Published: 10:04 pm, Wed. Jul. 8th, 2020Updated: 9:04 pm
No peeking, voters: Court keeps Trump taxes private for now
WASHINGTON (AP) — Rejecting President Donald Trump’s complaints that he’s being harassed, the Supreme Court ruled Thursday in favor of a New York prosecutor’s demands for the billionaire president’s tax records. But in good political news for Trump, his taxes and other financial records almost certainly will be kept out of the public eye at least until after the November election.
In a separate case, the justices kept a hold on banking and other documents about Trump, family members and his businesses that Congress has been seeking for more than a year. The court said that while Congress has significant power to demand the president’s personal information, it is not limitless.
The court turned away the broadest arguments by Trump’s lawyers and the Justice Department that the president is immune from investigation while he holds office or that a prosecutor must show a greater need than normal to obtain the tax records. But it is unclear when a lower court judge might order the Manhattan district attorney’s subpoena to be enforced.
Trump is the only president in modern times who has refused to make his tax returns public, and before he was elected he promised to release them. He didn’t embrace Thursday’s outcome as a victory even though it is likely to prevent his opponents in Congress from obtaining potentially embarrassing personal and business records ahead of Election Day.
In fact, the increasing likelihood that a grand jury will eventually get to examine the documents drove the president into a public rage. He lashed out declaring that “It’s a pure witch hunt, it’s a hoax” and calling New York, where he has lived most of his life, “a hellhole.”
WHO: Indoor airborne spread of coronavirus possible
LONDON (AP) — The World Health Organization is acknowledging the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions — after more than 200 scientists urged the agency to do so.
In an open letter published this week in a journal, two scientists from Australia and the U.S. wrote that studies have shown “beyond any reasonable doubt that viruses are released during exhalation, talking and coughing in microdroplets small enough to remain aloft in the air.”
The researchers, along with more than 200 others, appealed for national and international authorities, including WHO, to adopt more stringent protective measures.
WHO has long dismissed the possibility that the coronavirus is spread in the air except for certain risky medical procedures, such as when patients are first put on breathing machines.
In a change to its previous thinking, WHO noted on Thursday that studies evaluating COVID-19 outbreaks in restaurants, choir practices and fitness classes suggested the virus might have been spread in the air.
Biden pledges New Deal-like economic agenda to counter Trump
DUNMORE, Pa. (AP) — Democrat Joe Biden turned his campaign against President Donald Trump toward the economy Thursday, introducing a New Deal-like economic agenda while drawing a sharp contrast with a billionaire incumbent he said has abandoned working-class Americans amid cascading crises.
The former vice president presented details of a comprehensive agenda that he touted as the most aggressive government investment in the U.S. economy since World War II. He also accused Trump of ignoring the coronavirus pandemic and the climate crisis while encouraging division amid a national reckoning with systemic racism.
“His failures come with a terrible human cost and a deep economic toll,” Biden said during a 30-minute address at a metal works firm near his childhood hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania. “Time and again, working families are paying the price for this administration’s incompetence.”
Biden’s shift to the economy meets Trump on turf the Republican president had seen as his strength before the pandemic severely curtailed consumer activity and drove unemployment to near-Great Depression levels. Now, Biden and his aides believe the issue is an all-encompassing opening that gives Democrats avenues to attack Trump on multiple fronts while explaining their own governing vision for the country.
The former vice president began Thursday with proposals intended to reinvigorate the U.S. manufacturing and technology sectors.
Medical experts: Floyd’s speech didn’t mean he could breathe
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — As George Floyd repeatedly pleaded “I can’t breathe” to police officers holding him down on a Minneapolis street corner, some of the officers responded by pointing out he was able to speak. One told Floyd it takes “a lot of oxygen” to talk, while another told angry bystanders that Floyd was “talking, so he can breathe.”
That reaction — seen in police restraint deaths around the country — is dangerously wrong, medical experts say. While it would be right to believe a person who can’t talk also cannot breathe, the reverse is not true – speaking does not imply that someone is getting enough air to survive.
“The ability to speak does not mean the patient is without danger,” said Dr. Mariell Jessup, chief science and medical officer of the American Heart Association.
“To speak, you only have to move air through the upper airways and the vocal cords, a very small amount,” and that does not mean that enough air is getting down into the lungs where it can supply the rest of the body with oxygen, said Dr. Gary Weissman, a lung specialist at the University of Pennsylvania.
The false perception that someone who can speak can also take in enough air is not part of any known police training curriculum or practices, according to experts on police training and use of force.
Late Seoul mayor was outspoken liberal who eyed presidency
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Park Won-soon, the three-term mayor of South Korea’s capital, a fierce critic of economic inequality who was seen as a potential presidential candidate in 2022, was found dead early Friday. He was 64.
Police said Park’s body was found near a restaurant nestled in wooded hills stretching across northern Seoul after a more than seven-hour search involving hundreds of police officers, firefighters, drones and dogs.
They said there were no signs of foul play, but gave no further details on the cause of death.
The Seoul Metropolitan Government earlier said Park did not come to work on Thursday and had canceled his schedule for the day.
His daughter reported him missing Thursday afternoon, saying he had given her a “will-like” verbal message and left home. He was last seen on security video entering a park at the mouth of the hills late Thursday morning.
Police: Black man’s hanging death in California was suicide
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The death of a Black man found hanging from a tree in a Southern California city park last month was ruled a suicide Thursday following a police investigation prompted by outrage from the family who said authorities initially were too quick to rule out the possibility he was lynched.
The manner of 24-year-old Robert Fuller’s death on June 10 in Palmdale intensified the racial angst that already was at a boiling point following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Family members said they couldn’t imagine Fuller taking his own life and community activities noted the Antelope Valley area north of Los Angeles where the death occurred has a history of racist incidents.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva promised a thorough investigation and at a news conference to announce the findings it was revealed that Fuller had a history of mental illness and suicidal tendencies.
Sheriff’s Commander Chris Marks outlined three hospitalizations since 2017 where Fuller told doctors he was considering taking his life. The last was in November, when he was being treated for depression at a hospital in Nevada and “disclosed that he did have a plan to kill himself,” Marks said.
Marks also said the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department investigated an incident in February in which Fuller “allegedly tried to light himself on fire.”
Ex-Trump lawyer Michael Cohen back in federal prison
NEW YORK (AP) — President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen, was returned to federal prison Thursday, after balking at certain conditions of the home confinement he was granted because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Records obtained by The Associated Press said Cohen was ordered into custody after he “failed to agree to the terms of Federal Location Monitoring in Manhattan.”
But Cohen’s attorneys disputed that, saying Cohen took issue with a condition of his home confinement that forbid him from speaking with the media and publishing a tell-all book he began working on in federal prison. The rules also prohibited him from “posting on social media,” the records show.
“The purpose is to avoid glamorizing or bringing publicity to your status as a sentenced inmate serving a custodial term in the community,” the document says.
Cohen has written a tell-all book that he had been preparing to publish about his time working for the Trump Organization, his lawyers said.
Watchdog details storm of political pressure in Sharpiegate
Political pressure from the White House and a series of “crazy in the middle of the night” texts, emails and phone calls caused top federal weather officials to wrongly admonish a weather office for a tweet that contradicted President Donald Trump about Hurricane Dorian in 2019, an inspector general report found.
Commerce Department Inspector General Peggy Gustafson concluded in a report issued Thursday that the statement chastising the National Weather Service office in Birmingham, Alabama, could undercut public trust in weather warnings from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and for a short time even hindered public safety. Agency officials downplayed and disputed the findings.
“Instead of focusing on NOAA’s successful hurricane forecast, the Department unnecessarily rebuked NWS forecasters for issuing a public safety message about Hurricane Dorian in response to public inquiries — that is, for doing their jobs,” the report concluded.
Former Obama NOAA chief Jane Lubchenco, a scientist at Oregon State University, said in an email that high-level officials “put politics and their own jobs above public safety. In my view, this is shameful, irresponsible, and unethical.”
At issue was a Sept. 1 tweet from the Birmingham weather office that “Alabama will NOT see any impacts from #Dorian.”
‘Glee’ star Naya Rivera believed drowned in California lake
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Authorities said Thursday that they believe “Glee” star Naya Rivera drowned in a Southern California lake but they are continuing the search for her a day after her 4-year-old son was found alone in a rented boat.
“Investigators believe Rivera drowned in what appears to be a tragic accident,” a Ventura County Sheriff’s Office statement said.
The boy, who was found asleep and wearing a life vest late Wednesday afternoon, told investigators that he and his mother went swimming and he got back on the boat, but “his mom never made it out of the water,” Sheriff’s Sgt. Kevin Donoghue said.
Surveillance video taken at about 1 p.m. Wednesday shows Rivera and the boy leaving on the boat at Lake Piru, something she had done before.
“She had experience boating out here at the lake,” Donoghue said.
Big Ten scraps nonconference football games due to pandemic
The Big Ten Conference announced Thursday it will not play nonconference games in football and several other sports this fall, the most dramatic move yet by a power conference because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The conference cited medical advice in making its decision and added ominously that the plan would be applied only “if the conference is able to participate in fall sports.”
Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren said it was “much easier if we’re just working with our Big Ten institutions” in terms of things like scheduling and traveling.
“We may not have sports in the fall,” Warren told the Big Ten Network. “We may not have a college football season in the Big Ten.
“So we just wanted to make sure that this was the next logical step to always rely on our medical experts to keep our student-athletes at the center of all of our decisions and make sure that they are as healthy as they possibly can be from a mental, a physical, an emotional health and wellness standpoint.”