After the verdict, the scene outside the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis. Photo: Adam Bettcher/Reuters
“Former suburban Minneapolis police officer Kim Potter was found guilty of first- and second-degree manslaughter in the fatal shooting of 20-year-old Daunte Wright during a traffic stop last April.
Afterward, city leaders pledged significant police reforms.
Backstory: Potter and another officer pulled over Wright, who was Black, in Brooklyn Center on April 11 for a hanging air freshener and expired vehicle registration, according to a court filing.
Potter, who is white, shot and killed Wright while attempting to take him into custody over a separate, active arrest warrant.
Police and Potter's attorney have said the 26-year veteran inadvertently pulled out her gun instead of a Taser after Wright tried to flee.
Body camera footage shows Potter yell ‘Taser’ just before the shooting and tell officers right after: ‘S--t! I just shot him. ... I grabbed the wrong f-----g gun.’”
“Now there are two: The FDA authorized an antiviral pill from Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics to treat people at high risk of COVID complications. The agency approved Pfizer's pill yesterday.” Read more at Axios
“WASHINGTON — Lawyers for former president Donald Trump on Thursday asked the Supreme Court to block the release of White House records concerning the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, arguing that he had a constitutional right to shield the materials from Congress even though President Biden declined to invoke executive privilege over them.
‘The disagreement between an incumbent president and his predecessor from a rival political party is both novel and highlights the importance of executive privilege and the ability of presidents and their advisers to reliably make and receive full and frank advice, without concern that communications will be publicly released to meet a political objective,’ Trump’s lawyers told the court.
The case raises novel constitutional questions about the separation of powers and the power of a president no longer in office. Trump’s lawyers asked the justices to block the release of the records while they decide whether to hear his appeal.” Read more at Boston Globe
“The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol is focusing intently on Donald Trump’s actions that day as it begins to discuss whether to recommend that the Justice Department open a criminal investigation into the former president.
Committee Chairman Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.) said in an interview that of particular interest is why it took so long for him to call on his supporters to stand down, an area of inquiry that includes obtaining several versions of a video Trump reportedly recorded before finally releasing a message 187 minutes after he told his supporters to march on the Capitol during the rally that preceded the attack.
‘It appears that he tried to do a taping several times, but he wouldn’t say the right thing,’ Thompson said, basing his statement on information the panel has gleaned from interviews with witnesses as well as media reports about that day.
He said the president’s delayed response to the Capitol attack could be a factor in deciding whether to make a criminal referral, which is when Congress informs the Justice Department it believes a crime has been committed. It would be up to federal prosecutors to decide whether to pursue a charge.
‘That dereliction of duty causes us real concern,’ Thompson said. ‘And one of those concerns is that whether or not it was intentional, and whether or not that lack of attention for that longer period of time, would warrant a referral.’
A criminal referral against a former president would be historic and would ratchet up the political tensions that continue to swirl over the congressional inquiry into the worst attack on the Capitol since the War of 1812 as Trump considers running again for president.” Read more at Washington Post
“NEW YORK — Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. has run out of time.
Even as prosecutors in his office have ramped up their long-running investigation into Donald Trump in recent weeks, Vance is set to leave office soon without seeking criminal charges against Trump.
Vance, a three-term Democrat who declined to seek reelection this year, will hand the inquiry over to his successor, Alvin Bragg, on Jan 1. And Bragg, a former federal prosecutor who was elected in November, will inherit what is likely to be a defining investigation of his tenure.
At the heart of the investigation is whether Trump and his family business inflated the value of some of his hotels, golf clubs and office buildings to secure financing from potential lenders, people with knowledge of the matter have said. If Trump intentionally misled lenders about the value of his assets, he could face charges for scheming to defraud them.
This month, Vance’s office issued a new subpoena to Trump’s company, seeking information about the valuations, the people with knowledge of the matter said, a move that came after prosecutors questioned Trump’s accountant under oath.” Read more at Boston Globe
“Two election workers who counted votes for the 2020 presidential election filed a defamation lawsuit Thursday against the parent company of One America News, senior staff at the far-right TV network and Rudolph W. Giuliani, who served as a personal lawyer to former president Donald Trump.
Ruby Freeman and her daughter Wandrea ‘Shaye’ Moss, who worked in Fulton County, Ga., allege that One America News and Giuliani, who frequently appears on the network, knowingly spread misinformation about them, including falsehoods that they logged illegal ballots for Joe Biden in the election.
The two women ‘have become objects of vitriol, threats, and harassment … because of a campaign of malicious lies,’ their attorneys wrote in the suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. ‘Deliberate efforts to spread disinformation about America’s election workers undermine the integrity of American elections … and accordingly, threaten democracy.’” Read more at Washington Post
Shoppers visiting Macy’s flagship store in New York City in November.
PHOTO: RICHARD B. LEVINE/ZUMA PRESS
“Omicron is starting to slow some U.S. economic activity. Consumer spending is particularly affected, with fewer people dining out, hotel occupancy falling, and entertainment venues canceling shows. ‘We are still on track for very strong fourth-quarter consumption, but I am now seeing that that momentum continues to fade,’ said Aneta Markowska, chief economist at Jefferies LLC.” Read more at Wall Street Journal
“Bills to make it easier for the public to learn about court actions and conflicts of interest are on the move again. Federal judges had for years rebuffed efforts by Congress to impose ethics and transparency measures, seeing it as an attack on judicial independence. But legislators from both parties are now reviving these proposals following WSJ reporting that showed more than 130 federal judges have violated U.S. law and judicial ethics by overseeing court cases involving companies in which they or their family owned stock.” Read more at Wall Street Journal
“Schools across the U.S. are facing food shortages amid supply-chain disruptions. Soup, bacon, pizza and other staples for breakfast and lunch are in short supply as food manufacturers grapple with supply disruption and labor shortages. The U.S. Agriculture Department pledged last week to send up to $1.5 billion to states and school districts to help.” Read more at Wall Street Journal
Graphic: The Daily Wire
“After allowing vaccine opposition to soar among his supporters, former President Trump defended COVID shots twice this week.
Between the lines: Trump is realizing belatedly that he could have taken more credit for the miracle of swift, effective COVID vaccines, which ramped up under his Operation Warp Speed.
Trump revealed Sunday, while appearing with Bill O'Reilly, that he'd been boosted. The crowd of Trump supporters booed.
Then yesterday, Trump promoted the vaccine during an interview with conservative star Candace Owens for The Daily Wire:
I came up with three vaccines — all are very, very good. I came up with three of them in less than nine months.
Owens replied: ‘And yet more people have died under COVID this year, by the way, under Joe Biden than under you.’
Trump pushed back: ‘Oh, no. The vaccine worked. But some people aren't taking it. The ones that get very sick and go to the hospital are the ones that don't take the vaccine. But it's still their choice.’” Read more at Axios
“WASHINGTON — The president needed the senator from West Virginia on his side, but he wasn’t sure he needed his vice president to get him there.
It was summertime, and President Biden was under immense pressure to win the support of Senator Joe Manchin, whose decisive vote in a 50-50 chamber made him the president’s most delicate negotiating partner. Biden had invited Manchin to the Oval Office to privately make the case for his marquee domestic policy legislation. Just before Manchin arrived, he turned to Vice President Kamala Harris.
What he needed from her was not strategy or advice. He needed her to only say a quick hello, which she did before turning on her heel and leaving the room for another meeting.
The moment, described as an exchange of ‘brief pleasantries’ by a senior White House official and confirmed by two other people who were briefed on it, was a vivid reminder of the complexity of the job held by Harris: While most presidents promise their vice presidents access and influence, at the end of the day, power and responsibility are not shared equally, and Biden does not always feel a need for input from Harris as he navigates some of his most important relationships.
In Harris’s case, she came to the job without strong ties to key senators; one person briefed on the Oval Office meeting said it would be more productive if the discussion between Biden and Manchin remained private. It is unclear that the president had much sway on his own, either, given the senator’s decision this week to break with the White House over the domestic policy bill.
But without a headlining role in some of the most critical decisions facing the White House, the vice president is caught between criticism that she is falling short and resentment among supporters who feel she is being undercut by the administration she serves. And her allies increasingly are concerned that while Biden relied on her to help him win the White House, he does not need her to govern.” Read more at Boston Globe
“South Africa will stop contract tracing and won’t quarantine people as it shifts focus on Covid-19 mitigation strategies.
Authorities in Africa’s most-industrialized nation will conduct contract tracing only in case of a cluster outbreak, the nation’s Director General of Health said in a circular dated Thursday, which was confirmed by department spokesman, Foster Mohale. As many as 80% of the nation’s population as past infections providing some immunity, the department said.” Read more at Boston Globe
“A far-reaching bill aimed at barring products made with forced labor in China became law after President Biden signed the bill Thursday.
But the next four months — during which the Biden administration will convene hearings to investigate how pervasive forced labor is and what to do about it — will be crucial in determining how far the legislation goes in altering the behavior of companies that source products from China.
While it is against US law to knowingly import goods made with slave labor, the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act shifts the burden of proof to companies from customs officials. Firms will have to proactively prove that their factories, and those of all their suppliers, do not use slavery or coercion.” Read more at Boston Globe
“MOSCOW — A Russian court fined Google nearly $100 million Friday for ‘systematic failure to remove banned content’ — the largest such penalty yet in the country as Moscow attempts to rein in Western tech giants.
The fine was calculated based on Google’s annual revenue, the court said. Roskomnadzor, Russia’s Internet regulator, told the court that Google’s 2020 turnover in the country exceeded 85 billion rubles, or about $1.15 billion.
The fine represents an escalation in Russia’s push to pressure foreign tech firms to comply with its increasingly strict rules on what it deems illegal content — particularly apps, websites, posts and videos related to jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s network, which has been labeled as extremist in the country.
Google’s press service said it would study the court documents then decide on next steps, such as if it will appeal the decision.” Read more at Washington Post
A burnt passenger ferry is seen anchored off the coast of Jhalokati district on the Sugandha River in Bangladesh, Friday, Dec. 24, 2021. Bangladesh fire services say at least 37 passengers have been killed and many others injured in a massive fire that swept through a ferry on the southern Sugandha River. The blaze broke out around 3 a.m. Friday on the ferry packed with 800 passengers. (AP Photo)
“DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) — A massive fire swept through a crowded river ferry in Bangladesh early Friday, leaving at least 39 people dead and 70 injured, officials said. Many passengers leapt from the vessel into cold waters to escape the blaze.
It took 15 fire engines two hours to control the fire and another eight to cool down the vessel, according to fire officer Kamal Uddin Bhuiyan, who led the rescue operation. Afterward, the blackened hull of the ferry sat anchored at the river’s edge. Many anxious relatives gathered on the banks, while divers continued to search the waters.
The blaze broke out around 3 a.m. on the MV Avijan-10, which was carrying 800 passengers, many of whom were traveling to visit family and friends for the weekend, officials said.” Read more at AP News
“RIP Joan Didion: The acclaimed memoirist and novelist, who wrote essays such as ‘Slouching Towards Bethlehem’ and ‘The White Album,’ and the memoir ‘The Year of Magical Thinking,’ died Thursday due to complications from Parkinson's disease. She was 87.” Read more at USA Today
Acclaimed memoirist and novelist Joan Didion has died at age 87 of Parkinson's disease.USA TODAY
From left, Michael K. Williams, Cloris Leachman and Larry King.From left: Shayan Asgharnia/AUGUST, John Springer Collection/Getty Images, Tierney & Killingsworth/Photofest
Portraits of our times
“Beverly Cleary was put on academic probation after first grade, having fallen behind in reading. She found the assigned stories to be boring and unrealistic and wished somebody would write books about real kids.
Michael K. Williams had his face sliced open inside a Queens bar on his 25th birthday. Years later, Tupac Shakur saw a photo of the dramatic scar, and it changed Williams’s life.
Rosalind Cartwright was a pioneering sleep researcher with a focus on the dreams of divorced women. Dreams, she believed, were ‘designed not to erase experience but to highlight it, to help us monitor and update our internal picture of ourselves.’
Larry King had eight marriages, seven wives, six kids, two bankruptcies, a larceny arrest, a quintuple bypass surgery, a case of lung cancer — and one of the most successful talk shows of the past 40 years.
Brigitte Gerney, known as the Crane Lady because of a horrific accident in Manhattan that transfixed the country in 1985, responded to a life full of misfortune with resilient optimism. She helped the crane operator stay out of jail by asking a judge to show compassion.
Cloris Leachman, in two defining acting roles, proved that middle-aged characters could be complex and draw huge audiences.
Jim (Mudcat) Grant improvised his own ending to the national anthem at a Major League Baseball game in 1960 — ‘This land is not so free, I can’t even go to Mississippi’ — and later became both a star pitcher and a star R & B artist.
Yasuhiro Wakabayashi, the photographer known as Hiro, epitomized a mentor’s mantra: ‘If you look into the camera and you see something you recognize, don’t click the shutter.’
One of my favorite annual Times features is the Lives They Lived issue of The Magazine that runs every December. (Close newsletter readers will recognize that we pay homage to it with our daily obituary, called Lives Lived.) The Magazine issue includes both the famous and the less famous, with a focus on lesser-known or forgotten stories. Together, the reflections offer a portrait of the recent past.
In addition to the people mentioned above, this year’s issue includes Colin Powell, DMX, Janet Malcolm, Mary Wilson, Norm Macdonald, Christopher Plummer, James Hormel, Rennie Davis and more. You can find it here.” Read more at New York Times
“Lives Lived: As women began entering the work force in greater numbers in the 1970s, Vogue magazine seemed stuck in the past. Grace Mirabella, who became editor in chief in 1971, changed that. She died at 92.” Read more at New York Times