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HeadlinesFebruary 07, 2024

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Appeals Court Rejects Trump’s Claim to Immunity from Prosecution

Feb 07, 2024

A federal appeals court has unanimously rejected Donald Trump’s claim that he’s immune from federal prosecution for his efforts to overturn the 2020 election. In its ruling, the three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit wrote, “We cannot accept former President Trump’s claim that a President has unbounded authority to commit crimes that would neutralize the most fundamental check on executive power — the recognition and implementation of election results.” The judges went on to write, “Nor can we sanction his apparent contention that the Executive has carte blanche to violate the rights of individual citizens to vote and to have their votes count.” Trump has vowed to appeal the ruling, possibly to the Supreme Court. During oral arguments last month, Trump’s legal team claimed the former president should have full immunity to do anything — even assassinate political opponents.

Republican Effort to Impeach Alejandro Mayorkas Falls Short; Israel Funding Bill Also Fails

Feb 07, 2024

In a chaotic day on Capitol Hill, the Republican effort to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas failed after Republicans fell one vote short. Democratic Congressmember Al Green cast the deciding vote while wearing a hospital gown. Green came to the Capitol directly from a hospital where he was recovering from a recent surgery. Republicans are vowing to hold another impeachment vote on Mayorkas, who they accuse of failing to uphold immigration laws at the U.S.-Mexico border. In a second setback for House Speaker Mike Johnson, Republicans also failed to pass a standalone bill to send $17.6 billion in military assistance to Israel.

Republicans Turn Against $118 Billion Border & Foreign Aid Bill

Feb 07, 2024

In the Senate, a bipartisan $118 billion immigration and foreign aid bill appears to be dead after Republican lawmakers revolted against the very bill they had been pushing for. On Tuesday, President Biden accused Donald Trump of blowing up the plan, which included harsh new border measures, as well as new military aid for Ukraine, Israel and allies in the Pacific.

President Joe Biden: “Now all indications are this bill won’t even move forward to the Senate floor. Why? A simple reason: Donald Trump. Because Donald Trump thinks it’s bad for him politically, therefore, he doesn’t — even though it would help the country, he’s not for it. He’d rather weaponize this issue than actually solve it.”

The ACLU has warned the bipartisan deal would have eviscerated long-standing asylum protections and forced the government to summarily expel people from the southern border without due process.

Hamas Proposes Three-Phase 135-Day Ceasefire & Hostage Exchange

Feb 07, 2024

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has arrived in Israel as negotiations continue over a possible truce and hostage deal that could end Israel’s assault on Gaza — at least temporarily. On Tuesday, Qatar said Hamas had given a “positive” response to a proposed deal, but President Biden described Hamas’s response as “over the top.” In its counteroffer, Hamas proposed a three-phase ceasefire over 135 days where Hamas would release all hostages in exchange for Palestinian prisoners. Hamas is also calling for a permanent ceasefire and the withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza — demands Israel has so far opposed.

As the negotiations continue, The New York Times is reporting Israel now believes a fifth of the hostages held in Gaza may already be dead. The paper cited a confidential Israeli assessment that estimated at least 30 of the remaining 136 hostages captured on October 7 have died.

Palestinians Seek Refuge in Cemeteries as Israel Threatens to Attack Rafah

Feb 07, 2024

The United Nations is urging Israel to halt plans for a ground invasion of the southern Gaza city of Rafah, warning it will lead to a “large scale” loss of life. Some displaced Palestinians are living in cemeteries in Rafah.

Mahmoud Amer: “People were forced to come here to this safe place, which is the cemetery among the dead, which is better than living in residential areas where the houses could collapse over our heads. We come here to live among the dead because of fear and horror. … I envy the dead people for their current situation. They are dead, but in fact they are alive with God, well provided for. I envy them because they are better than us now. We live every second in horror. Every minute passing, we are in horror, pain, torture, suffering and confusion, because we don’t know when the war will end. It’s a very painful situation.”

Israel to Probe Israeli Tank Shelling of Hostages on Oct. 7

Feb 07, 2024

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz has revealed the Israeli military has begun investigating the actions of its own forces during the October 7 Hamas attack. Part of the probe is focused on Kibbutz Be’eri, where an Israeli brigadier general has admitted that he ordered an Israeli tank commander to fire on a home where Hamas fighters were holding Israeli hostages. Brigadier General Barak Hiram told The New York Times that he had ordered the tank commander to “break in, even at the cost of civilian casualties.” Only two of the 15 Israeli hostages survived. We’ll have more on this story later in the show.

Harvard Faces Federal Probe over Treatment of Muslim and Palestinian Students

Feb 07, 2024

The U.S. Department of Education has opened an investigation into Harvard University after a group of Muslim and Palestinian students filed a federal civil rights complaint alleging the school had failed to protect them from harassment and intimidation.

Two Pro-Palestinian Students at Northwestern Charged for Publishing Mock Newspaper

Feb 07, 2024

Two students at Northwestern University in Illinois have been criminally charged after they published a mock version of the school’s newspaper. The mock paper included a front-page article accusing Northwestern’s administration of being complicit in the genocide of Palestinians. The Intercept reports that the students, who are both Black, are being charged under a little-known statute written to prevent the Ku Klux Klan from distributing recruitment materials in newspapers. The students face up to a year in prison and a $2,500 fine.

“None of These Candidates” Wins Nevada Primary, Beating Nikki Haley

Feb 07, 2024

In election news, Nikki Haley lost the nonbinding Republican presidential primary in Nevada Tuesday even though Donald Trump was not even on the ballot. Over 60% of Republican primary voters in Nevada selected a box that said “none of these candidates.” About 30% of voters picked Haley, the former South Carolina governor who served as Trump’s U.N. ambassador. On Thursday, Republicans in Nevada will also hold a caucus. Trump is competing in the caucus, but Haley is not. Meanwhile, Joe Biden easily won Nevada’s Democratic primary with about 89% of the vote.

RNC Chair to Resign After Facing Pressure from Trump

Feb 07, 2024

In other political news, the chair of the Republican National Committee, Ronna McDaniel, has reportedly agreed to resign after coming under intense pressure from Donald Trump. McDaniel plans to step down after the South Carolina primary. Trump is reportedly pushing for Michael Whatley, the chair of the North Carolina Republican Party, to become the new head of the RNC. Whatley is a prominent election denier who endorsed Trump’s false claims about the 2020 election being stolen.

Record-Breaking Storm Kills at Least Nine in California

Feb 07, 2024

In California, at least nine people have died as the state continues to be pummeled with record-breaking rainfall from a deadly atmospheric river storm. Some areas of Southern California recorded over 13 inches of rain in recent days, triggering mass flooding and hundreds of mudslides. This is the actor and filmmaker Deborah Puette speaking in Studio City as a river of water flowed down the street.

Deborah Puette: “We are having these — you know, these record highs in summertime and then these incredible storms that we’ve never had before, that they’re calling, you know, once-every-hundred-year storms, and we’ve had two of them since August. So, that’s my belief, is of course it’s climate change.”

Mother of Michigan School Shooter Convicted of Four Counts of Involuntary Manslaughter

Feb 07, 2024

In Michigan, a jury has convicted Jennifer Crumbley of four counts of involuntary manslaughter for a deadly school shooting carried out by her 15-year-old son at Oxford High School in 2021. Prosecutors argued Crumbley had a duty to prevent her son from going on the rampage, which killed four students in what was Michigan’s deadliest school shooting. This is Marc Keast, assistant prosecuting attorney in Oakland County, speaking during the trial.

Marc Keast: “Jennifer Crumbley didn’t pull the trigger that day, but she is responsible for those deaths. These kids were gunned down inside Oxford High School with this gun. It’s a Sig Sauer, nine millimeter handgun purchased four days before the shooting by James Crumbley, Jennifer’s husband and father to the school shooter. This was a purchase celebrated by Jennifer on Instagram. These are her words. This is her post: 'Mom & son day testing out his new Xmas present. My first time shooting a 9mm I hit the bullseye.'”

26 Die in Pakistani Blasts Ahead of Thursday’s Election

Feb 07, 2024

In Pakistan, at least 26 people have died after a pair of bombings in the province of Balochistan ahead of Thursday’s general election. Both blasts targeted the electoral offices of candidates.

Over 200 Arrested in Senegal After President Postponed Election

Feb 07, 2024

In Senegal, more than 200 opposition politicians and protesters have been arrested in recent days after Senegalese President Macky Sall postponed this month’s election. At least one private television channel has had their broadcasting license revoked after they aired footage of protests on Sunday. The government also shut down internet access via mobile data. Opposition protesters have accused Sall of attempting to stage a coup by extending his term in office. Earlier this week, lawmakers voted to postpone the elections until December.

Ex-Head of Honduran National Police Pleads Guilty to U.S. Drug Charges Ahead of Juan Orlando Hernández Trial

Feb 07, 2024

Back in the United States, the former head of Honduras’s National Police pleaded guilty Tuesday to cocaine trafficking charges. Juan Carlos “El Tigre” Bonilla appeared in a New York City court just days before he was scheduled to go on trial with former Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández. Speculation is growing that Bonilla will now testify against Hernández. The two were extradited to the United States in 2022. Hernández was arrested in February 2022, less than a month after his presidential term ended. He was a longtime U.S. ally who received backing during his entire eight-year term despite mounting reports of serious human rights violations and accusations of corruption and involvement with drug smuggling. His brother Juan Antonio “Tony” Hernández is currently serving a life prison sentence in the U.S. after being convicted in 2019 of smuggling cocaine.

Death Toll from Chilean Fire Tops 120

Feb 07, 2024

In Chile, the death toll from devastating wildfires has increased to over 120, while hundreds of people are still missing. Thousands of homes were charred, and entire neighborhoods decimated, after the blazes broke out last week in Chile’s central coastal hills. The seaside cities of Viña del Mar and Valparaíso have been engulfed with smoke for days, and volunteers continue to search for survivors. These are the deadliest-ever wildfires to hit Chile due to record heat.

Former Chilean President Sebastián Piñera Dies in Helicopter Crash

Feb 07, 2024

In more news from Chile, former President Sebastián Piñera died Tuesday in a helicopter crash. He first served from 2010 to 2014 and again from 2018 to 2022. Massive protests broke out against Piñera’s government in 2019 due to rising inequality, high cost of living and privatization. He responded by unleashing Chile’s police force and military, both of which were accused of severe human rights violations, including beating and torturing demonstrators.

Namibian President and Anti-Apartheid Activist Hage Geingob, 82, Dies

Feb 07, 2024

Funeral arrangements are being planned for Namibian President Hage Geingob, who died on Sunday at the age of 82. Geingob was a prominent anti-apartheid activist who became Namibia’s first prime minister when the former German colony gained independence from apartheid South Africa in 1990. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa described Geingob as “a towering veteran of Namibia’s liberation from colonialism and apartheid.”

Transgender Activist & Author Cecilia Gentili, 52, Dies

Feb 07, 2024

In New York, beloved transgender advocate, author and actor Cecilia Gentili has died. Gentili migrated from Argentina years ago and dedicated her life fighting for the rights of sex workers, LGBTQ+ and immigrant communities. Gentili starred as Miss Orlando in the acclaimed television series “Pose.” Her debut memoir, “Faltas: Letters to Everyone in My Hometown Who Isn’t My Rapist,” was released in 2022, detailing her life before leaving Argentina. Last year she began performing in her autobiographical off-Broadway show called “Red Ink.” Gentili was also the founder of Trans Equity Consulting, an organization that supports trans women of color, sex workers, immigrants and incarcerated people. A post on her Instagram said Tuesday, “Our beloved Cecilia Gentili passed away this morning to continue watching over us in spirit. … Please be gentle with each other and love one another with ferocity.” Gentili was 52 years old.

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