27.05.2022
Australian prime minister concedes election defeat

CANBERRA, Australia — Australia’s prime minister conceded defeat after an election Saturday that could deliver a minority government.

Scott Morrison acted quickly despite millions of votes yet to be counted because an Australian prime minister must attended a Tokyo summit on Tuesday with U.S., Japanese and Indian leaders.

“I believe it’s very important that this country has certainty. I think it’s very important this country can move forward,” Morrison said.

“And particularly over the course of this week with the important meetings that are being held, I think it’s vitally important there’s a very clear understanding about the government of this country,” he added.

Opposition leader Anthony Albanese will be sworn in as prime minister after his Labor party clenched its first electoral win since 2007.

Labor has promised more financial assistance and a robust social safety net as Australia grapples with the highest inflation since 2001 and soaring housing prices.

The party also plans to increase minimal wages, and on the foreign policy front, it proposed to establish a Pacific defense school to train neighboring armies in response to China’s potential military presence on the Solomon Islands on Australia’s doorstep.

It also wants to tackle climate change with a more ambitious 43 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Morrison’s Liberal party-led coalition was seeking a fourth three-year term. It holds the narrowest of majorities — 76 seats in the 151-member House of Representatives, where parties need a majority to form a government.

In early counting on Saturday, the coalition was on track to win 38 seats, Labor 71, seven were unaligned lawmakers and 23 were too close to call.

Minor parties and independents appeared to be taking votes from the major parties, which increases the likelihood of a hung parliament and a minority government.

Australia most recent hung parliaments were from 2010-13, and during World War II.

A record proportion of postal votes because of the pandemic, which won’t be added to the count until Sunday, adds to the uncertainty in early counting.

As well as campaigning against Labor, Morrison’s conservative Liberals fought off a new challenge from so-called teal independent candidates to key government lawmakers’ reelection in party strongholds.

At least four Liberal lawmakers appeared to have lost their seats to teal independents including Liberal Party deputy leader Josh Frydenberg, who had been considered Morrison’s most likely successor.

“What we have achieved here is extraordinary,” teal candidate and former foreign correspondent Zoe Daniels said in her victory speech. “Safe Liberal seat. Two-term incumbent. Independent,” she added.

The teal independents are marketed as a greener shade than the Liberal Party’s traditional blue color and want stronger government action on reducing Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions than either the government or Labor are proposing.

The government’s Senate leader Simon Birmingham was concerned by big swings toward several teal candidates.

“It is a clear problem that we are losing seats that are heartland seats, that have defined the Liberal Party for generations,” Birmingham said.

“If we lose those seats — it is not certain that we will — but there is clearly a big movement against us and there is clearly a big message in it,” Birmingham added.

Due to the pandemic, around half of Australia’s 17 million electors have voted early or applied for postal votes, which will likely slow the count.

Voting is compulsory for adult citizens and 92 percent of registered voters cast ballots at the last election.

Early polling for reasons of travel or work began two weeks ago and the Australian Electoral Commission will continue collecting postal votes for another two weeks.

The government changed regulations on Friday to enable people recently infected with Covid-19 to vote over the phone.

Electoral Commissioner Tom Rogers said more than 7,000 polling stations opened as planned and on time across Australia despite 15% of polling staff falling sick this week with Covid-19 and flu.

Albanese said he had thought Morrison would have called the election last weekend because Australia’s prime minister is expected at a Tokyo summit on Tuesday with U.S. President Joe Biden, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“If we get a clear outcome today then whoever is prime minister will be on a plane to Tokyo on Monday, which isn’t ideal, I’ve got to say, immediately after a campaign,” Albanese said.

Analysts have said that Morrison left the election until the latest date available to him to give himself more time to reduce Labor’s lead in opinion polls.

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22.06.2022
Jan. 6 committee interviews head of Trump’s Secret Service detail on day of Capitol attack
The Jan. 6 select committee has interviewed the top Secret Service agent on then-President Donald Trump’s protective detail during the…
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22.06.2022
Abortion access could soon be decided by the states. Here’s what the next governors say.
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  • 5 дней, 2 часа назад 22.06.2022Politics
    Jan. 6 committee interviews head of Trump’s Secret Service detail on day of Capitol attack

    The Jan. 6 select committee has interviewed the top Secret Service agent on then-President Donald Trump’s protective detail during the Capitol attack, according to three people familiar with the probe.

    Robert Engel was the special agent in charge on Jan. 6, 2021, meaning he was responsible for protecting the president from “socks on to socks off” — the whole work day. In that role, he rode from the White House to that day’s “Stop the Steal” rally with Trump in the presidential armored car called “The Beast.”

    Engel was also backstage at the rally and close to the then-president throughout the day as violence unfolded when thousands of pro-Trump rally participants marched to the Capitol to try to disrupt congressional certification of the 2020 election.

    Because of that work, Engel has detailed insight on a key select committee focus: how the Secret Service handled the day’s chaos.

    A Secret Service spokesperson said the agency has cooperated fully with the committee probe.

    “Every single member of the Secret Service who was requested by the committee has been provided to them,” said Anthony Guglielmi, the agency’s communications chief. “We fully support and are cooperating with the committee’s work. Employees, documentation, whatever is requested by the committee, we have cooperated with.”

    A Jan. 6 select panel spokesperson declined to comment.

    Secret Service agents generally feel deep discomfort when fielding investigators’ questions about their protectees. That’s because they can’t protect those people without significant trust in the relationship. And the prospect of investigators demanding closely held details about those protectees can generate concerns.

    Jeffrey Robinson, who co-authored a book with a former Secret Service agent about that agent’s work, said in an interview that investigators’ interviews with Secret Service agents can potentially create “a violation of the trust that has to be built up between the protectors and the protectee.” But, he added, the committee’s move still makes sense.

    “It would be negligent if they didn’t, and also Pence’s detail,” Robinson said. “They have to. These are direct witnesses.”

    Engel was closely involved in talks about whether or not Trump himself could go to the Capitol after the rally. In the days leading up to the “Stop the Steal” rally, according to a Secret Service official, White House staff asked Tony Ornato — then temporarily working as White House deputy chief of staff — if it would be feasible for the president to travel from the Ellipse to the Capitol building. Ornato referred the staff to Engel, who was one of the top Secret Service agents responsible for Trump’s safety.

    Ultimately, Trump famously said during the Jan. 6 rally that he planned to go to the Capitol. “[W]e are going to — we are going to walk down Pennsylvania Avenue, I love Pennsylvania Avenue, and we are going to the Capitol.”

    After making that remark, Secret Service personnel reached out to other law enforcement partners to figure out if this move was feasible, a detail first reported by the Washington Post. Engel himself, meanwhile, conveyed to the relevant parties that transporting Trump to the Capitol would be unfeasible.

    Guglielmi, the Secret Service spokesperson, said agency personnel inquired into the feasibility of transporting Trump to the Capitol after he made his rally remarks. But the agency never made “an operational plan” to do so, he added.

    Trump himself told The Washington Post in April that his Secret Service detail blocked him from going to the Capitol.

    “Secret Service said I couldn’t go,” he told the paper. “I would have gone there in a minute.”

    Engel isn’t the only Secret Service employee to speak with committee investigators. Two people who spoke with POLITICO about Engel’s interview said the panel has interviewed multiple agency personnel, in sessions that have taken hours. Some of those interviewed have been called back in for repeat questioning.

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  • 5 дней, 2 часа назад 22.06.2022Politics
    News The Buckshee

    Matthew McConaughey, in an emotional speech at the White House on Tuesday, called for lawmakers to act on bipartisan gun reforms — two weeks after a mass shooting at a school in the actor’s Texas hometown left 19 students and two teachers dead.

    “We need to invest in mental health care, we need safer schools, we need to restrain sensationalized media coverage, we need to restore our family values, we need to restore our American values and we need responsible gun ownership,” McConaughey said at the daily White House press briefing.

    Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said McConaughey met with President Joe Biden just before the briefing “on taking action and keeping our communities safe.” The actor stressed the need for gun restrictions, such as background checks, red flag laws, raising the minimum age of purchase and a waiting period for guns such as AR-15 rifles.

    His plea for tighter gun restrictions comes two weeks to the day after an 18-year-old gunman opened fire at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, where McConaughey grew up. The killings — along with a string of other mass shootings across the country in recent weeks — have ignited the gun reform debate in the U.S., as gun safety advocates press Congress to pass stricter laws.

    Earlier Tuesday, McConaughey met with lawmakers on Capitol Hill, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, to discuss gun legislation.

    McConaughey in his speech recounted stories of some of the victims of the Uvalde shooting whose parents he met when he and his wife, Camila Alves, visited the town last week. He appeared to choke up multiple times throughout the speech as he spoke about the young victims and their dreams.

    At one point, McConaughey slammed the podium after he showed the green Converse sneakers one girl wore that were later used to identify her.

    “Where do we start?” McConaughey asked. “… We start by making the loss of these lives matter.”

    The actor also took a hit at “people in power” who he said had “failed to act.” He called on lawmakers to toss partisan politics to the side and instead find middle ground on the issue and pass gun regulations.

    Negotiations in Congress on a bipartisan gun reform deal are ongoing, but it’s unclear whether Democrats and Republicans will come to an agreement on a package that would limit gun rights.

    “Let’s admit it: We can’t truly be leaders if we’re only living for reelection,” McConaughey said.

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  • 5 дней, 2 часа назад 22.06.2022Politics
    News The Buckshee

    As much of the political world tunes in to the Jan. 6 commission’s opening hearing Thursday evening, former President Barack Obama will be half-a-world away, preparing his own presentation about the potholed path that democracy is on.

    Obama is speaking on Friday at the Copenhagen Democracy Summit in addition to holding a meet-up Saturday of more than 60 Obama Foundation leaders from across Europe. It is the latest in a series of clarion calls he’s made about challenges democracies are facing. But, unlike those past ones, the shadow of America’s own political tensions will be especially pronounced this go-around.

    “I think the two events that most clearly manifest the dangers to democracy in the world today are January 6 and the Russia invasion of Ukraine,” said Ben Rhodes, Obama’s longtime foreign policy adviser, who is helping with the speech. “The Russia invasion of Ukraine represents the danger that autocracy poses to human beings and global order. January 6 represents the danger to democracy from within. Those are related challenges.”

    It’s unclear the degree to which Obama will reference Jan. 6 in his speech, or if he’ll discuss it at all. He is a chronic, last-minute editor, making it impossible to confidently state the contents until near-delivery. But Rhodes noted the goal is to speak to broader themes — disinformation, the need for inclusive capitalism, inequality, and the decline in political institutions — rather than specific news events. Others involved in the program stressed that the more important context was not Donald Trump’s lingering denial of the 2020 election results but the war in Europe.

    “This is an inflection point. It is not just Ukraine’s fight but a fight for liberal democracy,” said Jonas Parello-Plesner, executive director at the Alliance of Democracies, which is hosting the summit.

    “You’re speaking to a convinced trans-atlanticist,” he added. “Yes, this has been a hard moment for America… But show me the vice president in China or Russia who would stand up to their leader and say, ‘No, this is not how this should be done.’ So you’re a bit shaken. But the checks and balances are still there in the American system.”

    Those who have worked alongside Obama say he recognizes that the roots of the problems democracies now face became apparent during his presidency. The backlash to the stock market crash and the rise of the internet opened a brief window of possibility around the globe. But that window closed relatively quickly. Technology hasn’t been a uniquely liberating force. Disinformation hasn’t been checked and regulated. Voting rights have not been expanded. Populism has been accompanied by nativism.

    In his post presidency, Obama has tried, as Rhodes put it, to “connect some dots” on the issues. Earlier this year, he held an off-the-record session in Chicago with a group of reporters who cover democratic backsliding and disinformation, including Semafor’s Ben Smith, The Atlantic’s Anne Applebaum and Charlie Warzel, CNN’s Brian Stelter, and tech journalist Kara Swisher. He held another one in California with journalists including CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan, New York Times reporter Kevin Roose and Platformer journalist Casey Newton.

    He’s also sought insight from conversations with a number of academics, including Renee DiResta, the technical research manager at Stanford Internet Observatory, Marietje Schaake, the international policy director at Stanford University’s Cyber Policy Center, Safiya Noble, professor of gender studies and African American studies at the University of California, Los Angeles, and Maria Ressa, the CEO of Rappler and the first Filipino recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.

    Asked for some of the reading materials that he has used to stay informed on the topics, an Obama aide sent over a lengthy list of newspaper and magazine articles. Among them, a New York Times column on Trump strategist Steve Bannon’s savvy in hyper-localizing his political focus; a New Yorker piece on the efforts by activists to create an ad-hoc oversight board at Facebook; and a Wired item on how to stop misinformation from going viral. He also has perused an Atlantic item on the gutting of newsrooms by the hedge fund Alden Global Capital, and a Curbed item about how one author’s objectively brilliant job at parallel parking sparked an Internet spat that underscored the mob-ification of online communities.

    But, like everyone else, Obama’s work on these fronts has been overwhelmed by topics that seem more directly pertinent to everyday life. The coming summit will be the first in-person meeting of this cohort of Obama Foundation’s Europe program participants since its launch in 2020, when Covid-19 intervened.

    “Copenhagen will be his opportunity to zoom out again,” said one official familiar with the planning, “where democracy stands and where young leaders can plug into that solution.”

    Obama’s post-presidency has been a contrast between glitz and grunt work. He’s taken on a producer emeritus role at Netflix, helping to develop and even narrate documentaries. He has launched a podcast with Bruce Springsteen and penned the first half of a massive memoir.

    He’s also helped spearhead a major redistricting initiative to put the Democratic Party in a far better spot than after the last round a decade ago. More recently, he’s begun aggressively using the spotlight that he commands.

    In November, Obama gave a climate-focused speech in Glasgow that stressed the need for younger leaders to engage in politics. In April, he spoke with The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg about disinformation. Later that month, he went to Stanford University to talk about how disinformation was puncturing democracy across the globe.

    That Stanford address, in particular, has taken on a layer of significance in Obama’s orbit.

    Some aides emphasize that Obama has a unique capacity to discuss the tech industry — its products and shortcomings — having been, perhaps, the politician who benefited most prominently from the rise of social media networks that revamped campaigns and the fundraising for them.

    “I think that gives him credibility to talk about this,” said Jason Goldman, a former Twitter board member and Obama’s first chief digital officer. “He knows these products. He has a long standing relationship with these companies. He is by nature a bit of a nerd. And when he has these conversations, they see a kindred spirit… He’s also able to say I’ve had this personal and professional journey of using these tools.”

    But there is also internal staff pride that his Stanford address was critical of Silicon Valley at the intellectual heart of it. The from-the-belly-of-the-beast staging is something Obama has done repeatedly before. As president, he spoke about the need for financial regulatory reform at Cooper Union and challenged House Republicans on health care reform while at their retreat.

    Copenhagen will be a continuation of that. Though the summit was planned before Russia’s invasion, the war in Ukraine will loom over its proceedings — a bloody, theatrical demonstration that democratic fault lines are close to crumbling.

    “He knows the headwinds these young leaders face in terms of global democratic backsliding,” said Laura Lucas Magnuson, executive vice president of global programs at the Obama Foundation. “It makes what we’ve long been doing more urgent than ever and the work of our leaders more urgent than ever. At this moment people really want to hear him continue on that track.”

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  • 5 дней, 2 часа назад 22.06.2022Politics
    Abortion access could soon be decided by the states. Here’s what the next governors say.

    Washington won’t determine the landscape if the Supreme Court upends the current national order on abortion — it will be up to each state and their governors and legislators to set abortion policy within their borders.

    That has piled new policy pressure on this year’s most competitive gubernatorial races, where most Republican and Democratic candidates have polar opposite views on abortion and the winners will have broad latitude to set policy in states where their party also controls the legislature.

    POLITICO sent a five-question survey to leading gubernatorial candidates in seven battleground states — Arizona, Georgia, Kansas, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan — asking candidates to explain where they stand on one of the most contentious issues of the 2022 midterms.

    See what they had to say

    Each state starts at a different point. States that have seen unified Republican control — like Georgia or Arizona — already have tight restrictions on abortion written into state law, which could take effect shortly after Roe is officially struck down. In Democratic-controlled Nevada, state law allows abortion procedures through 24 weeks of pregnancy — and that can only be changed by a voter referendum.

    Would-be governors could have the biggest impact on abortion policy in states where the parties have split control of late. Some, including Michigan, have pre-Roe laws that either outright ban or severely limit abortion procedures if Roe is overturned. Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer sued to try to throw out the old law, which has been temporarily blocked as part of another lawsuit.

    And in Kansas, a constitutional amendment is on the ballot in August to say there is no right to an abortion in the state, which would reverse a state Supreme Court decision from 2019. If it passes, the state’s pick for governor could have a big say in any further changes to state law.

    Candidates who responded to POLITICO’s survey are quoted directly, with light editing for brevity, clarity and style. For candidates who either did not respond or did not directly answer the questions, POLITICO sought to represent their views on each question based on previous statements, media interviews, declared support for legislation and other public acts.

    Katie Hobbs (D): “No, I am outraged by this decision. It is an extreme assault on women’s reproductive freedom, and it takes us a giant step backward in our decadeslong fight for equality. As a social worker, I saw firsthand the devastating effects that a dangerous, traumatizing or unplanned pregnancy has on a woman and her family. The Supreme Court may have turned its back on women, but as governor, I never will.”

    Marco López (D): “The proposed decision is an attack on reproductive freedom, keeping women and families from being able to make decisions for themselves and chart the course of their own lives. It will also primarily hurt low-income and rural families. Furthermore, it’s dangerous — abortions will still happen, they just won’t be in safe environments.”

    Kari Lake (R): Yes. In an interview with KTAR, she said abortion policy “should fall [to] the states.”

    Karrin Taylor Robson (R): Yes. Robson tweeted POLITICO’s reporting on the draft Supreme Court opinion, writing that “if this opinion holds, and I pray that it does” she would work to make the state “the most pro-life state in the union.”

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  • 5 дней, 2 часа назад 22.06.2022Politics
    Gorsuch receives $250K book advance payment

    Justice Neil Gorsuch is writing a new book about judicial and regulatory policy.

    The book deal with HarperCollins was signed last summer but publication is not imminent and may not happen until 2024, according to a person familiar with the matter. The first portion of the advance that was paid to Gorsuch was $250,000, which was revealed in Gorsuch’s most recent financial disclosure dated May 16.

    Gorsuch is represented by Javelin, a premier Washington literary agency that has represented authors from across the political and media spectrums, including former Trump national security adviser John Bolton and former FBI Director James Comey.

    A spokesperson for the court had no immediate comment.

    This is Gorsuch’s second book for a broader audience; in 2019, he published “A Republic, If You Can Keep It,” which explored his journey from Colorado to becoming a Supreme Court justice, among other matters. The book made the New York Times bestseller list.

    In recent years, a number of Supreme Court justices have written books about their judicial philosophies and their upbringings. Last year, Justice Stephen Breyer published “The Authority of the Court and the Peril of Politics.” In 2014, Justice Sonia Sotomayor published “My Beloved World.”

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  • 5 дней, 2 часа назад 22.06.2022Politics
    News The Buckshee

    Former Trump administration official Peter Navarro called the FBI agents who arrested him “Nazis,” according to Justice Department documents filed Thursday in court accusing Navarro of repeatedly lying about the conditions of his arrest.

    FBI agents arrested Navarro at Reagan National Airport last Friday on a pair of misdemeanor charges that he acted in contempt of Congress by defying a subpoena from the Jan. 6 House select committee.

    Since his arrest, Navarro has been on a media tear, accusing the FBI of denying him a chance to call a lawyer and depriving him of food and water. But the Justice Department says all of those claims are false, and it appended a summary of the circumstances of Navarro’s arrest on an FBI 302 report written by the two agents who arrested him, Walter Giardina and Sebastian Gardner.

    The government filing Thursday seems to mock Navarro’s priorities. It says FBI agents offered to contact an attorney for Navarro, but he wanted to use his phone to let a media outlet know he was likely to miss a scheduled TV interview.

    When Navarro was offered a chance to call an attorney, according to the FBI agents, the defendant noted that he was preparing to proceed without one.

    “SA Giardina asked, ‘do you have an attorney you’d like to call? What is the name of your attorney?’” the FBI report says.

    According to the report, Navarro replied: “I’m supposed to be on live television tonight. I’d like to call the producer and tell him I’m not going to be there. Can I have my phone?”

    “NAVARRO made statements to the effect that the arresting agents were ‘kind Nazis’ and ‘how could you live with yourselves?’” the report adds.

    Navarro, in an email, said he’d made “several requests” to call for legal advice when he was arrested.

    “This was denied and my phone was confiscated,” he said.

    While some of Navarro’s allies have claimed he was pulled off an airplane, the report says he was intercepted by the FBI in a jetway at the airport as he prepared to board an American Airlines commuter flight bound for Nashville.

    Navarro has also claimed that he was shackled after his arrest. The FBI report mentions handcuffs but no shackles, nor does it address any security practices he might have encountered after he was handed over to deputy U.S. marshals at the courthouse in Washington last Friday.

    The Justice Department’s filing came a day after the department urged the judge in Navarro’s case, Amit Mehta, to quickly enter a “protective order” preventing Navarro from disseminating evidence provided to him by prosecutors. Navarro is due in court to be arraigned on the charges on June 17, but he has requested a 45-day delay — citing his effort to retain an attorney and to litigate a civil lawsuit against the department and the Jan. 6 select committee. The department said there was no legal basis to delay speedy-trial obligations to accommodate a civil lawsuit.

    The department is urging Mehta to reject this request, noting that Navarro still has a week to obtain counsel and that his request for a delay would be disruptive to the case.

    The FBI’s summary of Navarro’s arrest provides more details about the manner in which he was taken into custody. Navarro, who was accompanied by an unidentified individual, was in the jetway when he was taken into custody at 11:14 a.m., according to the agents. After he was led down the jetway steps, he was handcuffed and his wallet, cellphone and pen were taken and put in a manila envelope, the report indicates.

    Navarro was taken to the FBI’s Washington Field Office for processing, including fingerprinting and a DNA sample, the report says.

    After Navarro complained that his handcuffs were causing shoulder pain, they were replaced with a second set and loosened, which the agents said relieved Navarro’s discomfort. He initially rejected an offer of food, according to the summary, but asked for some at 12:08 p.m. and was given chocolate, nuts and dried fruit. He was later asked whether he wanted anything else to eat and declined, the report says.

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Politics Australian prime minister concedes election defeat