memorial

Man Who Stopped Monterey Park Mass Shooter Speaks On Tragedy

Brandon Tsay is the individual responsible for stopping the Monterey Park mass shooter at the Lai Lai Ballroom in Alhambra, California. Tsay is being hailed as a hero who saved multiple lives after disarming 72-year-old Huu can Tran, who later died due to a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Tsay recently spoke to ABC News about the shooting which left him completely “shook.”

“It was Chinese New Year’s. We were hosting a social dance party. I was in the lobby. It was late into the evening, most of our customers had already left. I wasn’t paying attention to the front door — I was looking into the dance ballroom, the dance floor, and this is when I heard the sound of the front door quickly closing and instantly followed by the sound of metal objects clinking together as if they were rubbing. That’s when I turned around and saw that there was an Asian man holding a gun,” Tsay explained.

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“He didn’t seem like he was here for any money, he wasn’t here to rob us. When he was looking around the room it seemed like he was looking for targets – people to harm. I needed to disarm him or else everybody would have died,” Tsay stated.

“Something came over me – I realized I needed to get the weapon away from him. When I got the courage I lunged at him with both my hands, grabbed the weapon and we had a struggle. We struggled into the lobby, trying to get the gun away from each other.”

“He was hitting me across the face. Bashing the back of my head. I was trying to use my elbows to separate the gun away from him, creating some distance. At this point I thought he would run away, but he was just standing there, contemplating whether to fight or to run away. I really thought I would have to shoot him,” Tsay said.

Tsay then called the police after noting that the shooter walked out of the studio and into his van. The struggle with the shooter left Tsay with bruising on his body, across his face, and the back of the head.

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“After the incident, I was shook. I was shaken all night. I couldn’t believe what happened.”

“A lot of people have been telling me how much courage I had to confront the situation like this, but you know what courage is? Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the ability to have adversity of fear when fearful events happen such as this,” Tsay explained when discussing the public hailing him as a hero.

Representative Mark Takano, who represents Riverside County near where the mass shooting took place, said the area “has vibrant communities, Asian American communities. The shooting is a tragedy of incomprehensible proportions.”

The shooting took place as the community and world celebrated the Lunar New Year, which is a very important holiday for Asian Americans.

“It’s a very joyous time of year for families to get together and to have a tragedy like this happen on the eve of the Lunar New Year is just incredibly sad and tragic,” said Takano.

“I just want to emphasize to the community that thanks to the good work of L.A. County Sheriff [Robert] Luna and his deputies, the suspect was identified very quickly. We know the suspect took his own life, so the community can feel safe from that threat,” Takano noted.

strike

7,000 Nurses Go on Strike at Two of NYC’s Largest Hospitals

After a weekend of talks failed to produce agreements for new contracts, more than 7,000 nurses at Mount Sinai Medical Center and Montefiore Medical Center in New York City are going on strike to demand better pay and working conditions.

The walkouts began at 6 a.m. Monday morning. The New York State Nurses Association, representing 42,000 nurses, said that chronic understaffing prompted the strike. Hiring has not been sufficient to cover the nursing shortages created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nancy Hagans, president of the NYSNA, said the nurses “do not take striking lightly, but that’s what’s going to happen if our bosses give us no other choice.”  The failure of hospital administrators to hire nurses left behind hundreds of unfilled slots, leaving current nurses to pick up the workload.  

“Our No. 1 issue is a crisis of staffing. It is an issue that our employers have ignored.” 

Despite having 760 open nursing positions, Montefiore Medical Center did not fill any of them. According to Ms. Hagan, some nurses tend to up to 20 patients at a time. This puts tremendous pressure on workers, especially in the emergency room, which is “so overcrowded that patients are admitted in beds in the hallway instead of hospital rooms.”

The union desires adequate enforcement mechanisms to ensure compliance with safe staffing levels. They are also requesting pay increases commensurate with inflation rates. Sunday night’s negotiation session failed to produce an agreement. Monday has no scheduled bargaining sessions, but the nurses are eager to return to the table.

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Monday’s strike put a strain on the NYC healthcare system, with hospitals having to relocate patients, reroute ambulances, and reduce other services. Hospitals were already feeling the impact of the citywide tripledemic of RSV, influenza and COVID-19. Because of nursing shortages, hospitals brought in temporary staff, including doctors, to continue operations.

Mario Cilento, the president of the New York State American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations, showed support for the nurses in a statement released on Monday.

“It is time for the hospitals to treat these nurses fairly, with the dignity and respect they deserve, to ensure nurses can get back to serving their communities by providing superior care to their patients.”

 Gov. Kathy Hochul called for binding arbitration on Sunday night to postpone the strike, but the union rejected the offer.

“Gov. Hochul should listen to front-line COVID-19 nurse heroes and respect our federally protected labor and collective bargaining rights. Nurses don’t want to strike. Bosses have pushed us to strike by refusing to seriously consider our proposals to address the desperate crisis of unsafe staffing that harms our patients.”

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 The union leaders at Montefiore Medical Center turned down management’s offer of a 19.1% compounded wage increase over three years and a commitment to add more than 170 new nursing jobs. Mount Sinai administrators released a statement addressing the latest negotiations, during which union leaders walked out at 1 a.m. on Monday morning.

 “We remain committed to seamless and compassionate care, recognizing that the union leadership’s decision will spark fear and uncertainty across our community. Our first priority is the safety of our patients. We’re prepared to minimize disruption, and we encourage Mount Sinai nurses to continue providing the world-class care they’re known for.”

 The pandemic has left front-line medical workers with a distrust of hospital management. In recent years, nurses have walked out in states across the country as well as worldwide. Nurses in the United Kingdom went on strike last month for the first time in seven decades.

 Nurses and doctors still remember the dangerous working conditions when COVID-19 first swept through the city in 2020, inundating hospitals with patients and killing more than 22,000 residents. Hospitals were inadequately prepared, and there was insufficient personal protective equipment for medical staff.

Foreseeing the impending strike, both Montefiore and Mount Sinai have rushed to make preparations in recent days. Mayor Eric Adams said in a statement released Sunday night that the city is in contact with the hospital networks. Still, he acknowledged that some parts of the city’s hospitals would likely be overburdened.

 “In the event of a strike, our system will be prepared to meet the challenges. If there is a nurses’ strike, hospitals in certain areas may experience impacts to operations, including possible delayed or limited service. We encourage all New Yorkers to call 911 only for emergencies, and be prepared to seek an alternate facility in case their preferred hospital is impacted.”

bike

Opening Statements Set For Case Against Sayfullo Saipov Over 2017 NYC Bike Path Killings 

Opening statements are set to begin Monday in the trial of Sayfullo Saipov, who is currently facing terrorism charges after he allegedly ran over pedestrians in a rented truck on the West Side bike path in Manhattan on Halloween in 2017; killing eight people and injuring many more.

Saipov has pleaded not guilty to eight counts of murder, 18 counts of attempted murder, and other terrorism charges. His plea makes him eligible for the death penalty in what is the first federal capital case heard under the Biden Administration. 

Authorities reported that Saipov plowed through cyclists and pedestrians on the bike path before crashing the rented truck into a school bus, exiting the vehicle while waving a pellet and paintball gun before being shot and taken into custody by an NYPD officer. 

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According to a criminal complaint, Saipov told investigators that he planned the attack throughout the course of a year and chose to execute it on Halloween due to the volume of people that would be on the streets. 

“He planned to use the truck to hit pedestrians in the area the attack took place and then proceed to the Brooklyn Bridge to continue to strike pedestrians.”

The criminal complaint also revealed that Saipov told investigators ISIS inspired his attack, and he chose to use a truck as a means of “inflicting maximum damage against civilians.”

Prosecutors stated that Saipov initially wanted to display ISIS flags on the truck during the attack, but decided not to as a means of avoiding attention. 

The complaint also said that investigators found around 90 videos and 3,800 pictures of ISIS-related propaganda on his cell phone, including graphic videos of ISIS members killing “prisoners, beheadings, and instructions for how to make a homemade improvised explosive device.

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Investigators also cited in the complaint that Saipov asked to hang an ISIS flag in his hospital room after being shot and captured, and that he said he “felt good about what he had done.”

According to officials, Saipov initially came to the US in 2010, moving from Uzbekistan to New Jersey with his wife and three children, and drove for Uber. He entered into the US on a diversity immigrant visa, which “allows people from countries with low recent immigration to apply for a visa and green card,” according to the Department of Homeland Security. 

Police have stated that of the eight people killed in the attack, five were from Argentina, two were Americans, and one was from Belgium. The Argentinians were in a group of people celebrating their 30-year high school reunion. 

Reported by CNN, “Argentina’s Foreign Affairs Ministry identified the group as Hernán Diego Mendoza, Diego Enrique Angelini, Alejandro Damián Pagnucco, Ariel Erlij and Hernán Ferruchi.

Nicholas Cleves, 23, from New York, and Darren Drake, 32, from New Milford, New Jersey, were the two Americans killed. Ann-Laure Decadt, a 31-year-old Belgian woman, was also among those killed, according to a statement from her husband, Alexander Naessens.”

hurricaine

Hurricane Ian Barrels Toward South Carolina, Leaving Destruction in Its Wake

After pummeling Florida, Hurricane Ian has its sights set on South Carolina. The death toll from Ian, which made landfall as a category four hurricane in Florida, has now risen to 21. Authorities still have to confirm that the deaths were related to the storm.

Ian downgraded to a tropical storm before strengthening into a category one hurricane on its trajectory toward South Carolina. Meteorologists expect Ian to make landfall again in South Carolina today before moving northeast toward North Carolina and Southwestern Virginia Friday night through Saturday morning. It will be the first hurricane to hit South Carolina since Hurricane Matthew in 2016.

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Florida is still assessing the damage of Hurricane Ian, mostly from flooding. Early estimates say that the damage could cost up to $40 billion. Florida’s former emergency management chief told NYTimes, “Fort Myers Beach and Sanibel Island look like they will need to be 80% rebuilt.” Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said it would be a yearslong recovery.

President Joe Biden said it could prove to be the deadliest hurricane in Florida’s history. Over two and a half million residents who were in the hurricane’s path are without power. Many are left with uninhabitable homes or do not have access to water, such as in Lee County, where a water main line broke.

“My message to the people of Florida and to the country in times like this: America comes together. We’re gonna pull together as one team, as one America. First thing this morning as I talked to Gov. DeSantis and again offered the fullest federal support.”

Kevin Guthrie, director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management, said that Floridians affected by Ian need to rely on their own supplies for food and water for the next day or so. The government advises residents to save enough food and water for seven days before a significant storm. From days 3 to 5 after the storm, the National Guard and local community distribution will serve water and dry food. Hot food distribution will follow shortly after.

Governor DeSantis said 700 rescues had been conducted so far by air. Before the storm hit, the state government asked residents planning to shelter in place to fill out a survey to allow officials to have demographic information.

“Some of the damage was almost indescribable. I would say the most significant damage that I saw was on Fort Myers Beach. Some of the homes were wiped out, some of it was just concrete slabs.”

In 2013, during his time in the House of Representatives, DeSantis was against federal aid for the New York region after the damage of Hurricane Sandy. Now, he is asking for governmental assistance to help his state. He told Tucker Carlson, “when people are fighting for their lives, when their whole livelihood is at stake, when they’ve lost everything — if you can’t put politics aside for that, then you’re just not going to be able to.”

At the time, DeSantis and Ted Yoho were the only House members to oppose the assistance package for Hurricane Sandy.

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President Biden said that the government would provide uninsured people in Florida an assistance of $37,900 for home repairs and another $37,900 for property loss. In Thursday’s speech, President Biden thanked the Federal Emergency Management Agency for their prompt response.

“I’ve seen you in action all across the country from the West Coast of the Northwest and the Northeast, down in Louisiana, all across this country. And just in the last two weeks, you’ve been working 24/7. No matter what, when emergencies happen, FEMA is always there. You deserve the nation’s gratitude and full support.”

South Carolina is already feeling the effects of Hurricane Ian, with 10,000 residents without power. In anticipation of Ian’s arrival, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia declared a state of emergency. The National Weather Service says Hurricane Ian will likely not strengthen beyond a category one hurricane as it approaches South Carolina, sustaining wind speeds of 85 mph.

congress

House Passes Election Bill in Response to Jan. 6 Insurrection

The House of Representatives voted to reform the 135-year-old Electoral Count Act Wednesday. The legislative overhaul is to prevent events like the Jan. 6 insurrection from happening again.

The bill is the first legislative step taken by congress to address the assault on the Capitol in January 2020, with the House voting 229 to 203 in its favor. However, it is unlikely that the bill will pass in the Senate. House members mostly voted along party lines, with only nine Republicans supporting the bill.

The original Electoral Count Act was implemented to set deadlines for states to certify presidential election results, standardize the procedure to send electors to the Capitol, name the vice president as the overseer of the vote count, and create a process for lawmakers to challenge election results.

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Former President Donald Trump tried to use the Electoral Count Act to overturn his defeat in the 2020 election.

The Senate drafted its own bipartisan bill in July, sponsored by 10 GOP senators—the number needed to overcome any potential Senate filibuster. However, it is unclear if all Democrats will vote in favor of the legislation.

Both bills are similar in changing the number of lawmakers needed to object to electoral results procedurally. In the House’s bill, one-third of each chamber needs to object. In the Senate’s bill, only one-fifth need to object. Both restrictions are significantly more stringent than the original act’s, which only required one objector in each chamber.

The House bill also states that the president of the Senate, traditionally held by the vice president of the United States, will be “ministerial.”

“Except with respect to the procedures described in this section, the presiding officer shall not have any power to determine or otherwise resolve disputes concerning the proper list of electors for a State, the validity of electors for a State, or the votes of electors of a State.”

The bill also states that the vice president “shall not order any delay in counting or preside over any period of delay in counting electoral votes.” The Senate bill similarly states that the vice president “shall have no power to solely determine, accept, reject or otherwise adjudicate or resolve disputes over the proper list of electors, the validity of electors, or the votes of electors.”

The Senate bill included provisions related to presidential transition, while the House bill did not. The House bill also addresses “when states could declare a ‘failed election’ and substitute electors approved by voters.”

Democrats believe several issues will be on the ballot for voters in November. Protecting the transition of presidential power and abortion rights may rally more voters to support their party. It is becoming easier for Democrats to associate the GOP with the violent events of Jan. 6 in public spaces, given their dissatisfaction with the bill and continued support for the last administration. The GOP is focusing more on inflation and economic policy as driving motivators to bring voters to the poll.

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By and large, Republicans still do not support election reform legislation because many party members still follow Trump’s election narrative. After the insurrection, Republicans backed his election lies and opposed the creation of the Jan. 6 select committee and bipartisan commission proposal.

Prominent Republicans, like Representative Liz Cheney, rejected their party’s support of Trump. Cheney eventually became vice chair of the Jan. 6 committee. Republicans were especially reluctant to support the bill because she co-sponsored it.

When asked about Republican lack of support for the bill, Representative Liz Cheney told reporters about the importance of this legislation.

“Protecting future elections is something that we ought to all be able to agree upon, regardless of party.”

 

gun control

Visa, Mastercard, AmEx To Categorize Gun Purchases Separately

Visa, Mastercard, and American Express will now categorize gun shop purchases separately. The change will help track any suspicious gun sale surge that may predate a mass shooting.

Banks use merchant category codes for purchases made by account holders, including recurring expenses such as groceries, dining and retail. Until Friday, gun purchases were considered “general merchandise.”

The IRS mandated the classification system in 2004 for tax reporting. Banks use these codes to flag potentially fraudulent activity. Merchants with high rates of disputes and fraud are given high-risk merchant codes. These merchants have to pay higher interchange fees. Banks also use these codes for credit card rewards and benefits.

Amalgamated Bank CEO Priscilla Sims Brown expressed support for this new change citing that “there are merchant codes for the hair salon and the shoeshine place and every other retailer; there’s no merchant code for gun stores.”

 “If we did have a merchant code for gun stores, we could detect patterns that would indicate that there had been something unusual going on.”

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The change followed the International Organization for Standardization’s decision to approve a gun purchase merchant code. The IOS is an amalgamation of 167 countries’ representatives that develop international standards for technical and non-technical fields. Its headquarters are in Geneva, Switzerland.

The new protocol is a significant win for gun control advocates, especially since Visa is the world’s largest payment processor. Mass shooters often use credit or debit cards to purchase weapons. The perpetrator of the Pulse Nightclub mass shooting that killed 49 people purchased guns worth $26,000 via credit card.

Mastercard provided a statement to Business Insider outlining its reasoning for implementing the change.

“We understand and appreciate the significant policy imperative in reducing gun violence and see the recent bipartisan action in Congress as a positive step. We believe it is that type of effort that will meaningfully address the tragic gun violence facing the country.”

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The National Rifle Association believes the move is “nothing more than a capitulation to anti-gun politicians and activists eroding the rights of law-abiding Americans one transaction at a time.”

Gun rights advocates argue that this measure would flag purchases that are not guns, such as accessories and gun safes at gun stores.

The gun control advocacy nonprofit Everytown found that there have been 279 mass shootings in the U.S. since 2009. There were 27 school shootings in 2022 alone. According to The Marshall Project, the U.S. had more mass shootings in the past five years than in any half-decade back to 1966.

classroom

Los Angeles School District Hit by Ransomware Attack

A cyberattack targeting the Los Angeles Unified School District caused a significant system outage in the country’s second-largest school district over Labor Day weekend.

The attack disrupted technology used for lessons and attendance and barred students and staff from accessing their emails. Though the attackers used ransomware software for the breach, the school district has yet to receive any monetary demands.

The district confirmed in a statement Monday that the FBI and Department of Homeland Security are assisting local law enforcement in investigating the incident.

“Los Angeles Unified detected unusual activity in its Information Technology systems over the weekend, which after initial review, can be confirmed as an external cyberattack on our Information Technology assets. Since the identification of the incident, which is likely criminal in nature, we continue to assess the situation with law enforcement agencies.”

Authorities believe the attack may have originated internationally and identified three possible countries they have not released to the public.

Ransomware attacks are on the rise in the educational sector. The Los Angeles breach was the 50th cyberattack on educational institutions this year. The migration of school systems to virtual classrooms during the pandemic led to increasingly vulnerable cyberinfrastructures.

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Many schools are underfunded and lack the resources to retain adequate IT staff. Attacks are often planned during holidays when IT security staff is likely to be even sparser. The ideal timeline is often at the beginning of the school year when students return to school, and schools are more likely to pay demands to avoid problems that a catastrophic shutdown could cause.

The hackers did not take any Social Security or medical information and instead targeted systems containing information about private-sector contractor payments. However, the widescale breach points to the continued penetrability of schools’ cyberinfrastructures.

In January, a ransomware extortion attack on the biggest school district in Albuquerque, New Mexico, caused schools to shut down for two days. In May, a data breach in the Chicago Public School system exposed four years’ worth of records of half a million students and 60,000 employees.

One attendance counselor told the LA Times how the shutdown impacted the school’s ability to check on students.

“We do have paper attendance we will be collecting, but I would usually call home or go on home visits to find out students’ whereabouts. Unfortunately, with not having access to their information, I will not be able to find out where those students are. As it is, after the pandemic, we have been working hard to find students.”

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The district implemented a response protocol to avoid immediate widescale impact and to prevent future attacks. The district plans to invest in new IT security technology, hire personnel skilled in technology management, and train employees in cybersecurity responsibility.

Because the attack was detected Saturday, Students could return to class Tuesday morning. Students and teachers had to reset their passwords but could resume their usual schedules.

 

loan

President Biden Announces New Student-Loan Forgiveness Plan To Help Millions

President Biden’s new student-loan plan will help relieve millions of Americans from debt. 

According to an article from The Wall Street Journal, the President’s new plan will eliminate up to $10,000 in federal-loan debt from those whose annual incomes are under $125,000 or for couples who earn less than $250,000 combined. 

“In keeping with my campaign promise, my Administration is announcing a plan to give working and middle class families breathing room as they prepare to resume federal student loan payments in January 2023,” President Biden tweeted.

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Some of the borrowers are also going to be eligible for total forgiveness up to $20,000 if they additionally received Pell Grants. These are a form of federal financial aid that would be awarded to students who live in low-income households.

The plan is expected to benefit the majority of the more than 43 million people in the U.S. who hold a total of $1.6 trillion in student-loan debt” 

President Biden also announced that he will be extending the pandemic-era student-loan pause payments and interests throughout the end of the year. The Trump administration first gave Americans the option to suspend their loans and soon after, Congress made it automatic. 

The current pause was set to end on Aug. 31, but with the President’s recent plan, it was the closest the administration has come to hitting the end of the freeze extension.

This pause has been instated since March 2020 and has been continuously extended since. 

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York believes that this continuous pause helped Americans save nearly $200 billion in payments. 

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People who are eligible for this new plan don’t need to take action right away in order to receive the debt relief. 

“It’s a very complicated process and it’s going to take months to effectuate,” said Scott Buchanan, director of Student Loan Servicing Alliance. “Don’t do anything until you see something happen to your account.” 

The new plan was in fact narrower than what he initially proposed when he was campaigning during the 2020 election. 

“He’ll get a lot of credit for following through on something that he was committed to,” said Celinda Lake, a Democratic pollster.

Many people who work in the public service were also welcomed to some relief when there were temporary changes made to the U.S. Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. Due to the changes, it helped more than 113,000 people receive student debt relief and have a total of $6.8 billion in forgiveness. 

trump

Donald Trump Pleads The Fifth, Won’t Answer New York Attorney General’s Questions

In a statement, former President Donald Trump invoked the Fifth Amendment and will not answer any questions under oath in New York Attorney General Letitia James’ civil investigation.

“I once asked, ‘If you’re innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?’ Now I know the answer to that question,” Trump explained.

“When your family, your company, and all the people in your orbit have become the targets of an unfounded politically motivated Witch Hunt supported by lawyers, prosecutors and the Fake News Media, you have no choice.”

Trump was seen leaving Trump Tower in New York City Wednesday morning, with his motorcade arriving at the attorney general’s office shortly after. Pleading the fifth means that Trump will not have to give a testimony in his own case, one that could be potentially damning.

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The decision comes days after Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence was raided by the FBI, which he referenced. “If there was any question in my mind, the raid of my home, Mar-a-Lago… wiped out any uncertainty,” the statement read.

Trump’s lengthy statement directed numerous attacks on James, who he claimed has made a career of “maliciously attacking me and my business.”  “James now realizes I built a great company with tremendous value, and her case is a ‘Scam,'” Trump said. “Which is why for years, they haven’t been able to file a single charge.”

“Criminals are running rampant, shooting, slashing, and hurting people on the sidewalks of New York, while she and her Office spend a big percentage of their time and money on their ‘Trump’ vendatta.”

James’ civil investigation sprouts from claims that the Trump Organization misstated the value of assets like skyscrapers and golf courses in order to get better insurance and loan rates. Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg was charged with tax fraud last summer, to which he pleaded not guilty.

In May, James’ office stated the investigation was nearing its end, and that they had collected a substantial amount of evidence – enough to support a lawsuit against Trump, his company, or both parties.

Trump has made numerous attempts to impede the investigation, from refusing to comply with OAG subpoenas to issuing now-dismissed lawsuits. “No one in this country can pick and choose how the law applies to them, and Donald Trump is no exception,” James said.

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Trump’s children, Donald Jr., Ivanka, and Eric have both previously testified, with Eric invoking the Fifth more than 500 times during his 2020 deposition. Both Donald Jr. and Ivanka have testified recently, though it’s unknown whether either invoked the Fifth.

Meanwhile, it remains to be seen whether the Mar-a-Lago probe — which focused on whether Trump took any classified records from his time in the White House — is a predecessor to criminal charges. What specific documents agents were looking for is unknown.

However, Mar-a-Lago isn’t a new hotspot for legal trouble for Trump. The National Archives and Records Administration had previously confirmed to the Department of Justice in February that classified information had been found in 15 boxes at Trump’s Florida home.

flag

Following Trip, Nancy Pelosi Offers Support To Taiwan Despite Threats, Criticism

Following a trip to Taiwan that made her the first U.S. Speaker to visit the country in more than 25 years, Nancy Pelosi voiced her and her delegation’s continued support despite the trip heightening tensions between China and the U.S.

While Pelosi didn’t state the U.S. would defend Taiwan militarily, it’s “committed to the security of Taiwan, in order to have Taiwan be able to most effectively defend themselves.” Pelosi also brushed off threats from Beijing, explaining they will not stand in the way of people visiting the self-governing nation.

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Pelosi arrived in Taiwan’s capital of Taipei late Tuesday and was greeted by Taiwan’s foreign minister, amongst other Taiwan and American officials. Among Pelosi’s delegation include Reps. Gregory Meeks, Andy Kim, Mark Takano, and Raja Krishnamoorthi.

Meeting with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, Pelosi explained America’s solidarity with Taiwain is more important than ever as the world faces a choice “between democracy and autocracy.”

“America’s determination to preserve democracy, here in Taiwan and around the world, remains ironclad.”

While members of Congress have visited Taiwan in recent years, Pelosi’s high standing in the government has added further fuel to a conflict centered around China’s belief it controls Taiwan as its territory while discouraging Taiwanese foreign relations with other countries.

Pelosi went deeper into China’s grip on Tawainese global relations. “Sadly, Taiwan has been prevented from participating in global meetings, most recently the World Health Organization, because of objections by the Chinese Communist Party,” she stated.

In response to Pelosi’s visit, China announced military exercises around the island and in Taiwan waters that sit 12 miles from the shore. Not only will they disrupt supply and airplane routes, but some of those exercises are also set to include live fire, which experts explained can sometimes be seen as an act of war.

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The People’s Liberation Army air force flew 21 airplanes toward Taiwan the night of Pelosi’s arrival, while an additional 27 crafts were flown Wednesday night. “Facing deliberately heightened military threats, Taiwan will not back down,” Tsai stated in regards to Bejing’s intimidation.

“We will firmly uphold our nation’s sovereignty and continue to hold the line of defense for democracy.”

Despite Pelosi’s expressed commitment, the U.S. will continue to abide by the long-standing “one-China policy,” which maintains that Taiwan is a part of China. However, the policy also allows unofficial relations with Taipei.

Though having cautioned against the notable visit, the Biden Administration stated Pelosi’s trip — and Tawainese comments — are consistent with U.S. policies, while China will now be watched carefully after Pelosi’s visit.

For the U.S., the China-Taiwan tensions are just one of several continuing global conflicts the country finds itself in the heart of. Russia’s defense ministry claimed the U.S. is “directly involved” in the Ukraine conflict due to American spies coordinating and approving Ukraine missile strikes.

Following stops at Singapore, Malaysia, and Taiwan, Pelosi then flew to a South Korean military base Wednesday before meeting with officials and leaders in Seoul. She plans to then visit Japan as part of her Indo-Pacific region trip that is focusing on the “mutual security, economic partnership and democratic governance” of the region.