US Capitol Riot Panel Hints at Criminal Referrals for Witness Tampering 

Lawmakers investigating the January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol last year are signaling they could send referrals to the Justice Department for prosecution of illegal tampering with witnesses who have testified to the panel.

Representative Liz Cheney, vice chairperson of the House of Representatives investigative panel, displayed Tuesday two messages from notes sent to hearing witnesses saying that former President Donald Trump was keeping a close eye on the hearings and was counting on continued loyalty. The senders of the notes weren’t identified.

The panel is probing how the insurrection unfolded and Trump’s role in trying to upend his 2020 reelection defeat.

Cheney’s disclosure of the notes came after two hours of explosive testimony from Cassidy Hutchinson, the former top assistant to Mark Meadows, who was Trump’s last White House chief of staff.

Hutchinson described in detail how Trump became angry and volatile in the last weeks of his presidency as the reality of his loss to Democrat Joe Biden sank in and his own associates dismissed his repeated claims that he had been cheated out of reelection.

CNN quoted unidentified sources Thursday saying Hutchinson was one of the witnesses who had been contacted by someone attempting to influence her testimony.

In an interview on ABC’s “Good Morning America” show Thursday, Cheney said the attempted influencing of witnesses is “very serious. It really goes to the heart of our legal system. And it’s something the committee will certainly be reviewing.”

She added, “It gives us a real insight into how people around the former president are operating, into the extent to which they believe that they can affect the testimony of witnesses before the committee. And it’s something we take very seriously, and it’s something that people should be aware of. It’s a very serious issue, and I would imagine the Department of Justice would be very interested in, and would take that very seriously, as well.”

At Tuesday’s hearing, Cheney did not say which of the committee’s witnesses had been contacted but displayed two text messages on a large television screen.

One said, “What they said to me is as long as I continue to be a team player, they know I’m on the team, I’m doing the right thing, I’m protecting who I need to protect, you know, I’ll continue to stay in good graces in Trump World.”

“And they have reminded me a couple of times that Trump does read transcripts and just to keep that in mind as I proceed through my depositions and interviews with the committee,” that witness continued.

In another example, a second witness said, “[A person] let me know you have your deposition tomorrow. He wants me to let you know that he’s thinking about you. He knows you’re loyal, and you’re going to do the right thing when you go in for your deposition.”

Representative Zoe Lofgren, another member of the investigative panel, told CNN, “It’s a concern, and anyone who is trying to dissuade or tamper with witnesses should be on notice that that’s a crime, and we are perfectly prepared to provide any evidence we have to the proper authorities.”

A third committee member, Representative Jamie Raskin, said after the hearing, “It’s a crime to tamper with witnesses. It’s a form of obstructing justice. The committee won’t tolerate it. And we haven’t had a chance to fully investigate or fully discuss it, but it’s something we want to look into.”

your ad here



Native Americans Bristle at Suggestions They Offer Abortions on Tribal Land

Shortly after the leak of a draft Supreme Court opinion to end women’s constitutional right to abortion, Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt appeared on Fox News suggesting Native American tribes in his state, looking to get around Oklahoma’s tough new abortion ban, might “set up abortion on demand” on any of the 39 Indian reservations in that state.

“You know, the tribes in Oklahoma are super liberal,” Stitt said, “They go to Washington, D.C. They talk to President (Joe) Biden at the White House. They kind of adopt those strategies.”

The U.S. government recognizes tribes as sovereign nations, and as such, have the right to pass their own laws regulating abortion on tribal land, subject to certain limitations.

Stitt’s comments set off wide speculation in the press and in social media about whether abortion seekers could turn to Indian tribes for abortion services in states where the procedure is or soon will be banned now that Roe v. Wade has been overturned.

 

Senator Elizabeth Warren and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have called on the White House to open up federal land and resources to provide reproductive health services. Neither lawmaker referenced Indian reservations, nor have tribes suggested any interest in opening abortion havens.

“It’s been journalists. It’s been activists looking for some sort of a solution,” said Stacy Leeds, a citizen of the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma and a law professor at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law in Arizona. “And now in the last couple of days, it has started to escalate, with politicians almost warning tribes that they better not do this.”

Tuesday, the White House ruled out the possibility of using federal lands for abortion services.

But that hasn’t stopped the conversation in social media.

 

 

It is a conversation, however, that most Native Americans find problematic, if not downright offensive.

“Any time there’s a call for tribes to do something that is not originating in their own thought processes, it very much just reeks of further colonization,” said Leeds. “You know, the outsider trying to tell a local tribal government what their law and policy ought to be.”

Native Americans find the conversation particularly upsetting given a well-documented history of sexual violence against Indigenous women that ranged from rape and trafficking to forced sterilizations in the 1970s.

“And you also have this history of the wholesale removal of Native children away from their families and communities to boarding schools or being adopted out to other communities. It’s just traumatic for a lot of people,” Leeds said.

 

In its 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, the Supreme Court decriminalized abortion, but that didn’t guarantee all women had access. The 1976 Hyde Amendment, which was amended several times in later years, prohibits federal money being used to pay for abortions except in cases of rape, incest or endangerment to the woman’s life. The Indian Health Service relies on federal funds and is the only health care provider available for many Native communities.

To look to tribes for abortion services is to assume Native Americans are a left-leaning monolith, Leeds said.

“Politically, (Native) people are all over the place. You know, it’s a large leap to just automatically presume that everybody would want this,” she said. “And a lot of tribal spiritual traditions hold life as sacred from beginning to the end.”

In 2010, for example, the Navajo Nation Supreme Court ruled on a case involving the death of an unborn fetus in a highway collision, saying, “We take judicial notice that the child, even the unborn child, occupies a space in Navajo culture that can best be described as holy or sacred, although neither of these words convey the child’s status accurately. The child is awę́ę́ t’áá’íídą́ą́’hiną́, alive at conception, and develops perfectly in the care of the mother.”

Native Americans have been given few opportunities to voice their opinions on abortion. One exception is a 2020 study by the Southwest Women’s Law Center and the nonprofit Forward Together that surveyed Native American women on and off reservations in New Mexico — a state where abortions remain legal and available, even after the recent Supreme Court ruling.

When asked whether they would support or oppose a law that would criminalize doctors performing abortions, 45% of respondents said they would oppose it; 25% said they would support it, and 27% said they did not have a strong opinion one way or the other.

“Most of the Native women who are speaking out nationally are upset about the Supreme Court’s latest decision,” Leeds said. “But I don’t see any of them advocating that their communities then become the saviors of everyone else’s communities.”

 

Tribes are sovereign nations and have the right to pass their own laws regulating abortion on tribal land territories. But criminal jurisdiction in Indian Country is complex; whether tribal governments, state governments or the federal government has jurisdiction depends on the nature of the crime, the identity of the perpetrator and victim, and where the crime takes place.

In theory, tribes could perform abortions, said Leeds, but only in tribally funded facilities on Native patients by Native practitioners. Anyone else could be subject to state or federal law.

“And that’s the galling piece of this whole conversation,” Leeds said. “You want tribes to take this risk for you that might negatively impact their whole world indefinitely? People just don’t understand what they are truly asking.”

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that Oklahoma will be allowed to prosecute non-Native Americans for crimes committed on reservations when the victim is Native, a decision that cuts back on the court’s 2020 ruling that a large chunk of eastern Oklahoma — about 43% of the state — remains an Indian reservation.

 

Stitt celebrated the decision.

“Today, our efforts proved worthwhile, and the court upheld that Indian country is part of a state, not separate from it,” Stitt said.

Oklahoma in May passed the Nation’s toughest abortion ban. Wednesday’s ruling reduces the likelihood of any tribal abortion haven in that state.

your ad here



your ad here



your ad here



your ad here



МЗС України заявило про розрив дипломатичних відносин із Сирією

Українська сторона також розпочинає процедуру запровадження торговельного ембарго щодо Сирії, а також накладення інших санкцій щодо сирійських юридичних та фізичних осіб

your ad here



Jackson to be Sworn in as Breyer Retires From Supreme Court

Nearly three months after she won confirmation to the Supreme Court, Ketanji Brown Jackson is officially becoming a justice.

Jackson, 51, will be sworn as the court’s 116th justice Thursday, just as the man she is replacing, Justice Stephen Breyer, retires.

The judicial pas de deux is set to take place at noon, the moment Breyer said in a letter to President Joe Biden on Wednesday that his retirement will take effect after nearly 28 years on the nation’s highest court.

The court is expected to issue its final opinions earlier Thursday in a momentous and rancorous term that included overturning Roe v. Wade’s guarantee of the right to an abortion. The remaining cases are a challenge to the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to regulate climate-warming emissions from power plants, and Biden’s bid to end the Trump-era “remain in Mexico” asylum program.

In a ceremony the court said it will stream live on its website, Jackson will recite two oaths required of Supreme Court justices, one administered by Breyer and the other by Chief Justice John Roberts.

Jackson, a federal judge since 2013, will be the first Black woman to serve as a justice. She will be joining three women, Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Amy Coney Barrett — the first time four women will serve together on the nine-member court.

Biden nominated Jackson in February, a month after Breyer, 83, announced he would retire at the end of the court’s term, assuming his successor had been confirmed. Breyer’s earlier-than-usual announcement and the condition he attached was a recognition of the Democrats’ tenuous hold on the Senate in an era of hyper-partisanship, especially surrounding federal judgeships.

The Senate confirmed Jackson’s nomination in early April, by a 53-47 mostly party-line vote that included support from three Republicans.

She has been in a sort of judicial limbo ever since, remaining a judge on the federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., but not hearing any cases. Biden elevated her to that court from the district judgeship to which she was appointed by President Barack Obama.

Jackson will be able to begin work immediately, but the court will have just finished the bulk of its work until the fall, apart from emergency appeals that occasionally arise. That will give her time to settle in and familiarize herself with the roughly two dozen cases the court already has agreed to hear starting in October as well as hundreds of appeals that will pile up over the summer.

your ad here



January 6 Panel Subpoenas Former White House Counsel

The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection issued a subpoena Wednesday to former White House counsel Pat Cipollone, who is said to have stridently warned against former President Donald Trump’s efforts to try to overturn his election loss.

It’s the first public step the committee has taken since receiving the public testimony of Cassidy Hutchinson, the onetime junior aide who accused Trump of knowing his supporters were armed on Jan. 6 and demanding that he be taken to the U.S. Capitol that day.

Cipollone, who was Trump’s top White House lawyer, is said to have raised concerns about the former president’s efforts to overturn his 2020 election defeat and at one point threatened to resign. The committee said he could have information about several efforts by Trump allies to subvert the Electoral College, from organizing so-called alternate electors in states Biden won to trying to appoint as attorney general a loyalist who pushed false theories of voter fraud.

Cipollone has been placed in key moments after the election by Hutchinson as well as by former Justice Department lawyers who appeared for a hearing the week before.

Hutchinson said Cipollone warned before Jan. 6 that there would be “serious legal concerns” if Trump went to the Capitol with the protesters expected to rally outside.

The morning of Jan. 6, she testified, Cipollone restated his concerns that if Trump did go to the Capitol to try to intervene in the certification of the election, “we’re going to get charged with every crime imaginable.”

And as the insurrection went on, she says she heard Meadows tell Cipollone that Trump was sympathetic to rioters wanting to hang then-Vice President Mike Pence.

“You heard it,” Meadows told Cipollone, in her recollection. “He thinks Mike deserves it. He doesn’t think they’re doing anything wrong.”

Reps. Bennie Thompson, a Democrat, and Liz Cheney, a Republican, the chairman and vice chairman of the committee, said in their letter to Cipollone that while he had given the committee an “informal interview” on April 13, his refusal to provide on-the-record testimony made their subpoena necessary.

Rep. Adam Kinzinger, a Republican who sits on the committee, said last week that Cipollone told the committee he tried to intervene when he heard Trump was being advised by Jeffrey Clark, a former Justice Department official who wanted to push false claims of voter fraud. Federal agents recently seized Clark’s cell phone and conducted a search of his Virginia home.

Clark had drafted a letter for key swing states that was never sent but would have falsely claimed the department had discovered troubling irregularities in the election. Cipollone was quoted by one witness as having told Trump the letter was a “murder-suicide pact.”

your ad here



your ad here



Egyptian Women in Work: Between Barriers and Dreams

In male-dominated Egypt, the workforce participation rate among women and girls ages 15 and older is an estimated 15%, falling below the Middle East-North Africa region’s average of 19%, according to the International Labor Organization. For VOA, photojournalist Hamada Elrasam traces a thread that binds the everyday struggles of mothers and young female professionals across Cairo: dreams of agency amid far-reaching, often gender-based barriers to participation. Words by Elle Kurancid.

your ad here



African Continental FTA Challenged by Bureaucracy, Poor Infrastructure

The African Continental Free Trade Area has been operating for more than a year with the aim of cutting red tape to expand inter-African trade and lift millions of people out of poverty. But the largest trade pact in the world, in terms of member countries, has seen slow progress and mixed results. Anne Nzouankeu reports from Abidjan, Ivory Coast, in this report narrated by Moki Edwin Kindzeka.
Videographer: Anne Nzouankeu

your ad here



your ad here



your ad here



your ad here



9 міністрів культури з країн Центральної Європи домовилися спільно протидіяти російській пропаганді

«Ми перебуваємо сьогодні і на культурному фронті, не лише фізичному, тому що Путін воює проти української ідентичності», заявив міністр культури України

your ad here



First Post-Roe Primaries Put Abortion at Center of Key Races

The midterm primary season entered a new, more volatile phase on Tuesday as voters participate in the first elections since the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision revoking a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion jolted the nation’s politics.

In Colorado’s Republican U.S. Senate primary, voters are choosing between businessman Joe O’Dea and state Rep. Ron Hanks. O’Dea backs a ban on late-term abortions but is otherwise the rare Republican who supports most abortion rights. Hanks backs a ban on the procedure in all cases.

Meanwhile, in the Republican race for governor in Illinois, Darren Bailey, a farmer and state senator endorsed by former President Donald Trump over the weekend, wants to end the state’s right to abortion except for instances in which the mother’s life is in danger. He doesn’t support exceptions for rape or incest. His opponent, Richard Irvin, the first Black mayor of Aurora, has said he would allow abortions in instances of rape, incest or when the mother’s life is at risk.

Both races are unfolding in states where abortion remains legal. Democrats have sought to elevate both Hanks and Bailey, betting that they have a better chance of winning the fall campaign if they’re competing against Republicans they could portray as extreme. In Colorado, Democrats have spent more than $2 million boosting Hanks’ candidacy. In Illinois, the sums have been vastly higher, with Democrats spending at least $16 million against Irvin and to boost Bailey as the nominee against Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

The strategy carries risks, especially if the magnitude of the GOP’s expected gains this fall becomes so significant that Democrats lose in states such as Illinois and Colorado, which have become strongholds for the party. But at a moment when Democrats are confronting voter frustration over inflation and rising gas prices, the focus on abortion may be their best hope.

“It’s a very inviting target, to go after a Republican candidate whose position is no exceptions,” said Dick Wadhams, a former chairman of the Colorado GOP who has worked for anti-abortion candidates in the past. “I do think the repeal of Roe v Wade may embolden more candidates to go in that direction.”

“A lot of opportunity, but a lot of peril”

Beyond Colorado and Illinois, elections are being held in Oklahoma, Utah, New York, Nebraska, Mississippi and South Carolina. Tuesday marks the final round of multi-state primary nights until August, when closely watched races for governor and U.S. Senate will unfold in Arizona, Wisconsin, Florida, Missouri and other states

And while Tuesday’s primaries are the first to happen in a post-Roe landscape, they will offer further insight into the resonance of Trump’s election lies among GOP voters.

In Oklahoma, one of the nation’s most conservative senators, James Lankford, won his primary challenge from evangelical pastor Jackson Lahmeyer, amid conservative anger that Lankford hasn’t supported Trump’s election claims.

In Utah, two Republican critics of Trump are targeting Sen. Mike Lee, accusing the two-term senator of being too preoccupied with winning the former president’s favor and helping him try to overturn the 2020 presidential election. In Mississippi, Rep. Michael Guest, a Republican who bucked Trump to vote for an independent Jan. 6 commission, faces a challenge from Michael Cassidy, a former Navy pilot.

Also in Colorado, indicted county clerk Tina Peters, who has been barred by a judge from overseeing elections in her home county in the western part of the state, is running for the GOP nomination for the state’s top elections post by contending she’s being prosecuted for uncovering a grand conspiracy to steal the 2020 election from Trump. She faces Pam Anderson, a former county clerk and critic of Trump’s election lies, for the nomination to challenge Democratic Secretary of State Jena Griswold in November.

Republicans worry that Peters, who is being prosecuted by a Republican district attorney for her role in a security breach in her county’s election system, would drag down the entire ticket if she becomes the nominee. The GOP has lost almost every statewide race since 2014 but hopes public disenchantment with President Joe Biden gives them an opening.

“There’s a lot of peril on June 28 for Republicans,” Wadhams said. “A lot of opportunity, but a lot of peril as well.”

Other GOP opportunities in the state come in the newly created congressional swing seat north of Denver, where four Republican candidates are competing to face state Rep. Yadira Caraveo, the only Democrat running in the primary. Heidi Ganahl, the lone statewide elected Republican as a member of the University of Colorado’s board of regents, faces Greg Lopez, a former mayor in suburban Denver, in the contest for the GOP nomination to face Democratic Gov. Jared Polis.

Also in Colorado, firebrand Rep. Lauren Boebert faces moderate state Sen. Don Coram in the Republican primary in the western part of the state. In Colorado Springs, Republican Rep. Doug Lamborn, who faces regular primary challenges, this time is fighting back state Rep. Dave Williams, who failed to get the phrase “Let’s Go Brandon,” code for an obscenity against President Joe Biden, added to his official name on the ballot.

Voter seeks candidate who shares “our values”

Other than the governor’s race primary, Illinois also features two, rare incumbent vs. incumbent congressional primaries as a result of House districts being redrawn during last year’s redistricting. Democratic Reps. Sean Casten and Marie Newman will compete in a Chicago-area seat. And GOP Rep. Rodney Davis, one of the last moderates in the Republican caucus, faces Trump-backed Rep. Mary Miller, who at a rally with the former president this weekend described the Supreme Court decision as “a victory for white life.” A spokesman said she meant to say “right to life.”

In the smaller towns of Illinois, conservative voters were hankering for a change. Toni Block, 80, of McHenry, about 45 miles northwest of Chicago, voted for Bailey in the gubernatorial primary.

“He’s got all the good things that we need to get back to,” Block said. “Not only is he a Trump supporter, he has our values.”

In New York, Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul, who became the state’s chief executive last fall when Andrew Cuomo resigned during a sexual harassment scandal, is fighting off primary challenges from the left and center. New York City’s elected public advocate, Jumaane Williams, contends Hochul hasn’t been active enough on progressive issues while Long Island Rep. Tom Suozzi blasts her for being too liberal on crime.

On the Republican side, Rep. Lee Zeldin is the frontrunner in a crowded gubernatorial primary field that includes Andrew Giuliani, the son of former New York mayor and Trump confidant Rudolph Giuliani. Trump has not made an endorsement in the race.

your ad here



your ad here