Wisconsin Gov. Calls For Special Session On Cops’ Use Of Force After Black Man Shot In Back

“The people of our state are done waiting for the Legislature to act, and so are we,” said Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, following Sunday’s shooting of Jacob Blake.

Wisconsin’s governor has called for a special legislative session on the use of force by his state’s law enforcement officers after police repeatedly shot a Black man in his back on Sunday, an act that the state’s lieutenant governor said “was not an accident.”

“For over two months, our legislative leaders have ignored the calls for change from people in every part of our state, and now another Black man is fighting for his life due to the actions of law enforcement,” Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, the state’s first Black lieutenant governor, said in a statement Monday. “The people of our state are done waiting for the Legislature to act, and so are we.”

Gov. Tony Evers’ (D) executive order for a special session would consider a package of bills that would ban police chokeholds and no-knock search warrants, make it harder for officers to resort to lethal force and would require law enforcement agencies maintain an employment file for each employee. These files would be available to view by other law enforcement agencies if the individual is looking to move to a different agency.

A small group of demonstrators pray while protesting Sunday evening's police shooting of a Black man in Kenosha, Wisconsin. J
A small group of demonstrators pray while protesting Sunday evening’s police shooting of a Black man in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Jacob Blake was shot in front of his three children, his attorney said.

The order calls attention to Sunday’s shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, as well as the recent killings of Breonna Taylor in Kentucky and George Floyd in Minnesota. These individuals, along with several other named Black Wisconsinites killed by law enforcement, are “all examples of Black lives extinguished as a result of systemic injustice and racism,” the governor’s order states.

Blake was entering the driver’s side door of a parked SUV in Kenosha when one of at least two officers, following him with guns drawn, were filmed appearing to shoot him multiple times at point-blank range.

He was hospitalized in serious condition, authorities said, and the officers involved were placed on administrative leave ― a standard practice in a police shooting ― while the state Justice Department investigates.

“Let me be clear, this was not an accident. This wasn’t bad police work. This felt like some sort of vendetta being taken out on a member of our community,” said Barnes.

Civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who is now representing Blake’s family, said Monday that Blake had been helping to deescalate a domestic incident that evening when he was first Tasered by responding police. As he was walking away to check on his children, police officers fired their weapons into his back.

“Even worse, his three sons witnessed their father collapse after being riddled with bullets,” Crump said in a statement. “Their irresponsible, reckless, and inhumane actions nearly cost the life of a man who was simply trying to do the right thing by intervening in a domestic incident. It’s a miracle he’s still alive.”

Evers urged his state’s legislative officials to put politics aside and come together to take action.

“This can only be our first step. As our state reels from another attack on a Black man by law enforcement, as communities grieve and exercise their first amendment rights to demand justice and as Jacob Blake fights for his life, we are all reminded that racism is a public health crisis. There’s no time to waste,” he said at Monday’s press conference. 

Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Paul said Monday that his department is “vigorously and thoroughly investigating” Sunday’s shooting and “will unwaveringly pursue justice in the case.”

Police in riot gear stand outside the Kenosha County Court House on Monday following overnight protests over the shooting of
Police in riot gear stand outside the Kenosha County Court House on Monday following overnight protests over the shooting of a Black man by police.

Milwaukee’s police association fired back at Evers in its own statement, however, accusing the governor of “pushing a false ideology” by speaking out about what happened without knowing all of the facts.

“Let the facts come out before making a statement that a person has ‘been shot or injured or mercilessly killed at the hands of individuals in law enforcement in our state,’” the police association said. “By rushing to judgment, without knowing all of the facts, this will only fuel the cause of others to protest in a manner that isn’t peaceful. Reckless comments, without all of the facts, can only lead someone to a rush of judgment which will result in emotions taking over.”

Hundreds of people took to the streets into the early hours of Monday following the police shooting in Kenosha. Several vehicles were set on fire and windows were smashed. Officers in riot gear and in SWAT vehicles responded to the uproar and used tear gas to disperse groups of people, The Associated Press reported.

Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden was among those calling for a “full and transparent investigation” into the shooting on Monday.

“Equal justice has not been real for Black Americans and so many others. We are at an inflection point. We must dismantle systemic racism. It is the urgent task before us,” the former vice president said in a statement. “We must fight to honor the ideals laid in the original American promise, which we are yet to attain: That all men and women are created equal, but more importantly that they must be treated equally.”

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Trump 'has no principles' and 'you can't trust him,' his sister reportedly said

President Donald Trump’s sister was recorded saying that her brother “has no principles” and “you can’t trust him,” The Washington Post reported Saturday.

Maryanne Trump Barry, who was serving as a federal judge at the time, made the slashing comments to her niece Mary Trump, who was secretly recording her, the Post reported. At one point, Barry was discussing Trump’s moves in 2018 to separate immigrant children from their parents.

“All he wants to do is appeal to his base,” Barry said, according to the newspaper. “He has no principles. None. None. And his base, I mean, my God, if you were a religious person, you want to help people — not do this.”

She added: “His goddamned tweet[s] and lying, oh my God,” she said. “I’m talking too freely, but you know, the change of stories, the lack of preparation, the lying — holy shit.”

Trump had earlier suggested on Fox News that he might “put her at the border” and assign his sister to make immigration decisions. She guessed he hadn’t read her decisions or he would know they wouldn’t likely agree on issues.

“What has he read?” Mary Trump asked her aunt. Barry responded: “He doesn’t read.”

At one point, an exasperated Barry said: “It’s the phoniness of it all. It’s the phoniness and this cruelty. Donald is cruel.”

Barry also noted: “Donald is out for Donald, period.” When her niece asked Barry what her brother had accomplished on his own, she responded: “Well, he has five bankruptcies,” adding: “You can’t trust him.”

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The Post obtained the audio excerpts of the taped conversations after Mary Trump told the newspaper that she learned some of the information in her book — “Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created The World’s Most Dangerous Man” — from 15 hours of face-to-face talks with her aunt in 2018 and 2019. It was her aunt who told her that the president had paid someone to take the SATs for him, Mary Trump told the Post.

Barry has never spoken publicly about her issues with her brother.

Mary Trump told The Post recently that her uncle is unfit to be president and she aims to do “everything in my power” to elect Joe Biden, the newspaper reported.

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Joe Biden Accepts Democratic Presidential Nomination: ‘I’ll Be An Ally Of The Light’

The former vice president made it clear in his official remarks that Democrats needed to unite to unseat President Trump.

Joe Biden officially accepted the Democratic nomination for president on the final night of the party’s virtual convention on Thursday. As he accepted the honor, Biden promised to work hard for everyone, including people who didn’t vote for him. 

“While I’ll be a Democratic candidate, I will be an American president,” Biden said in his remarks. “I’ll work hard for those who didn’t support me, as hard for them as I did for those who did vote for me.”

The former vice president said that President Donald Trump has “cloaked America in darkness for much too long.”

“Too much anger,” he said. “Too much fear. Too much division.”

“If you entrust me with the presidency, I will draw on the best of us, not the worst,” Biden continued. “I’ll be an ally of the light, not the darkness. It’s time for us — for we the people — to come together.”

Biden noted that America is facing “four historic crises,” including the coronavirus pandemic, the economic recession, racial injustice and the ongoing protests to end it, and climate change.

“Just judge this president on the facts,” Biden said of Trump before listing the number of Americans infected with COVID-19 (over 5 million) and the number of Americans who have been killed by the virus (more than 173,000).

“If this president is reelected, we know what will happen. Cases and deaths will remain far too high,” Biden said.

His remarks culminated four days of impassioned and emotional pleas from prominent Democrats and politicians, many warning that four more years of Trump’s administration loom as an existential threat to U.S. democracy.

Much of Biden’s message adhered to the theme of the convention’s slogan that urged Americans to create a “more perfect union” and highlighted the effects of Trump’s divisive rhetoric on the country.

Biden recalled the violent white supremacist demonstration that brought “neo-Nazis and Klansmen” to Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017.

“Remember what the president said? There were quote, ‘very fine people on both sides,’” Biden said. 

“It was a wake-up call for us as a country. And for me, a call to action,” the candidate said. “At that moment, I knew I’d have to run. My father taught us that silence was complicity. And I could not remain silent or complicit.”

“At the time, I said we were in a battle for the soul of this nation,” he said. “And we are.”

Earlier this month, Biden tapped Sen. Kamala Harris of California to be his running mate. Since then, the pair have focused fire on Trump and his administration while also fleshing out their own biographies for voters.

While Biden’s speech was the centerpiece of the convention, he made appearances several times during the virtual event, including Tuesday night after his wife, Jill Biden, gave a speech touting her 77-yeat-old husband’s commitment to public service, even as he much personal grief in his life.

The former vice president in Barack Obama’s administration also briefly appeared on stage with Harris after she gave her acceptance speech Wednesday night in Delaware, Biden’s home state which he represented in the Senate for 36 years.

Biden’s presidential bid got off to a rocky start when he ran poorly in the opening nominating contests in Iowa and New Hampshire. But he turned his campaign around with an impressive win in the South Carolina primary on Feb. 29. He then dominated the rest of the primary campaign, which took an unexpected turn in late March when the coronavirus pandemic forced him and the other remaining candidates to cease large rallies and in-person politicking.

As the Nov. 3 election day nears, Biden’s campaign is focusing not only on battleground states, but on some Republican-leaning states where polls have shown him competitive against Trump. In early August, his team announced plans to spend $280 million in TV ads across Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Florida, North Carolina, Arizona, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, Colorado, Virginia, Georgia, Iowa, Ohio and Texas.

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U.S. Judge Dismisses Trump’s Attempt To Block Subpoena For Tax Records

US President Donald Trump listens during a meeting with conservative black supporters in the White House in Washington, D.C., USA, June 10, 2020.

Trump has defied decades of precedent as a presidential candidate by refusing to release tax returns.

Donald Trump cannot block a prosecutor’s subpoena for eight years of his tax returns, a federal judge ruled on Thursday, in the latest setback in the U.S. president’s longstanding effort to keep his finances under wraps.

U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero in Manhattan rejected Trump’s claims that the grand jury subpoena from Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance to the president’s accounting firm Mazars USA was “wildly overbroad” and issued in bad faith.

In a 103-page decision, Marrero also said letting Trump block the subpoena would amount to an “undue expansion” of presidential immunity.

Trump quickly appealed the decision and filed an emergency motion to delay turning over his tax returns, saying enforcing the subpoena would cause him irreparable harm by disclosing his “private, confidential information.”

The litigation and grand jury secrecy rules make it unlikely Trump’s financial records will become public before Nov. 3, when the president is seeking reelection.

A spokesman for Vance declined to comment.

Trump has long fought efforts by lawmakers and prosecutors to obtain those records, and by withholding his tax returns has departed from the decades-long practice of his predecessors.

The case concerns an August 2019 subpoena related to Vance’s criminal probe into Trump and his Trump Organization.

In a court filing this month, Vance suggested the subpoena was related to “possibly extensive and protracted criminal conduct at the Trump Organization,” including alleged insurance and bank fraud.

Marrero rejected Republican Trump’s accusations that the subpoena would let Vance, a Democrat, go on an improper “fishing expedition” into finances.

He also accepted Vance’s argument that letting Trump delay the subpoena’s enforcement would effectively give the president “absolute temporary immunity” from the probe while in the White House.

Unless enforcing the subpoena would affect his constitutional duties, “the President is entitled to claim no greater shield from judicial process than any other person,” Marrero wrote. “Justice requires an end to this controversy.”

On July 9, the Supreme Court rejected Trump’s earlier argument he was immune from state criminal probes while in the White House.

Vance’s probe began after reports that Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen paid pornographic film actress Stormy Daniels $130,000 to buy her silence before the 2016 election about claimed sexual encounters with Trump, which he has denied.

The case is Trump v Vance et al, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 19-08694.

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Former Trump Strategist Steve Bannon Indicted In ‘Build The Wall’ Scheme

 
Stephen Bannon

The former Trump campaign executive was arrested Thursday morning. A grand jury said he used donated funds to cover personal expenses.

eve Bannon, a former chief strategist in President Donald Trump’s White House, was arrested on Thursday after a grand jury indicted him on federal charges for allegedly using hundreds of thousands of dollars from an online “We Build The Wall” fundraiser to cover his personal expenses.

Bannon and three others ― Brian Kolfage, Andrew Badolato and Timothy Shea ― were charged in connection with their roles in “defrauding hundreds of thousands of donors in connection with an online crowdfunding campaign known as ‘We Build the Wall’ that raised more than $25 million,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York announced Thursday morning.

steve-bannon-trump

The four defendants are each charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. Each charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. 

Kolfage, the founder of “We Build the Wall,” had assured donors that all the money would go toward construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Audrey Strauss said in a statement. But the defendants “secretly schemed to pass hundreds of thousands of dollars to Kolfage, which he used to fund his lavish lifestyle,” she said.

Bannon, 66, received over $1 million from the crowdfunding campaign, which he funneled through a nonprofit that he operates, according to prosecutors. Hundreds of thousands of dollars of that money reportedly went toward his personal expenses.

Following news of the indictments, Trump on Thursday tried to distance himself from Bannon, who was a top aide on Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.

“Well, I feel very badly,” Trump told reporters at the White House. “I haven’t been dealing with him for a long period of time. ... He worked for a lot of companies. But he was involved likewise in our campaign and for a small part of the administration very early on. I haven’t been dealing with him at all.”

Trump said he knows “nothing” about the “We Build the Wall” campaign.

“When I read about it, I didn’t like it,” he said. “I said, this is for government, this isn’t for private people. ... But you’ll have to see what happens. I think it’s a very sad thing for Mr. Bannon. I think it was surprising.”

The “We Build the Wall” website, prosecutors said, claimed that “100% of your donations” would be given to the government to construct the wall on the Mexican border. 

But the indictment alleges Kolfage used funds “to pay for his own personal expenses, including, among other purposes, home renovations, payments toward a boat, a luxury SUV, a golf cart, jewelry, cosmetic surgery, personal tax payments, and credit card debt.” 

Bannon, Badolato and Shea used money “to pay for a variety of personal expenses, including, among other things, travel, hotels, consumer goods, and personal credit card debts.”

The foursome, according to the indictment, “repeatedly and intentionally led the public to believe that none of their donations would be used for the personal benefit of the defendants.”

Back in June, Trump fired former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Geoffrey Berman after he refused to step aside. Attorney General William Barr issued a misleading public statement claiming that Berman was “stepping down” before Berman agreed to make any such move. Berman later testified that Barr “repeatedly urged” him to resign and that there were investigations that he “wanted to see through to completion.”

Read the indictment below.

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