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Washington Post Reporters Probe Their Own Bosses Amid Newsroom Uproar
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A 3,000-word Washington Post investigative story about new publisher and CEO William Lewis, plus an incoming top editor, had this surprising sentence: Lewis “declined to comment through a Post spokesperson in response to a list of detailed questions” — from his own reporters.

The storied Post newsroom is in an uproar over Lewis’ handling of several internal controversies over the past two weeks.

The fracas includes increased scrutiny over Lewis’ role in a phone-hacking scandal that rocked Britain’s Fleet Street in the 2000s.

Lewis has denied wrongdoing.

The front pages of Monday’s Post and New York Times both feature articles delving into Lewis’ U.K. past.

The Post’s story, with four bylines, was added to the front page between editions late at night. It explores journalistic ethics questions about Robert Winnett, a London editor who has been named to become the Post’s top editor after November’s election.

Lewis, who worked with Winnett at two British papers, has called him a “brilliant investigative journalist.”

The Times story asserts that in London two decades ago, Lewis “used fraudulently obtained phone and company records in newspaper articles.”

When Axios asked about the Post and Times stories, a Post spokesperson said both times that Lewis declined to comment.

During a series of “Say It” employee listening sessions Lewis held last week, he “said that his role as publisher is to create the environment for great journalism and to encourage and support it, that he will never interfere in the journalism, and that he is very clear about the lines that should not be crossed,” a Post source told us, requesting anonymity.

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Senator Menendez Found Guilty in Bribery Scheme

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

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

The jury deliberated for about 13 hours over three days.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Calls to resign

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘Shocking levels of corruption’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New Jersey businessmen, Menendez’s wife charged in case

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2nd corruption case against Menendez

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What’s on the agenda?

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

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

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

Who’s speaking?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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US Received Intel of Iranian Plot to Assassinate Trump: CNN

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Surge of threats from Iranian state-backed media

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

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

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

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

Bolton still has his Secret Service detail.

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

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

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Inside What Trump’s Would-Be Assassin Did in the 24 Hours Before Rally Shooting

As investigators continue to puzzle over the motive behind the attempted assassination of former President Donald Trump, the shooter’s movements in the 24 hours leading up to the attack have come into focus — including a trip to a shooting range.

On Friday, Thomas Matthew Crooks visited the Clairton Sportsmen’s Club and practiced firing shots, a law enforcement official told CNN.

The club is about a 25-minute drive from the Bethel Park home where Crooks lived with his parents, the outlet noted.

Crooks’ father, Matthew Crooks, was also a member of the club, and the pair enjoyed going shooting there together, law enforcement said.

The club’s rifle range is about 200 yards long, CNN reported — longer than the distance between Crooks and Trump when the former fired from a rooftop the following day.

“The Club fully admonishes the senseless act of violence that occurred,” a lawyer for the organization, Rob Bootay, told the outlet.

Bootay declined to “make any additional commentary in relation to this matter in light of pending law enforcement investigations.”

On Saturday morning, Crooks bought 50 rounds of ammunition at Allegheny Arms and Gun Works in Bethel Park.

The store bills itself as a “one-stop shop for all your firearm, ammo and accessory needs.”

“As a responsible member of our community it is our prerogative to cooperate with law enforcement in every way,” a gunsmith at the store, Josh Rowe. said in a statement to The Post.

After his stop at the gun shop, Crooks went to a Home Depot, where he purchased a five-foot ladder. A receipt for the ladder was later found in his pocket.

“We condemn the violence against former President Trump, and our thoughts are with him, the other victims of Saturday’s horrific events, and their families,” a spokesperson for the retailer said.

As of Tuesday, it was not immediately clear if Crooks used the newly purchased ammunition or the ladder in his attack on the Trump rally — though he did use a ladder to scale the roof of the factory to stake out the crowd.

Crooks drove his Hyundai Sonata one hour north to the rally at the Butler Farm Show grounds, where thousands of Trump supporters gathered to see the former president’s speech ahead of the Republican National Convention in Wisconsin.

He was observed by cops at least twice 26 minutes before the shooting, when he was able to scale the roof of a nearby manufacturing plant unchallenged.

At 6:11 p.m., Crooks fired several shots from about 130 yards away from Trump — grazing the former president, killing one rallygoer and injuring two others — before he was shot and killed by the Secret Service.

He used an AR-style rifle that was registered to his father. The weapon — as well as the over 20 other guns registered to Matthew Crooks — was purchased legally.

Investigators found an explosive device in Crooks’ car and a transmitter on his body, suggesting that he may have intended to stage a distraction during the shooting.

Days later, however, investigators are still at a loss as to what may have driven Crooks — whom a former school counselor described as “quiet” and not particularly political — to target Trump.

The Bethel Park High School graduate’s phone yielded little evidence, and even his laptop showed typical online activities, including an interest in gaming and coding, CNN said.

Matthew Crooks — who called the police sometime Saturday to report his son and his gun missing — and the shooter’s mother have cooperated with law enforcement, sources said.

Both parents indicated that Crooks did not appear to have friends and did not have any obvious political allegiances — though they were also somewhat clueless about recent developments in his life, law enforcement told CNN.

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House Dems Plot Last-Ditch Effort to Delay Biden Nomination

Dozens of House Democrats are organizing a plan to speak out against their own party’s effort to seal President Joe Biden’s nomination sooner than originally planned, which they argue stifles the intense ongoing debate about his candidacy, according to a lawmaker involved in the effort.

A drafted letter, circulated by Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.) and obtained by POLITICO, offers the first public signal from Democrats since the weekend’s attempted assassination on former President Donald Trump that scores of their own members remain deeply unsettled about the future of Biden’s candidacy.

“It’s a really bad move by the DNC. Somebody thinks it’s a clever way to lock down debate and I guess by dint of sheer force, achieve unity, but it doesn’t work that way,” Huffman said in an interview. He declined to confirm the existence of a letter.

The missive from this group of Democrats does not specifically call for Biden to leave the race — and, in fact, specifically states that it represents a “spectrum” of views. Even so, many Democrats who have been privately pleading for more of their colleagues to call on Biden to end his campaign saw this as a potentially watershed moment after weeks of mostly private discussions about the party’s dilemma.

The push for a new nominee — which had been effectively frozen by last weekend’s shooting — has returned to public view, and House Democrats now appear to be seriously organizing for the first time. There’s also a clear deadline to take action that multiple Democrats privately said they hoped would push their leaders, such as House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries or former Speaker Nancy Pelosi, to take more decisive action themselves.

A draft of the letter, which was first reported by The New York Times, urges DNC members against holding a virtual roll call, instead of the customary timing during the convention in Chicago later next month. It insists that there is “no legal justification for this extraordinary and unprecedented action which would effectively accelerate the nomination process by nearly a month.”

It goes on to suggest that some of the signatories have called for Biden to step aside and others haven’t, but “all of us, however, agree that stifling debate and prematurely shutting down any possible change in the Democratic ticket through an unnecessary and unprecedented ‘virtual roll call’ in the days ahead is a terrible idea,” the letter continued.

“It could deeply undermine the morale and unity of Democrats — from delegates, volunteers, grassroots organizers and donors to ordinary voters — at the worst possible time.”

The move comes three days before the Democratic National Convention rules committee is scheduled to meet, when they are expected to vote on setting up the rules and dates for a virtual roll call vote.

That virtual roll call was initially authorized to address ballot access problems in Ohio, which had set its ballot deadline for Aug. 7. But Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine signed a law that moved the date to Aug. 23, one day after the DNC convention is scheduled to end. But some Democrats have argued that since the law doesn’t go into effect until Sept. 1, Republicans could still move to keep the party’s nominee off the ballot, they said.

“The train has left the station, so the only way you can express it is in an amendment to the [convention] rules [committee] on Friday. But you can’t do it through the press,” said Donna Brazile, the former chair of the DNC.

But Brazile argued that the DNC did this in good faith, adding that they “made this decision after we’d learned about the nefarious actions [of states], including Ohio, so why would we put the freedom of the Democratic Party in the hands of a few nefarious actors?”

“The suggestion that the timeline for the virtual roll call has been accelerated is false,” DNC Chair Jaime Harrison said in a statement. “The timeline for the virtual roll call process remains on schedule and unchanged from when the DNC made that decision in May.”

It’s unclear whether the letter will prompt more Democrats to come forward with their concerns about Biden’s electability — rather than their concerns about the party nomination process.

“It felt like the dam was about to break” before Saturday night, said one Democratic lawmaker with concerns about Biden, who was granted anonymity to discuss the effort. “Everybody appropriately took a step back, the pressure valve was somewhat released. We all knew it would be just days before that energy would return.”

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Musk Announces SpaceX and X Move to Texas Over New California Trans Law

Elon Musk said on Tuesday that he will move the headquarters of SpaceX and X to Texas in response to a new California law banning schools from notifying parents if their child starts identifying as a different gender.

SpaceX, which employs thousands of employees, is based in Los Angeles County. X, the social media company formerly known as Twitter, is based in San Francisco. Musk, who founded SpaceX in 2002 and bought Twitter in 2022, announced the move on social media a day after California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the controversial legislation into law.

“This is the final straw,” Musk said. “Because of this law and the many others that preceded it, attacking both families and companies, SpaceX will now move its HQ from Hawthorne, California, to Starbase, Texas.”

“I did make it clear to Governor Newsom about a year ago that laws of this nature would force families and companies to leave California to protect their children,” he added.

The announcement comes a few years after Musk already moved the headquarters of another of companies, Tesla, from California to Texas.

The California law in question — AB 1955, dubbed the SAFETY Act — makes California the first state in the country to ban school districts from requiring that teachers tell parents if their children do things like change the pronouns they use or go by a different gender than what is tied to their school record.

During the pandemic, several companies relocated from California to states like Texas and Florida that have lower taxes, regulations, and more relaxed COVID-19 business restrictions.

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Exiled Chinese Billionaire Guo Convicted at US Fraud Trial

A New York jury on Tuesday convicted controversial China critic Guo Wengui of bilking his followers out of more than $1 billion to sustain his lavish lifestyle.

Guo was found guilty on nine of the 12 federal charges against him, including a broad racketeering count and some of the related fraud charges. Several of the counts carry potential sentences of 20 years in prison, and Guo faces forfeiture of assets. Judge Analisa Torres scheduled sentencing for Nov. 19. Guo has been in federal custody without bail since March 2023.

The felony conviction punctuates the bizarre saga of Guo, a tycoon of many aliases such as Miles Guo and Brother Seven, who crafted an image as a wealthy Chinese insider turned Beijing’s No. 1 enemy. It could ultimately sink his asylum application to remain in the U.S., far from Beijing authorities who have made no secret of their desire to punish him.

Guo remained unflappable as the jury’s verdict was read, in line with the confident demeanor he projected most days of the trial. In an impeccable Italian suit, he often greeted supporters in the gallery by pressing his palms together or thumping his chest. He is expected to appeal.

During 29 days of testimony, prosecutors said Guo’s actions unfolded as he was under Chinese Communist Party pressure but dismissed any suggestion that excused his criminality.

The jury deliberated over four days, though hiccups lengthened the process after the judge dismissed a juror for using the internet to research an alleged co-conspirator in the case.

The government said Guo leveraged his popularity in the Chinese diaspora to pitch his schemes as ways to make money and simultaneously undermine the Communist Party. His broadcaster GTV raised $411 million, an operation called G-Club $240 million and a cryptocurrency venture $517 million, the government said.

Online, Guo touted investments as legitimate ventures backed by gold or his own personal guarantees. In fact, prosecutors said, associates helped Guo move hundreds of millions in investor money through multiple banks and shell companies for his personal benefit as he faced financial challenges.

“Guo claimed to be a political activist, and he sucked people in. He brainwashed some of them, he convinced them he could help them, that he was trustworthy. He attracted people like a magnet, people who agreed with his message,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan Finkel told the jury. “He conned them. He scammed them. He defrauded them,” Finkel said.

To generate momentum for his movement, which Guo called New Federal State of China, he also funneled millions of dollars toward prominent American critics of Beijing, including former Trump adviser Steve Bannon and hedge-fund manager Kyle Bass, prosecutors said. The government said both men helped Guo make the investments appear credible, though neither was charged.

Jurors saw video of Bannon announcing plans for Guo to pump $100 million into one organization that didn’t materialize, and evidence was introduced showing Bass’s hedge fund lost some $30 million of investor money in an ill-fated currency bet.

Bannon, who is serving prison time on an unrelated case, hasn’t commented on the charges against Guo. Bass had been expected to testify for the government in the case but wasn’t called. In an email, Bass said he didn’t have an indication of any fraudulent behavior by Guo or any knowledge of how his own name was used until informed by the government, when he took steps to distance himself from Guo.

Guo likely faces a lengthy prison sentence and the conviction will complicate his own legal status in the U.S., even if the government stops short of extraditing him to China, said Christopher Pelham, a former federal prosecutor who is head of litigation and disputes for law firm Norton Rose Fulbright’s global investigations team. But Pelham said Guo’s conviction on fraud charges, even as he claimed to be an at-risk dissident, could make the U.S. “that much more skeptical” about others from China who make asylum claims.

The jury saw photos and videos of dazzling properties in New York, Connecticut and New Jersey, a Lamborghini, a Bugatti and a Ferrari plus a yacht and racks of Italian suits, all luxuries the government said were paid for with money from supporters. Prosecutors played music videos featuring Guo on board a yacht and next to a private jet and produced flow charts and bank statements they said showed how investor millions paid for a mansion, chandeliers, mattresses and a Ferrari for Guo’s son.

Guo contested the charges but didn’t testify.

His defense team said Guo and his large family had accumulated extraordinary wealth and didn’t need to steal. They presented evidence that many of the assets the government alleged were paid for with ill-gotten funds weren’t in Guo’s name and said homes, cars and boats were earmarked for use by Guo’s followers. And, they said, any financial subterfuge reflected efforts to outmaneuver Beijing, which tried to compel banks to shut Guo out.

“Mr. Guo didn’t care about the money. He cared about the movement,” said defense attorney Sidhardha Kamaraju.

The defense said Guo’s followers put money in the endeavors not for returns, but to further a shared aim of undermining the Chinese Communist Party. “It’s not a racketeering enterprise, it’s a political one,” Kamaraju said.

Early in the trial, another defense attorney, Sabrina Shroff, told jurors Guo’s outspokenness led to the imprisonment of relatives in China and security threats to himself——prompting the defendant to sob for several minutes into the lapel of his suit.

Beijing has labeled Guo an attention-seeking criminal fugitive, sending its agents to hunt him down. Through American intermediaries, China leaned on the Trump administration to push him out of the U.S. The defense’s final witness was former Justice Department lawyer George Higginbotham, who testified to trying to broker Guo’s removal from the U.S. in a roughly $100 million deal backed by Chinese authorities and a fugitive Malaysian, Jho Low, who is wanted in the U.S. on charges related to the billion-dollar theft from a Malaysian development fund.

Prosecutors argued China’s actions were no excuse for lawbreaking. “The [Communist Party] canard is a scapegoat,” said Finkel.

They contend Guo began scheming after Chinese authorities in 2018 seized a fortune he had made developing property in China—and doubled down when one of his ventures got tripped up by American securities regulators. He filed for personal bankruptcy in 2022, declaring assets of no more than $100,000 and liabilities between $100 million and $500 million. “He no longer had the ability to project that he was a billionaire,” Finkel said.

Among the over 30 witnesses called by the government were immigrants from China who said they poured large sums into Guo’s ventures because they shared his criticism of Beijing and were convinced he was investing alongside them.

Wei Chen, a China-born bank risk-manager who lives in Virginia, said she was eager to participate in a private placement of shares in Guo’s media company after hearing him describe it as a risk-free investment in a business that might rival YouTube. “I trusted him,” she said.

She testified that she is still owed $1.1 million from investing in ventures promoted by Guo, which she funded in part with a second home mortgage.

“He’s [a] shameless and heartless cheater and fraudster,” she said from the witness stand.

Other prosecution witnesses included a man hired by Guo’s organization who testified to lying to banks “to make sure that accounts get opened and stay open” amid a flurry of wire transfers between entities.

The jury also heard about Guo’s eccentricities, including concern over buying a haunted property and hiring a security guard born under an “unlucky” Chinese zodiac symbol, the pig.

Dozens of Guo supporters squeezed into the courtroom each day, some alleging he was prosecuted under a corrupt deal between Beijing and Washington. More than once Torres ordered Guo’s attorneys not to suggest any such thing to the jury: “And you’re not going to be implying at any point that the government is being manipulated by the Chinese government or the Chinese Communist Party, correct?” she said in one sidebar.

The defense team said that wasn’t their position, though Kamaraju nevertheless told the jury, “for Mr. Guo, it’s certainly reasonable for him to fear that the CCP had once again tried to use the channels of the U.S. government against him.”

Among those in the courtroom for some of the trial were retired Chinese soccer star Hao Haidong with his wife, former badminton world champion Ye Zhaoying, sometimes dressed in clothes from Guo’s fashion line. The couple made waves in China in 2020 for saying that Guo’s videos had inspired them to publicly denounce the Communist Party.

People who said they were Guo’s victims also attended, including Yu Renzhe, who claimed losses around $250,000. Partly in a bid to recover his money which he invested while in China, Yu flew to Ecuador and made his way to the southern U.S. border and now lives in a New York shelter. Outside the courthouse after the verdict was announced, a Guo supporter punched Yu and he was bleeding.

One witness for the defense, Paul Doran, a corporate risk adviser with experience in China, described Guo as “public enemy No. 1 in China” and said good security practice for such a person would be to have multiple bank accounts and mobile phones, as Guo did.

A government lawyer then asked Doran, “Sleeping on a $35,000 mattress has nothing to do with protecting yourself from CCP targeting, right?”

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Elon Musk to Give $45 Million a Month to Pro-Trump Super PAC: WSJ

Elon Musk has said he is planning to pledge about $45 million a month to a newly formed super PAC backing former President Donald Trump’s White House bid, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday, citing people familiar with the matter.

Musk had not given any money to that group, called America PAC, as of the end of June, according to a quarterly financial filing submitted to the Federal Election Commission on Monday evening.

It is unclear if he has donated in July.

But the super PAC, which was formed in late May, has received contributions from other high-profile entrepreneurs, including Palantir co-founder Joe Lonsdale and crypto billionaires Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, the filing showed.

Lonsdale donated $1 million to America PAC through Lonsdale Enterprises, an entity linked to the eponymous tech investor, multiple outlets reported.

The Winklevoss twins each donated $250,000 to the super PAC, the FEC filing showed.

America PAC brought in $8.8 million and spent $7.8 million between its inception and the end of June, leaving it with just under $1 million in cash on hand, according to the FEC filing.

Musk, the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX and one of the world’s richest people, officially endorsed Trump on Saturday, minutes after the Republican presidential nominee survived an assassination attempt at a campaign rally.

The report of Musk’s pledge to help Trump defeat President Joe Biden came on the first day of the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee, where Trump secured enough delegates to officially become the GOP nominee.

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RNC Day One: Top Takeaways

The first day of the Republican National Convention (RNC) saw the party enthusiastically take part in its traditional nominating gathering even under the shadow of the shooting at Donald Trump’s rally just 48 hours earlier.

Delegates formally nominated Trump as the party’s nominee, and the former president finally revealed Sen. JD Vance (R-Ohio) as his running mate to much fanfare among attendees. Speakers throughout the day acknowledged the attempted assassination, but mostly sought to present an uplifting message calling on conservatives to come together to win back the White House.

Here are five takeaways from the RNC’s first day:

The shooting didn’t put a damper on the festivities

Just a day before the former president touched down in Milwaukee, he nearly lost his life when a gunman fired into his rally in Butler, Pa., grazing Trump’s ear with a bullet and killing one attendee.

Despite the shocking events, Trump charged forward with his plans to attend the convention, though many observers expected the shooting to cast a dark shadow over the GOP gathering.

Instead, the convention crowd was its usual boisterous self as it celebrated Trump’s ascension to the official party nomination.

Republican National Committee (RNC) Chair Michael Whatley opened up the convention with a moment of silence for the deceased as well as two people who were injured.

But delegates were quickly absorbed by the convention, cheering “fight” and “USA” on multiple occasions.

Other speakers acknowledged the somber development in the context of the 2024 campaign, but the first day of the convention largely focused on the nomination votes, Trump’s VP reveal and the first bout of speeches.

Whether the incident could take up more of the spotlight as the week goes on — with Vance and Trump both slated to speak later — remains to be seen, but the dramatic assassination attempt clearly didn’t put a damper on the convention kickoff.

Republicans are feeling good about November

Nominating conventions are usually exuberant affairs with the most die-hard supporters in attendance expressing lofty hopes for what may come the party’s way in November. But this convention in particular has been energized by GOP optimism for November.

The event comes not just days after the attempted assassination — which Republicans believe will juice up enthusiasm — but also amid growing uncertainty for President Biden, who is facing calls to step down after a dismal debate performance and low poll numbers.

Meanwhile, Republicans have made clear they’re rallying around Trump, and that recent events are putting them in a prime position to have a winning election.

The most prominent example came during the roll call of states to record the votes for Trump to be the nominee, when the delegates for New York and New Jersey, two solidly Democratic states, said they believe Trump will have a shot at winning them in November.

Trump has talked about expanding the map for Republicans beyond the states they normally compete in, and though states like New York remain longshots, the GOP is putting on a show of optimism.

“We believe that President Donald J. Trump will be the first Republican in a generation who will win New York state,” said Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) as she announced the state’s delegates going to Trump.

“The state of New Jersey, the state where President Donald J. Trump has invested heavily, and we think and we know that he can win New Jersey this year,” said New Jersey state Sen. Michael Testa (R).

Even if Trump can’t take these states, these pronouncements symbolize the offensive Republicans have gone on recently, looking at states like Virginia and Minnesota and with Trump visiting traditionally liberal areas.

“Is there any doubt who’s going to be the next president of the United States?” country singer Lee Greenwood asked the crowd on stage at night, which attendees responding to with cheers and waving “Trump” signs.

Vance got a warm reception

Trump ended months of “veepstakes” suspense when he announced Ohio Sen. JD Vance as his running mate, elevating his former critic to be his right-hand man.

Vance got a warm reception from the convention crowd, and support from other prominent Republicans poured in.

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio – who were also seen as likely picks for Trump’s ticket – congratulated Vance on social media.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich hailed Vance as a “spectacular vice president” for Trump.

South Dakota Sen. John Thune said the addition of Vance to Trump’s presidential ticket is going to get the U.S. “back on track.”

Other congressional Republicans heaped praise on the “Hillbilly Elegy” author, casting the move as cementing the “MAGA” ticket for 2024.

Democrats, on the other hand, were quick to slam the newly minted running mate. Biden knocked Vance on X minutes after the announcement, and his campaign argued Vance will enable the former president.

Still, the positive reception from GOP attendees is welcome news for the Trump campaign after months of chatter over who will take on the role once held by ex-Vice President Mike Pence, who ran against Trump this cycle and has said he won’t endorse his former boss.

Republicans emphasized unity over attacks

In the wake of the assassination attempt against Trump, Republicans on Monday worked to emphasize unity instead of divisive attacks.

Vivek Ramaswamy, who ran against Trump in the GOP primary this cycle, said during an appearance with the Politico-CNN Grill that Trump must “fight fire with water” and urged both parties to “quit blaming the other side.”

Other prominent Republicans used their speeches to declare that now is the time for the party to rally together around Trump, including Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.), South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.).

“Donald Trump believes every parent deserves a choice, and every child deserves a chance,” Donalds said. “In November, when Donald Trump is elected our nation’s 47th president, we will make sure all America’s children get that chance.”

An exception was Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), who in a speech referred to Democrats’ agenda as a “clear and present danger.” But he later told PBS News that the teleprompter had loaded an earlier version of his remarks, and that a revised edition had focused more on unity.

The former president himself has called for Americans to “stand united” after the incident,

At the same time, some on both sides are skeptical that the calls for unity will stick, given the polarized country and competitive presidential race.

Trump made his first public appearance since shooting

Trump made his first public appearance since the shooting in Butler when he stepped into the RNC convention hall to massive applause toward the end of the evening.

The former president was wearing a bandage over his right ear, which he said on Truth Social was hit with a bullet at the rally.

Trump immediately sought to project strength moments after the shooting, raising his fist to the crowd at his rally. He appeared to repeat that gesture when he entered the audience on Monday night.

He took his place next to Vance, his newly-named running mate – and was spotted in his box next to former Fox News host Tucker Carlson, Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.) and Speaker Mike Johnson.

The crowd was visibility excited to see him, bursting into applause the moment he appeared on screen. At the conclusion of the night, when Whatley said the party is grateful to have him as their nominee, attendees yelled “We want Trump.”

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Takeaways from Biden’s Interview with NBC News

President Biden sat down for an interview with NBC News anchor Lester Holt on Monday in the aftermath of the shooting at a rally held by former President Trump that has shaken up the 2024 race for the White House.

The president was pressed on his own rhetoric as he also called for Americans to cool down the temperature this campaign season. He was also questioned about his debate performance and the subsequent calls among Democrats for him to step aside.

NBC aired the whole roughly 18-minute interview with Biden, which took place at the White House on Monday afternoon during an action-packed first day of the Republican National Convention.

Here are five notable moments from the interview.

Biden, Trump had ‘cordial’ conservation

Biden described his conversation with Trump after the shooting as “cordial” and said it was largely about the president’s concern for his political rival after a bullet grazed his ear while speaking at the Pennsylvania rally.

“Very cordial. I told him how concerned I was and wanted to make sure I knew how he was actually doing. He sounded good, he said he was fine and he thanked me for calling,” Biden said. “I told him he was literally in the prayers of Jill and me, and I hope his whole family was weathering this.”

Biden and Trump’s phone call took place on Saturday night, just hours after the shooting. Biden told reporters earlier that night that he had tried to get a hold of Trump and hoped to speak with him. Since they spoke, first lady Jill Biden and former first lady Melania Trump also spoke on the phone.

The president was attending church in Rehoboth, Del., at the time of the shooting. Holt asked him for his first reaction to the news of the incident and he responded, “My first reaction was, ‘my God. This is.’ Look, there’s so much violence now.”

Biden pushes back on Holt’s questions

Biden at times sparred with Holt over his line of questioning, appearing frustrated and pressing the NBC News anchor on media coverage, particularly in the aftermath of the debate.

At one point Holt asked Biden if he would consider debating Trump again before the next scheduled debate on Sept. 10.

“…if the opportunity came up to do one between now and then? Is there — is there a sense of wanting to get back on the horse? Holt asked Biden toward the end of the interview, referring to doing another debate before September.

“I’m on the horse. Where have you been?” Biden pushed back. “I’ve done 22 major events, met thousands of people, overwhelming crowds. A lot’s happening. I’m on the horse.”

During another part of the conversation in which Holt referred to remarks made by Sen. JD Vance (R-Ohio) about Biden, the president suggested that Holt was skimming over remarks Vance, a former Trump critic, had also made about the former president before becoming his 2024 running mate.

“[Vance] says some things about me, but see what he said about Trump,” Biden said. “What’s with you guys? Come on, man.”

It was perhaps one of Biden most notable push backs on the media in an interview with a news outlet, already coming at a sensitive time in his presidency as he’s faced calls within his party to step down. He remained assertive during the interview, despite it producing some awkward moments.

“Sometimes come and talk to me about what we should be talking about,” Biden challenged Holt at the end of the conversation.

Suggests ‘bullseye’ remark was a ‘mistake’

Biden suggested that it may have been a mistake to use the word “bullseye” while talking about Trump on a call with donors last week when Holt asked about the renewed attention around those remarks in the aftermath of the shooting.

“It was, it was a mistake to use the word. I didn’t mean— I didn’t say cross-hairs. I meant bullseye, I meant focus on him. Focus on what he’s doing. Focus on, on his… policies. Focus on the number of lies he told in the debate” Biden said.

On a call with donors last week, amid pressure from Democrats for him to drop out of the race, Biden said, “It’s time to put Trump in the bullseye.”

The president also pushed back when Holt asked if he’s taken a step back and done any soul-searching on things he has said that could incite people who are not “balanced.”

“How do you talk about the threat to democracy, which is real, when a president says things like he says?” Biden said. “Do you just not say anything because it might incite somebody? I have not engaged in that rhetoric.”

Trump’s legal woes come up

During the interview, the president said he was “not surprised” by Judge Aileen Cannon’s decision earlier in the day to dismiss Trump’s case regarding his handling of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago.

His answer quickly pivoted to the Supreme Court’s immunity decision, in which Judge Clarence Thomas questioned the legality of the appointment of special counsel Jack Smith. Cannon dismissed Trump’s case by ruling that Smith had been appointed unlawfully.

“It comes from the immunity decision the Supreme Court… and [Justice] Clarence Thomas, in his dissent, said that independent prosecutors appointed by the attorney general aren’t legit. That’s the basis on which this judge moved to dismiss,” Biden said.

Thomas wrote as part of his concurrence: “I write separately to highlight another way in which this prosecution may violate our constitutional structure. In this case, the Attorney General purported to appoint a private citizen as Special Counsel to prosecute a former President on behalf of the United States.”

Biden also brought up his own investigation involving classified documents that turned up at his home and an old office he used after he left the vice presidency.

“I had an independent prosecutor look at me. They spent months on my– going through and I was totally cooperative. In and out of my house,” he explained.

“There were, like, 10, 12 agents in my house for nine hours unaccompanied going through every single thing I had. That’s appropriate. And they looked at me and concluded I didn’t do a damn thing wrong.”

Biden shares thoughts on Vance

Biden’s interview with NBC took place just hours after Trump announced that Vance would be his vice presidential pick on day one of the Republican National Convention.

Vance in the past heavily criticized Trump describing him as a “cynical asshole” and “America’s Hitler.” Vance has since become a close Trump ally. Biden said he was not shocked by Vance as Trump’s pick.

“Well, it’s not unusual. He’s going to surround himself with people who agree completely with him. Have a voting record, that support him. Even though if you go back and listen to the things JD Vance said about Trump,” Biden said, laughing.

The president said that Vance believes in no exceptions on abortion, supports Trump’s plan for tax cuts, and doesn’t believe in climate change. The senator said in 2021 that “two wrongs don’t make a right” when asked whether abortion laws should allow for exceptions for rape and incest and he has minimized the threat of climate change, saying in 2022 that the U.S. doens’t need to “destory the economy to deal with” it.

“I mean, he signed on to the Trump agenda, which he should if he’s running with Trump,” Biden added.

Watch the full interview:

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Law Enforcement Spotted Trump Shooter Nearly 30 Minutes Before Shots Fired

Channel 11 News uncovered dramatic new details Monday in the moments leading up to the assassination attempt on former president Donald Trump.

According to multiple law enforcement sources, Thomas Crooks was spotted by law enforcement on a roof nearly 30 minutes before shots were fired that injured Trump, killed a former fire chief and injured two others in the crowd.

Channel 11′s Nicole Ford confirmed that Beaver County’s ESU team had eight members at the rally, including snipers and spotters.

According to Ford’s sources, one of them noticed a suspicious man on a roof near the rally at 5:45 p.m., called it in and took a picture of the person. We have learned from our sources the person in that picture is Thomas Crooks. We’re told it’s not clear if Crooks had a gun with him at that point.

According to multiple sources, a law enforcement officer had also previously seen Crooks on the ground and called him in as a suspicious person with a picture prior to 5:45 p.m. Our sources tell us an officer checked the grounds for Crooks at that point, but did not see him where the first picture was taken.

26 minutes after the second picture of Crooks was taken by law enforcement and the information called in, shots were fired from the roof of the American Glass Research building. Seconds later, a Secret Service sniper returned fire and killed Crooks.

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Vance Gives First VP Interview

Sen. J.D. Vance (Ohio-R.) acknowledged in his first TV interview as VP nominee that he was “certainly skeptical” of former President Trump ahead of the 2016 presidential election.

Vance said that he “bought into the media’s lies and distortions” about Trump as an explanation for his past criticisms and pivoted to attacking Biden.

Vance said that Biden is the “one who is trying to undermine law and order” during his interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity.

“I think you can make the case with the American people, people who may have been skeptical of the president back in 2016, who can be skeptical now that we’ve seen the results?,” he said of his support of Trump.

“I actually think it’s a good thing, when you see somebody, you were wrong about them, you ought to admit the mistake and admit that you were wrong,” Vance said.

Vance said that Trump called him earlier on Monday to inform him that he was his VP pick.

Vance said that Trump told him: “I think we’ve got to go save this country. I think you’re the guy who can help me in the best way, you can help me govern, you can help me win, you can help me in some of these midwestern states like Pennsylvania and Michigan and so forth.”

The Biden campaign has already seized on Vance’s past comments saying that he would not have certified the 2020 election on Jan. 6 had he been vice president instead of Mike Pence.

Trump earlier on Monday announced that Vance is his vice presidential pick, a highly anticipated announcement that featured speculation about a number of possible VP candidates.

Trump announced Vance as his VP pick on his Truth Social account.

The Trump-critic-turned loyal supporter is one of the former president’s strongest allies on Capitol Hill.

Vance previously publicly criticized the former president, calling him an “idiot” and “noxious” ahead of the 2016 presidential election.

But Vance said of Trump: “He changed my mind.”

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Trump Met with Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to Seek Endorsement

Former President Donald Trump met this morning in Milwaukee with Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to discuss the possibility of the independent candidate endorsing the Republican nominee, according to multiple people familiar with the huddle.

Asked about the meeting and a potential endorsement, Kennedy denied that he plans to drop out of the race.

“Yes, Mr. Kennedy met with President Trump today to discuss national unity, and he hopes to meet with leaders of the Democratic Party as well,” Kennedy campaign press secretary Stefanie Spear said in a statement.

“And no he is not dropping out of the race. He is the only pro-environment, pro-choice, anti-war candidate who beats Donald Trump in head-to-head polls.”

An endorsement by Kennedy, who hits double digits in some polls, would scramble the race for White House and give a boost to Trump.

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GoFundMe for Trump Rally Shooting Victims Raises Over $4M

A high-profile fundraiser for the victims in Saturday’s assassination attempt on former President Donald Trump at a Pennsylvania political rally has raised over $4 million, with top donors including Dana White and Kid Rock.

The GoFundMe, which says it is “President Trump authorized” is organized by Meredith O’Rourke, who is also Trump’s top finance person, and is raising money for those “wounded or killed” from the shooting at the Trump rally in Butler on Saturday.

The GoFundMe’s initial goal was to raise $1 million, but it has far surpassed that goal, raising over $4 million from over 54,000 donations as of Monday afternoon.

Firefighter Corey Comperatore killed, 2 others injured in rally shooting

One spectator, Corey Comperatore, was killed and two others were critically injured during the assassination attempt. Trump is recovering after he was injured in the right ear when a gunman opened fire with an AR-15-style rifle on a rooftop about 400 feet outside the rally.

The gunman, identified Sunday by the FBI as 20-year-old Thomas Matthew Crooks, was killed by law enforcement officials moments after he opened fire.

Comperatore, a firefighter from Sarver, Pennsylvania, had two daughters and was an avid Trump supporter.

“Yesterday time stopped,” Allyson Comperatore, his daughter, said on Facebook. “And when it started again my family and I started living a real-life nightmare.”

Two men injured in the shooting – a 57-year-old New Kensington, Pennsylvania, resident and a 74-year-old resident of Moon Township – were in stable condition on Sunday, according to an update from Pennsylvania State Police.

GoFundMe organized for Corey Comperatore’s daughter, family

A GoFundMe aiming to raise $7,000 for Caomperatore’s daughter, Allyson and his family after his death was launched Sunday.

It has since raised over $950,000 from more than 17,000 donations.

Who are the top donors to the O’Rourke GoFundMe?

Top donations so far for the O’Rourke GoFundMe include $50,000 from the conservative think tank The Heritage Foundation, $50,000 from American Hartford Gold, $50,000 from UFC CEO White and $50,000 from the singer Kid Rock.

Other large, notable donations to the fundraiser include $30,000 from former Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy, $25,000 from the Scaramucci family and $15,000 from conservative pundit Ben Shapiro.

Who is Meredith O’Rourke, the GoFundMe organizer?

From Florida, O’Rourke has been a top political fundraiser for Republicans for decades, including for current U.S. Sen. Rick Scott’s and former Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam’s campaigns for governor. She also did a short stint in 2015 for former N.J. Gov. Chris Christie’s run for president.

Her LinkedIn profile lists her currently as “National Finance Director and Senior Advisor to Donald J. Trump For President 2024, Inc.”

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Speed Limiters Now Mandatory on All New Cars in Europe

All cars will now have to be fitted with speed-limiting AI tech due to new EU rules.

The new gadget can, in some cases, slow the vehicle down for you if it catches you breaking the speed limit.

Intelligent Speed Assitance (ISA) systems became a legal requirement for motors across the EU as a law passed two years ago came into effect on July 7.

ISAs make use of AI, GPS data and even onboard cameras to assess your speed in real time as you drive along.

The system will then intervene if you go above the limit it has worked out for the road you are on.

For example, the system can assess things like road markings to determine whether you are in a 20mph or 30mph zone.

From there, there are three types of ISA which firms could opt to install, with each offering different levels of intervention.

First of all, informative ISAs only result in a warning message and sound to alert the driver that they are breaking the limit.

One level up from that is the supportive ISA, which works by increasing the upward force on the accelerator pedal to try and make it harder for drivers to speed up.

Finally, intervening ISAs are the most active, with the system actually slowing the vehicle down, whether the driver wants it to or not, until it goes back under the limit.

Officials have emphasised that, for safety, this would be achieved by temporarily shutting off part or all of the engine and will not result in a sudden application of the brakes.

The law is now in force in all EU member states – but there is a loophole for Brits.

The UK has opted out of the law under the post-Brexit agreement with the bloc, meaning that ISAs will not be legally required on British roads.

All cars here will, in effect, have to have them fitted as it is too complicated and expensive for manufacturers to design cars separately for the EU and UK markets.

However, drivers in Great Britain will be able to turn the system off or override it by continuing to press the accelerator.

As such, it is unlikely that cars slowing down of their own accord will be a common site for now.

That being said, the requirement will still have legal force in Northern Ireland because it remains aligned with the EU single market under the Windsor Framework.

It comes after we revealed how drivers could avoid being hit with £100 parking fines thanks to a little-known loophole.

New AI speed cameras can ‘see inside your car’

New AI speed cameras being rolled out on UK roads can “see inside your car” and recognise “every passenger” before seeing pictures of them to the police.

The devices will be able to work out whether or not you’re wearing a seatbelt or using a phone and can even be used to check who is behind the wheel.

Using multiple lenses and AI tech, the cameras automatically analyse the images they capture for driving offences.

If any are detected, the image will be saved and sent off immediately to the police force responsible for that stretch of road.

This includes offences committed by passengers, such as distracting the driver through mobile phone use.

And, of course, they can also tell when you’re going over the speed limit.

This could see more drivers receiving fines, licence points and bans for crimes that would previously have gone undetected.

A trial of similar tech in Cornwall last year saw a whopping 300 Brits caught out within just three days.

Since then, the cameras have been tried out in areas including Greater Manchester, Sussex and Durham with similar results.

The RAC has backed the move, saying that a “lack of enforcement” was making UK roads more dangerous for law-abiding drivers.

The Club’s spokesman Rod Dennis said: “Despite the penalties for using a handheld phone having doubled to six penalty points and a £200 fine seven years ago, it’s clear far too many drivers are still prepared to put lives at risk by engaging in this dangerous practice.

“We suspect a major reason for this is a lack of enforcement, meaning many drivers have no fear of being caught.

“AI-equipped cameras that can automatically detect drivers breaking the law offer a chance for the tide to be turned.

“The police can’t be everywhere all of the time, so it makes sense that forces look to the best available technology that can help them catch drivers acting illegally.”

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Trump Picks J.D. Vance as VP

Donald Trump has selected Sen. JD Vance of Ohio as his presidential running mate, ending months of speculation about the Republican nominee’s choice to help him challenge President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.

“After lengthy deliberation and thought, and considering the tremendous talents of many others, I have decided that the person best suited to assume the position of Vice President of the United States is Senator J.D. Vance of the Great State of Ohio,” Trump said Monday in a Truth Social post.

Two other top Republican contenders, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, were told earlier that they would not be picked, NBC News reported.

The Biden campaign promptly panned the selection, accusing Trump of picking Vance because he will “bend over backwards to enable Trump and his extreme MAGA agenda, even if it means breaking the law and no matter the harm to the American people.”

“Billionaires and corporations are literally rooting for J.D. Vance: they know he and Trump will cut their taxes and send prices skyrocketing for everyone else,” read the statement from Biden-Harris campaign chair Jen O’Malley Dillon.

Biden’s official X account separately wrote that while Vance “talks a big game about working people,” he and Trump “want to raise taxes on middle-class families while pushing more tax cuts for the rich.”

Harris has previously accepted an invitation from CBS News to participate in a vice presidential debate on either July 23 or Aug. 13.

Trump’s selection provides a sudden, massive jolt in stature for the 39-year-old Vance, who joined the Senate as a political newcomer less than two years ago.

Vance gained fame in 2016 through his bestselling memoir “Hillbilly Elegy,” which traced his rural upbringing in Ohio and mused on the culture and politics of Appalachia.

While not without its critics, the book quickly earned Vance a reputation as a trenchant political analyst who, despite an Ivy League education, possessed a unique sense of how the White working class viewed the rest of the country.

Before entering politics, Vance was a major Trump critic, slamming him as a “total fraud” and even comparing him and his MAGA political movement to a harmful drug.

“Trump’s promises are the needle in America’s collective vein,” Vance wrote in The Atlantic before Trump won the 2016 election.

But as a politician, Vance has morphed into one of the most loyal and extreme backers of both Trump and his brand of nationalist, populist politics.

For instance, Vance was among the parade of Republicans who appeared outside of Trump’s criminal hush money trial in New York City to decry the prosecution of the GOP leader.

He later claimed the trial was “election interference,” and that its “main goal” was “psychological torture” against Trump. The jury in that trial convicted Trump on 34 counts of falsifying business records; Trump is currently set to be sentenced on Sept. 18.

Trump’s VP announcement came in the middle of a deluge of major national news — including a failed assassination attempt against the former president at a campaign rally in Pennsylvania over the weekend.

The attack, which left one rally attendee dead and Trump with a minor injury, sent shockwaves across the country and spurred condemnations of violence across the political aisle.

Biden, in an Oval Office address after the Trump rally shooting, urged Americans to lower the temperature of political rhetoric and reaffirm the democratic norms of civil disagreement and decency.

Meanwhile, Trump’s bevy of legal battles were shaken up Monday morning, when federal Judge Aileen Cannon dismissed the criminal case charging the former president with illegally retaining classified documents and obstructing the government’s efforts to retrieve them.

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Judge Cannon Dismisses the Trump Classified Documents Case

The Florida judge overseeing Donald Trump’s classified documents trial dismissed the case against the former president Monday on the grounds that the appointment of and funding for special counsel Jack Smith was illegal.

U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon, a Trump nominee, said in her 93-page decision that Smith’s appointment was “unlawful” and unconditional. “The clerk is directed to close this case,” the judge wrote.

The decision came on the first day of the Republican National Convention, and following an assassination attempt on the former president over the weekend. Trump praised the ruling in a statement that referenced Saturday’s shooting and said other criminal cases against him should be tossed as well. A source who spoke directly with the former president said that he was “surprised” but “very happy” with Cannon’s decision.

A White House spokesman referred inquiries on the Trump classified documents case being dismissed to the Department of Justice. Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed Smith as special counsel in November 2022, tasking him with overseeing the federal investigations into Trump’s handling and retention of classified documents after he left office as well as his efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election results.

Trump’s lawyers argued in court papers filed in February that the appointments clause of the Constitution “does not permit the Attorney General to appoint, without Senate confirmation, a private citizen and like-minded political ally to wield the prosecutorial power of the United States. As such, Jack Smith lacks the authority to prosecute this action.”

The special counsel’s team contended that the attorney general has statutory authority to appoint “inferior officers” and that previous court decisions have affirmed the attorney general’s authority to appoint special counsels.

Cannon found the appointment was improper.

“Since November 2022, Special Counsel Smith has been exercising ‘power that [he] did not lawfully possess.’ All actions that flowed from his defective appointment — including his seeking of the Superseding Indictment on which this proceeding currently hinges — were unlawful exercises of executive power,” she wrote.

The arguments by Trump’s legal team were raised unsuccessfully against previous special counsels, including Robert Mueller, who oversaw an investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, and David Weiss, the special counsel overseeing the Hunter Biden prosecution.

It’s unclear if Cannon’s ruling could impact the cases against the president’s son. In her decision, Cannon specifically contrasts Smith’s appointment with Weiss’s, because Weiss was already a U.S. attorney and Smith was a private citizen by the time he was appointed.

From here, Smith will be able to appeal this dismissal to the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. That court will certainly hear the case and likely hold oral arguments. However, even if it were to be heard on an expedited basis, and even if the appeals court were to overturn Cannon’s ruling, Monday’s ruling all but guarantees the classified documents case could not go to trial before the election.

This ruling doesn’t have any immediate impact on the federal election interference case. The only courts that can direct the judge in that case, U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan, to rule in a particular manner are the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court.

Trump was first charged in the case in June of last year. The indictment accused him of lying and scheming to mislead federal investigators in order to retain sensitive materials that he knew were still classified after he left the White House.

The indictment alleged that the documents he took with him “included information regarding defense and weapons capabilities of both the U.S. and foreign countries; United States nuclear programs; potential vulnerabilities of the United States and its allies to military attack; and plans for a possible retaliation in response to a foreign attack.”

In August 2022, the FBI executed a search warrant on Trump’s Florida estate and found over 100 classified documents there, despite having been assured by Trump’s attorneys that all such documents had been returned.

He was later given additional charges for allegedly trying to obstruct the investigation. He pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

Cannon’s involvement in the case preceded Trump being charged. In 2022, she temporarily halted the FBI’s review of the documents that had been recovered at Mar-a-Lago while granting Trump’s request for a special master to review the evidence.

That ruling was overturned by a panel of appeals court judges who suggested Cannon had tried to “carve out an unprecedented exception in our law for former presidents.”

The criminal case was randomly assigned to Cannon after Trump was indicted, and she’s repeatedly come under criticism from legal experts for her meandering approach to the case. It had at one point been scheduled to go to trial earlier this year, but Cannon postponed the trial date indefinitely, citing “myriad” pending motions in the case.

Cannon’s ruling comes two weeks to the day after the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision largely in Trump’s favor in the federal election interference case. The high court ruling held that he had immunity for some of his conduct as president, and that Chutkan would have to decide which of his actions were official presidential acts before proceeding with the case.

The D.C. case, which at one point had been slated to go to trial in March, had been stayed while the high court grappled with the immunity issue, and Chutkan will need to decide on the “official acts” questions before the case goes to trial, making it impossible for it to begin before the election. Trump’s attorneys had not challenged Smith’s appointment in that case, but are likely to do so now given Cannon’s ruling.

The immunity ruling will also likely have some impact on Trump’s state election interference case in Georgia, but that case has been stayed until at least October while an appeals court hears arguments on whether Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis should be disqualified from the case.

Trump was convicted in March of 34 counts of falsifying business records in New York, and was originally scheduled to be sentenced last week. The judge in that case postponed the sentencing until at least September after Trump’s attorneys filed papers arguing the conviction should be tossed because of the immunity ruling. They noted that some of the evidence at trial involved Trump’s official acts in the White House. The Manhattan district attorney’s office is arguing against reversal or a new trial.

In an opinion concurring with the 6-3 conservative majority, Justice Clarence Thomas suggested Smith’s appointment as special counsel raised a potential violation of the Constitution’s provisions on appointment power.

“If there is no law establishing the office that the Special Counsel occupies, then he cannot proceed with this prosecution. A private citizen cannot criminally prosecute anyone, let alone a former President,” Thomas wrote in his opinion, which Cannon cited three times in her ruling.

Trump’s attorneys had flagged Thomas’s opinion to Cannon last week, saying it “adds force to the motions relating to the Appointments and Appropriations Clauses.”

In a response Friday, Smith’s office countered the “single-Justice concurrence … neither binds this Court nor provides a sound basis to deviate from the uniform conclusion of all courts to have considered the issue that the Attorney General is statutorily authorized to appoint a Special Counsel.”

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WATCH: Mitch McConnell Booed at RNC

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was booed as he spoke on behalf of Kentucky’s delegates during Monday’s roll call to formally nominate Donald Trump at the Republican National Convention.

McConnell has had an icy relationship with the former president and his MAGA-allies since 2020, when the Republican leader accused Trump of “provoking the events” of Jan. 6.

The Kentucky Republican will step down as GOP leader at the end of this year, a move that Trump allies view as the final step to a total MAGA takeover of the Republican Party, Axios’ Zach Basu wrote.

Until Trump’s visit to Capitol Hill last month, McConnell and Trump had not spoken since December 2020. The two men shared a fist bump following Trump’s remarks to Senate Republicans.

McConnell said on the Senate floor following the Jan. 6 Capitol riot that the former president was “practically and morally responsible for provoking the events” of the day.

McConnell earlier this year endorsed Trump for president.

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‘Morning Joe’ Pulled from Air Monday

MSNBC will not air “Morning Joe,” its celebrated politics roundtable program, on Monday, opting to instead air continued breaking news coverage of the attempted assassination of former President Donald Trump.

The progressive news network confirmed the decision to preempt its influential and top-rated morning show after a CNN inquiry Sunday evening. The network said the show will resume airing Tuesday.

The decision by MSNBC to leave one of its most recognizable programs on the sidelines amid a seismic politics-driven news cycle, with the Republican National Convention getting underway in the wake of the Saturday shooting at Trump’s campaign rally, is certain to raise eyebrows.

A person familiar with the matter told CNN that the decision was made to avoid a scenario in which one of the show’s stable of two dozen-plus guests might make an inappropriate comment on live television that could be used to assail the program and network as a whole. Given the breaking news nature of the story, the person said, it made more sense to continue airing rolling breaking news coverage in the fraught political moment.

“Given the gravity and complexity of this unfolding story, NBC News, NBC News NOW and MSNBC have remained in rolling breaking news coverage since Saturday evening,” a spokesperson for NBCUniversal News Group said in a statement to CNN. “As we continue to cover this story into the week, the networks will continue to cross simulcast, alternating between NBC News, NBC News NOW and ‘MSNBC Reports,’ so there is one news feed covering this developing situation.”

In the wake of the attempt on Trump’s life, some of the former president’s supporters have vehemently criticized the press and liberal media commentators for their hard-knuckled reporting, which has sounded the alarm on what four more years under the former president would look like.

Cesar Conde, the chairman of NBCUniversal News Group, made the decision in conjunction with Rashida Jones, the president of MSNBC, and hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, the person familiar with the matter told CNN.

Over the course of the campaign cycle, news organizations have reported at length on Trump’s plans to warp the federal government for his own ends, including to seek vengeance against his political opponents. That reporting is now facing scrutiny, with some Trump supporters blaming it for producing a charged atmosphere that gave way to the assassination attempt, while mostly looking past the incendiary rhetoric of the former president himself.

MSNBC has, in particular, been blasted by Trump’s allies, putting the network in the spotlight. Some of Trump’s allies have gone as far as to attack the network’s parent company, Comcast.

It’s not the first time MSNBC has made such programming decisions in charged political moments.

Last year after Hamas executed its deadly October 7 attack on Israel, MSNBC quietly pulled three of its Muslim broadcasters from air. That move, which came after some pro-Israeli forces criticized the tone of the MSNBC’s coverage, left some staffers at the network feeling uncomfortable, Semafor reported at the time.

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