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You turn to Democracy Now! for ad-free news you can trust. Maybe you come for our daily headlines, or for in-depth stories that expose government and corporate abuses of power. We produce our daily news hour at a fraction of the budget of a commercial news operation, all without ads, government funding or corporate underwriting? This is only possible with your support. Right now every donation to Democracy Now! will be doubled by a generous supporter. This means if you give $25 today, Democracy Now! will get $50 to support our daily news hour. Please do your part. It takes just a couple of minutes to make sure that Democracy Now! is there for you and everybody else in the coming year. Thanks so much. -Amy Goodman
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Thousands are expected to gather in Louisville Friday for the funeral of Muhammad Ali, one of the world’s most iconic figures of the 20th century. Ali was considered the greatest boxer of all time, but he will also be remembered for his activism, including his role in the Black Power movement and his opposition to the Vietnam War. After he refused military induction in 1967, his title was taken away from him, and he was sentenced to a five-year prison term. He appealed all the way to the Supreme Court, and in 1971 his conviction was finally reversed. He did not go to prison but was forced to wait four years before regaining his boxing license. Muhammad Ali died Friday in Arizona after suffering for decades from Parkinson’s syndrome. We’ll spend the rest of the hour remembering him after headlines.
Hillary Clinton has won the Democratic primary in Puerto Rico, as California and five other states prepare to vote in key primaries on Tuesday. As Puerto Rican residents voted Sunday, here in New York protesters rallied outside Clinton’s Brooklyn headquarters to protest her support for a bill to address Puerto Rico’s economic crisis. The bill establishes an oversight board critics say will have near-total control over Puerto Rico’s finances. Clinton’s rival, Bernie Sanders, has opposed the measure known as PROMESA, or Puerto Rico Oversight Management and Economic Stability Act. David Galarza of United Against PROMESA denounced Clinton’s support of the legislation.
David Galarza: “We’re here specifically in front of 1 Pierrepont Plaza, which is the national headquarters for Hillary Clinton, who is a presidential candidate, who’s running today in the primary in Puerto Rico, where the people do have a primary vote but cannot vote in general elections, to tell her loud and clear that the diaspora, boricuas living here, and our allies that believe in freedom and justice and truth are opposed to PROMESA for all it represents. Bernie Sanders has been very clear in his opposition on PROMESA, and we applaud him for that. But Hillary is not—is not that clear, or she’s saying that she supports this PROMESA bill with all its warts and with all its problems.”
Six states hold Democratic presidential contests on Tuesday: California, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota and South Dakota. Ahead of the key primary in California, the number of registered voters has surged to a record high. Of the nearly 650,000 people who registered in the final six weeks, more than three-quarters were registered Democrats. Campaigning in Fairfield, California, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders said he will win the state if voter turnout is high.
Sen. Bernie Sanders: “And I will tell you—you don’t have to turn on the TV on election night, because I will tell you exactly what will happen—what will happen is, if you hear that there is a large voter turnout, we will win. If you hear that there is a very large voter turnout, we’ll win by a lot. If you hear that there is a low voter turnout, we’ll lose. Just the facts.”
Hillary Clinton touted her ties to California during a campaign stop in Oakland.
Hillary Clinton: “My first legal job was the Children’s Defense Fund, but I also worked for a law firm right here in Oakland. I worked here in Oakland in the summer of 1971. And I had just started dating my husband. This may be too much information. It was the spring of 1971.”
Hillary Clinton is close to the threshold of 2,383 delegates needed to win the nomination, and could declare victory on Tuesday. But a large portion of her lead comes from unpledged superdelegates who could change their vote at any time. Heading into Tuesday’s primaries, Clinton has 290 more pledged delegates than Sanders, but leads him 548 to 46 among unpledged superdelegates. Sanders has vowed to remain in the race, saying the Democratic convention in July will be a contested convention.
Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has doubled down on his claim a federal judge should recuse himself from a lawsuit over the defunct for-profit Trump University, because he is of Mexican heritage. Trump defended his remarks to CNN’s Jake Tapper.
Donald Trump: “This judge is of Mexican heritage. I’m building a wall, OK? I’m building a wall. I am going to do very well with the Hispanics, the Mexicans that are voting.”
Jake Tapper: “So no Mexican judge could ever be involved in a case that involves you?”
Donald Trump: “Well, he’s a member of a society where—you know, very pro-Mexico. And that’s fine. It’s all fine. But I think”—
Jake Tapper: “Except that you’re calling into question his heritage.”
Donald Trump: “I think he should recuse himself.”
Jake Tapper: “Because he’s Latino.”
Donald Trump: “And then you also say, 'Does he know the lawyer on the other side?' I mean, does he know the lawyer? And, you know, a lot of people say yes. I don’t know.”
Jake Tapper: “But I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about”—
Donald Trump: “No, that’s another—that’s another problem.”
Jake Tapper: “But you’re invoking his race when talking about whether or not he can do his job.”
Donald Trump: “Jake, I’m building a wall. OK?”
Tapper asked Trump 23 times whether his comments were racist. Ultimately Trump said he believed they were not.
In an interview on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” host John Dickerson asked Trump if his call to ban all Muslims from entering the United States might disqualify Muslim judges from presiding over cases involving Trump, too.
John Dickerson: “My question is: If it were a Muslim judge, would you also feel like they wouldn’t be able to treat you fairly, because of that policy of yours?”
Donald Trump: “It’s possible, yes. Yeah, that would be possible, absolutely.”
Republican leaders have moved to distance themselves from Trump’s comments. Just one day after endorsing Trump, House Speaker Paul Ryan said he disagreed with Trump’s comments about Judge Gonzalo Curiel, calling them “out of left field.” Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich called Trump’s comments “inexcusable.” And in an interview with Chuck Todd on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell opposed Trump’s remarks but repeatedly refused to say if they were racist.
Chuck Todd: “He has called—he has essentially said he cannot be impartial because he’s Hispanic. That’s a—is that not a racist statement?”
Sen. Mitch McConnell: “I couldn’t disagree more with a statement like that.”
Chuck Todd: “Is it a racist statement?”
Sen. Mitch McConnell: “I couldn’t disagree more with what he had to say.”
Chuck Todd: “OK, but do you think it’s a racist statement to say?”
Sen. Mitch McConnell: “I don’t agree with what he had to say. This is a man who was born in Indiana. All of us came here from somewhere else.”
Meanwhile in Texas, Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton has moved to silence a former official who said he was ordered to drop a fraud investigation into Trump University for political reasons. Former Deputy Chief of Consumer Protection John Owens told the Associated Press he had built a solid case against Trump for scamming millions from students, but was told to drop the probe in a highly unusual move. The Texas Attorney General’s Office issued a cease-and-desist letter to Owens after he released a 14-page summary of the case against Trump.
An NPR photographer and Afghan interpreter have been killed in Afghanistan while traveling with an Afghan army unit. Award-winning photojournalist David Gilkey died along with interpreter Zabihullah Tamanna and an Afghan soldier after their Humvee was hit by rocket-propelled grenades. Elsewhere in Afghanistan, an Afghan Parliament member was killed by a bomb near his home in the capital Kabul, while gunmen stormed a court building in the eastern province of Logar, killing seven.
In Somalia, a woman journalist was shot dead in the capital Mogadishu. Sagal Salad Osman, a producer for the state-run Radio Mogadishu, was killed by unidentified gunmen. Somalia is one of the most dangerous countries for journalists.
In Oregon, a so-called “bomb train” carrying volatile crude oil from North Dakota derailed Friday in the city of Mosier, causing a massive fire and forcing about 100 residents to evacuate. The crash damaged the wastewater treatment plant and sewer lines. Local fire chief Jim Appleton told Oregon Public Broadcasting that while he previously defended the safety of shipping oil by rail, he now thinks the shipments are “insane.” “I hope this becomes [the] death knell for this mode of shipping this cargo.”
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has issued the first-ever executive order forcing state agencies to divest from any organizations aligned with the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. BDS is an international campaign to pressure Israel to comply with international law and respect Palestinian rights. The order forces state officials to make a list of businesses and groups who are engaged in activities targeting Israel. Legal groups have declared the order unconstitutional and a form of “21st century McCarthyism.”
In Switzerland, voters have rejected a proposal to give everyone a guaranteed basic income of $2,500 per month. But Che Wagner of Basic Income Switzerland celebrated the historic vote, which marked the first time any country has voted on basic income.
Che Wagner: “Today, for us, is a very successful day. We expected 15 percent approval, and yet it’s over 20 percent, which means the Swiss want the debate to continue, but they not yet want it introduced right away. I think it’s also a statement that the Swiss want experiments on a local scale, so to better find out and know more about the effects of basic income, to then have another step maybe seven or 10 years from now.”
In Peru, former Wall Street investor and World Bank economist Pedro Pablo Kuczynski appears poised to win the presidential race, defeating Keiko Fujimori, the daughter of imprisoned former President Alberto Fujimori. Keiko Fujimori, who was expected to win, is trailing in a tight race amid corruption scandals and protests over the legacy of her father, who was imprisoned for crimes including ordering massacres by death squads.
A new report accuses Mexico of committing crimes against humanity as part of the U.S.-backed drug war. The report, due out Tuesday from the New York-based Justice Initiative, marks the first time an international organization has publicly argued Mexico’s pattern of killings, torture and forced disappearances constitutes crimes against humanity. The news comes as violence has marred gubernatorial elections held in 12 Mexican states. Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto’s ruling PRI party appears to have lost power in Veracruz and a number of other states where it has ruled uninterrupted for nearly 90 years.
And a former Stanford University swimmer convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman has been sentenced to six months in jail after the judge expressed concern a longer sentence would have “a severe impact on him.” Brock Allen Turner was caught by two witnesses thrusting on top of the victim as she lay unconscious behind a dumpster. In a packed California court, the victim read aloud what the local prosecutor called ”the most eloquent, powerful and compelling piece of victim advocacy that I’ve seen in my 20 years as a prosecutor.” She began by recounting how she woke up in a hospital with pine needles in her hair, her underwear missing and no idea what had happened to her. “You took away my worth, my privacy, my energy, my time, my intimacy, my confidence, my own voice, until today,” she read, addressing her rapist directly. “You bought me a ticket to a planet where I lived by myself.” She concluded her statement with a message to survivors everywhere: “On nights when you feel alone, I am with you. When people doubt you or dismiss you, I am with you. I fought everyday for you. So never stop fighting, I believe you.”