Politics
Friday, August 5, 2022

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Politics

China Responds to Pelosi Visit

Friday, August 5, 2022
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The context
China has finally levied its response to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan. China has pulled out of several critical areas of cooperation, including climate change initiatives, and imposed sanctions on Pelosi and her immediate family.
Politics
Friday, August 5, 2022

China Responds to Pelosi Visit

The context
China has finally levied its response to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan. China has pulled out of several critical areas of cooperation, including climate change initiatives, and imposed sanctions on Pelosi and her immediate family.
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Chinese military show

  • After Pelosi and the congressional delegation accompanying her left Taiwan, China embarked on its largest display of military might in the seas and skies surrounding the island. The military drills featured missile launches that hammered at the island's borders and flew above Taipei.
  • Taiwan maintains that the military show of force will not be met with any Taiwanese military action.
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China tests the waters

  • Five missiles fired at Taiwan by China landed in Japanese waters off of Hateruma. Pelosi and the congressional delegation are currently in Japan.
  • Japan and six other nations, including the U.S., responded to the missile launches by encouraging China to stop, saying there was no reason for China to lash out. China canceled a foreign minister's meeting with Japan in response to the statement.
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Economic avenues

  • Another path that China is taking to demonstrate its alleged ownership of Taiwan is by enforcing labeling rules on imports from Taiwan.
  • The rules, created in 2015, state that products originating in Taiwan must be labeled as made in "Taiwan, China."
  • Apple reportedly told its suppliers to comply with the labeling rules.
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Politics

DeSantis Doubles Down

Thursday, August 4, 2022
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The context
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is suspending the democratic state attorney, Andrew Warren, over his refusal to prosecute people who violate Florida's ban on abortions or gender-affirming surgeries.
Politics
Thursday, August 4, 2022

DeSantis Doubles Down

The context
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is suspending the democratic state attorney, Andrew Warren, over his refusal to prosecute people who violate Florida's ban on abortions or gender-affirming surgeries.
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DeSantis strikes

  • State Attorney Andrew Warren said he would not prosecute individuals who perform abortions or gender-affirming surgeries like mastectomies or sex-change procedures.
  • Governor Ron DeSantis responded by suspending Warren for neglecting his duty as a state prosecutor.
  • Warren expressly declined to prosecute individuals who perform abortions after three and half months of pregnancy which was recently banned by a new Florida law.
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Sorry Warren

  • Andrew Warren is one of 70 state prosecutors and attorney generals across the country who ha said that they will not prosecute those who receive or provide abortion services.
  • In the executive order suspending Warren, DeSantis writes that he has the authority to suspend officials for neglect of duty, adding that Warren's refusal to enforce criminal charges effectively vetoes state laws.
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The context
The Department of Justice has filed charges against four Louisville, Kentucky, police officers for their role in the death of Breonna Taylor. Taylor was shot and killed by officers conducting a no-knock search shortly after midnight while she slept in bed with her boyfriend. The officers fired 32 shots.
Politics
Thursday, August 4, 2022

Garland Charges Louisville Police Officers

The context
The Department of Justice has filed charges against four Louisville, Kentucky, police officers for their role in the death of Breonna Taylor. Taylor was shot and killed by officers conducting a no-knock search shortly after midnight while she slept in bed with her boyfriend. The officers fired 32 shots.
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Justice for Breonna Taylor

  • The DOJ is accusing the four officers, Joshua Jaynes, Brett Hankison, Kelly Goodlett, and Kyle Meany, of fabricating evidence they presented to get a search warrant.
  • The officers told the judge issuing the warrant that a target of their investigation had been picking up packages of drugs at Taylor's home.
  • The charges against the officers involved aren't the only action the DOJ is pursuing against the Louisville police department. Another team at the DOJ is investigating the department to determine whether they are engaging in a pattern of misconduct.
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Fabricated evidence

  • The DOJ is accusing the officers of violating Taylor's civil rights, which resulted in her death, according to Attorney General Merrick Garland.
  • The officers used a no-knock warrant to enter Taylor's home while she slept with her boyfriend. Taylor's boyfriend believed an intruder was entering the apartment, so he fired a shot in self-defense. The officers responded by firing 32 shots, killing Taylor.
  • The no-knock warrant the officers used to enter her home was obtained after they lied on the affidavit they presented to the judge who issued the warrant.
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The context
Votes have settled in key primaries in Missouri, Michigan, Washington, Arizona, and Kansas. In the contentious race for GOP nominations, Trump endorsed candidates either flailed or triumphed, and Democrats played a sneaky hand in Michigan.
Politics
Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Takeaways from August 2nd Primaries

The context
Votes have settled in key primaries in Missouri, Michigan, Washington, Arizona, and Kansas. In the contentious race for GOP nominations, Trump endorsed candidates either flailed or triumphed, and Democrats played a sneaky hand in Michigan.
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Kinzinger on Meijer defeat: ‘Democrats own that’

  • Representative Peter Meijer of Michigan is one of ten Republicans who voted to impeach President Trump and denied his election fraud claims in 2020. He ran for the GOP primary in Michigan to defend his seat in the House against challenger John Gibbs.
  • John Gibbs is a fervent Trump supporter and a 2020 election denier.
  • The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee decided to make a play in Michigan. They spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to run ads that supported Gibbs's campaign for the House seat.
  • The DCCC hopes the Democratic candidate for the seat will have a better shot at defeating Gibbs since he is a Trump extremist. The gamble is that voters won't be drawn to Gibbs's extreme right-wing takes and will opt to vote Democratic.
  • Republican Representative Adam Kinzinger decried the DCCC's decision, saying they were punishing a good Republican and they would be to blame if Gibbs wins.
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Arizona swings for Trump

  • Trump endorsed candidate Mark Finchem won the Republican nomination for Secretary of State of Arizona.
  • Blake Masters, who Trump also endorses, won the GOP nomination for Senator.
  • Both Finchem and Masters are supporters of Trump's claim that he won the 2020 election. Masters won the nomination against Rusty Bowers, who testified in the January 6th committee hearing about how he resisted pressures from Trump's team to overturn election results in Arizona.
  • Arizona is a significant battleground for the GOP's hope to flip the 50-50 balance of Republicans to Democrats in the Senate.
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Key races

  • In Michigan, conservative commentator Tudor Dixon won the Republican primary and will face the incumbent Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Trump endorses Dixon.
  • In Missouri, Attorney General Eric Schmitt won the primary in the race for a Senate seat against former Gov. Eric Greitens. Greitens resigned from his post in 2018 after his wife revealed that he had been coercive and abusive towards her and their son.
  • Democrats had hoped that Greitens would win, which would bolster their candidate's chance of winning the seat since Greitens's return to politics saw him run as a full-blown Trump-ist.
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Politics

Kansas Protects Abortion

Wednesday, August 3, 2022
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The context
Last night's primaries led to a significant victory for pro-choice activists in Kansas. The state overwhelmingly voted to protect the right to an abortion in its state constitution and reject a proposed amendment that would remove the right.
Politics
Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Kansas Protects Abortion

The context
Last night's primaries led to a significant victory for pro-choice activists in Kansas. The state overwhelmingly voted to protect the right to an abortion in its state constitution and reject a proposed amendment that would remove the right.
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Constitutional right

  • On Tuesday night, Kansas voters overwhelmingly voted to protect the right to an abortion in the state's constitution from a proposed amendment that would allow lawmakers to restrict or ban abortion.
  • The dramatic shake-up represents the new political world post-Roe v. Wade was overturned. Kansas is a deeply red, conservative state, so the decision to protect the right to abortion blurs party lines.
  • Even in rural, red counties, abortion opponents were outvoted by pro-choice voters.
  • The New York Times estimated that voter turnout was about 50%.
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Voters in Kansas decide to keep abortion legal in the state, rejecting an amendment

  • The proposed amendment would have removed the right to an abortion in the state's constitution, allowing lawmakers to ban the procedure outright.
  • Kansas restricts access to abortions after 22 weeks of pregnancy, only allowing patients to access the procedure if their life is at risk.
  • Kansas also mandates that pregnant patients get an ultrasound before being allowed to get an abortion.
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The context
The Senate voted on the PACT Act again today after it failed to pass last Wednesday when 41 Republican senators unexpectedly blocked the bill. The PACT Act expands military healthcare benefits for veterans whose health was compromised by burn pits or toxic chemical exposures while serving. The Senate ultimately voted to pass the bill with no amendments.
Politics
Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Senate Votes on the PACT Act Again

The context
The Senate voted on the PACT Act again today after it failed to pass last Wednesday when 41 Republican senators unexpectedly blocked the bill. The PACT Act expands military healthcare benefits for veterans whose health was compromised by burn pits or toxic chemical exposures while serving. The Senate ultimately voted to pass the bill with no amendments.
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Another shot to pass

  • The PACT Act's failure to pass was a surprise because it had easily passed in the Senate before going to the House. When the Senate re-received the bill last week, it was blocked from passing by Republican senators, led by Pat Toomey.
  • Now, the bill has another chance to pass after Senator Chuck Schumer announced a vote slated for Tuesday evening.
  • The Republican hold-up stems from an objection to the definition of the type of spending on veteran healthcare. The $400 billion in spending is labeled as "mandatory," which Pat Toomey claimed could be spent on something other than veteran healthcare if the care does not total that amount.
  • The Senate will vote on Toomey's amendment, which defines the allocated spending as discretionary and not mandatory.
  • The failure to pass the bill was on the heels of Senator Joe Manchin and Schumer reaching a deal to introduce the Democratic Agenda, which included funding for climate change projects.
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PACT Act passes

  • The Senate voted to pass the PACT Act today in a vote of 86-11, meaning that the veterans who camped outside of the Capitol building since it failed last week can finally go home.
  • The bill will now go to President Biden's desk, who is expected to sign it into law.
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Politics

Alex Jones Trial Kicks Off

Tuesday, August 2, 2022
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The context
The defamation trial against Infowars's Alex Jones and the parents of victims of the Sandy Hook Shooting began today with emotional testimony from the parents and clashes between Jones and the presiding judge.
Politics
Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Alex Jones Trial Kicks Off

The context
The defamation trial against Infowars's Alex Jones and the parents of victims of the Sandy Hook Shooting began today with emotional testimony from the parents and clashes between Jones and the presiding judge.
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Impact of Jones's claims

  • Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, the parents of a son who died in the shooting, testified today about the horrific impact that Alex Jones's repeated public claims that the shooting was faked has had on their lives.
  • Both spoke about the 'living hell' they have endured thanks to death threats and ongoing harassment from believers of Jones's claims that the shooting was faked by actors and is a conspiracy.
  • The Texas-based trial will determine how much Jones will pay to the parents in damages.
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Details from the courtroom

  • The dramatic trial included sparring between Jones and the presiding judge, Judge Maya Guerra Gamble.
  • Gamble admonished Jones for his repeated refusal to tell the truth under oath.
  • Before the trial began, Jones released videos that viciously slandered Judge Maya Guerra Gamble and the defendants in the case.
  • Jones's company, Free Speech Systems, filed for bankruptcy on Friday, which could impact the eventual sum he is forced to pay the defendants.
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The context
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi landed in Taiwan, becoming the highest-ranking U.S. elected official to visit the island nation in 25 years amidst simmering tensions between the U.S. and China over the visit and Taiwan's sovereignty.
Politics
Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Nancy Pelosi Touches Down in Taiwan

The context
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi landed in Taiwan, becoming the highest-ranking U.S. elected official to visit the island nation in 25 years amidst simmering tensions between the U.S. and China over the visit and Taiwan's sovereignty.
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Plane touches down

  • Nancy Pelosi and the congressional delegation accompanying her landed in Taiwan today in the face of threats from the Chinese president that there would be serious repercussions to her visit.
  • Bejing claims Taiwan is a rogue province, and while the U.S. has agreed to abide by a policy of neutrality on the issue, Pelosi herself supports a democratic Taiwan.
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Bipartisan support

  • Pelosi's trip has garnered support from both sides of the political aisle.
  • Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell defended Pelosi's decision to visit Taiwan.
  • McConnell said that Pelosi has every right to visit the country and that he hopes that upon her return, she will be more sympathetic to calls to increase military spending to support American efforts to compete with China and maintain peace in the Pacific.
  • He also pointed out that a former speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich visited the nation in 1997, so Pelosi is not breaking with precedent by meeting with Taiwanese leaders in Taipei.
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Military drill response

  • China has announced that it will conduct military drills in the sea and airspace between mainland China and Taiwan. They are likely to cross into Taiwanese airspace and over the maritime border.
  • The drills were expected to begin on Thursday, but the Chinese military has now announced that the drills will begin Tuesday night before Pelosi leaves on Wednesday.
  • The drills will encircle the island of Taiwan from all four directions. They will likely include missile launches and displays from Chinese aircraft and ships.
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The context
The Justice Department is suing Idaho over its abortion ban because it violates the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act by preventing medical professionals from providing abortions in medical emergencies. The case is the first suit by the DOJ since Roe v. Wade was overturned.
The context
The Justice Department is suing Idaho over its abortion ban because it violates the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act by preventing medical professionals from providing abortions in medical emergencies. The case is the first suit by the DOJ since Roe v. Wade was overturned.
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First response

  • Idaho's ban is highly restrictive, and the DOJ is suing because the near-total ban violates federal law, which mandates that women be given abortions in cases of a medical emergency.
  • According to the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act, hospitals that receive federal funding must provide emergency medical treatment. The DOJ will argue that in some cases, abortion is a life-saving, required emergency medical procedure for pregnant patients.
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Taking on Idaho

  • Idaho's abortion ban is one of the most restrictive in the nation, and it will take effect later this month. The ban includes a provision that would make providing an abortion a crime punishable by up to five years in prison.
  • The DOJ is suing because the bill will make it essentially impossible for pregnant patients to obtain life-saving reproductive care for conditions like preeclampsia or ectopic pregnancy.
  • In his announcement of the suit, Attorney General Merrick Garland references a growing number of cases where pregnant patients have reported being denied abortion services in the case of medical emergencies.
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Politics

U.S. Kills al-Qaeda Leader

Tuesday, August 2, 2022
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The context
President Biden confirmed this afternoon that a U.S. drone strike killed Ayman al-Zawahiri, the second in command in al-Qaeda during 9/11 and Osama Bin Laden's successor.
Politics
Tuesday, August 2, 2022

U.S. Kills al-Qaeda Leader

The context
President Biden confirmed this afternoon that a U.S. drone strike killed Ayman al-Zawahiri, the second in command in al-Qaeda during 9/11 and Osama Bin Laden's successor.
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Most wanted

  • Ayman al-Zawahiri was at the top of the most wanted list for his role in overseeing and organizing the attacks on 9/11. After the U.S. killed Osama bin Laden during Obama's presidency, al-Zawahiri stepped into the deceased leader's shoes as the head of al-Qaeda.
  • According to officials, the drone strike that killed al-Zawahiri was carried out over the weekend, and the strike hit a house in Kabul where the leader was hiding out.
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First since exit

  • The strike that killed al-Zawahiri is the first since the United States withdrew troops from Afghanistan last year.
  • Officials said that the U.S. military did not conduct the strike, leading some to speculate that the CIA had conducted the strike.
  • The successful strike is a win for the Biden administration that pulled troops last year.
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Biden confirms

  • In Biden's remarks, he calls the strike an example of the U.S. maintaining its ability to conduct operations and pursue high priority targets even without soliders on the ground in Afghantistan.
  • The Biden administration said that there were no civilian casualties in the strike in the residential neighborhood in Kabul.
  • After al-Zawahiri's death, all the top conspirators in the 9/11 attacks have been captured or killed.
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The context
Guy Reffitt, who participated in the Capitol riots, has been sentenced to the longest sentence of any January 6th rioters. He was sentenced to seven years in prison for leading rioters into the Capitol while carrying a gun.
Politics
Monday, August 1, 2022

Guy Reffitt Sentenced to Seven Years

The context
Guy Reffitt, who participated in the Capitol riots, has been sentenced to the longest sentence of any January 6th rioters. He was sentenced to seven years in prison for leading rioters into the Capitol while carrying a gun.
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Lit match

  • Prosecutors used body-camera footage from Guy Reffitt to argue that he incited fellow rioters to storm the Capitol.
  • Reffitt didn't actually make it into the building. He was stopped when he clashed with the police line.
  • Prosecutors argued that Reffitt's actions constituted domestic terrorism, which the judge presiding over the case disagreed with.
  • Both Reffitt's children testified and asked the judge to be lenient with their father, who they explained had been caught up in the fervor of Trump's claims that the election was stolen.
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Less than the asked

  • Prosecutors sought a 15-year prison term for Guy Reffitt.
  • Reffitt asked for leniency from the court, citing mental health and medical struggles that began when he lost his job in 2019 before the pandemic started. He became involved in extremist groups like the Three Percenters movement in Texas.
  • Other rioters have not faced nearly as much prison time as Reffitt. Still, prosecutors made the case that he was an active organizer in the event and that he committed domestic terrorism.
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Politics

Adams Issues State of Emergency

Monday, August 1, 2022
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The context
New York Mayor Eric Adams has declared a state of emergency in the city over an ongoing Monkeypox outbreak. The state of emergency will allow Adams to focus resources on vaccinating and educating New Yorkers to prevent the spread of the disease.
Politics
Monday, August 1, 2022

Adams Issues State of Emergency

The context
New York Mayor Eric Adams has declared a state of emergency in the city over an ongoing Monkeypox outbreak. The state of emergency will allow Adams to focus resources on vaccinating and educating New Yorkers to prevent the spread of the disease.
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State of emergency

  • Mayor Adams declared a state of emergency in NYC after the city health department declared the monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency.
  • The emergency order will allow Adams to supersede local efforts to curb the outbreak and coordinate a city-wide approach to vaccinate, treat, test and educate as many people as possible.
  • New York has reported 1,472 cases, but the number may be higher due to errors in reporting.
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New York on notice

  • The governor of New York, Kathy Hochul, declared a state disaster emergency on Friday night, which would authorize more medical professionals like nurse practitioners and pharmacists to administer vaccines.
  • Hochul also said she would pressure the federal government to send New York more vaccines.
  • New York currently leads the country in the number of cases, with California in second place.
  • The virus is spread through physical contact, and patients experience flu-like symptoms with a raised rash and lesions.
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The context
The House voted to pass an assault weapons ban after overcoming internal party drama. The ban is the first in 30 years to pass in the House after Congress failed to renew a ban passed in 1994 and expired in 2004.
Politics
Friday, July 29, 2022

Reinstating the Assault Weapons Ban

The context
The House voted to pass an assault weapons ban after overcoming internal party drama. The ban is the first in 30 years to pass in the House after Congress failed to renew a ban passed in 1994 and expired in 2004.
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Ban passes

  • The House voted on the bill to reinstate an assault weapons ban. The ban passed with a very narrow margin of 217-213.
  • The vote on the ban came after the Democratic party failed to secure enough votes to pass a broader agenda of public safety bills.
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Down to the wire

  • The House is scheduled to go on recess in August, so they are working to pass legislation quickly.
  • The House was meant to vote on a broader public safety agenda, but disagreements within the party over language in a policing bill caused the original plan to vote on the policing bill to stall out.
  • Pelosi decided to vote on the ban instead of the broader agenda.
  • Only two Republicans joined Democrats to support the bill, which doesn't bode well for the bill's chances in the Senate.
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The context
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi leaves today to lead a congressional delegation on a tour of Asia. She plans to stop in Singapore, Japan, and South Korea. But, the proposed final stop on her tour, Taiwan, is causing tensions between China and the U.S. to flare.
Politics
Friday, July 29, 2022

Pelosi's Trip to Asia Stirs Controversy

The context
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi leaves today to lead a congressional delegation on a tour of Asia. She plans to stop in Singapore, Japan, and South Korea. But, the proposed final stop on her tour, Taiwan, is causing tensions between China and the U.S. to flare.
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On a jet plane

  • The White House has declined to offer specifics about Pelosi's schedule while traveling to Asia.
  • China has long claimed Taiwan as a rogue province, while Taiwan maintains it is a sovereign nation. Political experts fear that China will invade Taiwan.
  • China has warned the U.S. that Pelosi's visit to Taiwan would be inflammatory.
  • President Xi Jinping and President Biden spoke by phone for over two hours yesterday about the rising tensions. Jinping warned Biden to abide by China's claim to Taiwan.
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Experts concerned

  • Political experts are worried that if Pelosi does stop in Taiwan, it will lead to a military crisis in the region.
  • Pelosi will fly via military aircraft, which experts worry China will claim is an invasion of Chinese airspace.
  • If Pelosi does visit Taiwan, she will be the highest-ranking U.S. lawmaker to visit the island nation in over two decades.
  • Biden has suggested that the U.S. will support Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion, breaking with the longstanding policy of "strategic ambiguity" regarding Taiwan's sovereignty.
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History of tensions

  • China's military demonstrations in the Taiwan Strait have become increasingly aggressive.
  • The White House has walked back statements by Biden saying the U.S. would support Taiwan with military aid if China did invade Taiwan.
  • Historically, Pelosi has had a long history of poking at China. In 1991 she visited Bejing to commemorate the Tiananmen Square Massacre, where the Chinese military killed students protesting the communist government.
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The context
The Department of Justice is now actively investigating former President Donald Trump's involvement in the Capitol riots and is collaborating with the Jan 6th committee to access their findings.
Politics
Thursday, July 28, 2022

DOJ Pursues Jan 6th Committee Findings

The context
The Department of Justice is now actively investigating former President Donald Trump's involvement in the Capitol riots and is collaborating with the Jan 6th committee to access their findings.
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Criminal probe

  • The DOJ revealed it is investigating Trump's actions leading up to and on the day of the Capitol riots.
  • The Washington Post said that experts familiar with the probe say investigators are looking into phone records of his top aides and conversations between Trump and his team before the riots.
  • The aim of the probe is to determine which illegal actions Trump directed his team members to do and whether he committed any illegal acts.
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Come campaign or high water

  • Attorney Merrick Garland has said that the criminal probe will continue even if Trump runs for president in 2024.
  • In an interview with Lester Holt, he told the NBC anchor that the Justice Department will pursue charges if appropriate regardless of Trump's status as a candidate.
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Key collaboration

  • The Jan 6th committee will share witness statements, testimonies, and evidence directly with the DOJ as part of their criminal investigation.
  • The DOJ will have to request access to the materials and provide compelling cause for obtaining them for the committee to share their evidence.
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Politics

The Democratic Agenda Rides Again

Wednesday, July 27, 2022
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The context
Senator Joe Manchin and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer are proposing a new Democratic spending agenda. The pair authored the new bill that includes measures to address climate change, taxes on the wealthy, and healthcare reforms.
Politics
Wednesday, July 27, 2022

The Democratic Agenda Rides Again

The context
Senator Joe Manchin and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer are proposing a new Democratic spending agenda. The pair authored the new bill that includes measures to address climate change, taxes on the wealthy, and healthcare reforms.
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Manchin's feeling cooperative

  • Senator Joe Manchin previously refused to support the Democratic spending agenda because of the lack of provisions targeting inflation.
  • He reversed his earlier position today to support the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022.
  • The act will make a down payment on deficit reduction, invest money into the domestic production of energy and bolster domestic manufacturing capabilities, and finally, aim to reduce the U.S.'s carbon emissions by 40% by 2030.

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Details of the bill

  • Among other things, the bill aims to reduce energy costs and increase clean energy production in the U.S.
  • The bill also allows Medicare to negotiate lower prices of prescription drugs for patients.
  • The funding for the package will come from $739 billion in new revenues from several changes to tax policies, including imposing a 15% corporate minimum tax. Funding will also come from the money saved by Medicare from prescription drug savings and a stricter I.R.S enforcement of tax policies.
  • The bill will have to pass in the Senate next week and then the House before it lands on Biden's desk.

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Politics

Biden Proposes a Strategic Trade

Wednesday, July 27, 2022
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The context
President Biden has proposed freeing Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout in exchange for Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan. The secretary of state, Antony Blinken, will speak with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov about the proposed swap.
Politics
Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Biden Proposes a Strategic Trade

The context
President Biden has proposed freeing Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout in exchange for Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan. The secretary of state, Antony Blinken, will speak with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov about the proposed swap.
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Blinken breaks the wall of silence

  • Secretary of state Antony Blinken will speak to Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov directly for the first time since Russia invaded Ukraine.
  • The proposed swap was offered weeks ago, but it was announced today that Blinken will speak with Lavrov in the coming days.
  • While Blinken has declined to offer specifics, CNN reported that the U.S. will leverage arms dealer Viktor Bout.
  • Paul Whelan has been detained in Russia since 2018 on alleged spying charges, which he denies.

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Confusing legal system

  • Brittney Griner's trial is ongoing, and the WNBA star has been detained in Russia since February.
  • During her trial today, she told the courtroom that she had not been informed about her rights and had been tossed into a downright confusing legal system without any information about how to defend herself.
  • Griner has pleaded guilty, saying she inadvertently packed the vape cartridges she is accused of trying to traffic.

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Politics

CHIPS is a Go

Wednesday, July 27, 2022
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The context
The Senate passed the CHIPS Act to subsidize the domestic production of semiconductor chips. The bill will provide a $280 billion boost to chip production to compete with Asia.
Politics
Wednesday, July 27, 2022

CHIPS is a Go

The context
The Senate passed the CHIPS Act to subsidize the domestic production of semiconductor chips. The bill will provide a $280 billion boost to chip production to compete with Asia.
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Chips on the table

  • The $280 billion bill will move to the House. President Biden has been a vocal supporter of the bill alongside industry CEOs and Intel.
  • Intel invested a massive amount of money into building a chip production plant in Columbus, Ohio, and recently secured a partnership with a Taiwanese chip designer.
  • Intel, Texas Instruments, Micron Technology, Global Foundries, and Samsung will receive most of the subsidies.

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Domestic production

  • The bill includes $52 billion in subsidies which will go to microchip manufacturers to encourage them to pull microchip production stateside.
  • The bill, which was two years in the making, aims to strengthen the domestic production of chips and create jobs.
  • There is a renewed urgency to pass the bill due to ongoing supply chain disruptions, which have made the production and transport of chips more difficult and unreliable.

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Science and chips

  • Supporters of the bill said that the motivation for passing the bill came from China's massive investment into its own domestic chip production capabilities.
  • Supporters also say the bill will help create jobs in American cities if companies take advantage of the subsidies to build factories in the States.
  • The bill also provides money for the research and development of technology across several federal agencies.

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The context
As record high temperatures slam into the U.S., the Biden administration has launched Heat.gov, a website with resources and instructions for Americans impacted by the heat.
Politics
Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Biden Launches Heat Wave Website

The context
As record high temperatures slam into the U.S., the Biden administration has launched Heat.gov, a website with resources and instructions for Americans impacted by the heat.
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Hot launch

  • The heatwave which shocked Europe has hit the US, already shattering hundreds of local temperature records.
  • Extreme heat is particularly dangerous for the elderly and other at-risk Americans without access to AC.

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Website contents

  • The website contains heat maps, historical data, and information about community resources for people looking to find ways to cool off or avoid the extreme heat.
  • The launch is part of President Biden's National Climate Task Force, which was announced last week with a series of initiatives to provide Americans with resources to handle increasingly extreme temperatures and weather events.

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Multi-agency effort

  • Extreme heat events, like the heat wave that's heating the pacific northwest and the northeast, are the leading cause of weather-related deaths in the U.S., and they disproportionately impact urban low-income communities.
  • Several government-funded agencies participated in creating the website, including the National Integrated Heat Health Information System, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Environmental Protection Agency.

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Politics

Trump Addresses DC

Tuesday, July 26, 2022
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The context
Trump returned to DC for the first time since leaving the office of President to deliver a speech at the America First Policy Institute’s two-day America First Agenda Summit, hinting that he may be running in 2024.
Politics
Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Trump Addresses DC

The context
Trump returned to DC for the first time since leaving the office of President to deliver a speech at the America First Policy Institute’s two-day America First Agenda Summit, hinting that he may be running in 2024.
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Two feet on the ground

  • Trump's return to DC comes after the conclusion of the first round of the January 6th hearings, where a House special committee laid out the case for his involvement in the coup attempt.
  • The speech will tease his intentions to run for president again in 2024.
  • Both Trump and his former vice president, Mike Pence, are planning to address supporters in the capital today, dramatically illuminating the rift between the two.

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Contents of the speech

  • In Trump's speech, he advocated for several policy measures to curb crime in America.
  • One such policy adjustment he called for is to impose the death penalty on convicted drug dealers. He also called for an increase in police presence and police presence.
  • He also proposed moving homeless encampments outside of cities to inexpensive plots of land owned by the state.

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The context
Over the weekend, The World Health Organization declared the worsening Monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency of international concern. The White House is expected to respond as global cases surpassed 16,500 in 74 countries.
Politics
Monday, July 25, 2022

Monkeypox May Be a National Emergency

The context
Over the weekend, The World Health Organization declared the worsening Monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency of international concern. The White House is expected to respond as global cases surpassed 16,500 in 74 countries.
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Learning from past mistakes

  • The White House is reportedly working on finding and naming a monkeypox coordinator to meet the outbreak head-on as cases rise in the US.
  • The push to name a coordinator comes two months after the first case was confirmed in the US. The Biden administration is looking to learn from the bungled response to the Covid-19 pandemic by being proactive about its response to monkeypox.

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Not yet an emergency

  • The Biden administration is also reportedly weighing whether or not to declare Monkeypox a public health emergency.
  • An emergency declaration would allow the administration to collect better data about the outbreak and disseminate information to the general public more easily.
  • The declaration could come later this week as part of a larger announcement that the US intends to distribute 800,000 doses of vaccinations for the disease.

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Politics

Hulu Versus Democrats

Monday, July 25, 2022
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The context
Hulu refused to run ads submitted by Democrats running in midterm elections that contained subjects like abortions, climate change, and gun safety. Hulu has not provided any reasoning for the decision.
Politics
Monday, July 25, 2022

Hulu Versus Democrats

The context
Hulu refused to run ads submitted by Democrats running in midterm elections that contained subjects like abortions, climate change, and gun safety. Hulu has not provided any reasoning for the decision.
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Upset Dems

  • Three central issues on voters' minds in this midterms are abortion rights, gun control, and climate change.
  • While Hulu has accepted political ads on their streaming service in the past, something changed this year. Hulu rejected and refused to run ads from Democrats running in the upcoming midterm elections.
  • The Washington Post reported the story on Monday, after weeks of rejections by Hulu to run the ads.
  • Hulu reps have not responded to the Democratic Committee's requests for information about why the ads were not run.

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Streaming issues

  • Three Democratic organizations submitted the ads in question, and they were submitted to Facebook, Youtube, Roku, NBCUniversal, ABC in Philadelphia, and ESPN. The ads went live on all platforms except for Hulu.
  • While Hulu is not legally required to run political ads as it is not technically a broadcast service, Democrats were outraged that they skipped out on the ads and have not provided a reason for their decision.
  • Democrats have previously clashed with Hulu for contradictory guidelines for ads and content issues.

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Politics

Steve Bannon Found Guilty

Friday, July 22, 2022
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The context
Former Trump advisor and podcaster Steve Bannon has been convicted of contempt of Congress.
Politics
Friday, July 22, 2022

Steve Bannon Found Guilty

The context
Former Trump advisor and podcaster Steve Bannon has been convicted of contempt of Congress.
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Outcome of a long-awaited trial

  • Bannon is on trial for two counts of contempt of Congress after refusing a request for information from the House committee investigating the Capitol riot.
  • Bannon refused a subpoena to testify and provide records of the days preceding January 6th.
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Conviction

  • Bannon was convicted for failing to testify and for failing to provide documents.
  • Bannon's team argued that Bannon had the executive privilege which prevented him from testifying. Prosecutors argued that Bannon was a private citizen after Trump fired him in 2017, leaving him without executive privilege protections.
  • Bannon will face sentencing in October, but he could face up to two years in prison for the charges. Each of the counts he was convicted on carry a minimum sentence of 30 days in prison.
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Politics

Further Fallout from Jan 6th

Friday, July 22, 2022
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The context
Last night's hearing about the Capitol riots showed that Trump refused to ask to stop the violence at the Capitol for nearly three hours despite his aides and every other person at the White House begging him to stop. The committee also showed footage from the riot, including some less than flattering footage of Senator Josh Hawley.
Politics
Friday, July 22, 2022

Further Fallout from Jan 6th

The context
Last night's hearing about the Capitol riots showed that Trump refused to ask to stop the violence at the Capitol for nearly three hours despite his aides and every other person at the White House begging him to stop. The committee also showed footage from the riot, including some less than flattering footage of Senator Josh Hawley.
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The final chorus

  • The committee showed unaired footage of Trump taping a video announcement condemning the violence at the Capitol.
  • In the footage, he slammed his palm on the podium and struggled to say that his presidential term was over. In the video, he tells the team watching the taping, "I don't want to say the election is over."
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Brief focus on Hawley

  • Senator Josh Hawley was photographed with his fist in the air, cheering on the crowd protesting outside the Capitol that would eventually storm the building.
  • A Capitol Police Officer testified that his gesture riled up the crowd of protestors.
  • After the image was displayed, the committee then showed security footage of Senator Hawley running away as he fled the rioters he had just cheered on outside the building.
  • The footage of Hawley running prompted laughs from the hearing attendees.
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The context
The January 6th Hearing today focused on Trump's inaction during the 187 minutes in which rioters breached the Capitol and sent the vice president and congress fleeing and hiding for their lives.
Politics
Friday, July 22, 2022

All in the 187 Minutes for Trump

The context
The January 6th Hearing today focused on Trump's inaction during the 187 minutes in which rioters breached the Capitol and sent the vice president and congress fleeing and hiding for their lives.
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Former First Lady speaks

  • Before the hearing started, Fox News released an interview with Melania Trump.
  • During the interview, the former first lady says that if she had been informed of the violence during the riots, she would have immediately denounced the violence.
  • She said that she was working with photographers and historians to archive and photograph the historic contents of White House rooms. So, she was not informed of the riots occurring at the Capitol while fulfilling her duties as a first lady.
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Committee doubles down

  • The window of time in question during the hearing begins after Trump ended his incendiary speech at the Ellipse.
  • During his drive back to the White House, he spoke with House Minority leader Kevin McCarthy who begged him to call off the mob. Instead, Trump took the mob's side.
  • He also refused to tweet or put forth any sort of statement condemning the violence or urging it to stop.
  • The committee showed footage from the riot, including footage of congress and their staff sheltering in place or fleeing the chamber. They also showed footage of Senator Josh Hawley, who had riled up the crowd earlier with a salute outside the Capitol, running away from the rioters as they breached the building.
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Almost trapped

  • After rioters breached the Capitol, the Secret Service agents protecting Vice President Mike Pence feared that they could have been trapped in the Capitol and overwhelmed by rioters.
  • Some agents made last calls to their families because they feared being overrun by rioters.
  • Rioters came as close as ten feet away from the agents and the vice president.
  • The member of the Secret Service who testified kept his identity hidden, but he spoke about the chaos over the radio channel from Pence's detail team, adding that they had mere minutes to escape the Capitol building before they would be confronted by rioters who had been chanting "Hang Mike Pence."
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Sarah Matthews testifies

  • Former Trump aide Sarah Matthews testified that she and other White House aides urged Trump to end the violence, and instead, he sent out the tweet attacking Mike Pence.
  • According to Matthews, Trump was happy to watch the violence play out, actively resisting calls from team members and aides to stop the violence.
  • Matthews testified that Trump did not want to include any mention of staying peaceful until his daughter Ivanka Trump suggested he include it in a tweet.
  • Another revelation from the hearing is that Trump spent more than two hours watching the violence unfold on the news instead of acting to stop it.
  • Matthew Pottinger also testified that he was frustrated and shocked by Trump's lack of response. White House Lawyer Pat Cipollone hinted that Trump did not want the violence to stop or the rioters to leave the Capitol.
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Politics

Right to Contraception Act

Thursday, July 21, 2022
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The context
The House passed the Right to Contraception Act, which guarantees access to contraceptives after the decision to overthrow Roe v. Wade jeopardized other rulings which established Americans' right to access contraception.
Politics
Thursday, July 21, 2022

Right to Contraception Act

The context
The House passed the Right to Contraception Act, which guarantees access to contraceptives after the decision to overthrow Roe v. Wade jeopardized other rulings which established Americans' right to access contraception.
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Reaction to Roe

  • Democrats are finally acting to codify the right to privacy established by the Supreme Court in cases like Griswold v. Connecticut.
  • The push is in response to Justice Clarence Thomas's call to review cases involving the right to privacy like access to contraception and interracial and same-sex marriage.
  • The Act passed today seeks to federally protect access to contraception, including birth control pills and abortion pills.
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Passes in the House

  • The act passed in a 228-195 vote after little debate and no amendments.
  • While it is unlikely to pass in the Senate, the act is intended to signal to the 50 states to pass similar legislation that protects the right to contraception in state constitutions and boost Democrats in the midterms.
  • Eight Republicans joined Democrats in voting yes on the bill.
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Act details

  • Two Iowa Republican representatives, Mariannette Miller-Meeks and Ashley Hinson introduced their legislation this week that would allow birth control pills to be approved as over-the-counter medication by the FDA.
  • The Right to Contraception act protects Americans' access to oral contraceptives like birth control pills and permanent contraceptives like the IUD or implant. It also protects access to Plan B and at-home abortion pills.
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The context
After senator Joe Manchin tanked the Democrat's ambitious spending plan that included climate change actions, Biden announced his plan to deal with the climate change emergency.
Politics
Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Biden Announces Climate Emergency Plan

The context
After senator Joe Manchin tanked the Democrat's ambitious spending plan that included climate change actions, Biden announced his plan to deal with the climate change emergency.
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Biden's plan

  • Biden has announced he will take action on climate change, even if Congress won't.
  • The measures he will implement will expand federal programs to help americans recover and prepare for extreme weather events. They also direct funds to build wind turbines in the Gulf of Mexico.
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Short of an executive order

  • The steps announced by Biden mainly aim to help Americans through increasingly extreme weather and dramatic temperatures. Some of the funding will go to expanding flood control, assisting families in covering heating and cooling costs, and retrofitting buildings.
  • The announcement falls short of an executive order that many Democrats have urged Biden to sign declaring climate change a national emergency.
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Politics

Revising the Electoral Count Act

Wednesday, July 20, 2022
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The context
A bipartisan group of senators has introduced legislation rewriting the Electoral Count Act to bolster protections for voters and protect the integrity of electoral votes.
Politics
Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Revising the Electoral Count Act

The context
A bipartisan group of senators has introduced legislation rewriting the Electoral Count Act to bolster protections for voters and protect the integrity of electoral votes.
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Due for an upgrade

  • The senators propose to update the 135-year-old act in response to Trump's campaign to overturn the election results after the 2020 election.
  • One of the proposed measures would make it harder for lawmakers to challenge the results of a state's electoral votes before Congress makes its official count.
  • Another measure states that the vice president has no jurisdiction over electoral results and no power to change them in any way.
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Protecting electors

  • The bill would mark the first major legislative response to the chaos after the 2020 election and the Capitol riots.
  • The measure which would make it harder to challenge electoral results would mandate that at least one-fifth of members of the House and Senate sponsor an objection to the certification of a state's electors.
  • The second but adjacent bill would enact penalties for intimidating election workers, voters, or candidates. It also adds new guidelines for handling election mail and will create a federal agency that helps states conduct elections.
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Will it pass?

  • The new bill also explicitly states that the vice president cannot reject votes for the winning candidate, which Trump wanted Pence to do.
  • Sixteen senators introduced the legislation, 8 of whom were Republican. That means that two Republicans will need to support the bill to overcome the possibility of a GOP Senate filibuster.
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Politics

Bowers Faces the Arizona GOP

Wednesday, July 20, 2022
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The context
The Arizona GOP censured Rusty Bowers after he testified before the January 6th Committee about the pressure he faced and rebuffed to change Arizona's electoral results in favor of Trump.
Politics
Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Bowers Faces the Arizona GOP

The context
The Arizona GOP censured Rusty Bowers after he testified before the January 6th Committee about the pressure he faced and rebuffed to change Arizona's electoral results in favor of Trump.
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Call to replace Bowers

  • The Arizona GOP executive committee called on Republican voters to "replace" House Speaker Rusty Bowers in August in the Senate GOP primary.
  • Bowers testified about the pressure from President Trump's team members to overturn the state's electoral results, which had swung blue to elect Biden.
  • In a press release, the Arizona GOP said that Bowers had acted in "direct violation" of the GOP platform by testifying and siding with Democrats on proposed legislation about education, gender, immigration, and elections.
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No longer in good standing

  • Arizona Republican Party Chair Kelli Ward tweeted that Bowers was no longer a "Republican in good standing."
  • Bowers can no longer run to be a House representative, so he is running for State Senate against David Farnsworth, who supports Trump's claims about the stolen election.
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Fishy Ward

  • Kelli Ward, the Arizona GOP chair, has long touted Trump's claims that the election was stolen. The Department of Justice has also subpoenaed her and her husband for their involvement in a scheme to find and offer up fake electoral slates to overturn the election results in Arizona.
  • Bowers's run for Senate was already looking challenging before the censure. He recently told NBC News, "It's so hostile. If I pull this off, it's going to be a miracle."
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Politics

Republicans Say No to NATO

Tuesday, July 19, 2022
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The context
18 House Republicans voted no on a resolution supporting Finland and Sweden joining NATO, which the House passed today.
Politics
Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Republicans Say No to NATO

The context
18 House Republicans voted no on a resolution supporting Finland and Sweden joining NATO, which the House passed today.
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The 18 House Republicans who voted against a resolution to support Finland, Sweden joining NATO

  • The measure passed by the House was sponsored by members of both parties, though all the representatives that opposed the bill were Republicans.
  • The measure explicitly states U.S. support for the two Nordic countries joining NATO and urges other alliance members to explicitly state their support.
  • The measure also opposes states that they oppose any attempts by Russia to react to the decision adversely.
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No thank you

  • The Republicans who voted against the measure include Reps—Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, Matt Gaetz of Florida, and Lauren Boebert of Colorado.
  • The others who joined in the nay-vote have consistently voted against efforts to support Ukraine during the Russian invasion of the country.
  • The House vote is symbolic. The actual approval of the nations will come from the Senate.
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Politics

Bill de Blasio is Out

Tuesday, July 19, 2022
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The context
Former mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio, has dropped out of the race for the New York House seat.
Politics
Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Bill de Blasio is Out

The context
Former mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio, has dropped out of the race for the New York House seat.
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Backing out

  • Bill de Blasio served from 2014 to 2021 as the mayor of New York City. He also briefly ran for president in 2020.
  • He was running in the congressional race in New York's 10th District.
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Reasoning

  • De Blasio was trailing behind the other candidates in the polls.
  • In his announcement, he said that he decided to drop out after it became clear the New York voters wanted a different candidate.
  • His announcement said, "It's clear the people of [NY-10] are looking for another option and I respect that. Time for me to leave electoral politics and focus on other ways to serve. I am really grateful for all the people I met, the stories I heard and the many good souls who helped out. Thank you all!"
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What's next?

  • De Blasio made the annoucement via Twitter. In the video posted to his account, he was candid about his unpopularity and the mistakes he made in executing the campaign.
  • He also talked about his next move, saying it was time for him to leave electoral politics.
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Politics

Results of the Uvalde Report

Monday, July 18, 2022
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The context
The report on the Uvalde Shooting released by a Texas investigative committee shows "systemic failures" in the police and state-level response to the shooting.
Politics
Monday, July 18, 2022

Results of the Uvalde Report

The context
The report on the Uvalde Shooting released by a Texas investigative committee shows "systemic failures" in the police and state-level response to the shooting.
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Report released

  • The report was released by a special Texas House committee and read to the families of victims of the shooting that claimed 21 lives. It is the first comprehensive assessment of the deadly shooting.
  • The report found that the blame for the response to the shooting was shared across almost 400 state and federal officers who responded to the scene.
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Parents want more

  • Many victims' parents were unsatisfied with the report and are still seeking answers.
  • Before the report, state leaders had blamed mainly the school's police chief, but with officers from border patrol and state officers there as well, the blame game is much more complicated.
  • Now, families want to know what kinds of repercussions officers who failed to take action for over an hour will face.
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Future implications

  • One takeaway from the report about the shooter is that gun laws that use background checks and age barriers would have prevented the shooter from obtaining a gun. The shooter had tried to purchase weapons before he turned 18 but had been unsuccessful.
  • The shooter had been given the nickname "school shooter" from his behavior on social media platforms, yet no one reported him.
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The context
Dr. Fauci says he will retire by the end of President Biden's current term.
Politics
Monday, July 18, 2022

Dr. Fauci Announces His Retirement

The context
Dr. Fauci says he will retire by the end of President Biden's current term.
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Retiring after years of service

  • Dr. Anthony Fauci has been the chief medical advisor to Biden since 2021 and has served as the director of the National Institution of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984.
  • Fauci became the face of the Covid-19 response under Trump, and many Americans looked to him for guidance and leadership during the pandemic.
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Going before Covid-19 does

  • Biden's current term ends in January 2025, and regardless of the outcome of the 2025 election, Fauci says he will retire.
  • Fauci told Politico that he expects Covid-19 to outlast his career, saying that he expects we will live with Covid-19 for many years.
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Storied career

  • Dr. Fauci has led the NIAID through the Zika, Ebola, and Covid-19 outbreaks.
  • He received criticism for how he handled the HIV/AIDS outbreak, mainly his lack of response which allowed the epidemic to go unchecked and untreated for years.
  • Fauci's legacy is complicated by the Republican response to the pandemic, which protested and pushed back on mask mandates and social distancing guidelines. Fauci had to hire security to protect him and his family after he received death threats and harassment.
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The context
The House of Representatives passed two bills today to protect access to abortion for Americans, but the bills are likely doomed in the Senate.
The context
The House of Representatives passed two bills today to protect access to abortion for Americans, but the bills are likely doomed in the Senate.
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Bills pass

  • The bills aim to protect abortion access at the federal level after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.
  • The first bill passed is the Women's Health Protection Act of 2022. The second is the Ensuring Access to Abortion Act of 2022.
  • Both passed mainly down party lines.
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Details of the bills

  • The Women's Health Protection Act of 2022 codifies abortion access into federal law.
  • The Ensuring Access to Abortion Act of 2022 protects patients who travel out of state to access abortion services by banning states from punishing people who get abortions in other states if they live in states where the procedure is illegal.
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Implications

  • Democrats and the Biden administration have been under intense pressure from voters to respond to the overturning of Roe v. Wade. While the bills are doomed in the Senate, they are symbolic of what a heavily Democrat-controlled Congress could do if more Democrats win the midterms.
  • Some states are drafting legislation making traveling out of state to get an abortion illegal and punishable.
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Politics

Manchin Gets in the Way Again

Friday, July 15, 2022
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The context
Senator Joe Manchin has tanked the Democrat's ambitious plan to fight climate change. Manchin decided not to support ambitious, Democrat-only legislation that aimed to address inflation, the cost of prescription drugs, energy, and the climate crisis.
Politics
Friday, July 15, 2022

Manchin Gets in the Way Again

The context
Senator Joe Manchin has tanked the Democrat's ambitious plan to fight climate change. Manchin decided not to support ambitious, Democrat-only legislation that aimed to address inflation, the cost of prescription drugs, energy, and the climate crisis.
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Manchin says no way

  • Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia has been battling back and forth with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer over the legislative package.
  • He ultimately informed Schumer and his staff that he would not support the climate change and tax provisions of the economic package.
  • In a radio interview, Manchin claimed he is waiting out July inflation numbers before supporting the legislation.
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Pre-midterm stall

  • Manchin decided not to support the bill before the midterms, but Manchin is not up for reelection. Many voters' main concern is rising inflation.
  • Democrats had hoped to use the budget reconciliation process, which requires a majority vote instead of securing 60 or more votes to avoid a Republican filibuster.
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Doomed plan

  • Some of the provisions that would have been included in the spending bill are a plan to force power plants to clean up emissions, help consumers afford electric vehicles, and provide government incentives for solar and wind companies.
  • Senator Manchin has taken immense amounts of money from oil and gas companies and lobbyists and became a millionaire from his family's coal company.
  • Manchin's rejection sparked rage amongst Democrats who had tailored, cut and adjusted the bill to Manchin's ever-changing demands for the last year to try and get it passed.
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Politics

Texas Sues Biden Administration

Thursday, July 14, 2022
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The context
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has sued the Biden administration over a requirement that requires doctors to provide abortions in medical emergencies where the mother's life is at risk.
Politics
Thursday, July 14, 2022

Texas Sues Biden Administration

The context
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has sued the Biden administration over a requirement that requires doctors to provide abortions in medical emergencies where the mother's life is at risk.
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Biden's guidance

  • The guidance from the Biden administration states that federal law mandates that doctors perform abortions for pregnant people at extreme medical risk, including treatment for ectopic pregnancy, hypertension, and preeclampsia.
  • The Biden administration also said they would remove federal funding from hospitals that do not provide life-saving abortion care to pregnant patients.
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Paxton's claim

  • Paxton argued that after the overturning of Roe v. Wade, federal law does not guarantee anyone the right to an abortion.
  • Paxton called the requirement unconstitutional and unenforceable, arguing that the federal government does not have the authority to mandate abortion care since it isn't explicitly stated in federal law.
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Politics

Amber Alert for Active Shooters

Thursday, July 14, 2022
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The context
The House passed a bipartisan bill today that establishes an Amber Alert-like system for active shooters.
Politics
Thursday, July 14, 2022

Amber Alert for Active Shooters

The context
The House passed a bipartisan bill today that establishes an Amber Alert-like system for active shooters.
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Bipartisan effort

  • The house passed the Active Shooter Alert Act, which Representatives David Cicilline and Fred Upton sponsored.
  • The act enables law enforcement to use the Amber Alert system in active shooter situations to notify the public.
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Improved response

  • The bill requires that the attorney general choose a Justice Department official to coordinate and create the system of alerts.
  • Law enforcement agencies like the National Sheriffs' Association endorsed the bill.
  • The bill aims to bolster and improve police response to shootings by giving them the ability to alert the public near an active shooter.
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Politics

Biden Visits Israel

Wednesday, July 13, 2022
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The context
President Biden is visiting Israel on the first stop of his first trip to the Middle East in an attempt to hopefully create stronger diplomatic ties between Israel and Saudi Arabia as oil prices remain high and unpredictable.
Politics
Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Biden Visits Israel

The context
President Biden is visiting Israel on the first stop of his first trip to the Middle East in an attempt to hopefully create stronger diplomatic ties between Israel and Saudi Arabia as oil prices remain high and unpredictable.
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Logistics

  • Biden will make a three-day stop in Israel, where he will be briefed on the new Israeli defense system, visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial, and meet with Israeli officials.
  • Biden will receive Israel's Presidential Medal of Honor.
  • From Israel, Biden will meet with Palestinian officials, including the President of Palestine.
  • Biden will then continue to Saudi Arabia, where he faces the herculean task of negotiating diplomacy between Israel and Saudi Arabia.
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Goals for the trip

  • Biden hopes to bolster Arab-Israel security and economic ties as fears mount over an Iranian nuclear weapons program and gas prices remain uncertain.
  • He also hopes to ease tensions and criticism over his administration's stance on the Israel-Palestine conflict. While in the West Bank, he is expected to visit a hospital and pledge $100 million in new funding for Palestinian medical infrastructure.
  • Biden will also visit Saudi Arabia to help Israel "normalize" its diplomatic relations with the country.
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High stakes

  • Biden's trip to Saudi Arabia is high stakes against a backdrop of soaring gasoline prices and a long-term conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
  • His trip to the West Bank to meet with the Palestinian president is also high-profile. Palestinians want Biden to make good on promises since he resumed diplomatic ties with the country after Trump took a firm, anti-Palestine stance during his administration.
  • Palestinians also want Biden to reopen a consulate in Jerusalem, remove PLO from the list of U.S. terrorist organizations, and curb Israeli expansion into the West Bank.
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Politics

Uvalde Footage Divides the Town

Wednesday, July 13, 2022
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The context
New footage from the shooting at Robb Elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, has upset families and reignited anger against the police response. The footage was released by local media ahead of the planned release on Sunday, which prevented parents and the families of victims from viewing the disturbing footage before the public gained access.
Politics
Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Uvalde Footage Divides the Town

The context
New footage from the shooting at Robb Elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, has upset families and reignited anger against the police response. The footage was released by local media ahead of the planned release on Sunday, which prevented parents and the families of victims from viewing the disturbing footage before the public gained access.
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Leaked footage

  • Local media released portions of the footage before it was shown to the parents of victims of the shootings.
  • The mayor of Uvalde, Don McLaughin, called the decision to release the footage before parents could view it "one of the mosy chicken things I've ever seen."
  • The city planned to release the footage on Sunday, but it was released yesterday afternoon by the Austin Statesman and affiliated ABC stations.
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Truth revealed

  • The footage shows the shooter entering the elementary school, unconfronted by a school safety officer. He then enters a classroom, and gunfire erupts.
  • The footage shows the disappointing police response. Police retreat from the room when they hear another round of gunshots from behind the unlocked door. They loiter around the hallway, even after being equipped with body armor and shields.
  • Police in the footage take calls and text, and one officer even stops to get hand sanitizer from a hallway dispenser while parents were handcuffed outside for trying to get to their kids.
  • The police waited more than an hour to breach the room and confront the shooter.
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Parent's dismay

  • Parents of the victims were dismayed to see the footage circulating on social media and encouraged friends not to share it to protect other parents from seeing it for the first time online.
  • Parents and local officials were also outraged that the audio, including sounds of gunshots, was included in the footage, which the families of victims watched for the first time alongside the general public.
  • Parents and families of the victims will meet with Texas officials investigating the shooting later this week to hear their investigative report.
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The context
The current chief of the Ann Arbor Police Department in Michigan, Michael Cox, is the new Boston Police Commissioner. Cox is a former Boston police officer who was beaten by his colleagues while undercover.
Politics
Wednesday, July 13, 2022

There's a New Commissioner In Boston-Town

The context
The current chief of the Ann Arbor Police Department in Michigan, Michael Cox, is the new Boston Police Commissioner. Cox is a former Boston police officer who was beaten by his colleagues while undercover.
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Officially commissioner

  • When Cox worked in the Boston Police Department, he served undercover in the department's gang unit. While undercover, he was beaten by Boston police officers after they mistook him for a suspect in a shooting.
  • Cox, an advocate for community policing, will return to Boston as Police Commissioner.
  • During a media briefing, he told reporters he wants to "revitalize" department efforts to build trust in the surrounding community and heal divisions between neighborhoods of color and law enforcement.
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Boston's finest

  • In the press briefing, Cox told reporters how the 1995 incident, which left him beaten and bloody, will impact his tenure as comissioner. "Since then, in 1995, I have dedicated my life to making sure that both the Boston police department and policing in general has grown and learned ... to make sure that we have structures and mechanisms in place to make sure that we never repeat that kind of incident against anyone."
  • He also said he would be a cheerleader for officers who need someone to support them as they protect the community.
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The context
Today's January 6th hearing focused on former President Donald Trump's ties to extremist groups that stormed the Capitol and his efforts to instigate the riot.
Politics
Tuesday, July 12, 2022

January 6th Hearings, Extremist Edition

The context
Today's January 6th hearing focused on former President Donald Trump's ties to extremist groups that stormed the Capitol and his efforts to instigate the riot.
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Ayres testifies

  • Stephen Ayres, a former Trump supporter convicted for participating in the Capitol Riot, told the committee that trusting the former President had derailed and ruined his life.
  • Ayres lost his job at a cabinet company and had to sell his house after he was charged for participating in the riots.
  • He also said he believed the President's claims that the election had been stolen wholeheartedly but regretted doing so.
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Guilty Parscale

  • Trump's former campaign manager, Brad Parscale, texted a colleague after the Capitol riots that he felt "guilty" for his part in helping Trump win the presidency in 2016.
  • He expressed his regret for supporting the President after the riot and blamed Trump's rhetoric for the violence.
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Not for the faint of heart

  • The committee focused on a tweet from Trump in December they called a "call to action" when he tweeted, "Be there. Will be wild," referring to a rally he planned for January 6th. He also "called for backup" during the rally, telling supporters Pence and other Republicans lacked the courage to overturn the election results.
  • Cassidy Hutchinson's testimony referenced an "unhinged" meeting at the White House between Trump's advisors and White House Lawyers. In today's hearing, the committee provided more information about the meeting, including testimony from aides that described "screaming" back and forth for six hours.
  • After the meeting in which no claims of election fraud were validated, Trump sent the incendiary tweet encouraging followers to come to the Capitol.
  • Text messages between aides and Trump's team showed that it was an established plan to have his supporters march from his rally to the Capitol, even though they were aware of the "crazies" that the march would draw.
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No impressionable child

  • Representative Liz Cheney dismissed the claims that Trump was merely misled by members of his team, saying that Trump is "not an impressionable child" and that he is a "76-year-old man."
  • Former White House Press Secretary Judd Deere testified that he told Trump "the electoral college had met … and I believed at that point that the means for him to pursue litigation was probably closed."
  • The committee provided evidence that members of Trump's team interacted with members of extremist groups that marched on the Capitol and that they had done so at Trump's urging.
  • The committee also provided a draft tweet seen by the president that read, "I will be making a Big Speech at 10AM on January 6th at the Ellipse (South of the White House). Please arrive early, massive crowds expected. March to the Capitol after. Stop the Steal!!"
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Last minute bombshell

  • At the end of the hearing, Representative Cheney revealed that Trump had tried to contact an unidentified committee witness in an attempt to influence their testimony after the last hearing.
  • The witness immediately told their lawyer, who provided the information to the committee, and Cheney then relayed the information to the Department of Justice, which could charge Trump with witness tampering.
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Politics

Biden, Interrupted

Monday, July 11, 2022
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The context
The father of a Parkland shooting victim stood up to interrupt Biden's speech at the White House about the passing of the Bipartisan gun control bill.
Politics
Monday, July 11, 2022

Biden, Interrupted

The context
The father of a Parkland shooting victim stood up to interrupt Biden's speech at the White House about the passing of the Bipartisan gun control bill.
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Parkland father

  • President Biden was delivering remarks to celebrate the passage of the bipartisan gun control bill, which is the first gun legislation passed in decades.
  • Manuel Oliver, the father of Joaquin Oliver, who was shot and killed in Parkland in 2018, stood up during the remarks and interrupted the President.
  • Both sides of the political aisle have criticized the legislation. Some critics are upset the bill doesn't go far enough to protect Americans from gun violence, while others are outraged that any limitations are being placed on the right to bear arms.
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Do more

  • Oliver told Biden he needed to "do more" to curb gun violence. He also called on the President to pass more meaningful legislation that protects children from gun violence.
  • He also critiqued the use of the word "celebration" to describe the event, pointing out the dissonance between celebrating the bill he says does not go far enough while parents who have lost children to gun violence were in attendance.
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Response to the interuption

  • In Biden's remarks, he lauded the bill as evidence that Republicans and Democrats can work together to deal with gun violence.
  • After Oliver said the administration needs to do more, Biden said, "Let him talk. Let him talk. Because make no mistake about it, this legislation is real progress. More has to be done."
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The context
Former White House's chief strategist under Donald Trump, Steve Bannon, has agreed to testify before the January 6th committee.
Politics
Monday, July 11, 2022

Steve Bannon Agrees to Testify

The context
Former White House's chief strategist under Donald Trump, Steve Bannon, has agreed to testify before the January 6th committee.
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Bannon to the stand

  • Steve Bannon informed the January 6th committee that he is willing to testify about the Capitol riots. Bannon was formerly the Trump campaign manager and was pardoned by Trump for charges relating to fraudulent fundraising, which secured donations from civilians to build a wall between Mexico and the U.S.
  • Steve Bannon is facing charges in an upcoming Contempt of Congress trial, which could be a motivating factor for Bannon to testify.
  • In the letter to the committee, Bannon says that Trump has cleared him to testify before the committee.
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What's on the table?

  • Representative Liz Cheney said she believes Bannon had substantial knowledge of the plans to march on the Capitol following Trump's address on January 6th.
  • Bannon was also present at the "war room" meeting at a nearby hotel with Rudy Giuliani and John Eastman in the days leading up to January 6th.
  • Bannon also claimed in his podcast that "all hell was going to break loose" the day before the Capitol riots.
  • The committee first subpoenaed Bannon in September, which he refused, claiming executive privilege, even though Bannon was not serving in Trump's administration during the riots.
  • His effort to testify could be an effort to delay serving time for criminal contempt of Congress.
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Impact on the existing charges

  • Even if Steve Bannon does testify before the January 6th committee, it will not impact the charges of criminal contempt he faces.
  • Bannon could serve as much as two years in prison for those charges.
  • The Justice Department interviewed Justin Clark, a former Trump attorney, as part of Bannon's impending trial. One defense of ignoring the subpoena to testify before the committee that Bannon has attempted is that Trump invoked executive privilege, which would prevent Bannon from testifying.
  • Clark told investigators that Trump never invoked executive privilege to prevent Bannon from testifying.
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The context
President Biden signed an executive order this morning hoping to help protect access to abortions, contraception, and reproductive care in the wake of the reversal of Roe v. Wade.
The context
President Biden signed an executive order this morning hoping to help protect access to abortions, contraception, and reproductive care in the wake of the reversal of Roe v. Wade.
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Administration under pressure

  • President Biden signed an executive order this morning that aims to protect access to contraception and reproductive healthcare.
  • Biden's administration has been under immense pressure to execute an order to protect abortion access after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.
  • Biden has maintained that he cannot restore the constitutional right to abortion as president.
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Step further

  • The executive order directs the health department to protect and expand access to abortion pills and the Obamacare birth control mandate. It also asks the department to organize lawyers to help defend people who are charged for seeking or providing abortions.
  • The administration has said it will consider orders that beef up individuals' digital privacy and doctor-patient privacy privileges.
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Driven by Democrats

  • Democrats have been vocally frustrated by the Biden administration's lack of action after the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade was leaked and then when it was eventually overturned.
  • Part of the order deploys mobile clinics to the border between states without abortion access and states with abortion access to help accommodate patients.
  • Biden passed the baton to Congress, saying it was up to them to codify the right to an abortion with a constitutional amendment or legislation.
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The context
The former Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, was shot and killed while campaigning in Nara, Japan.
The context
The former Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, was shot and killed while campaigning in Nara, Japan.
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Biden responds

  • President Biden said he was "stunned, outraged, and deeply saddened" by the assassination of the former prime minister.
  • Biden worked with Abe when he was vice president to President Obama.
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Stunning act of violence

  • Gun violence is extremely rare in Japan, and the assassination has shocked many.
  • Abe was shot from behind with a homemade weapon and was airlifted to a hospital, where he died from his injury.
  • Japanese gun restrictions mean citizens are prohibited from having handguns, and licensed hunters may own only rifles. Gun owners also have to attend classes, pass a mental health evaluation and pass a written test to obtain a permit to own a gun.
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Shinzo Abe's past

  • Shinzo Abe was the longest-serving prime minister in Japanese history. He served for eight years.
  • Abe was a well-respected politician who championed Japanese nationalism and forged close relationships with the U.S, India, and Taiwan to balance China's expanding reach in Asia.
  • World leaders responded which outrage and offered their condolences to Japan.
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Politics

Derek Chauvin Sentenced

Thursday, July 7, 2022
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The context
Former officer Derek Chauvin was sentenced to 21 years in prison for violating George Floyd's civil rights when he killed Floyd in 2020.
Politics
Thursday, July 7, 2022

Derek Chauvin Sentenced

The context
Former officer Derek Chauvin was sentenced to 21 years in prison for violating George Floyd's civil rights when he killed Floyd in 2020.
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More on top

  • Former police officer Derek Chauvin has already been sentenced to 22.5 years in prison for the murder and manslaughter of George Floyd. Chauvin knelt on Floyd's neck until he died.
  • Chauvin has been serving his initial sentence in solitary confinement and will be transferred to a federal facility.
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Years served

  • Chauvin decided to plead guilty in an effort to secure a transfer from the state prison he's currently serving time in.
  • Chauvin will serve this sentence for 21 years concurrently with the current 22.5 years sentence for murder and manslaughter. He is expected to be transferred to a different facility which will make his stay in prison marginally more comfortable.
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Other officers

  • Chauvin was also sentenced for using excessive force on a 14-year-old boy in 2017, where Chauvin beat the boy who was handcuffed and not resisting arrest.
  • Three other officers were present when Floyd was killed. Officers Tou Thao, Alexander Kueng, and Thomas Lane have been charged with violating Floyd's civil rights but have not been sentenced.
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Politics

China Denies Espionage Charges

Thursday, July 7, 2022
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The context
In a joint event in London, FBI Director Christopher Wray and MI5 Director-General Ken McCallum raised the alarm over alleged Chinese spying and hacking.
Politics
Thursday, July 7, 2022

China Denies Espionage Charges

The context
In a joint event in London, FBI Director Christopher Wray and MI5 Director-General Ken McCallum raised the alarm over alleged Chinese spying and hacking.
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Sound the alarm

  • The joint event was held before top U.S. and British law enforcement officials, business leaders, and academics to raise the alarm over security risks coming from China's interest in western democratic, media, and legal systems.
  • The event showcased the collaboration between the FBI and M15 to prevent and thwart hacks by the Chinese government.
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Business beware

  • Wray and McCallum are especially worried about Chinese efforts to spy on or hack private businesses, and they warned the business leaders present to be hypervigilant.
  • They also warned that China is trying to interfere in policy-making through various espionage activities.
  • Both encouraged companies doing business with China to be aware of commercial interactions' security and privacy risks.
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Not us!

  • The spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Zhao Lijan called the accusations levied at China during the event "completely far-fetched."
  • During the event, FBI Director Christopher Wray told the assembled crowd, "The Chinese government is set on stealing your technology — whatever it is that makes your industry tick — and using it to undercut your business and dominate your market."
  • Zhao Lijan responded to the accusations, saying that the U.S. should take a long hard look at its own actions before accusing China. He called the U.S. the "biggest threat to world peace and development."
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Politics

Boris Johnson Resigns

Thursday, July 7, 2022
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The context
The embattled Prime Minister of the U.K. resigned today after two days of chaos in the British Government, which saw several of his cabinet members resign.
Politics
Thursday, July 7, 2022

Boris Johnson Resigns

The context
The embattled Prime Minister of the U.K. resigned today after two days of chaos in the British Government, which saw several of his cabinet members resign.
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Goodbye prime minister

  • Boris Johnson announced his resignation today, saying he will step aside once a new leader is selected to take his place.
  • His resignation came at the culmination of twenty-four hours of resignations and years of scandals which finally caught up to Johnson.
  • Johnson promised to offer his support to whoever was selected as the new prime minister.
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First to go

  • The first two resignations that rocked Johnson's government came from the Chancellor Exchequer Rishi Sunak and Health Secretary Sajid Javid.
  • The two were top leaders in the Conservative Party.
  • They cited divisions over economic policy with Johnson. However, the last straw was Johnson appointing a senior minister, Chris Pincher, despite sexual misconduct allegations against him.
  • In the letter Sajid Javid wrote to Johnson announcing his resignation, Javid wrote that the public had lost trust in the Conservative party. The Conservative party was no longer "hard-headed decision makers guided by strong values."
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Two days

  • After Health Secretary and the Treasury Chief resigned on Tuesday night, it caused a remarkable domino effect of resignations which saw 50 cabinet members, secretaries, ministers, and officials resign in the fallout after Tuesday.
  • The scandal that sunk Johnson was triggered when deputy chief whip Chris Pincher resigned after allegations surfaced that he groped two men at a private club. Johnson knew of Pincher's history of sexual misconduct and promoted him anyway.
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The context
A grand jury in Georgia is investigating Trump and his team's involvement in possible criminal interference after the 2020 presidential election saw Georgia flip blue for Biden.
Politics
Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Grand Jury in Georgia Calls More to the Stand

The context
A grand jury in Georgia is investigating Trump and his team's involvement in possible criminal interference after the 2020 presidential election saw Georgia flip blue for Biden.
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To the stand

  • The Fulton County District Attorney Fani Williams has issued subpoenas for Rudy Giuliani and other alleged co-conspirators of Trump's over their involvement in trying to discredit the results of the 2020 presidential election in Georgia.
  • Among those subpoenaed is Senator Lindsay Graham from South Carolina. Graham says he plans to challenge the subpoena in court because he believes it is politically motivated.
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Testimony desired

  • One of the moments the investigation will focus on is a phone call between then-President Trump and the Georgia Secretary of State, Ben Raffensperger. In the call, Trump asked him to "find" the votes needed to overturn the election results in Georgia.
  • Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has issued petitions for testimony from six Trump team members, including Rudy Giuliani, Jenna Ellis, Cleta Mitchell, Kenneth Chesebro, John Eastman, and Jacki Deason.
  • The certificate, which calls for testimony from Senator Lindsay Graham, alleges that Graham called the Georgia Secretary of State and asked him to reexamine recently cast absentee ballots in order to find a more favorable vote count for Trump.
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More to come

  • Rudy Giuliani has been called to testify over his involvement in trying to discredit the Georgia election results through various schemes.
  • Giuliani played an altered video that he claimed showed two election workers committing voter fraud to the Georgia state legislature in December 2020.
  • Georgia Secretary of State Ben Raffensperger had already testified before the grand jury, which prompted the latest wave of subpoenas.
  • Georgia Governor Brian Kemp will provide a sworn recorded statement deposition on July 25th.
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The context
The shooter who killed seven people and wounded dozens at the Highland Park July 4th parade is in custody and has confessed to the crime, which has revealed new disturbing details about the attack and exposed flaws in Illinois gun-control legislation.
Politics
Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Update on the Highland Park Shooter

The context
The shooter who killed seven people and wounded dozens at the Highland Park July 4th parade is in custody and has confessed to the crime, which has revealed new disturbing details about the attack and exposed flaws in Illinois gun-control legislation.
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Shooter confesses

  • The suspect in custody for the Highland Park Shooting, Robert Crimo III, has confessed to being the shooter.
  • Police revealed that he has been charged with seven counts of first-degree murder and will eventually face many more for those he wounded and injured.
  • Crimo fired about 70 rounds into the crowd, so he will likely face more charges as he is arraigned in court.
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Details about Crimo

  • Crimo is being held without bail for his attack on Highland.
  • New details about Crimo have prompted many to wonder how he could legally purchase five firearms, including the high-powered rifle he used in the shooting, despite relatively strict Illinois gun control laws.
  • In 2019, police seized a collection of knives from Crimo after a relative reported he had threatened to "kill everyone." Police were also called after Crimo threatened to commit suicide that year.
  • After the knife incident, Crimo's father sponsored his permit application to own guns, and he was issued a permit which he used to buy guns, including two rifles.
  • Crimo purchased the semi-automatic rifle used in the attack in 2020, a year after the police seized knives from Crimo over concerns he planned to harm others.
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Further details

  • Crimo used a fire escape to climb to the top of a rooftop and construct a sniper's nest where he fired from.
  • Investigators believe he fired more than 70 rounds into the crowd.
  • Law enforcement has not revealed a motive behind the attack.
  • The attack was premeditated and had been planned a long time in advance.
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Politics

Officers Shot in Philadelphia

Tuesday, July 5, 2022
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The context
Two officers were shot during a fireworks show on July 4th in Philadelphia, and both are in stable condition now.
Politics
Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Officers Shot in Philadelphia

The context
Two officers were shot during a fireworks show on July 4th in Philadelphia, and both are in stable condition now.
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Officers shot

  • Two police officers were shot at a fireworks display outside the Philadelphia Museum of Art yesterday.
  • One officer was shot in the shoulder while a bullet grazed another's forehead.
  • The shots caused panicked attendees to flee the show, even as the fireworks continued in the backdrop.
  • The officers were treated and released Tuesday morning.
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Tens of thousands fled

  • Tens of thousands of people were celebrating the holiday, watching the fireworks and listening to live music performances, including the final performances at the Wawa Welcome America Concert.
  • Both officers who were shot were working security at the festivities and did not hear the shots before they were hit shortly before 10 p.m.
  • There is no suspect in custody.
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Mayor Jim Kenney responds

  • Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney responded to the shooting with exasperation. He told the press, "The weather was beautiful, the concert was beautiful, but we live in America, and we have the Second Amendment, and we have the Supreme Court of the United States telling everybody they can carry a gun wherever they want."
  • Kenney expressed his frustration that even as Mayor, he cannot do much to curb gun violence because "this is gun country," and Congress and Pennsylvania's legislature won't let him enact gun control reforms.
  • He also told reporters he was looking forward to leaving office in 2024, saying, "I'm waiting for something bad to happen all the time, so I'll be happy when I'm not here, when I'm not mayor and can enjoy some stuff."
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The context
The shooter who killed six people and injured twenty-four at the Highland Park parade yesterday has been identified as Robert E. Crimo III.
Politics
Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Update on the Highland Park Shooting

The context
The shooter who killed six people and injured twenty-four at the Highland Park parade yesterday has been identified as Robert E. Crimo III.
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Suspect in custody

  • After the shooting that killed parade-goers yesterday, Robert E. Crimo III is in custody as a "person of interest."
  • Crimo has a youtube channel where he raps under the moniker, Awake the Rapper. Youtube has removed videos from his channel that feature him cheering on a Trump motorcade and depictions of mass murder.
  • Crimo is not a resident of Highland Park.
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Legal weapon

  • While charges against Robert E. Crimo III are still pending, officials say that he legally obtained the gun he used to shoot parade attendees from a nearby rooftop.
  • The victims have been identified by Lake County Coroner Jennifer Banek, who said that five adults were killed at the scene and the injured include young children.
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Finally apprehended

  • 22-year-old Crimo was apprehended about eight hours after the shooting when police officers spotted him driving a silver Honda Fit in North Chicago. He attempted to flee when they pulled him over for a traffic stop late Monday night.
  • He was apprehended without incident after fleeing the traffic stop at the conclusion of an extensive manhunt.
  • In total, 25 people were treated at Highland Park Hospital for gunshot injuries, and the majority have now been released. One victim of the shooting died while at the hospital from their injuries.
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The context
The city of Akron, Ohio, is imposing a curfew and canceling fireworks in the wake of protests over the death of Jayland Walker during a traffic stop.
Politics
Monday, July 4, 2022

State of Emergency Imposed in Akron

The context
The city of Akron, Ohio, is imposing a curfew and canceling fireworks in the wake of protests over the death of Jayland Walker during a traffic stop.
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Curfew set

  • Akron set a 9 p.m. curfew for the downtown area.
  • The Mayor of Akron said the action was necessary after protests erupted over the death of Jayland Walker, who was shot and killed by police a week ago today.
  • The mayor claimed that protests had caused damage and that the threat of violence was enough to prompt the curfew.
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Footage released

  • Police released body camera footage from the traffic stop on Sunday. The footage outraged many and sparked protests on Sunday afternoon and night.
  • The protests caused property damage last night after an afternoon of peaceful demonstrations.
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Shooting of Walker

  • Walker was 25-year old.
  • Jayland Walker attempted to flee a traffic stop in Akron, first in his vehicle and then exiting his vehicle. Walker was pursued by officers and shot and killed on June 27th.
  • Walker was unarmed when he was shot, but he was wounded sixty times, according to a Medical Examiner.
  • Police say they believed Walker had fired a shot while in his vehicle and then, after fleeing on foot, had turned towards the officers, and that's when they opened fire.
  • Body camera footage disputes the police's claims that they tried to perform first aid on Walker after he was shot.
  • The eight officers involved in the shooting have been placed on administrative leave pending the end of the investigation into the shooting.
  • Footage shows that Walker fell to the ground after the first second of the shooting but that the officer's gunfire continued for seven seconds after Walker fell.
  • The footage also doesn't show Walker reaching for a gun or with anything in his hands as he turns towards the officers after fleeing.
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The context
A 4th of July parade was interrupted by a mass shooting, killing multiple people in Highland Park, Illinois.
Politics
Monday, July 4, 2022

Shooting at 4th of July Parade

The context
A 4th of July parade was interrupted by a mass shooting, killing multiple people in Highland Park, Illinois.
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Parade interrupted

  • Highland park is about 30 miles outside of Chicago, Illinois.
  • People reported hearing "20-50" shots fired.
  • Police are still in pursuit of the shooter and it is unclear exactly how many people are injured or were killed.
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Reports of gunfire

  • In an initial statement, police said they responded to an active shooter situation where nine people had been shot. Police have yet to confirm that number or reveal the exact casualties.
  • Residents of the surrounding areas were asked to avoid Highland Park.
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Update

  • The latest update from police revealed that at least six people had been killed, and 24 were wounded in the gunfire.
  • Police advised residents to shelter in place as they were still looking for the shooter, even though there was police present at the parade when it started.
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Politics

Abortion Access Update

Friday, July 1, 2022
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The context
Abortion access is back online temporarily in states like Kentucky, Utah, and Louisiana after state judges have blocked trigger laws from going into effect.
Politics
Friday, July 1, 2022

Abortion Access Update

The context
Abortion access is back online temporarily in states like Kentucky, Utah, and Louisiana after state judges have blocked trigger laws from going into effect.
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What's happening in the states?

  • In the wake of the overturning of Roe v. Wade, seven states have now outlawed abortion, but federal judges have temporarily blocked those bans from going into effect in some states.
  • A judge in Florida blocked a trigger law that would ban abortions after the 15th week of pregnancy on the grounds that the Florida state constitution protected the right to privacy.
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Texas

  • A Harris County District Court Judge granted a temporary reprieve from a trigger law that banned abortions up to the sixth week of pregnancy.
  • Abortion providers are back online in Texas for a select number of clinics after the ruling, but the reprieve is only expected to be in effect for about two months.
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Utah

  • In Utah, abortions were temporarily banned outright except in a few cases after Roe v. Wade was overturned, thanks to a trigger law passed in 2020.
  • A Judge issued a two-week reprieve on that law which allowed access to abortions to be restarted.
  • However, another trigger law passed in 2019 went into effect that bans abortions after 18 weeks. The law still permits abortion access up to 18 weeks.
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Missouri

  • Abortion is now illegal except in medical emergency cases in Missouri.
  • Saint Luke's Health System, a significant care provider in the Kansas City area, announced they would once again provide Plan B and emergency contraceptives to patients.
  • Missouri Attorney General's office and Governor Mike Parson clarified that the abortion ban does not restrict access to Plan B or other emergency contraceptives.
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Louisiana

  • A New Orleans judge issued a temporary hold on a series of trigger laws after advocates argued that it was impossible to tell which laws were in place.
  • Abortion clinics in Louisiana can temporarily provide abortion access until a hearing on July 8th.
  • Some clinics have canceled appointments and are not taking any new appointments, while others are doing their best to usher patients through the procedure before new trigger laws take effect.
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The context
Ron DeSantis's controversial "Don't Say Gay" bill went into action in Florida today, prompting a new wave of criticism.
Politics
Friday, July 1, 2022

Don't Say Gay Bill Takes Effect in Florida

The context
Ron DeSantis's controversial "Don't Say Gay" bill went into action in Florida today, prompting a new wave of criticism.
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Impacting students already

  • The bill's impact is already being felt as public school educators are asked to remove paraphernalia, including pride flags or photos of them and their same-sex partners.
  • The bill faces a huge amount of criticism from educators and free speech advocates who see the bill as a violation of teachers' first amendment rights.
  • The bill effectively bans mentioning or displaying LGBTQIA+ related paraphernalia or discussing gender identity or sexuality in Florida's kindergarten through third-grade public school classrooms.
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Into schools

  • The bill has left many educators who identify as LGBTQIA+ baffled over what they are allowed to say or do next school year.
  • Advocates worry about the impact the bill will have on students. Nearly 50% of LBGTQIA+ students have considered suicide in the last year.
  • Some school districts will be forced to terminate employees who do not comply with the bill's strict guidelines.
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White House response

  • Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, on behalf of the White House, asked Florida students and parents to file suits against the state of Florida to get the bill in front of a U.S. district court or federal judges.
  • The White House reported that they are already receiving information about instances where "Safe Space" stickers have been removed and teachers in same-sex relationships being asked to remove photos of them and their partners.
  • A provision in the law also requires staffers to alert parents about decisions that may affect a student's mental or physical health.
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Politics

Biden's New Crew

Friday, July 1, 2022
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The context
President Biden announced the new recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom today.
Politics
Friday, July 1, 2022

Biden's New Crew

The context
President Biden announced the new recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom today.
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List includes

  • The Presidential Medal of Freedom will be presented to Simone Biles, Gabrielle Giffords, Megan Rapinoe, Julieta Garcia, Alan Simpson, Richard Trumka, Wilma Vaught, Diane Nash, Sister Simone Campbell, Denzel Washington, and Sandra Lindsay.
  • The medal will also be awarded posthumously to Steve Jobs and Senator John McCain.
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New York represented

  • Sandra Lindsay was the first person in the U.S. to receive the Covid-19 vaccine. Lindsay is the director of critical care nursing at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in Queens and received the dose in front of cameras on December 14, 2020.
  • Denzel Washington is an accomplished actor from Mount Vernon and will be honored for his outstanding film career, which earned him two Oscar Nominations.
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A first for soccer

  • U.S. women's national soccer team superstar Megan Rapinoe will be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her work to advocate for LGBTQ rights, racial justice and pay-equality in women's sports.
  • Rapinoe is the first soccer player to receive the medal.
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Jobs and McCain

  • Steve Jobs and Arizona Senator John McCain are both being awarded the medal posthumously.
  • Jobs will be honored for his role in founding Apple and Pixar before dying at age 56. The White House is awarding Jobs the medal for his "imagination and creatitivty," which sparked inventions that have transformed the way the world works.
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Politics

Ketanji Brown Jackson Sworn In

Thursday, June 30, 2022
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The context
The newest Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson is the first black woman to be sworn onto the court.
Politics
Thursday, June 30, 2022

Ketanji Brown Jackson Sworn In

The context
The newest Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson is the first black woman to be sworn onto the court.
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Justice Brown Jackson

  • Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson was sworn in to replace Justice Stephen Breyer as the 116th Supreme Court Justice.
  • She was confirmed in April, 53-47 by the Senate.
  • Justice Brown Jackson served as a clerk to Justice Breyer after graduating from Harvard Law School.
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Historic confirmation

  • Justice Brown Jackson is the first Black woman to sit on the court.
  • Before being nominated as a U.S District Court Judge by President Obama, she worked as a public defender.
  • Senators Mitt Romney, Lisa Murkowski, and Susan Collins joined Senate Democrats who voted to confirm her.
  • She took two oaths during her live-streamed confirmation. The first was the constitutional oath administered by Justice Roberts, and the second was the judicial oath administered by Justice Breyer.
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Politics

Supreme Court Sides with Biden

Thursday, June 30, 2022
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The context
The Court bolstered Biden's efforts to end "Remain in Mexico", a Trump-era program requiring asylum seekers to return to Mexico while awaiting a stateside hearing.
Politics
Thursday, June 30, 2022

Supreme Court Sides with Biden

The context
The Court bolstered Biden's efforts to end "Remain in Mexico", a Trump-era program requiring asylum seekers to return to Mexico while awaiting a stateside hearing.
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Court rejects challenge

  • The "remain in Mexico" policy required asylum seekers from a third country who attempted to get into the United States across the Mexican border to return to Mexico while they waited for an immigration hearing in the States.
  • The camps which housed the asylum seekers are unsanitary and massively overcrowded. Allegations of kidnapping and sexual abuse were rampant.
  • The court rejected a challenge to Biden's efforts to end the program.
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Go ahead!

  • The ruling, authored by Chief Justice Roberts, clears the way for Biden to end the immigration policy enacted by the Trump administration.
  • Even though Biden has announced his intention to end the program, the administration restarted the program in response to the scores of people seeking asylum who were entering the country because Congress didn't provide enough funding to detain all the people who crossed the Mexican border on the U.S. side.
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The decision

  • Justice Roberts and the majority wrote that the court in Texas, which tried to block Biden's ability to end the policy, had overstepped and that it was an appropriate use of executive power to terminate or stop the program.
  • Justice Alito, joined by Justices Thomas and Gorsuch, wrote a dissent disagreeing with the ruling on the grounds that it was impractical to release asylum seekers into the country who may not attend their scheduled removal hearing.
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Politics

Supreme Court Strips the EPA

Thursday, June 30, 2022
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The context
The Supreme Court gutted the EPA's ability to regulate carbon pollution under the Clean Air Act, which was signed into law in 1970 by Richard Nixon.
Politics
Thursday, June 30, 2022

Supreme Court Strips the EPA

The context
The Supreme Court gutted the EPA's ability to regulate carbon pollution under the Clean Air Act, which was signed into law in 1970 by Richard Nixon.
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Severely limits

  • The Court delivered a blow to the effort to fight climate change by regulating carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants.
  • The 6-3 vote saw Justice Roberts join conservatives to cut away at the Clean Air Act.
  • The case was brought to the Court by nineteen Republican-led states and coal companies that balked at the EPA's efforts to regulate carbon emissions to get the U.S.'s emissions to zero eventually.
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Long term impact

  • The decision means that Congress must take up the charge and create codified regulations to reign in emissions from coal-powered power plants.
  • The Trump administration began pushing to gut the Clean Air Act in favor of coal companies that supported his campaign.
  • In her dissent, Justice Kagan reminded readers of the already pervasive impacts of climate change and those to come in the future, "If the current rate of emissions continues, children born this year could live to see parts of the Eastern seaboard swallowed by the ocean."
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Impact on the Biden administration

  • The case was brought to the court by West Virginia, which desired to increase coal production despite the EPA's efforts to curb output.
  • The decision says that the EPA overstepped its authority when it began to regulate emissions from coal-fired plants in 2015.
  • The ruling will complicate Biden's ambitious climate change policy and his administration's ability to curb carbon emissions.
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The context
A new poll from Quinnipiac University shows a tight race between Governor Brian Kemp and Stacey Abrams and a widening gap between Herschel Walker and Senator Raphael Warnock.
Politics
Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Georgia Gears Up for an Exciting Election

The context
A new poll from Quinnipiac University shows a tight race between Governor Brian Kemp and Stacey Abrams and a widening gap between Herschel Walker and Senator Raphael Warnock.
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Showdown locked and loaded

  • All eyes are on Georgia as they barrel towards two critical elections. Stacey Abrams is running against incumbent Governor Brian Kemp for the Governor's seat, and Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock faces down challenger Herschel Walker for a seat in the Senate.
  • A new poll from Quinnipiac University shows Warnock leading Walker 54%-44%. A further breakdown shows more women and independent voters who prefer Warnock.
  • Kemp and Abrams are tied at 48% in the Governor's race.
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Georgia voters

  • There hasn't been much movement in the polls in the race between Kemp and Abrams. In January, a poll showed Kemp at 49% and Abrams at 47%.
  • One potential warning sign for the Democrats running for office in Georgia is that Biden's approval rating in the state is at just 33%. Still, Dems hope that recent rulings over Roe v. Wade will bolster democratic support.
  • According to the Quinnipiac University poll, Georgia voters are most concerned about inflation, followed by gun violence, abortion, and election laws.
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Stage is set

  • The race between Kemp and Abrams is heating up.
  • Abrams is polling exceptionally well with black voters (83%), while Kemp polls much better with white voters (68%).
  • Since losing to Kemp in the last election, Abrams and her team have pushed to register scores of Georgia voters, helping to turn the state blue in the 2020 presidential election.
  • Since 2020, Abrams and her team have recommitted to registering voters, hoping to sustain the blue wave so Abrams can ride it into the governor's seat.
  • Meanwhile, Herschel Walker's campaign suffered a setback when after campaigning on the platform that absentee fathers need to be more present in their children's lives, it was revealed that Walker was the father of two sons and an adult daughter. Herschel does not have a relationship with them and was caught lying about the number of children he has.
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The context
The Supreme Court today reversed a previous ruling that limited the state's power over Native American reservations to expand law state authority in reservations, in a win for Oklahoma officials.
The context
The Supreme Court today reversed a previous ruling that limited the state's power over Native American reservations to expand law state authority in reservations, in a win for Oklahoma officials.
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Victory for Oklahoma

  • The Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision to undercut a previous landmark ruling which limited the authority of state officials to prosecute residents of reservations in the state of Oklahoma.
  • The Court ruled in favor of the state of Oklahoma, which appealed the decision because it limited their ability to prosecute Native Americans for crimes, specifically one person convicted of child neglect on a reservation.
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Narrow scope

  • Justice Brett Kavanaugh authored the opinion that the state of Oklahoma could prosecute people living on reservations, and they used the case of Victor Manuel Castro-Huerta to hinge the decision on.
  • Castro-Huerta was convicted of child neglect and was sentenced to 35 years in prison. An Oklahoma appeals court overturned his conviction because it had taken place on a reservation and was outside Oklahoma's jurisdiction.
  • Federal prosecutors then pursued a case against him and convicted him to 7 years in prison.
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Impact of the decision

  • The decision allows Oklahoma prosecutors to resume prosecuting crimes involving Native Americans on the state's six reservations, relieving federal prosecutors of their caseloads.
  • Native American activists say the decision interferes with their ability to self-police and their right to self-governance. The Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin, Jr said they were disappointed by the ruling, but it would not impact the tribe's commitment to community policing and public safety.
  • Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote the majority opinion in the ruling that this case narrowed down and wrote a scathing dissent in this case.
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The context
A former aide to White House chief of Staff Mark Meadows, Cassidy Hutchinson, testified before the January 6th Committee about the former President's actions during the Capitol riot.
Politics
Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Contents of the Surprise January 6th Hearing

The context
A former aide to White House chief of Staff Mark Meadows, Cassidy Hutchinson, testified before the January 6th Committee about the former President's actions during the Capitol riot.
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Hits start coming

  • 25-year-old Cassidy Hutchinson served as an aid to Mark Meadows, the former chief of staff of the White House during the Trump administration.
  • She testified in front of the January 6th special committee today in a surprise hearing. She testified about the conduct of President Trump during the riots.
  • She revealed that while the riots were happening, the President demanded to march with his supporters to the Capitol and even tried to grab the steering wheel of the Secret Service vehicle he was in when he was told he was not allowed to go.
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Go right ahead

  • Hutchinson testified that Trump was incensed that he wasn't allowed to attend the riot, even going so far as to strike a Secret Service agent and throw his lunch against the wall in anger.
  • She overheard conversations between White House Counsel Pat Cipollone and Mark Meadows where they discussed Trump's opinion that Vice President Mike Pence deserved the chants "Hang Mike Pence" or any violence coming his way.
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Lead up

  • Hutchinson said she expressed concerns to Rudy Giuliani in the days leading up to the January 6th rally in which Trump encouraged supporters to march to the Capitol.
  • Giuliani and Meadow's responses to her concerns convinced her that they were fully aware of the coming violence at the Capitol and were planning on it.
  • She testified that Trump had no intention or desire to call in security forces to stop the violence in the Capitol.
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Pardon me

  • Hutchinson revealed to the committee that both Mark Meadows and Rudy Giuliani asked for pardons from then President Trump, though he declined to do so.
  • The committee also teased evidence of Trump's team's attempts to tamper with crucial hearing witnesses.
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The context
Jeffrey Epstein's accomplice Ghislaine Maxwell was sentenced today for her role in a sex-trafficking scheme that preyed on underage girls and service a host of powerful men.
Politics
Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Ghislaine Maxwell Sentenced to 20 Years

The context
Jeffrey Epstein's accomplice Ghislaine Maxwell was sentenced today for her role in a sex-trafficking scheme that preyed on underage girls and service a host of powerful men.
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20 years behind bars ahead

  • Ghislaine Maxwell is a notorious madam who has been convicted of trafficking underage girls for Jeffrey Epstein and his roost of friends.
  • She was convicted in December 2021 for five counts of sex trafficking of minors and recruiting and grooming minors for Epstein.
  • The trial revealed that Maxwell was given about $30 million from Epstein between 1999 and 2007 to recruit teenagers for him to abuse and have sex with.
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Helping hand

  • Maxwell was once a jet-setting socialite who has been photographed in the company of royals, presidents, and billionaires, including England's Prince Andrew and former U.S. presidents.
  • Maxwell responded to the verdict by saying it was the "greatest regret of my life that I ever met Jeffrey Epstein."
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Off you go

  • Maxwell and the financier Epstein concocted a trafficking scheme that spanned decades and abused scores of women.
  • The trial, which saw her convicted and now sentenced to 20 years behind bars, focused on testimony from four survivors. The survivors testified about the abuse they suffered at the hands of Epstein and his high-powered friends while they were still underage.
  • One of the four survivors addressed Maxwell in her testimony, saying, "I want to be clear about one thing: without question, Jeffrey Epstein was a terrible pedophile. But I never would have met Jeffrey Epstein if not for you. You opened the door to hell. And then, Ghislaine, like a wolf in sheep's clothing, you used your femininity to betray us, and you led us all through it."
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The context
The Supreme Court sided with a high school football coach Joseph Kennedy who sought to pray after games, ruling his right to pray on the 50-yard-line is constitutionally protected.
The context
The Supreme Court sided with a high school football coach Joseph Kennedy who sought to pray after games, ruling his right to pray on the 50-yard-line is constitutionally protected.
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Coach Kennedy

  • Joseph Kennedy is a high school football coach at a public school outside Seattle, Washington.
  • One of Kennedy's game-time rituals was to pray after games on the 50-yard-line, which students on the team would join in on.
  • The case weighed his right to free speech and free exercise of his faith against the ability of his employers to regulate speech, especially religious speech at schools.
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Religion at the 50-yard-line

  • Kennedy began the end-of-game prayer ritual when he started coaching at the high school in 2008 but was asked to stop by the school in 2015 when they became concerned that students would feel pressured to join the prayer. When Kennedy did not stop, they placed him on paid leave.
  • In a 6-3 decision, the Court ruled that Coach Kennedy's right to pray on the field was protected by the First Amendment, or the right to free speech.
  • Coach Kennedy said of the decision, "This is just so awesome. All I've ever wanted was to be back on the field with my guys. I thank God for answering our prayers and sustaining my family through this long battle."
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All on the field

  • Justices Kagan, Breyer, and Sotomayor dissented, saying that the decision would complicate the delicate balance between church and state since the prayers were happening on public school grounds.
  • The ruling could expand the scope of religious practices allowed in public schools.
  • Conservative Justices, plus Justice Roberts, agreed in the majority opinion that the First Amendment protects Kennedy's right to pray on public school grounds while on the job.
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The context
The court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade went against decades of legal precedent, which expanded the right to privacy to cover contraception, consensual sex, and reproductive rights, which could all be under attack next.
Politics
Monday, June 27, 2022

How Did We Get to a Post-Roe World?

The context
The court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade went against decades of legal precedent, which expanded the right to privacy to cover contraception, consensual sex, and reproductive rights, which could all be under attack next.
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The right to privacy

  • The right to privacy was defined in the case Griswold v. Connecticut, which was decided in 1965 when the court found that Americans had a constitutional right to privacy within the Bill of Rights, which applied to a person's decision to use or access contraception.
  • The right to privacy was then expanded to a woman's right to decide whether or not to access an abortion in the ruling of Roe v. Wade in 1973.
  • The right has also been applied to strike down laws that banned consensual sex between two people of the same gender (Lawrence v. Texas 2003). It was cited in the decision that legalized same-sex marriage (Obergefell v. Hodges 2014).
  • In the opinion written by Justice Clarence Thomas, he called for the overturning of cases that have used the implied right to privacy as defined in Griswold v. Connecticut. The decisions at risk are decisions that guarantee women access to contraception, consensual sex between members of the same gender, and even the right to marry.
  • The decision to overturn Roe v. Wade is the first time the court overturned a constitutionally defined right. But it might not be the last with a conservative-stacked court.
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Conservative court

  • The Supreme court leans conservative with the addition of Trump-nominated Justices Brett Kavanaugh, Neil Gorsuch, and Amy Coney Barret. All three claimed in their confirmation hearings that they would respect the precedent of Roe as the law of the land and would not vote to repeal the right to an abortion.
  • The three new Justices joined conservatives Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas in voting to overturn Roe v Wade.
  • Pro-Life or anti-abortion activists have hammered the Court since the decision in Roe v. Wade with challenges to the ruling, which chipped away at unfettered abortion access.
  • A conservative majority in the court of Justices who had restricted abortion access even before reaching the court was the lynchpin that allowed anti-abortion activists to finally get their way and overturn Roe, despite most Americans supporting the right to an abortion.
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Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, ending right to abortion upheld for decades

  • For many, the opinion authored by Justice Samuel Alito is unsurprising. He has long criticized the logic which applied the implied right to privacy in the Bill of Rights to the right to access an abortion.
  • Legal scholars have long argued about the validity of the ruling in Roe, which is an example of a liberal-leaning court viewing the Constitution as a living document, which can be applied to modern problems like a women's right to an abortion. Some scholars and lawyers see the Constitution as a document to be preserved and read in its pure form instead of being applied to modern problems.
  • Some states, like Missouri, passed "trigger laws" before the decision, which would go into effect when Roe was overturned. In those states, abortion will be banned or severely restricted as soon as those laws are signed into action by state governors.
  • Other states will put the issue on the ballot, like Kansas, which will vote on abortion access in August. Abortion is already practically impossible to access in many states, and now it is inaccessible in large swaths of the country.
  • Legal scholars expect that the decision in Dobbs will cause legal chaos as states battle with issues between lawmakers and corporations or government bodies like the FDA, law enforcement's ability to enforce bans, and complicated legal battles in courts trying to implement abortion bans.
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The context
The House passed the bipartisan gun safety bill that originated in the Senate, and now it is heading to Biden's desk.
Politics
Friday, June 24, 2022

Bipartisan Gun Bill Headed to Biden

The context
The House passed the bipartisan gun safety bill that originated in the Senate, and now it is heading to Biden's desk.
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Signature required

  • This week, a bipartisan gun safety bill passed through the Senate after overcoming a potential GOP filibuster.
  • The bill expands background checks for gun buyers under 21, provides incentives for states to adopt "red flag" laws, and provides funding for school security programs and mental health reform.
  • The bill is the first major federal gun safety legislation passed by the Senate in decades.
  • After passing in the House, the bill's next stop is President Biden's desk.
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Cleared by the House

  • The House easily passed the Safer Communities Act, with several Republicans joining Democrats in sending the bill to the White House.
  • The final vote on the bill saw the House split 234-193, with the majority of Republicans voting no on the legislation, which is primarily intended to keep people experiencing poor mental health from buying guns.
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Passed in the Senate

  • The bill was introduced in the Senate after the shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde.
  • The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act provides about $15 billion in funding to help states expand background checks and systems to keep guns out of the hands of people deemed dangerous.
  • It passed 65-34 in the Senate after overcoming a potential GOP filibuster, and while the bill isn't as expansive as many progressives hoped, it is lauded as a massive step in the right direction.
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Politics

Roe v. Wade Overturned

Friday, June 24, 2022
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The context
The Supreme Court overturned nearly 50 years of the constitutional right to an abortion today, ending access to abortion services for millions of American women and restricting it for scores more.
Politics
Friday, June 24, 2022

Roe v. Wade Overturned

The context
The Supreme Court overturned nearly 50 years of the constitutional right to an abortion today, ending access to abortion services for millions of American women and restricting it for scores more.
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Up to the states

  • The 5-4 decision is the culmination of a relentless campaign of abortion opponents, which helped Justices Brett Kavanaugh, Neil Gorsuch Amy Coney Barret onto the Supreme "Court under Trump.
  • Justices Alito, Kavanaugh, Coney Barret, Gorsuch, and Thomas, voted to overturn while the three liberal justices, Sotomayor, Breyer, Kagan, and Chief Justice Roberts, dissented.
  • The decision reads that the conservative Justices find no right to an abortion in the constitution and thus, send that decision-making ability to the states.
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With sorrow

  • Thirteen states have already passed trigger laws that either ban abortion outright or severely restrict access. Those laws go into effect today after the decision. More than half the states have passed or are in the process of passing laws which restrict aborition access.
  • The dissenting Justices began their opinion with the words, "With sorrow- for this Court, but more, for the many millions of American Women who have today lost a fundamental constitutional protection-we dissent."
  • The dissenting opinion also spoke to the court's reputation and the impact that overturning an established constitutional right, supported by the majority of Americans, will have.
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Implications

  • The impact of the case on American women will be extreme.
  • The decision means that states can restrict or ban abortion in the first trimester and even ban it in cases of rape and incest. Essentially, abortion access is entirely up to the states.
  • Pro-life groups will enter a new era after today, focusing on lobbying for legislation.
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Could go further

  • While Justice Samuel Alito wrote the majority opinion, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote a concurring opinion.
  • In his opinion, Thomas wrote that the court should use the new framework established in the decision to overturn Roe in rulings made by the court to make same-sex marriages legal and protect women's right to contraception.
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The context
Today's hearings focused on Trump's efforts to influence members of the Department of Justice to fabricate or certify allegations of voter fraud, as well as the resistance of the DOJ who refused to do so.
The context
Today's hearings focused on Trump's efforts to influence members of the Department of Justice to fabricate or certify allegations of voter fraud, as well as the resistance of the DOJ who refused to do so.
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Focus on the Department of Justice

  • In the fifth session of the Jan 6th hearings, the committee presented evidence of Trump and his team's pressure on the Department of Justice and their failure to find evidence of election fraud.
  • The hearing was spearheaded by Republican Representative Adam Kinzinger who has remained a vocal critic of Trump and his team's efforts to overturn the election.
  • The committee presented the case that the riot was simply one of Trump's various strategies employed by the former president to try and stay in power.
  • Trump's strategy was to leverage the Department of Justice to validate his election fraud claims, an effort that Kingzinger lambasted as he praised the members of the DOJ, who resisted Trump's influence and political pressure.
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DOJ pushed back

  • Former Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue and former Attorney General Jeffery Rosen both testified that they had faced immense pressure from Trump's team and the president to find evidence of voter fraud or claim it baselessly.
  • Donoghue testified that he told Trump that the election fraud claims were false and even presented evidence that the claims were false.
  • One conspiracy theory pushed by Trump was that Dominion voting machines had a 68% error rate in a Michigan county, which the DOJ debunked. But, Trump's team asked them to publish a report claiming the theory was true.
  • Donoghue had a 90-minute meeting with Trump where he went through each voter fraud allegation and debunked them, including a theory that an Italian satellite had changed votes for Trump into votes for Biden.
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Seize those machines!

  • The committee revealed that during an "emergency meeting" on December 31st, Trump asked the DOJ to seize voting machines in an attempt to find voter fraud, which they refused to do.
  • DOJ officials refused because there was no evidence that the Dominion voting machines had anything wrong with them or had malfunctioned in any way.
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Pardon me

  • At the end of the hearing, former aid to the White House chief of Staff Mark Meadows, who pursued claims that the election was stolen, Cassidy Hutchinson testified that multiple Republican representatives asked for preemptive pardons from Trump.
  • The representatives who asked for pardons include Scott Perry, Matt Gaetz, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Mo Brooks, Louie Gohmert, and Andy Biggs.
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One Jeffery for another

  • One of the more nefarious schemes revealed in today's hearing was a plot to replace the acting Attorney General Jeffery Rosen with a DOJ lawyer Jeffrey Clark. Clark was all-in on Trump's stolen election claims and circulated conspiracy theories throughout the DOJ.
  • Clark and other members of Trump's team even drafted a letter they asked Rosen to send to Georgia in which they pushed claims of voter fraud and asked Georgia representatives to convene and investigate the allegations. But, no evidence had been found, and Rosen refused to send the letter.
  • When Rosen refused, Trump began a campaign to replace Rosen with Clark. White House call logs reveal that Trump's team began referring to Jeffrey Clark as the Attorney General by January 3rd, despite Rosen still being the acting Attorney General.
  • Consequences may be coming for Clark as authorities from the Justice Department searched his home today. While the reason is unclear, it probably has to do with the Justice Department's investigation into the efforts to overturn the 2020 election.
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The context
Abrams, who is running for Governor of Georgia, outlined her plan to fund Georgia Law Enforcement to rebuild community trust and implement accountability.
The context
Abrams, who is running for Governor of Georgia, outlined her plan to fund Georgia Law Enforcement to rebuild community trust and implement accountability.
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Fund the police

  • Stacey Abrams is running for Governor of Georgia against incumbent Governor Brian Kemp.
  • She released her plan to raise the base pay for Georgia Law Enforcement to $50,000 a year to bolster community trust in Police and create better systems of accountability.
  • The plan also includes a grant program to help local departments raise the pay for their officers and incentivize departments to adopt changes to training standards and accountability measures.
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Lives over party

  • Abrams says she isn't worried about splitting votes by party with her new plan to fund the police, even though many progressives support defunding the police.
  • According to her, people vote because they care about their lives and not their party affiliation.
  • Her plan comes in response to attacks from Governor Kemp, which say she will defund and gut Georgia police departments.
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Kemp calls on Stacey

  • In his latest attack, Governor Kemp called on Abrams to resign from the Marguerite Casey Foundation, a group that supports defunding the police.
  • The group has given money to organizations that support defunding the police and held events aimed at educating Americans about the history of the police and the movement toward police reform.
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The context
After clearing a potential GOP filibuster, a bipartisan gun safety bill made it another step closer to passing in the Senate.
The context
After clearing a potential GOP filibuster, a bipartisan gun safety bill made it another step closer to passing in the Senate.
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Bill advances

  • The Senate advanced a bipartisan gun-safety bill and set a final vote for late Thursday or Friday.
  • The GOP threatened to filibuster the bill but didn't, which allowed the bill to move forward.
  • The bill was introduced in response to the mass shootings in Uvalde and Buffalo.
  • All of the Senate Democrats voted to pass the bill through. While some Republicans voted against the bill, key Republicans like Mitch McConnell (KY) voted to pass the bill, saying he wanted to do something to respond to Uvalde and Buffalo.
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The specifics

  • The bill secured the Republican votes it needed to guarantee its passage, making it the first significant firearm law to pass through the Senate in decades.
  • The bill would expand background checks for gun purchasers under 21 years old and expand the checks to include juvenile records. It also expands background checks to catch people with domestic violence records outside marriages, closing the "boyfriend loophole."
  • It would also incentivize states to adopt "red flag" laws letting them confiscate guns from dangerous people with a warrant.
  • The bill also contains funding for school security measures and mental health education and treatment.
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Bipartisan support

  • While the bill is facing substantial backlash from gun-rights advocacy groups, Republicans who support it have been quick to highlight their success in keeping the bill's scope relatively narrow and including mental health reform and school security measures.
  • The National Sheriffs' Association endorsed the bill.
  • The bill passed a preliminary vote at 65-34, with thirteen Republicans passing the bill. The bill must ultimately pass by more than 60 votes to clear a Republican filibuster.
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The context
Today the Supreme Court released two decisions, one that overturned a New York Law that restricted open carry of firearms and another that protects police from being sued for failing to read suspects their Miranda rights.
Politics
Thursday, June 23, 2022

Two More Key Supreme Court Decisions Released

The context
Today the Supreme Court released two decisions, one that overturned a New York Law that restricted open carry of firearms and another that protects police from being sued for failing to read suspects their Miranda rights.
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NY regulations shot down

  • The Supreme Court ruled that New York regulations that make it harder to obtain an open carry license are unconstitutional because they infringe on Second Amendment rights.
  • The law they were deciding on required applicants to provide "proper cause" to obtain and license.
  • Justice Clarence Thomas wrote the majority opinion and cited a case from 2010 where the court defined the Second Amendment as applying to public spaces and used for self-defense.
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Historic ruling

  • The decision is the first ruling that protects gun rights outside the home.
  • The ruling comes after a series of deadly mass shootings like the shooting which killed 30 people in Buffalo and the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.
  • In his dissent, Justice Stephen Breyer wrote about the scores of Americans who die from gun violence and the mass shootings occurring in public places.
  • Governor of New York, Kathy Hochul, called the ruling "frightening" because it takes away the state's ability to protect its citizens by expanding protections for gun owners into the public sphere.
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Do we need Miranda?

  • The Supreme Court also released their ruling in a Los Angeles case regarding police failing to provide suspects with their Miranda rights.
  • Their ruling protected police from being sued by suspects for failing to provide them with their Miranda rights.
  • The decision says that the only remedy for the police not reading a suspect their rights is to block any confession or evidence before the reading from being used in court.
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Politics

Uvalde Shooting Update

Wednesday, June 22, 2022
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The context
In a hearing before the Texas State Senate, Department of Public Safety Director Scott McCraw testified that police in Uvalde lied about not having the right equipment or weapons to confront the shooter and were, in fact, able to access the room with the shooter in it.
Politics
Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Uvalde Shooting Update

The context
In a hearing before the Texas State Senate, Department of Public Safety Director Scott McCraw testified that police in Uvalde lied about not having the right equipment or weapons to confront the shooter and were, in fact, able to access the room with the shooter in it.
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