Лубінець повідомив про повернення 11 українських дітей з окупованих територій і РФ

За його словами, серед повернутих дітей – шестеро дівчаток, зокрема рідні дворічні сестри-двійнята, а також п’ятеро хлопчиків, найменшій повернутій дитині – 2 роки, найстаршій – 16 років

Supreme Court Rejects Appeal From Trump-Allied Lawyers Over 2020 Election Lawsuit

Washington — The Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected an appeal from Sidney Powell and other lawyers allied with former President Donald Trump over $150,000 in sanctions they were ordered to pay for abusing the court system with a sham lawsuit challenging the 2020 election results in Michigan. 

The justices did not comment in leaving in place the sanctions against seven lawyers who were part of the lawsuit filed on behalf of six Republican voters after Joe Biden’s 154,000-vote victory over Trump in the state. 

Among the lawyers is L. Lin Wood, whose name was on the lawsuit. Wood has insisted he had no role other than to tell Powell he would be available if she needed a seasoned litigator. 

The money is owed to the state and Detroit, for their costs in defending the lawsuit. The sanctions initially totaled $175,000, but a federal appeals court reduced them by about $25,000. 

In October, Powell pleaded guilty to state criminal charges in Georgia over her efforts to overturn Trump’s loss in the state. She pleaded guilty to six misdemeanors accusing her of conspiring to intentionally interfere with the performance of election duties. 

Powell gained notoriety for saying in November 2020 that she would “release the Kraken,” invoking a mythical sea monster when talking about a lawsuit she planned to file to challenge the results of the presidential election.

Правозахисники: Росія вивезла з Сімферополя 60 людей, викрадених на окупованих територіях

За даними джерел КПГ, дорога із Сімферополя до Краснодара займає понад вісім годин, і весь цей час людям доводиться стояти в дуже незручній позі

«Блокування кордону не має виправдання». У МЗС відреагували на дії польських протестувальників

«Блокування польсько-українського кордону, якими би гаслами воно не супроводжувалося, не має виправдання. Наземні кордони залишаються важливими в умовах російської агресії»

Will Biden’s ‘Saving Democracy’ Message Resonate With Swing State Voters?

BETHLEHEM, Pa. — Just blocks from the shuttered Bethlehem Steel plant, the Hispanic Center Lehigh Valley was bustling on a recent day with scores of older people eating lunch. Downstairs, out of sight, a constant stream of visitors was shopping in its massive food pantry.

Over the past seven months, the number of visitors to the pantry has risen by more than a third. The center’s executive director, Raymond Santiago, sees that as a stark sign of something he has felt over the past couple years: Many in the area’s Latino community are struggling to meet their basic needs.

Northampton County, which includes Bethlehem, is a traditional bellwether for Pennsylvania, one of the most important presidential swing states, and Latinos are a key part of the coalition that President Joe Biden is trying rebuild as he embarks on his campaign for a second term. In doing so, the Democrat might have challenges selling a crucial part of his reelection strategy.

One of the messages he has delivered in previous visits to Pennsylvania is that former President Donald Trump, the front-runner for the GOP nomination, is a danger to American democracy. Biden is hoping that message energizes the same voters who turned out four years ago, when Northampton County narrowly flipped to him after supporting Trump by a thin margin in 2016.

Based on his interactions with visitors to the Hispanic center, Santiago isn’t so sure. It’s the price of groceries and lack of affordable housing that dominate conversations there.

“I think so many people are already immune to that messaging, it won’t land as cleanly this election as it did in 2020,” he said. “If he keeps pushing that message, it might turn voters away.”

Biden chose a location near Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, with its deep symbolism for the country’s struggle for freedom, for his initial campaign event for 2024, portraying Trump as a grave threat to America and describing the general election as “all about” whether democracy can survive. It was a message similar to one he gave before the 2022 midterm elections at Independence Hall in Philadelphia, where the nation’s founding documents were created. Biden warned that Trump and his followers threatened “the very foundation of our republic.”

Hours after Biden’s speech, Trump responded by accusing Biden of “pathetic fearmongering.”

Biden has continued the theme during the early primary season, telling supporters winning a second term is essential for maintaining the country’s democratic traditions.

Over the course of several days, The Associated Press interviewed a cross section of voters in Northampton County to ask whether Biden’s messaging around the fate of democracy was resonating. These voters represented parts of the very coalition Biden will need to win Pennsylvania again — Black voters, Latinos, independents and moderates from both parties.

Their overarching response: The president’s warning that a second Trump presidency will shred constitutional norms and destroy democratic institutions is not one that, alone, will motivate them and get them out to vote.

Like people across much of the rest of the country, most of those interviewed would prefer avoiding a rematch of the 2020 contest, and several suggested they would seriously consider a serious third-party candidate with a strong message and a chance of winning.

Evelyn Fermin, 74, who regularly visits the Lehigh Hispanic center, has lived in the county for two years after spending most of her life in New Jersey. Her opinion about Trump has been set since January 6, 2021, when the former president’s supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol in a violent bid to stop Congress from certifying Biden’s win. But she doesn’t think reminders of that day will be sufficient to persuade voters in November.

For the daughter of parents who immigrated from the Dominican Republic, her concerns are border security and spending abroad.

“Rather than sending it out to foreign countries, I think we should use it for our people,” she said.

As a divorced mother who supported her son as he worked his way through school to become a lawyer, she also doesn’t support Biden’s attempt to waive student loan debt: “If I was able to to do it, I feel that they should.”

Curt Balch, 44, worked in the health care industry and is now a stay-at-home dad. He was weathering a two-hour school delay with his 5-year-old daughter in his home in Hellertown, in a more rural part of the county. He registered Republican so he could vote in primaries but describes himself as more libertarian.

Balch said the messaging by both sides is “pretty toxic” when they warn that the other is “a threat or a danger to the fundamentals of the country moving forward.”

He supported Trump in the past two elections but is open to considering other candidates this year, especially if he thinks there is an appealing third-party or independent candidate.

Balch believes the dire warnings about a potential second Trump term are overblown. Balch notes that even during the COVID-19 pandemic, Trump let states decide for themselves how to handle it.

“I understand the rhetoric, ‘Oh, he’s going to be a fascist dictator,'” Balch said. “I don’t think it’s a message that’s getting people to the polls. I don’t think people are legitimately thinking that they need to be afraid of Donald Trump.”

Christian Miller was a lifelong Democrat but became an independent in 2022 out of frustration with political gridlock and a sense that as he got older, he was growing more conservative.

He said he might one day consider switching to the Republican Party, but not as long as Trump is leading it. That’s not out of any worry that Trump would become a dictator if he wins a second term.

“I don’t know that I fear it as much as it’s being made out to be in the media from either side,” said Miller, a 53-year-old bank executive who lives in Nazareth. “I feel that the institutions are safe and and are strong enough to withstand the challenges.”

Miller cited the dozens of failed court challenges seeking to overturn the 2020 presidential results by Trump and his allies as an example of the institutions holding firm.

Surveys indicate concern about the state of democracy, but it’s not clear how that will translate in November’s election. A Biden campaign spokesperson said the democracy message is central to the campaign, but it is not the only one the campaign will use to reach voters. Protecting abortion rights and fighting for higher wages will be among the issues essential to the president’s pitch.

Northampton County, especially Bethlehem, has been slowly emerging from the economic shock that followed the collapse of the local steel industry. The plant produced the steel that built the Golden Gate Bridge during the Great Depression and a decade later, during World War II, became the country’s largest shipbuilder.

The blast furnaces, which fell silent nearly 30 years ago, are still visible for miles as they sit alongside the Lehigh River. But Bethlehem has been enjoying a revival in recent years as it has evolved into a hub for health care and technology companies. New shops, an art center, museum, performing arts stage and a casino, among other developments, have added vibrancy to a picturesque city dotted with historical structures dating to the 18th century.

Northampton also is a historical bellwether. As the county has gone in the presidential election, so has the state, said Christopher Borick, a political science professor and director of the Institute of Public Opinion at Muhlenberg University in Allentown.

The last time they split was 1948, when the county voted for Democrat Harry Truman, but the state went for Republican Thomas Dewey.

“It’s about as great a benchmark county as you’ll ever find,” Borick said.

Biden narrowly carried the county in 2020, four years after Trump had narrowly prevailed in his victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Anna Kodama, 69, is the type of voter who traditionally has swung back and forth between the parties.

She grew up in a Republican household in Ohio but switched parties during college. She recalls voting across party lines frequently since she moved to the Lehigh Valley in 1977 — until 2016 when Trump was making his first run for the presidency and she voted a straight ticket for Democrats.

The people Kodama encounters are not listening to Biden’s messages about a dark future under Trump. Instead, she would like him to speak more about what he is doing to improve the economy and forge stronger ties with Europe. She paid attention to a Biden visit earlier this year to a nearby town, Emmaus, where he stopped at local stores to discuss the importance of supporting small businesses.

She said Biden seems to connect better with people when he promotes a positive message, rather than a negative one that she believes will not motivate people in the fall.

“That’s where I find it compelling — look what we can do together,” said the artist and former teacher who was sipping coffee at Café the Lodge in Bethlehem. “That message resonates with me and with people I know.”

For Esther Lee, the 90-year-old president of the local NAACP, the threat-to-democracy message is not generating much concern among the people she contacts. She already plans to vote, but not because she is fearful of another Trump presidency.

“We already know who he is,” she said.

Getting Black voters engaged is going to take more from Biden, she believes, because so far his campaign messages have not resonated. She questions whether the Black community in Northampton County is the target audience: “I’m not seeing evidence of it,” she said.

Lee said the issue she hears about most in her circle is homelessness: “It’s No. 1,” she said, adding that the resources don’t seem to be sufficient to address the local problem. The companion to that, she said, is affordable housing.

“With Biden’s campaign, they need to reach down further,” with the messaging, she said.

At the Lehigh center, Guillermo Lopez Jr., 69, recalls his deep ties to the area and the many members of his extended family who worked at Bethlehem Steel. He worked at the plant for 27 years, following a father who worked there for 36.

He is now on the center’s board of directors and a local leader in the Latino community. A Democrat who said he leans independent, he plans to vote for Biden in part because of how he thought Trump’s rhetoric, beginning with is campaign announcement in 2015, made targets of Latinos and other minorities.

“It just speaks to me that there’s so much misguided hatred toward people like me,” he said.

But Lopez thinks messages of fear and Trump imperiling American democracy are essentially meaningless for many of the county’s working-foclass voters. Their concern, he said, is finding steady work with good pay.

“I actually think that harms the vote,” he said of the democracy warnings. The average person who “just puts their nose to the grindstone and goes to work, I don’t think that motivates them. I think it scares them and freezes them.” 

How Trump’s Civil Fraud Case Decision Is Likely to Impact His Business

NEW YORK — Donald Trump won’t face the “corporate death penalty,” as one of his lawyer’s called the potential outcome, after all.

A New York judge on Friday spared the ex-president that worst case punishment as he ruled in a civil case alleging Trump fraudulently misrepresented financial figures to get cheaper loans and other benefits.

Still, Trump was hit hard, facing big cash penalties, outside supervision of his companies and restrictions on his borrowing.

In a pretrial ruling last year, the same judge threatened to shut down much of the Republican presidential front-runner’s business by calling for the “dissolution” of corporate entities that hold many of his marquee properties. That raised the specter of possible fire sales of Trump Tower, a Wall Street skyscraper and other properties.

But New York Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engoron called off the dissolution.

Instead, he said the court would appoint two monitors to oversee the Trump Organization to make sure it doesn’t continue to submit false figures.

“It’s a complete reversal,” said real estate lawyer Adam Leitman Bailey. “There’s a big difference between having to sell your assets and a monitor who gets to look over your shoulders.”

In his ruling, Engoron banned Trump from serving as an officer or director in any New York corporation for three years, prohibited him from taking out loans with New York banks and said his company and other defendants have to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in fines.

Here is how the decision is likely to impact his business:

Cash drain

This is possibly the worst hit from the ruling.

Trump and his businesses were told they would have to pay $355 million for “ill-gotten gains.” Trump’s sons, Eric and Donald Trump Jr., who help run the business, were ordered to pay $4 million each. Trump’s former chief financial officer was ordered to pay $1 million, for a total judgment of $364 million.

“I don’t think there is any way Trump can continue to operate his business as usual,” said Syracuse University law professor Gregory Germain. “It’s a lot of money.”

The penalties will hit Trump’s finances at a moment he is facing other steep legal bills stemming from several criminal cases. Trump separately was hit with $88 million in judgments in sexual abuse and defamation lawsuits brought by writer E. Jean Carroll.

Trump is also required to pay interest from the dates when he received benefits from his alleged fraud. That so-called pre-judgment interest adds another $100 million to Trump’s bills, according to New York’s attorney general.

Trump lawyers have said they will appeal. That means he won’t have to hand over the whole amount yet, though he will have to post a bond or escrow, which could tie up cash while waiting for the appeal.

In any case, Trump already has enough in cash to pay much of that penalty, assuming he is telling the truth about his finances. In a deposition in the fraud case, he said he had more than $400 million in cash.

No Trump property fire sale

The judge’s summary ruling in September was vague in exactly what he meant by a “dissolution” of Trump businesses. But several legal experts told The Associated Press that in the worse-case scenario, it could have led to a sale of not only of his New York properties, but his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida, a Chicago hotel and condo building, and several golf clubs, including ones in Miami, Los Angeles and Scotland.

One of Trump’s lawyers, Christopher Kise, called that potential outcome a “corporate death penalty.”

Not even the New York attorney general, who filed the lawsuit against Trump, had asked for a “dissolution.”

An Associated Press investigation confirmed how unusual such a punishment would have been if carried out: Trump’s case would have been the only big business in nearly 70 years of similar cases shut down without a showing of obvious victims who suffered major financial losses. The main alleged victim of the real estate mogul ‘s fraud, Deutsche Bank, had itself not complained it had suffered any losses.

But Engoron on Friday backed down, saying monitors were good enough, basically handing New York Attorney General Letitia James most of what she had sought: bans, monitors and a massive penalty.

Three-year ban

The ban on Trump serving as an officer or director for a New York corporation suggests a big shakeup at the Trump Organization, but the real impact isn’t clear.

Trump may be removed from the corner office, but as an owner of the business his right to appoint someone to act on his behalf has not been revoked.

“It’s not that he can’t have influence at these enterprises,” said University of Michigan law professor William Thomas. “He just can’t hold any actually appointed positions.”

Thomas added, however, much depends on how the monitor will handle Trump’s attempt to run his company by proxy.

“He might want to walk in the office and tell them what to do, but there will be pushback,” he said. “It could limit the avenues through which he can exert control.”

Two obvious candidates to help Trump maintain control, his two adult sons, are already off-limits. The judge’s ruling barred Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump from being officers of New York companies for two years.

Business loans

Trump is also banned from getting loans from New York-chartered banks, a potentially devastating blow given so many major lenders are based in the city.

Luckily for Trump, he has cut his debt by hundreds of millions in recent years and so won’t need to refinance as much. He also has pushed out the maturity of many loans still on the books by several years.

The impact on funding for future businesses could be crushing, though. Without access to banks, he may be forced to use cash to finance new ventures, something that real estate moguls are loath to do and that won’t be easy, given his cash payments.

Still, only banks appear banned in the ruling, leaving Trump free to borrow from fast-growing alternative financiers, the private equity and hedge funds that make up the so-called shadow banking world.

“I could imagine a load of private equity funds with very little prospects sitting on a bunch of dry powder saying, ‘Hey, we’ll lend you $300 million,'” Columbia law school professor Eric Talley said. 

«Ми продовжимо доносити чесну журналістику до російського народу» –президент Радіо Свобода після смерті Навального

«Олексій Навальний боровся за право росіян вільно висловлювати свою думку без страху – цінності, які RFE/RL відстоює вже понад сім десятиліть»