “They had their heads covered and they covered her mouth and that’s when they took her.”

    The family believes that she was targeted because her children live in the US, creating the false impression that she comes from wealth.

    Son Toni Lopez received the first call from the kidnappers and said that they demanded “a ridiculous amount” of ransom money, according to Fox 11.

    “We knew right away we were in trouble because we don’t [have] that type of money,” Toni said.

    The FBI has been investigating the kidnapping and in March posted the $20,000 reward for Lopez’s return.

    According to her official report, Lopez is 5’2” and 160 pounds with blonde hair, brown eyes, and tattooed eyeliner.

    Anyone with information on her whereabouts was urged to contact their local FBI office or the nearest American Embassy or Consulate.

    Go deeper ( 3 min. read ) ➝


    Cuba to Build Secret Chinese Spy Base 100 Miles from U.S.



    In a bold move that has raised alarm in Washington, China and Cuba are reported to have struck a secret deal allowing Beijing to establish an electronic eavesdropping base in Cuba. The proposed facility, situated about 100 miles from Florida, could enable Chinese intelligence to monitor electronic communications across the southeastern United States, an area with a significant military presence.

    According to U.S. officials, the intelligence gathered is highly credible and highlights China’s willingness to challenge the U.S. by establishing an intelligence foothold in its backyard. The Biden administration is concerned about the potential implications of such an installation due to Cuba’s close proximity to the U.S. mainland.

    The deal is also said to involve China paying billions of dollars to cash-strapped Cuba. This development may mark a turning point in Sino-American relations, escalating tensions and drawing criticism from U.S. politicians who demand a robust response.

    WSJ reported:

    China and Cuba have reached a secret agreement for China to establish an electronic eavesdropping facility on the island, in a brash new geopolitical challenge by Beijing to the U.S., according to U.S. officials familiar with highly classified intelligence.

    An eavesdropping facility in Cuba, roughly 100 miles from Florida, would allow Chinese intelligence services to scoop up electronic communications throughout the southeastern U.S., where many military bases are located, and monitor U.S. ship traffic.

    Officials familiar with the matter said that China has agreed to pay cash-strapped Cuba several billion dollars to allow it to build the eavesdropping station and that the two countries had reached an agreement in principle.

    The revelation about the planned site has sparked alarm within the Biden administration because of Cuba’s proximity to the U.S. mainland. Washington regards Beijing as its most significant economic and military rival. A Chinese base with advanced military and intelligence capabilities in the U.S.’s backyard could be an unprecedented new threat.

    “While I cannot speak to this specific report, we are well aware of—and have spoken many times to—the People’s Republic of China’s efforts to invest in infrastructure around the world that may have military purposes, including in this hemisphere,” John Kirby, spokesman for the National Security Council, said. “We monitor it closely, take steps to counter it, and remain confident that we are able to meet all our security commitments at home, in the region, and around the world.”

    U.S. officials described the intelligence on the planned Cuba site, apparently gathered in recent weeks, as convincing. They said the base would enable China to conduct signals intelligence, known in the espionage world as sigint, which could include the monitoring of a range of communications, including emails, phone calls and satellite transmissions.

    Officials declined to provide more details about the proposed location of the listening station or whether construction had begun. It couldn’t be determined what, if anything, the Biden administration could do to stop completion of the facility.

    The revelation about the agreement drew Republican criticism of the administration’s stance on China and Cuba.

    “Joe Biden needs to wake up to the real Chinese threats on our doorstep,” Nikki Haley, a former South Carolina governor and United Nations ambassador and current Republican presidential candidate, wrote on Twitter.

    “The threat to America from Cuba isn’t just real, it is far worse than this,” tweeted Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.).

    The U.S. has intervened before to stop foreign powers from extending their influence in the Western Hemisphere, most notably during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. The U.S. and the Soviet Union came to the brink of nuclear war after the Soviets deployed nuclear-capable missiles to Cuba, prompting a U.S. Navy quarantine of the island.

    The Soviets backed down and removed the missiles. A few months later, the U.S. quietly removed intermediate-range ballistic missiles from Turkey that the Soviets had complained about.

    The intelligence on the new base comes in the midst of the Biden administration’s efforts to improve U.S.-China relations after months of acrimony that followed a Chinese spy balloon’s flight over the U.S. earlier this year.

    Go deeper ( 3 min. read ) ➝


    Supreme Court Strikes Down Alabama GOP Congressional Map in Voting Rights Case



    The Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that Alabama discriminated against black voters during its redistricting process last year, a decision that relied on the Voting Rights Act.

    The ruling in Allen v. Milligan means that Alabama will have to redraw its congressional map to include a second majority-black district. The 5-4 decision was written by Chief Justice John Roberts and saw Justice Brett Kavanaugh join, marking an alliance between two conservatives and three liberals in the majority.

    With the help of Roberts and Kavanaugh, the decision tells Alabama it should have created a second black-majority district, upholding a three-judge panel that threw out the previous map that included only one district with a majority of black voters despite African Americans comprising more than a quarter of the state’s population.

    Abha Khanna, an attorney with Elias Law Group who argued the case on behalf of the respondents who sued the state, lauded the Supreme Court’s decision as an upholding of the district court’s decision using “decades of established precedent.”

    “Thankfully, the court today identified Alabama’s redistricting scheme as a textbook violation of the landmark civil rights law,” Khanna said.

    Alabama argued the changes to its previous districts were race-neutral and asserted that federal law shouldn’t compel states to draw additional minority districts just because such districts were merely possible to draw.

    But voters challenging the state succeeded in their interpretation of the VRA, arguing the changes would significantly undermine its purpose and dilute the power of black voters. Civil rights advocates feared the conservative court would further weaken the VRA despite the win they received on Thursday.

    The chief justice wrote that there were legitimate concerns that the law “may impermissibly elevate race in the allocation of political power within the states.” He added, “Our opinion today does not diminish or disregard these concerns. It simply holds that a faithful application of our precedents and a fair reading of the record before us do not bear them out here.”

    The Republican-appointed majority on the Supreme Court has, in two cases over the last decade, modified the Voting Rights Act, starting in 2013, when it tossed out a provision of the law that permitted federal oversight of election law challenges in certain states.

    And after it gained a 6-3 conservative supermajority, it decided a separate 2021 ruling based out of Arizona, imposing more hurdles for lawsuits alleging violations of Section 2 of the VRA.

    The case from Alabama also involves Section 2 but in the context of redistricting.

    “As we explain below, we find Alabama’s new approach to §2 compelling neither in theory nor in practice. We accordingly decline to recast our §2 case law as Alabama requests,” Roberts wrote for the majority.

    Still, the other four conservative justices dissent, with Justice Clarence Thomas writing for the minority that this decision forces “Alabama to intentionally redraw its longstanding congressional districts so that black voters can control a number of seats roughly proportional to the black share of the State’s population.”

    “Section 2 demands no such thing, and, if it did, the Constitution would not permit it,” Thomas added.

    The Supreme Court’s first black woman on the court, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, dismissed the idea that race could not be part of the matter during oral arguments in October.

    Jackson and the other two liberals on the court, Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, said during arguments that a decision such as the one issued on Thursday would provide better opportunities for minorities to elect candidates of their choice.

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    Comer Cancels Wray Contempt Vote — FBI Agrees to Share Document



    House Oversight Chairman James Comer (R-KY) announced late Wednesday that the FBI agreed to allow every member of his committee to see a document containing bribery allegations against President Joe Biden.

    This concession by the bureau led the oversight panel to remove a business meeting to vote on holding FBI Director Christopher Wray in contempt of Congress for defying a subpoena from the schedule for Thursday, according to Comer’s team.

    “After weeks of refusing to even admit the FD-1023 record exists, the FBI has caved and is now allowing all members of the Oversight and Accountability Committee to review this unclassified record that memorializes a confidential human source’s conversations with a foreign national who claimed to have bribed then-Vice President Joe Biden,” Comer said in a statement.

    “Americans have lost trust in the FBI’s ability to enforce the law impartially and demand answers, transparency, and accountability. Allowing all Oversight Committee members to review this record is an important step toward conducting oversight of the FBI and holding it accountable to the American people,” Comer added.

    The announcement is the latest twist in a weeks-long standoff in which Comer has sought to gain custody of a particular FBI FD-1023 form, going off whistleblower disclosures. Such forms are used by the FBI to record information from a confidential human source.

    After allowing Comer and Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), the ranking member of the committee, to view a redacted copy of the document on Monday in a secure room in the U.S. Capitol, the FBI insisted that an “escalation to a contempt vote under these circumstances is unwarranted.”

    A statement from the bureau said the FBI “demonstrated” a commitment to accommodate the Oversight Committee’s request while also taking precautions “often employed in response to congressional requests and in court proceedings to protect important concerns, such as the physical safety of sources and the integrity of investigations.”

    Now, in addition to all Oversight Committee members being able to review the document, they will receive a briefing while the FBI will make two additional documents referenced in the FD-1023 form available for Comer and Raskin to review, the chairman’s team announced.

    It remains unclear if such allowances by the FBI will be sufficient to ward off a contempt vote in the future, as Comer has up until now seemed adamant about getting custody of the unclassified document, not just reviewing it.

    “In the spirit of good faith, the FBI has offered Chairman Comer yet further accommodations in response to his subpoena, including to allow all Oversight Committee Members to review in camera the second-hand allegations by Ukrainian individuals reported in the tip sheet,” Raskin said in a statement on Wednesday evening. “Chairman Comer’s acceptance of these further accommodations comes after he has spent weeks attacking the FBI despite its extraordinary efforts to provide Committee Republicans the information they claim to seek.”

    The Biden team has been openly dismissive of Comer’s investigative efforts. “This silly charade by Chairman Comer is yet another reminder that his so-called ‘investigations’ are political stunts not meant to get information but to spread thin innuendo and falsehoods to attack the President,” White House spokesperson Ian Sams said in a recent statement.

    Comer says the document pertains to Ukraine with the allegations that fit a pattern seen with other countries, such as Romania, regarding suspicious transactions involving millions of dollars funneled through banks and shell companies linked to members of Biden’s family.

    Without the FD-1023 record sought by Comer, the committee cannot determine whether or not the allegations it contains pose a national security risk, and the panel is hindered in its ability to gather more evidence that could inform future legislation that could strengthen disclosure requirements, said a report that accompanied a contempt resolution released earlier on Wednesday.

    The 17-page report, which explained the background of the month-long standoff over the subpoena and the committee’s rationale for moving forward with contempt, also divulged that Biden’s son Hunter is tied to the allegations.

    “The details of the allegations span meetings and conversations that occurred over several years,” the report says. “The allegations in the FD-1023 form are complex; detail business ventures; reference large payment amounts and the reasons why the foreign national is financially involved with Joe Biden and Hunter Biden; and discuss the financial complexity of the alleged scheme.”

    The younger Biden’s tax affairs are under investigation by U.S. Attorney David Weiss in Delaware, where former Attorney General William Barr told The Federalist he relayed an inquiry into the allegations. Comer says FBI officials have conveyed to Congress the FD-1023 form is “currently being used in an ongoing investigation.”

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    Julian Assange Loses Final Appeal — Will Be Extradited to U.S. Within Weeks



    Julian Assange has lost his appeal against extradition to the US on espionage charges.

    The judgment was handed down privately on Monday at the High Court.

    WikiLeaks founder Assange, 51, launched the appeal last June after then-Home Secretary Priti Patel signed an order authorizing his removal.

    His lawyers have indicated they will not appeal the decision further, but they have until the end of the week to contest it.

    If no appeal is launched, Assange will have exhausted his options in the UK courts.

    There is still a chance that his extradition could be blocked by a last minute intervention from judges in Europe.

    In December, Assange appealed to the European Court of Human Rights.

    To halt his extradition now, the European Court would have to issue an emergency injunction known as a Rule 39 order.

    This allows a judge to effectively block any action until further legal proceedings to decide on the merits of a case.

    These so-called ‘interim measures’ are typically used to suspend an extradition, often by asylum seekers who fear persecution if they are returned to their home country.

    Between 2020 and 2022, the ECHR granted 12 of 161 applications for ‘interim measures’ against the UK government.

    Most recently, the order was used to stop the deportation of illegal migrants to Rwanda.

    Such an order would be extremely controversial and likely be seen as another attack on British sovereignty, fuelling calls for Britain to leave the European Convention on Human Rights.

    Meanwhile, Home Office officials are preparing the paperwork needed to extradite Assange at short notice.

    If there are no further legal challenges, his extradition could take place in the next few weeks.

    The case is thought to be one of the longest extradition battles in the last decade.

    In 2019 he was charged by US authorities over almost 500,000 documents leaked in 2010 and 2011 about the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

    If convicted in the US, Mr Assange faces a possible penalty of up to 175 years in jail, his lawyers have said.

    However the US government has said the sentence was more likely to be between four and six years.

    In a long-running legal battle, a district judge at Westminster Magistrates Court initially blocked his extradition in January 2021 due to a real and ‘oppressive’ risk of suicide.

    But this decision was overturned at the High Court after US authorities provided assurances that Mr Assange would be spared highly restricted prison conditions.

    Yesterday Assange’s lawyers, Birnberg Peirce said no one was available to comment on the ongoing case.

    Assange’s wife, human rights lawyer Stella, tweeted: ‘On Tuesday next week my husband will make a renewed application for appeal to the High Court.

    ‘The matter will then proceed to a public hearing before two new judges at the High Court and we remain optimistic that we will prevail and that Julian will not be extradited to the United States where he faces charges that could result in him spending the rest of his life in a maximum security prison for publishing true information that revealed war crimes committed by the US government.’

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