The Full Belmonte, 6/30/2022
FILE - White House counsel Pat Cipollone departs the U.S. Capitol following defense arguments in the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, in Washington, Saturday, Jan. 25, 2020. The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection has issued a subpoena to Cipollone. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
“WASHINGTON (AP) — The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection issued a subpoena Wednesday to former White House counsel Pat Cipollone, whose reported resistance to Donald Trump’s schemes to overturn his 2020 election defeat has made him a long-sought and potentially revelatory witness.
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Cipollone is said to have stridently and repeatedly warned the former president and his allies against their efforts to challenge the election, at one point threatening to resign as Trump eyed a dramatic reshuffling atop the Justice Department. One witness said Cipollone referred to a proposed letter making false claims about voter fraud as a ‘murder-suicide pact.’ Another witness said Cipollone had warned her that Trump was at risk of committing ‘every crime imaginable.’
It’s the first action from the committee since Tuesday’s dramatic testimony from Cassidy Hutchinson, whose gripping account of what she saw and heard as an aide in the White House raised new questions about whether Trump or some of his allies could face criminal liability. As Trump’s top White House lawyer, Cipollone was present for key meetings in the turbulent weeks after the election when Trump and associates — including GOP lawmakers and lawyer Rudy Giuliani — debated and plotted ways to challenge the election.” Read more at AP News
“WASHINGTON – Two Secret Service employees are prepared to testify to a House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol after an explosive account Tuesday from a former White House aide that former President Donald Trump grabbed the steering wheel in a presidential vehicle and lunged at an agent inside the car, according to a Secret Service official.
The two employees, Bobby Engel, the former head of Trump's Secret Service security detail, and Anthony Ornato, who served as Trump's deputy chief of staff for operations, were named in Cassidy Hutchinson's testimony. Hutchinson is a former aide to Trump's chief of staff, Mark Meadows.
Anthony Guglielmi, the chief of communications for the Secret Service, said the agency has alerted all involved parties that it is willing to make any and all of its agents and officials available for further testimony before the committee.
A video of President Trump's motorcade leaving the January 6th rally on the Ellipse is displayed as Cassidy Hutchinson, former aide to Trump White House … Show more SEAN THEW, AP
Engel and Ornato are prepared in their testimony to challenge aspects of Hutchinson's account of what happened in the vehicle, according tothe Secret Service official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss internal Secret Service deliberations publicly. But the official gave no specifics on what they would say.” Read more at USA Today
R. Kelly was sentenced to 30 years in prison on June 29 for racketeering and sex trafficking. (Video: Reuters)
“Thirty-one years ago, R. Kelly, a budding R&B artist from Chicago in his mid-20s, was signed to his first major record label. Around the same time, he began having sex with a 15-year-old girl, according to her subsequent lawsuit.
The accusations mounted over the decades. They grew increasingly heinous. They spilled into public view. Still, the singer who became a superstar leaned on his fame to mask the predator under the persona — and to shield himself from consequences.
On Wednesday, Mr. Kelly, 55, could no longer escape the fallout: He was sentenced to 30 years in prison for racketeering and sex trafficking. As the judge read out his term, he did not react, and outside, his victims expressed deep relief at the decision.
The sentencing that followed a September conviction culminated Mr. Kelly’s staggering downfall, from a chart-topping hitmaker known as the king of R&B to a pariah whose musical legacy has become inextricable from his abuses. His trial exposed harrowing and systematic torment directed by the musician and enabled by those in his orbit.
U.S. District Judge Ann M. Donnelly, who presided over the federal trial in Brooklyn, said in court that ‘few crimes more serious’ than Mr. Kelly’s exist, and that he had manipulated girls and women. ‘You taught them that love is enslavement and violence,’ the judge said, recalling the scenarios he created to wreak primal humiliation on them.
‘This case is not about sex. It’s about violence and cruelty and control,’ Judge Donnelly said. ‘You had a system in place that lured young people into your orbit — and then you took over their lives.’
Mr. Kelly’s lawyer, Jennifer Bonjean, said outside the courthouse that she would appeal the sentence. She had sought 10 years. Mr. Kelly was prepared for prison, she said, but ‘has regrets and is sad.’
Mr. Kelly was among the most successful American musicians of the 1990s and 2000s, as chart-topping hits like ‘I Believe I Can Fly’ and ‘Ignition (Remix)’ catapulted him to some of the world’s largest stages.” Read more at New York Times
Lev Parnas, center, speaks to the media outside the federal courthouse in New York, Wednesday, June 29, 2022. Parnas, an associate of Rudy Giuliani who was a figure in President Donald Trump's first impeachment investigation, was sentenced Wednesday to a year and eight months in prison for fraud and campaign finance crimes. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura)
“NEW YORK (AP) — Lev Parnas, an associate of Rudy Giuliani who was a figure in former President Donald Trump’s first impeachment investigation, was sentenced Wednesday to a year and eight months in prison for fraud and campaign finance crimes by a judge who said fraud had become ‘a way of life’ for Parnas.
Parnas, 50, had sought leniency on grounds that he’d cooperated with the Congressional probe of Trump and his efforts to get Ukrainian leaders to investigate President Joe Biden’s son.
U.S. District Judge J. Paul Oetken didn’t give Parnas credit for that assistance, which came only after the Soviet-born businessman was facing criminal charges. But the judge still imposed a sentence lighter than the six years sought by prosecutors.
The judge also ordered Parnas to pay $2.3 million in restitution.
The various schemes Parnas deployed to get money that prosecutors claim say fueled a lavish lifestyle led Oetken to say that for Parnas, fraud ‘was essentially a way of life, a way of doing business.’” Read more at AP News
“WASHINGTON – Liz Cheney urged the Republican Party on Wednesday to rid itself of Donald Trump, calling the former president a clear and present threat to both the GOP and to American democracy at large.
‘We have to choose, because Republicans cannot both be loyal to Donald Trump and loyal to the Constitution,’ Cheney said during an address at the Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California.
While condemning Trump's seeming encouragement of rioters who attacked the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, Cheney also chided unnamed Republican leaders ‘who have made themselves willing hostages to this dangerous and irrational man.’
Speaking to a largely friendly crowd – organizers of the event expressed concern about hecklers – Cheney also told fellow Republicans that they stand at ‘the edge of an abyss’ and ‘we must pull back.’”
Cheney's attacks on Trump echoed those she has made before, including during her work on the special congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection.
The address on the future GOP came at a time that Cheney faces maximum political peril. The Wyoming congressman faces a Republican primary challenge in August from Harriet Hageman, a well-funded attorney who has Trump's backing.
Hageman called Cheney's speech ironic, saying she ‘is the last one who should be giving lectures about the future of the Republican Party when she is single-handedly trying to burn it to the ground.’
The incumbent ‘is using Wyoming’s only House seat to further her own personal war on President Trump, while helping Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats achieve their own political goals at the same time,’ Hageman said in a written statement she tweeted after the speech.” Read more at USA Today
Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., vice-chair of the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol insurrection, delivers her "Time for Choosing" speech at the …Show more MARK J. TERRILL, AP IMAGES
Protesters shout as they join thousands marching around the Arizona Capitol after the Supreme Court decision to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade abortion decision Friday, June 24, 2022, in Phoenix. The Supreme Court on Friday stripped away women’s constitutional protections for abortion, a fundamental and deeply personal change for Americans' lives after nearly a half-century under Roe v. Wade. The court’s overturning of the landmark court ruling is likely to lead to abortion bans in roughly half the states. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
“PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona’s Republican attorney general announced Wednesday that a pre-statehood law that bans all abortions is enforceable and that he will soon file for the removal of an injunction that has blocked it for nearly 50 years.
Attorney General Mark Brnovich’s office said after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned its 1973 decision that said abortion was a constitutional right that he was weighing whether the old law could be be enforced.
His decision puts him at odds with Republican Gov. Doug Ducey. The governor had said after he signed a new law banning abortions after 15 weeks in March that it took precedence over the law in place since at least 1901, 11 years before Arizona statehood.
But abortion opponents who wrote the new law and the Republican state senator who sponsored it, Nancy Barto, argued that the old law could be enforced. They pointed to a specific provision that said it did not override that law.” Read more at AP News
“Several national antiabortion groups and their allies in Republican-led state legislatures are advancing plans to stop people in states where abortion is banned from seeking the procedure elsewhere, according to people involved in the discussions.
The idea has gained momentum in some corners of the antiabortion movement in the days since the Supreme Court struck down its 49-year-old precedent protecting abortion rights nationwide, triggering abortion bans across much of the Southeast and Midwest.
The Thomas More Society, a conservative legal organization, is drafting model legislation for state lawmakers that would allow private citizens to sue anyone who helps a resident of a state that has banned abortion from terminating a pregnancy outside of that state. The draft language will borrow from the novel legal strategy behind a Texas abortion ban enacted last year in which private citizens were empowered to enforce the law through civil litigation.” Read more at Washington Post
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) speaks to antiabortion supporters outside the U.S. Supreme Court on Nov. 1, 2021. (Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters)
“Shortly after the Supreme Court struck down the fundamental right to an abortion, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) appeared to express support for Justice Clarence Thomas’s concurring opinion that the high court could review other precedents that may be deemed ‘demonstrably erroneous,’ including those affecting the LGBTQ community.
One of the cases mentioned by Thomas was Lawrence v. Texas, which prevents states from banning intimate same-sex relationships. The landmark 2003 ruling struck down a 1973 Texas law that criminalized the act of sodomy. But as Roe v. Wade was overturned, Paxton said he would defend the state’s defunct sodomy law if the Supreme Court were to follow Thomas’s remarks and eventually revisits Lawrence.
‘I mean, there’s all kinds of issues here, but certainly the Supreme Court has stepped into issues that I don’t think there’s any constitutional provision dealing with,’ Paxton said in a Friday interview with NewsNation anchor Leland Vittert. ‘They were legislative issues, and this is one of those issues, and there may be more. So it would depend on the issue and dependent on what state law had said at the time.’” Read more at Washington Post
“The U.S. population is continuing a two-decade trajectory during which it has grown older and less White, according to Census Bureau data released Thursday.
Since 2000, the national median age has increased by 3.4 years to 38.8, with the largest single-year gain of 0.3 years coming in 2021, the year after the coronavirus pandemic hit, according to the bureau’s new 2021 population estimates, an annual data set that is used to fine-tune and update existing statistics.
The birthrate nationwide has been declining, and decreased immigration levels have accelerated the decline.
Between 2020 and 2021, 47 states and the D.C. saw an increase in median age; only Montana, New Hampshire, and West Virginia had no change in median age.
The Northeast was the oldest region in 2021, with a median age of 40.4, followed by the Midwest (39.0), the South (38.6) and the West, which saw the largest increase, up 0.3 years to 37.7, the bureau said.” Read more at Washington Post
“US Senate Democrats are working on shrinking the tax increases in President Joe Biden’s huge economic plan as part of a bid to reanimate the package. To get it down from the shelf, they have to cut a deal with West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, who with the help of fellow Democrat Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and the Senate’s 50 Republicans has managed to block much of Biden’s domestic legislative agenda. The changes meant to mollify Manchin would apparently benefit corporations and the rich.” Read more at Bloomberg
US President Joe Biden, left, and Senator Joe Manchin Photographer: Brendan Smialowski/AFP
To counter Russia, the U.S. will ramp up its military presence in Europe, its biggest expansion there since the Cold War.
“The buildup includes the country’s first permanent troop presence in Poland, as NATO prepares for two more members to join the alliance in response to the Ukraine war. That conflict also is driving a modernization of NATO weaponry, as former East Bloc members get new, updated arsenals to replace former Soviet weapons they sent to Ukraine.” Read more at Wall Street Journal
The Supreme Court restored Oklahoma’s jurisdiction over non-tribal crimes in Indian country.
“The 5-4 decision partially reversed a 2020 ruling that recognized nearly half the state as a Native American reservation. Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s majority opinion took a limited view of the sovereignty the tribes retain in 21st-century America, while Justice Neil Gorsuch’s dissent recounted centuries of broken promises to Indians and asserted that the court should enforce long-ignored treaties.” Read more at Wall Street Journal
Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer in Washington in 2021.Erin Schaff / The New York Times via Redux file
“WASHINGTON – Associate Justice Stephen Breyer said his retirement from the Supreme Court will be effective Thursday, after the court issues its final set of rulings for this term, the court announced as it released a letter the senior-most liberal justice sent to President Joe Biden.
In January, Breyer informed Biden that he would step down at the end of the term in the summer if his replacement was confirmed by the Senate. D.C. Circuit Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson was confirmed in April, and she will now be sworn in as the first Black woman to serve on the nation's highest court.
Jackson, joined by a small gathering of her family, will be sworn in at the Supreme Court on Thursday after Breyer's retirement takes effect. She will take two oaths of office, one administered by Chief Justice John Roberts and the other by Breyer.
Breyer's retirement comes after nearly 28 years on the court and it follows a recent series of historic rulings.” Read more at USA Today
“In a speech to a Kentucky business lobby on Wednesday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell made no bones about embracing his unprecedented tactic in 2016 of blocking former President Barack Obama from filling a Supreme Court vacancy with a moderate judge. Then the Majority Leader, McConnell cited the election eight months away as justification, saying the will of the American people should be expressed first. Four years later, McConnell discarded his new rule in order to push through a far-right nominee just days before the 2020 election. McConnell’s turnabout made possible last week’s rulings by the court’s GOP-appointed supermajority ending federal abortion rights and slashing gun regulations.” Read more at Bloomberg
People gathered at a makeshift memorial in Paris in 2015 following a series of coordinated terrorist attacks.PHOTO: ALAIN JOCARD/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES
“PARIS—The highest-profile surviving participant of a 2015 terrorist attack that killed 130 people across Paris in a single night was sentenced Wednesday to life in prison after a monthslong trial that aimed to close one of the more painful chapters in France’s modern history.
Salah Abdeslam, 32 years old, was one of 10 Islamic State attackers who fanned out across the nation’s capital on Nov. 13, 2015, nine of whom died in shootouts with police or detonated suicide vests. The killing spree was the deadliest in a string of terrorist attacks targeting France at the time, leaving hundreds dead and reshaping everyday life in the country.
On Wednesday, a panel of judges in Paris convicted Mr. Abdeslam of participating in murder in a terrorist context, attempted murder in a terrorist context and participation in a terrorist group. They sentenced him to life in prison without the chance of parole, the heaviest penalty under French law that, in practice, means that Mr. Abdeslam will serve at least 30 years before a judge can determine whether he can be released under a strict set of circumstances.
In all, 19 of the 20 men who were on trial were found guilty of terrorism-related charges.
Defendants Salah Abdeslam, right, and Mohamed Abrini in a courtroom sketch last year in Paris. PHOTO: NOELLE HERRENSCHMIDT/ASSOCIATED PRESS
During the trial, which started last September, Mr. Abdeslam said he dropped off other attackers in and around the French capital but specified that he didn’t commit any of the killings personally. Mr. Abdeslam testified in April that he didn’t detonate his suicide vest because he changed his mind about carrying out the attack at the last moment, though judges sided with prosecutors who told the court the vest malfunctioned.” Read more at Wall Street Journal
President-elect Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr., right, is sworn in by Supreme Court Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo during the inauguration ceremony at National Museum on Thursday, June 30, 2022 in Manila, Philippines. Marcos was sworn in as the country's 17th president. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the namesake son of an ousted dictator, was sworn in as Philippine president Thursday in one of the greatest political comebacks in recent history that opponents say was pulled off by whitewashing his family’s image.
His rise to power, 36 years after an army-backed ‘People Power’ revolt booted his father from office and into global infamy, upends politics in the Asian democracy, where a public holiday, monuments and the Philippine Constitution stand as reminders of the end of Ferdinand Marcos Sr.’s tyrannical rule.
But in his inaugural speech, Marcos Jr. defended the legacy of his late father, who he said accomplished many things that were not done since the country’s independence, adding he would emulate him.” Read more at AP News
“WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — New Zealand’s government has declared that American far-right groups the Proud Boys and The Base are terrorist organizations.
The two groups join 18 others including Islamic State that have been given an official terrorist designation, making it illegal in New Zealand to fund, recruit or participate in the groups, and obligating authorities to take action against them.
The U.S. groups are not known to be active in New Zealand, although the South Pacific nation has become more attuned to threats from the far right after a white supremacist shot and killed 51 Muslim worshippers at two Christchurch mosques in 2019.
The New Zealand massacre inspired other white supremacists around the world, including a white gunman who killed 10 Black people at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York.
In the U.S., the State Department only lists foreign groups as terrorist entities. But the Proud Boys were last year named a terrorist group in Canada, while The Base has previously been declared a terrorist group in Britain, Canada and Australia.” Read more at AP News
“Serbians like Vladimir Putin. According to a new poll, a majority would reject membership in the European Union and expressed affinity for Russia and Putin, who is waging a war on Ukraine that’s potentially killed tens of thousands. NATO meanwhile formally invited Finland and Sweden to join the defense alliance and said it would significantly boost troop levels and fighter squadrons while establishing a US Army headquarters in Poland. In Ukraine, Kyiv’s forces are reportedly gaining ground in the south.” Read more at Bloomberg
A street mural depicting Vladimir Putin in Belgrade, Serbia, on March 24. It reads “brother.” Photographer: Oliver Bunic/Bloomberg
“Cryptocurrency losses deepened Wednesday with popular Defi tokens such as Solana and Avalanche falling more than sector bellwether Bitcoin. Contagion may be spreading in the wake of the collapse of hedge fund Three Arrows Capital.
The market for nonfungible tokens—you know, bored apes and pudgy penguins—has also been plummeting after sales sank sharply and the prices of popular NFTs crashed over the last few weeks.” Read more at Bloomberg
Artist Margaret Keane at her home in Napa, Calif., in 2014, the year director Tim Burton released ‘Big Eyes,’ a movie about her life. (Randi Lynn Beach for The Washington Post)
“For a few years in the 1960s, Margaret Keane’s paintings of mournful saucer-eyed figures — tearful waifs, haunted-looking adults, gloomy cats and dogs — seemed to be everywhere. Easily recognizable with their big expressive eyes, her pictures were adapted into posters, plates, figurines and postcards, sold on racks at Woolworth’s while the originals were exhibited at the United Nations and the New York World’s Fair.
Yet even as her work was acquired by stars like Kim Novak, Natalie Wood, Liberace and Jerry Lewis, Ms. Keane’s talent remained virtually unknown to everyone but her husband, Walter Keane. A former real estate agent with a genius for promotion, he was more con artist than real artist, a fraudster who falsely took credit for her work.
‘The whole thing just snowballed,’ Ms. Keane recalled in an interview with the New York Times, ‘and then it was too late to say it wasn’t him who painted them. I’ll always regret that I wasn’t strong enough to stand up for my rights.’
After years of silence, Ms. Keane did stand up, divorcing her husband and telling journalists in 1970 that she was the one who had made all those paintings and drawings signed ‘KEANE.’ She was later vindicated during a courtroom paint-off, when — after suing her ex-husband for libel — she made one of her signature sad-eyed waif pictures for a jury, executing the painting in under an hour. Her former husband, citing a shoulder injury, declined to put brush to canvas.
Ms. Keane was 94 when she died June 26 at her home in Napa, Calif., where she had continued to draw and paint until her death. The cause was a heart ailment, said her daughter, Jane Swigert.
Britain's Andy Murray waves after losing the singles tennis match against John Isner of the US on day three of the Wimbledon tennis championships in London, Wednesday, June 29, 2022. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
“WIMBLEDON, England (AP) — The recurring cries of ‘Come on, Andy!’ at Centre Court meandered somewhere along the continuum from pushing to pleading as two-time champion Andy Murray’s shortest stay at Wimbledon came to a close.
Unable to overcome big John Isner’s big serves, the way he always has in the past, the revered Murray lost in the second round to the 20th-seeded American 6-4, 7-6 (4), 6-7 (3), 6-4 on Wednesday night at the All England Club, capping a disappointing afternoon and evening in the grass-court Grand Slam tournament’s main stadium for the locals.
Prior to Murray vs. Isner, the host country’s other leading player, reigning U.S. Open champion Emma Raducanu, was eliminated by Caroline Garcia of France 6-3, 6-3.
Asked whether he plans to be back a year from now, the 35-year-old Murray replied: ‘It depends on how I am physically. If physically I feel good, we’ll try to keep playing. But it’s extremely difficult, with the problems I’ve had with my body the last few years, to make predictions.’” Read more at AP News
FILE - A bison lays down on the ground in front of the Old Faithful geyser in Yellowstone National Park, Wyo., on June 22, 2022. A 34-year-old man from Colorado Springs, Colo., was gored by a bull bison in Yellowstone National Park this week, suffering an arm injury, park officials said. The was walking with his family near Giant Geyser in the Old Faithful area on Monday, June 27, 2022, when a bull bison charged the group. (AP Photo/Matthew Brown, File)
“YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. (AP) — A Colorado man who Yellowstone National Park officials say got too close to a bison was thrown by the animal while trying to get himself and a child away from danger.
The 34-year-old man from Colorado Springs was walking with his family near Giant Geyser in the Old Faithful area on Monday when a bull bison charged the group, park officials said.
A video of the encounter posted on social media appeared to show the man was behind the bison when it charged other members of his party. The man ran up and appeared to be trying to keep himself between the bison and his family when the bison pursued a child who was running away.
The man grabbed the child and was thrown by the bison while still holding the child. They both got up and ran away.
The man was taken to Eastern Idaho Medical Center for treatment of injuries to his arm, park officials said. His name was not released.” Read more at AP News
FILE - Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams, center, the sole surviving U.S. Marine to be awarded the Medal of Honor during World War II, poses with fellow Marines at the Charles E. Shelton Freedom Memorial at Smothers Park, Saturday, April 6, 2019, in Owensboro, Ky. Williams, the last remaining Medal of Honor recipient from World War II, died Wednesday, June 29, 2022 He was 98. Williams' foundation announced on Twitter and Facebook that he died at the Veterans Affairs medical center bearing his name in Huntington. (Greg Eans/The Messenger-Inquirer via AP, File )
“CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Hershel W. ‘Woody’ Williams, the last remaining Medal of Honor recipient from World War II, died Wednesday. He was 98.
Williams’ foundation announced on Twitter and Facebook that he died at the Veterans Affairs medical center bearing his name in Huntington.
As a young Marine corporal, Williams went ahead of his unit during the Battle of Iwo Jima in the Pacific Ocean in February 1945 and eliminated a series of Japanese machine gun positions.
Later that year, at age 22, Williams received the Congressional Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest award for military valor, from President Harry Truman at the White House.
‘For me, receiving the Medal of Honor was actually the lifesaver because it forced me to talk about the experiences that I had, which was a therapy that I didn’t even know I was doing,’ Williams said during a 2018 Boy Scouts recognition ceremony in Fairmont, according to the Times West Virginian.” Read more at AP News
“Noma, the Copenhagen restaurant which has repeatedly been voted the world’s best, lost money for the first time in four years in 2021 even after receiving Covid-19 support from the Danish government. Apparently it can’t turn a profit on a $700 lunch menu.” Read more at Bloomberg
The dining area at Noma in Copenhagen. Photographer: Thibault Savary/AFP/Getty Images
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