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AP News in Brief at 11:04 p.m. EDT

Original Publication Date June 30, 2024 - 9:06 PM

After Supreme Court immunity ruling, Biden draws sharp contrast with Trump on obeying rule of law

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden warned Monday that a Supreme Court ruling granting presidents broad immunity from prosecution would make an unchecked Republican Donald Trump “more emboldened to do whatever he wants” if he regains the White House in November’s election.

Biden, under intense pressure after his disastrous debate performance against Trump last week, urged Americans to think carefully about their election decision and signaled he had no intention of dropping out of the race.

Criticizing the decision by the court’s conservative majority — which all but guarantees Trump will not face trial in Washington ahead of the November election over his actions during the violent riot on Jan. 6, 2021 — Biden said it now fell to the American people “to do what the courts should have been willing to do but will not.

"The American people have to render judgment about Donald Trump’s behavior.”

Biden's efforts to reset his campaign following the debate, which spooked donors and stirred up major Democratic anxiety, has been looking a lot like his past attempts to keep the focus squarely on Trump's misdeeds and shortcomings. During his brief remarks Monday, he made no mention of last week's debate or his performance, and did not take questions, delivering an unusually political message from the White House.


Trump seeks to set aside New York hush money verdict hours after Supreme Court ruling

NEW YORK (AP) — Donald Trump’s lawyers on Monday asked the New York judge who presided over his hush money trial to set aside his conviction and delay his sentencing, scheduled for next week.

The letter to Judge Juan M. Merchan cited the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling earlier Monday and asked the judge to delay Trump’s sentencing while he weighs the high court’s decision and how it could influence the New York case, according to the letter obtained by The Associated Press.

The lawyers argue that the Supreme Court’s decision confirmed a position the defense raised earlier in the case that prosecutors should have been precluded from introducing some evidence they said constituted official presidential acts, according to the letter.

In prior court filings, Trump contended he is immune from prosecution for conduct alleged to involve official acts during his tenure in office. His lawyers did not raise that as a defense in the hush money case, but they argued that some evidence — including Trump’s social media posts about former lawyer Michael Cohen — comes from his time as president and should have been excluded from the trial because of immunity protections.

The Manhattan district attorney’s office declined comment Monday night.


Supreme Court rules ex-presidents have broad immunity, dimming chance of a pre-election Trump trial

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court on Monday ruled for the first time that former presidents have broad immunity from prosecution, extending the delay in the Washington criminal case against Donald Trump on charges he plotted to overturn his 2020 presidential election loss and all but ending prospects the former president could be tried before the November election.

In a historic 6-3 ruling, the court's conservative majority, including the three justices appointed by Trump, narrowed the case against him and returned it to the trial court to determine what is left of special counsel Jack Smith's indictment.

Trump celebrated a “BIG WIN” on X. President Joe Biden said the justices set “a dangerous precedent (that) undermines the rule of this nation.”

The ruling reflected a muscular view of presidential power, and left dissenting judges to criticize it as undermining a core democratic principle that no person is above the law.

The court's decision highlighted how the justices have been thrust into an impactful role in the November presidential election. Earlier, they had rejected efforts to bar him from the ballot because of his actions following the 2020 election. The court last week also limited an obstruction charge faced by Trump and used against hundreds of his supporters who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. The split among the justices also in many ways mirrored the political divide in the country.


What to know about the Supreme Court immunity ruling in Trump's 2020 election interference case

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court's ruling Monday in former President Donald Trump's 2020 election interference case makes it all but certain that the Republican will not face trial in Washington ahead of the November election.

The Supreme Court did not dismiss — as Trump had wanted — the indictment alleging he illegally schemed to cling to power after he lost to President Joe Biden. But the ruling still amounts to a major victory for the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, whose legal strategy has focused on delaying the proceedings until after the election.

The timing of the trial matters because if Trump defeats Biden, he could appoint an attorney general who would seek the dismissal of this case and the other federal prosecutions he faces. Or Trump could potentially order a pardon for himself.

Trump posted in all capital letters on his social media network shortly after the decision was released: “BIG WIN FOR OUR CONSTITUTION AND DEMOCRACY. PROUD TO BE AN AMERICAN!”

In remarks Monday evening, Biden said the court had done a “terrible disservice” to the American people, who he says deserved to know the outcome of the case before they head to the polls.


Israel orders Palestinians to flee Khan Younis, signaling likely new assault on southern Gaza city

KHAN YOUNIS, Gaza Strip (AP) — The Israeli army ordered a mass evacuation of Palestinians from much of Khan Younis on Monday, a sign that troops are likely to launch a new ground assault into the Gaza Strip’s second-largest city.

The order suggests Khan Younis will be the latest target of Israel’s raids into parts of Gaza it had previously invaded in the war, as it pursues regrouping Hamas militants. Much of Khan Younis was destroyed in a long assault earlier this year, but large numbers of Palestinians had moved back to escape another Israeli offensive in Gaza’s southernmost city, Rafah.

The evacuation came as Israel released the director of what was once Gaza’s largest hospital after holding him for seven months without charge or trial. Israel alleged the hospital had been used as a Hamas command center, which he and other Palestinian health officials have denied. The doctor said he and other detainees were held under harsh conditions and tortured.

The decision to release Mohammed Abu Selmia raised questions over Israel’s claims surrounding Shifa Hospital, which Israeli forces have raided twice since the start of the war with Hamas. The hospital was left severely damaged after the raids.

Abu Selmia's release triggered an uproar across Israel’s political spectrum. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office called it “a grave mistake.” Government ministers and opposition leaders expressed outrage and insisted Abu Selmia played a role in Hamas’ alleged use of the hospital — although Israeli security services rarely unilaterally free prisoners if they have a suspicion of militant links.


Hurricane Beryl razes southeast Caribbean islands as Atlantic's earliest Category 4 storm

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (AP) — Hurricane Beryl ripped off doors, windows and roofs in homes across the southeastern Caribbean on Monday after making landfall on the island of Carriacou in Grenada as the earliest Category 4 storm in the Atlantic, fueled by its record warm waters.

Grenada's Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell said late Monday that one person had died and he could not yet say if there were others because authorities had not been able to assess the situation on the islands of Carriacou and Petite Martinique, where there were initial reports of major damage but communications were largely down.

“We do hope there aren’t any other fatalities or any injuries,” he said. “But bear in mind the challenge we have in Carriacou and Petite Martinique.” Mitchel added that the government will send people first thing Tuesday morning to evaluate the situation on the islands.

Streets from St. Lucia island south to Grenada were strewn with shoes, trees, downed power lines and other debris scattered by winds up to 150 mph (240 kph). The hurricane snapped banana trees in half and left cows lying dead in green pastures, with homes made of tin and plywood tilting precariously nearby.

“Right now, I’m real heartbroken,” said Vichelle Clark King as she surveyed her damaged shop in the Barbadian capital of Bridgetown that was filled with sand and water. Beryl was still swiping the southeast Caribbean on Monday evening as it pushed into the Caribbean Sea on a track heading just south of Jamaica and toward Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula by late Thursday as a Category 1 storm.


Florida prosecutors knew Epstein raped teenage girls 2 years before cutting deal, transcript shows

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Florida prosecutors knew the late millionaire and financier Jeffrey Epstein sexually assaulted teenage girls two years before they cut a plea deal that has long been criticized as too lenient and a missed opportunity to imprison him a decade earlier, according to transcripts released Monday.

The 2006 grand jury investigation was the first of many by law enforcement over the past two decades into Epstein's rape and sex trafficking of teenagers — and how his ties to the rich and the powerful seem to have allowed him to avoid prison or a serious jail term for over a decade.

The investigations uncovered Epstein's close ties to former President Bill Clinton and Britain's Prince Andrew, as well as his once friendly relationship with former President Donald Trump and numerous others of wealth and influence who have denied doing anything criminal or improper and not been charged.

Circuit Judge Luis Delgado's release of approximately 150 pages Monday came as a surprise, since there was scheduled hearing next week over unsealing the graphic testimony. Gov. Ron DeSantis had signed a bill in February allowing the release on Monday or any time thereafter that Delgado ordered. Florida grand jury transcripts are usually kept secret forever, but the bill created an exemption for cases like Epstein's.

The transcripts show that the grand jury heard testimony that Epstein, who was then in his 40s, had raped teenage girls as young as 14 at his Palm Beach mansion, often paying them so he could commit statutory rape or assault. The teenagers testified and told detectives they were also paid cash or rented cars if they found him more girls.


Ahead of election, Venezuela's Maduro says he has agreed to resume negotiations with United States

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuela’s government plans to resume negotiations with the U.S. government this week, President Nicolás Maduro announced Monday, less than a month before a highly anticipated election in which he and his party are facing their toughest challenge in decades.

Maduro, who is seeking a third term, wants the U.S. government to lift crippling economic sanctions that were imposed over the last decade in an effort to topple him. He characterized the dialogue as “urgent” during his weekly TV show.

The Biden administration did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Associated Press.

“I have received the proposal during two continuous months from the United States government to reestablish talks and direct dialogue,” Maduro said. "After thinking about it for two months, I have accepted, and next Wednesday, talks will restart with the United States government to comply with the agreements signed in Qatar and to reestablish the terms of the urgent dialogue.”

Maduro's government had held parallel talks with the Biden administration and with the U.S.-backed Unitary Platform opposition coalition. But they were suspended as he reneged on promises, including to improve conditions ahead of the election, and his government accused the U.S. of not fulfilling portions of agreements.


Trump ally Steve Bannon surrenders to federal prison to serve 4-month sentence on contempt charges

DANBURY, Conn. (AP) — Longtime Trump ally Steve Bannon was taken into custody Monday after surrendering at a federal prison to begin a four-month sentence on contempt charges for defying a subpoena in the congressional investigation into the U.S. Capitol attack.

Bannon arrived at the Federal Correctional Institution in Danbury, Connecticut, around noon and was formally taken into federal custody, the Bureau of Prisons said.

Speaking to reporters, Bannon called himself a “political prisoner,” said former President Donald Trump was “very supportive” of him and slammed Democrats, including Attorney General Merrick Garland.

“I am proud of going to prison,” Bannon said, adding he was “standing up to the Garland corrupt DOJ.”

Shortly before he arrived to surrender, a small group of supporters gathered on the side of the road outside the prison. They cheered as Bannon and GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia spoke during a news conference, holding up flags and signs supporting Bannon as a small group of protesters shouted, “Lock him up!” and “traitor!”


Klay Thompson is leaving the Warriors and will join the Mavericks, AP sources say

DALLAS (AP) — Klay Thompson has taken off his Golden State jersey for the last time. And the Warriors say they're going to retire it to commemorate his time with them.

Thompson is moving on from the Warriors, with the four-time league champion agreeing to join the Western Conference champion Dallas Mavericks and change franchises for the first time in his 13-year NBA career, two people with knowledge of the decision said Monday.

ESPN and The Athletic first reported the multiteam deal which, as currently constructed, will be executed as the sign-and-trade of a three-year, $50 million contract involving the Warriors, Mavericks and Charlotte Hornets, said the people, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the agreement has not been announced.

Without mentioning Dallas — by league rule, they technically cannot acknowledge any part of the trade yet — the Warriors released a statement in tribute to Thompson on Monday night, saying they “can't overstate Klay Thompson's incredible and legendary contributions” to the team and that “the amount of joy and happiness that Klay provided Warriors fans ... cannot be minimized.”

“His penchant for delivering in pressurized situations on the biggest stage, including many Game 6 heroics, has helped define a career,” the Warriors said. “Klay’s legacy will live on forever and we look forward to the day we can retire his #11 jersey at Chase Center, where he will join a host of Warriors immortals, including those who helped shape this recent dynasty — himself included.”

News from © The Associated Press, 2024
The Associated Press

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