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Statuesque Rev. Graham tribute comes to the Capitol, but shies away from the limelight

One perk of covering Congress is that you get to see the Capitol statues after hours.But not always at their best.Such was the case a week ago Friday. I cut through Statuary Hall of the Capitol around 6:30 pm, et, after my TV piece about a House hearing and public broadcasting aired. I was heading home.That’s where I encountered Billy Graham.Not the pastor, mind you.But a seven-foot bronze statue of Graham.BILLY GRAHAM STATUE SCHEDULED TO BE UNVEILED AT US CAPITOL NEXT WEEK: ‘GREAT HONOR’Graham was shrouded in plastic wrap from head to toe. A deep blue, padded blanked hugged Graham from his triceps to his shoelaces. You could just barely make out the countenance of Graham through the tight plastic. But his nose and a shock of hair jutted out. The contours of Graham’s face were visible. But almost as though there were no details there.Workers plopped the pedestal where Graham’s statue would later stand a few feet away. It featured Scripture, stamped into the base.”Jesus said to him, I am the way. The truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me,” read the Bible verse, John 14:6, and a simple, Christian cross.Capitol officials erected Graham’s statue at the edge of Statuary Hall, near a main passageway bound for the House chamber.SON OF REV. BILLY GRAHAM REFLECTS ON US CAPITOL STATUE HONORING FATHERThe workers would raise the statue, directly next to a resemblance of Marcus Whitman from Washington state. Whitman is adorned in buckskins. Like Graham, Whitman also clutches a Bible – but also saddlebags. Whitman is known for his work as a 19th Century doctor and missionary, guiding people from the east across the Oregon Trail. The Cayuse Indians killed Whitman near Walla Walla, Wash., after he tried to convert them to Christianity.Each state gets two statues in the Capitol collection. Graham’s statue is one of the two from North Carolina. It replaces one of the late North Carolina Gov. Charles Aycock (D) who had ties to racists.Lawmakers formally unveiled Graham’s statue in an elaborate ceremony about a week after I first spotted it.”This the main corridor through the Congress and the Capitol. Literally millions of people will walk by,” said House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., at the statue dedication. “I think it’s providential that it’s right here. I’m just saying I think it is the perfect placement.””I hope when Members Congress walk by his statue, they’ll reflect on the standards of faith, ethics and decency that he exemplified throughout his extraordinary life,” said Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C.But here’s the problem.Last Thursday night, I finished a live shot on progressive House staffers demonstrating about Israel and headed out the door around 6:30 pm. Again, workers toiled around the Graham statue. Workers hoisted the likeness of Graham from the base. It now stood in the middle of Statuary Hall. But Graham’s vestments were different. A wrap of cushioning swaddled the minister’s body. See-through plastic sheathed the rest of the statue – winding up from the knees and ensconcing the head. A thick tan, industrial belt held the plastic tight like a parcel ready to ship at UPS. For whatever reason, a brown piece of bent carboard protruded from the torso.REV. BILLY GRAHAM HONORED WITH STATUE UNVEILED AT US CAPITOLThe packaging cloak was so enveloping there was no way to tell that the outline of the figure was Graham.I presumed they were just adjusting the statue after the ceremony.By the next night – around 6:45 pm – I again got off the air and headed home. This time, I produced a TV piece about the raucous House Oversight Committee meeting and GOP efforts to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in contempt of Congress. I cut through Statuary Hall.Graham was nowhere to be seen.As fate would have it, Graham would not permanently occupy such a heavily, trafficked spot to the House chamber. Both Johnson and Tillis were wrong in their hopes that lawmakers might take note of Graham’s presence or Scripture as they walked to the House chamber for votes. It turns out that Graham’s residency in Statuary Hall was just temporary. He was only there for the ceremony.Workers had moved Graham downstairs to the spot where Aycock stood. This is the Crypt of the Capitol, directly below the Rotunda. Lawmakers don’t stroll by there as often. But visitors certainly circulate through the Crypt if they are part of a formal Capitol tour.Graham now stands on the north side of the Capitol, barely on the Senate side of the building. To Graham’s right is a statue of Roger Sherman of Connecticut. Sherman served as a Congressman and senator. But Sherman is best known for engineering what’s called the “Connecticut Compromise.” That’s where the Founders settled on a bicameral legislature. States would receive representatives, commensurate with their population. But each state would have equal representation in the Senate. To Graham’s immediate left is a passageway leading toward the Senate wing of the Capitol – but not the Senate chamber. Across the entryway is a statue of John C. Calhoun, representing South Carolina. Calhoun served in the House and was Vice President under Presidents John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson.Statues in the Capitol collection may have their feet cast in bronze. But a lot of statues have been on the move lately. The Capitol just dedicated a new statue from Arkansas two weeks ago: Daisy Bates. Bates was a civil rights leader and advisor to the Little Rock Nine. She succeeds Uriah Rose. Rose is known as a partner in Little Rock’s fabled Rose Law Firm. That’s where Hillary Clinton later became the firm’s first female partner. Deputy Clinton White House Counsel Vince Foster also worked there. His body was later found in Fort Marcy Park, near Washington. Officials and a bicameral Congressional investigation later ruled Foster’s death a suicide.Arkansas scores a second new statue in September: Johnny Cash. The country music legend will succeed late Arkansas Gov. James Clarke who was associated with white supremacy.ARKANSAS STATUES AT US CAPITOL TO BE REPLACED WITH CIVIL RIGHTS LEADER DAISY BATES AND SINGER JOHNNY CASHCash’s statue will go in the Capitol Visitor’s Center, the point of entry for most tourists to the Capitol. Cash is also the first musician in the Capitol collection. Bates statue is in Statuary Hall, directly across from civil rights icon Rosa Parks. Congress greenlighted the Parks statue. Not a state. Bates statue stands directly next to Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederacy, and one of two statues from Mississippi.They’ve swapped out 17 of the Capitol’s 100 statues since 2000.”My father would be a little uncomfortable with this being here. Because he would want the focus to be on the One that he preached,” said Franklin Graham, Graham’s son at the dedication ceremony.So Graham is the rookie statue in the Capitol collection. But only until September.But come late summer or early fall, I suspect I’ll depart the Capitol around 6:30. Perhaps after a live report about Congress struggling to avert a government shutdown later that month. I’ll come across a resemblance of Johnny Cash, ready for dedication.And at that hour on a Friday night, Cash won’t be the “Man in Black.”He’ll probably be encased in a layer of thick, blue padding. Heavy belts will secure a plastic exoskeleton around Cash’s mid-section. But in a few days, Cash will stand tall. Ready to serenade the throngs of tourists who visit the U.S. Capitol.
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Bashing governor in publicly funded campaign ads is OK in Connecticut legislative races, court rules

Connecticut’s Supreme Court on Monday ruled that state elections officials violated the constitutional free speech rights of two Republicans running for the state legislature when it fined them thousands of dollars for criticizing the Democratic governor in ads paid for by their publicly funded campaigns in 2014.In a 5-0 decision, the justices overturned the $5,000 civil fine against now-Sen. Rob Sampson and the $2,000 penalty against former Sen. Joe Markley imposed by the State Elections Enforcement Commission — a ruling their lawyer said could have influence in other states.CONNECTICUT BECOMES ONE OF LAST STATES TO ALLOW IN-PERSON EARLY VOTINGThe commission had determined that Sampson and Markley violated the rules of the state’s Citizens’ Election Program, which provides public funds to campaigns for statewide office and the legislature, when they sent out campaign materials touting how they would fight what they called the bad policies of then-Gov. Dannel Malloy.While the program bars a candidate from spending their public funds on the campaigns of others not in their race, the Supreme Court said the commission went too far when it interpreted the law to mean Sampson and Markley couldn’t criticize Malloy, who was running for reelection.”None of the communications at issue in this appeal could reasonably be construed as anything more than a rhetorical device intended to communicate the merits of the plaintiffs’ candidacies as bulwarks against the policies endorsed by Governor Malloy and the Democratic Party,” Chief Justice Richard Robinson wrote in the opinion.Robinson added the commission “imposed an unconstitutional condition in violation of the first amendment to the extent that it penalized the mention of Governor Malloy’s name in a manner that was not the functional equivalent of speech squarely directed at his reelection campaign.”The ruling cited several decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court and other courts on what limits can be placed on free speech in publicly funded campaigns. Thirteen states provide some form of public funding to candidates for state offices, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.Charles “Chip” Miller, a senior attorney at the Institute for Free Speech who represented to the two lawmakers, said the Connecticut case appears to be the first of its kind and could have ramifications in other states if they seek outside guidance on the issue.”To the extent that you can tie someone to an opposing candidate, you know, I think is extremely relevant now,” he said.”You can talk about somebody being a Trump supporter, or a Biden supporter, be it yourself or someone else. Someone can run and they could say, ‘Hey, I’m a Sanders Democrat,’ and that means something. Right?” he said, referring to U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont who caucuses with the Democrats.Other states that provide public funding for state campaigns, such as Arizona and New York, limit use of the money to the candidate’s own campaign. New York has specific language that bans spending that money to support another candidate.The commission was reviewing the decision and consulting with the Attorney General’s Office to determine what to do next, said Michael J. Brandi, executive director and general counsel at Connecticut’s Elections Enforcement Commission.”As the court wrote, it’s an issue of first impression and a notoriously tricky application of the law,” he said in a statement. “Connecticut is in the vanguard of campaign finance reform, so that’s to be expected.”The state attorney general’s office, which represented the commission in the case, said it was reviewing the court ruling before deciding its next steps.Markley, of Southington, won reelection as a senator in 2014 and left the legislature in 2019 after losing his bid for lieutenant governor. He said the commission’s interpretation of the law was “ludicrous” and he had believed it would be overturned by the courts.”I think that what they were trying to do here in Connecticut was sufficiently outrageous that I doubt that such actions have even been contemplated in other states, because who would push for bans on what I think is such reasonable political communication?” he said.Sampson, from Wolcott, won reelection to the House in 2014 and won the Senate seat vacated by Markley four years later. He said he felt “vindicated” by the court’s unanimous decision and pleased that future candidates can now exercise their free speech rights.”In our case, it should have been perfectly reasonable for me to inform my constituents — and voters — that I did not support the policies of the former governor,” Sampson said in a statement posted on social media.During the 2014 campaign, Sampson and Markley sent out postcards and flyers touting their fiscally conservative positions and saying they were key players in the legislature in fighting what they called Malloy’s “reckless” tax and spending policies. That year, Markley received about $57,000 in public funds for his campaign and Sampson got about $28,000.Sampson’s Democratic opponent that year, John Mazurek, filed a complaint with the commission over the two Republicans’ campaign materials and their references to Malloy.In 2018, the commission found that Sampson and Markley had violated the public campaign funding law by attacking Malloy, saying they were essentially spending the public funds on another 2014 campaign — Republican Tom Foley’s challenge against Malloy, who won reelection and later did not seek another term in 2018.Sampson and Markley appealed to Superior Court, which upheld the commission’s decision in 2022. Judge Joseph Shortall said that Sampson and Markley did not prove that their constitutional rights were violated by the commission, and that they had voluntarily agreed to accept public funding for their campaigns and the conditions that came along with the money.They next appealed to the Supreme Court, which overturned the lower court on Monday.
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Sen. Joe Manchin tells GOP colleagues: ‘When you get a chance to secure the border, take it’

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., on Monday had some words for his Republican colleagues who may be on the fence about voting on another border bill later this week.Asked whether he would vote on a second attempt at passing a border bill, Schumer said he would always vote to secure the border “better than what it is today.” “I would encourage my Republicans friends to — no matter what games you think that might be being played — when you get a chance to secure the border, take it. Take it because we need it that bad,” Schumer said. GOP SENATE CANDIDATE IN CRUCIAL STATE RIPS SCHUMER’S IMMIGRATION PUSH AFTER BORDER TRIP: ‘HEIGHT OF CYNICISM’His comments come a day after Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., told his colleagues that the Senate will once again vote on a bipartisan border security bill this week. An effort in February collapsed after Republicans withdrew their support at the behest of former President Donald Trump. VULNERABLE HOUSE DEM FLIP-FLOPS ON IMMIGRATION AFTER DISMISSING BORDER WALL AS ‘SILLY’The bill failed a test vote in February, by a vote of 49-50, short of the 60 votes needed to proceed. Schumer blamed Republicans for acquiescing to the GOP frontrunner in the presidential race. Republicans, meanwhile, objected to tying the bill to U.S. foreign aid for Ukraine and Israel. Schumer said the bill to be voted on this week would stand alone.  Republicans in both chambers of Congress have signaled they will band together to block any hope of a Democrat-backed border bill getting to the finish line. Record numbers of migrants have been caught crossing the U.S.-Mexico border since President Biden took office in 2021, and border security has become one of the leading issues in the presidential campaign.Fox News Digital’s Adam Shaw and Reuters contributed to this report.
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Primary ballots give Montana voters a chance to re-think their local government structures

Montana primary ballots up for consideration this year will offer voters a unique opportunity to audit the structures and powers of their city and county governments.This local government review appears as a “study commission question” toward the end of ballot forms. Most urban voters will see two entries — one for city and one for county governments.JUSTICE KAGAN BLOCKS EFFORT TO STOP MONTANA FROM MAILING BALLOTS TO ALL VOTERSSet forth in the Montana Constitution, this voter-initiated review is offered every 10 years in all 56 counties and 127 incorporated municipalities. Any jurisdiction where voters approve the review in the June 4 primary election will kick off a two-year process examining the ways that cities and counties define their governments.Reviews focus on legislative powers, which are held by a city council, county board of commissioners or similar elected group. Also up for review are executive branch functions, which includes hiring staff and running daily operations of the city or county. Perhaps most importantly, reviews can shift the balance of power between the two branches.”This is all an experiment,” said Dan Clark, director of the Local Government Center at Montana State University. “There’s no right or wrong. If this isn’t working as well as they’d like it to, what might work better? And let’s try it.”A review can lead to small changes, like setting new terms for elected officials or designating ward-by-ward versus at-large representation. It can also restructure the top tier of the government operation, laid out in state statute as “forms.”Variations of those forms include a commission-executive, in which a city council and mayor serve legislative and executive functions, respectively. An alternative is the commission-manager form, in which the elected legislative body appoints a city manager to handle executive functions. A charter form of government is also an option, giving governments more latitude to define the details and duties of the government and its staff.There is also a town meeting form, which is only available to towns with less than 2,000 people. The residents of voting age make up the legislative branch, and a quorum is reached if 10 percent of that population attends a meeting. Clark said that Pinesdale, with fewer than 1,000 residents in the Bitterroot Valley, operates this way.If voters approve a review for a particular government on June 4, a study commission will be elected this November to review potential changes to local governance and suggest solutions. Residents who are eligible to hold elected office in their jurisdiction can file to join the commission. After nearly two years of study, the commission suggests changes, and voters have the chance to accept or reject the commission’s proposals.The process is funded by a property tax levy, usually collecting an amount in the low six figures. Local governments were required to approve a suggested funding level earlier this year. Any unused funds return to the government’s general fund.Historically, Montana cities and counties going through change, such as population growth, are more likely to undergo a local government review as their needs evolve.”Some communities will be content with their form of government. They haven’t experienced a lot of change,” Clark said. “Other communities might feel the need to make that change. There’s growth. They’re getting bigger, more complex, and maybe looking to different structures that might meet the challenges they might make into the future.”One recent example came out of a review that Bozeman voters approved in 2004. After the two-year study, voters approved a city charter in 2006 that created the city charter, formalized neighborhood councils, and approved the direct election of the mayor. Another proposal that came out of this review, a suggestion to bring the number of City Commission members to seven, failed in a subsequent vote in 2010.This year, Bozeman is the site of some organizing in support of a city government review. An effort by a group called Represent Bozeman has the support of former Mayor Carson Taylor, as well as current Deputy Mayor Joey Morrison. In a public forum earlier this week, Morrison told an audience that he supports a change in the pathway to the mayor’s office, according to the Bozeman Daily Chronicle. The current city charter has elected mayors to serve two years as deputy before taking over the mayoral position. Morrison is currently in his first year of that process after being elected in 2023.Represent Bozeman is led by Bozeman Tenants United, which supported Morrison’s mayoral bid.Organizer Emily LaShelle said the group supports a vote in favor of local government review with a few goals. The first is ward elections and representation for city commission members rather than at-large positions. She said the group hears from renters in northeast Bozeman who don’t feel seen by commissioners who often come from the more affluent neighborhoods.”In a lot of ways, the reason the tenants union took this on is that so many of the working-class Bozemanites feel deeply unrepresented by the local government,” she said.Represent Bozeman also supports full-time City Commission positions, which she said would support more working-class representation.LaShelle said the group also wants to shift the power dynamics between elected officials and appointed city staff. This stems in part from the troubled exit of former City Manager Jeff Mihelich, who accepted severance earlier this year after a leaked video showed him making disparaging comments about commissioners and their work.Bozeman’s city charter directs city staff to carry out much of the legislation that comes from the City Commission, which LaShelle said leaves too little room for elected officials to carry out their work and creates a barrier against public accountability.”It makes it harder for regular people to make change,” she said. “There are so many incredible groups in Bozeman to make change. But the current system is outdated and makes it really hard for the people in Bozeman for real democracy to happen.”A similar effort pushing for local government review is taking place in Billings. David Goodridge is a commercial Realtor and broker who said he learned about the mechanism after years of frustration about the pace of action at the Billings City Council.Goodridge voted against the measure in 2014. Back then, he said, he looked at the prospect of an additional, yearslong government commission that cost six figures and didn’t like the idea. He says now that he voted against the very instrument that could bring the change he wanted to see at the council.”My goal for the last eight months has been to try, from a grassroots position, to educate as many people as I can to not be afraid of this ballot item,” Goodridge said. “It’s a good thing.”This time around, his effort is called “Get To Yes.” The basic idea is to bring awareness to this down-ballot item and advocate for a vote to get the process started.Like LaShelle, Goodridge feels that Billings’ City Council has ceded too much power to appointed staff.”The question I ask a lot of people in presentations is: who do you think is applying vision to the community? Elected leaders or the bureaucracy?” Goodridge said.He also wants to see the mayor as a full-time position in Montana’s largest city and wants resources for council members to devote more time to their public roles.”An elected person only has whatever time they have available to them to dive in and understand a complex zone change, a complex staffing issue, an infrastructure problem,” he said. “If all the time they have is just what they have in volunteer time, 10 to 20 hours isn’t going to cut it.”Goodridge said he has received some monetary support from the Billings Association of Realtors and some in-kind donations for website development and marketing materials, though in total it amounts to less than $2,000. While he has a wish list for his preferred local government structure, his main goal is to secure voter approval for a review process on June 4.Clark, with MSU’s Local Government Center, said that the intent of the process is not to be a referendum on the actions or policies of elected officials. It’s more about how the government operates regardless of who holds office or staff positions.In Billings, Goodridge said he has been waiting 10 years to get this chance to rally voters behind a review.LaShelle hasn’t been waiting for another review since the 2004 study led to a brand new city charter. But she sees different needs for Bozeman 20 years later.”It’s changed a lot since then,” she said. “And I think maybe the city charter worked for that Bozeman, but it’s certainly not working now. I don’t think we can wait another 10 years.”
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Biden rejects ICC allegations against Israel: ‘What’s happening is not genocide’

President Biden on Monday said he rejects allegations by the International Criminal Court (ICC) against Israel’s conduct amid its war against Hamas as the ICC seeks to pursue arrest warrants for Israeli leaders and the top echelon of the terrorist group. Biden was speaking in the White House Rose Garden with Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff during a celebration for Jewish American Heritage Month when he addressed the ICC arrest warrant request for Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar, military commander Mohammed Deif, as well as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant for alleged war crimes during the ongoing conflict. “We reject the ICC’s application for arrest warrants against Israeli leaders,” Biden said. “Whatever these warrants may imply. There is no equivalence between Israel and Hamas. And it’s clear Israel wants to do all it can to ensure civilian protection.””But let me be clear,” he added. “Contrary to allegations against Israel made by the International Court of Justice, what’s happening is not genocide. We reject that. We’re going to always stand with Israel and the threats against their security.”ICC REQUESTS ARREST WARRANTS FOR NETANYAHU, HAMAS LEADERS OVER ‘WAR CRIMES’ Critics of Israel have accused its leaders of committing genocide against Palestinians living in the Hamas-governed Gaza Strip and failing to ensure the protection of innocent civilians during military operations. Hamas routinely embeds its terrorist fighters in civilian population centers and uses civilian structures to launch attacks, Israel has said. DEMOCRATS DIVIDED OVER ICC PROSECUTOR SEEKING ARREST WARRANTS The ICC has accused Hamas of a range of crimes, including hostage-taking, murder and crimes of sexual violence. Israel has also committed crimes, including “starvation as a method of warfare, murder, persecution and extermination,” said Amal Clooney, the wife of actor George Clooney, who advised ICC prosecutors in seeking the arrest warrants. Biden’s remarks came after weeks of anti-Israel protests on college campuses across the country. He also noted that antisemitism has increased since Israel was attacked on Oct. 7. “On our streets, our social media and college campuses,” he said. “It’s amazing it’s happening. It’s absolutely despicable. It’s wrong. And it must stop.”
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Arpaio verdict reportedly costing taxpayers some $314 million

Seven years after Joe Arpaio was ousted as sheriff of Arizona’s most populous county, taxpayers are still footing the bills from a racial profiling verdict over his signature immigration crackdowns – and those costs have been getting heavier since.The tab for the legal and compliance costs in overhauling the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office is expected to reach $314 million by mid-summer 2025, including $41 million approved Monday by county officials — the most expensive for Maricopa County taxpayers since the lawsuit was filed in 2007.Nearly 11 years ago, a federal judge concluded sheriff’s deputies had racially profiled Hispanics in Arpaio’s traffic patrols that targeted immigrants. Consequently, the judge ordered costly overhauls of the agency’s traffic patrol operations and, later, its internal affairs unit.ARIZONA AG CONFIRMS RUDY GIULIANI SERVED IN ELECTIONS CASE AMID FORMER TRUMP ASSOCIATE’S 80TH BIRTHDAY PARTYThe taxpayer spending is expected to continue until the sheriff’s office attains full compliance with the court-ordered changes for three straight years. Though progress has been made on some fronts, the agency hasn’t yet been deemed fully compliant.The money being spent on turning around the sheriff’s office looms large in law enforcement and political circles in Arizona.Earlier this year, the heavy compliance costs were cited by critics who said the city of Phoenix should resist entering a consent decree with the U.S. Justice Department, which is investigating the city’s police department. In recent weeks, the financial toll was brought up by immigrant rights advocates as they criticized a proposed ballot measure before the Arizona Legislature that would draw local police into immigration enforcement.Raul Piña, a longtime member of a community advisory board created to help improve trust in the sheriff’s office, has criticized the efforts by Arpaio and his immediate successor, Sheriff Paul Penzone, to comply with the court-ordered changes.But Piña said the agency might finally be turning the corner under the leadership of Penzone’s replacement, Sheriff Russ Skinner. While pointing out his comments shouldn’t be considered an endorsement of Skinner, Piña said he was impressed when seeing the current sheriff squarely acknowledge the agency’s failures at a community meeting.”For the first time that I’ve been involved, the sheriff finally said, ‘We own this, we have to fix this,’” said Piña.Skinner’s office didn’t respond Monday to a request for comment.The overwhelming majority of the spending goes toward hiring employees to help meet the court’s requirements and a separate staff working on the court’s behalf to monitor the sheriff office’s compliance with both overhauls.Arpaio led 20 of the large-scale patrols targeting immigrants from January 2008 through October 2011. Under Arpaio’s leadership, the agency continued immigration enforcement in smaller, more routine traffic patrols until spring 2013.That led to Arpaio’s conviction for criminal contempt of court for disobeying a judge’s 2011 order to stop the patrols. He was spared a possible jail sentence when his misdemeanor conviction was pardoned by then-President Donald Trump in 2017.Arpaio, who turns 92 next month and is running for mayor of the affluent suburb where he has long resided, said he has no regrets about launching immigration crackdowns.He blamed the judge’s ruling for the ongoing taxpayer costs and said Arizona’s 2005 immigrant smuggling ban gave him authority to conduct the patrols. “I did what I was supposed to do,” Arpaio said.Around the time that the anti-smuggling law was passed, advocates for tougher immigration enforcement said cracking down on the problem would help reduce the financial losses that Arizona suffers from its porous border with Mexico.In an interview Wednesday, Arpaio dodged a question about whether compliance costs from the profiling case would exceed any savings that the public might have gained from such enforcement efforts. Instead, he focused on the influx of people crossing the U.S.-Mexico border in recent years.”And you’re complaining about me – that I cost taxpayers money?” Arpaio said. “Start adding up what’s going on today.”Traffic-stop studies conducted since the profiling verdict show deputies often treat drivers who are Hispanic and Black differently than other drivers, though the reports stop short of saying Latinos were still being profiled.While the profiling case focused on the agency’s traffic patrols, the judge presiding over the lawsuit later ordered changes to the sheriff’s internal affairs operation, which critics alleged was biased in its decision-making under Arpaio and shielded sheriff’s officials from accountability.Penzone, who served as sheriff from 2017 until his resignation effective in January, was found in civil contempt of court in November 2022 for taking too long to close internal affairs investigations. The internal affairs unit has faced criticism for having a crushing backlog of open cases. Over the last year, the backlog has been reduced from about 1,900 to 1,600 cases.The agency’s compliance percentages are near or at 100% on two of the three court orders issued in the case. But its scores on the third court order, issued in November 2022, are more modest.
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Biden’s DOJ threatens another GOP state with lawsuit over anti-illegal immigration efforts

The Biden administration is threatening to sue yet another Republican-led state over its efforts to crack down on illegal immigration — after suing two other states over their respective anti-illegal immigration bills.The Department of Justice has written to Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt and Attorney General Gentner Drummond about HB 4156 — legislation that makes it a state crime to be in the state illegally and gives local law enforcement the ability to arrest illegal immigrants, and require them to leave the state within 72 hours following conviction or release from custody.The law was signed by Stitt this month and is due to go into force on July 1. It is similar to laws passed and signed into law in Iowa and Texas — and those laws have subsequently both been hit by lawsuits from the DOJ, which argues that it infringes on federal authority over immigration law and enforcement. The Texas law is currently on hold amid the ongoing lawsuit there.ANOTHER RED STATE MOVES A STEP CLOSER TO ENACTING TEXAS-STYLE ANTI-ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION BILL”HB 4156 is preempted by federal law and violates the United States Constitution,” Principal Deputy Assistant AG Brian Boynton said in the letter to Oklahoma officials. “Indeed, the Oklahoma law is similar to Texas’s Senate Bill 4, which has been preliminarily enjoined.”He argued that Congress has implemented a “comprehensive scheme governing noncitizens’ entry and reentry into the United States, including penalties for unlawful entry and reentry.””HB 4156, however, seeks to create a separate state immigration scheme by imposing state criminal penalties for violating the federal prohibitions on unlawful entry and reentry. HB 4156 therefore intrudes into a field that is occupied by the federal government and is preempted,” he said.”The United States intends to file suit to enjoin the enforcement of HB 4156 unless Oklahoma agrees to refrain from enforcing the law. The United States is committed to the processing of noncitizens consistent with the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). HB 4156 is contrary to that goal,” he said.Texas passed its own law making illegal immigration a crime last year, and other states including Iowa and Oklahoma have since followed this year. A measure in Arizona was vetoed by the governor, and there are now efforts to get the measure on the ballot in November.FORMER TOP ICE OFFICIAL SIDES WITH TEXAS GOV. ABBOTT OVER BIDEN IN ONGOING BORDER BATTLEOklahoma responded to the DOJ threat days later, with AG Drummond promising to “vigorously defend” the law if the administration sues, while blaming the Biden administration for the crisis at the southern border.”Your misguided demands ignore that Oklahoma has not only the sovereign right, but also the solemn legal obligation, to protect its own borders and its own citizens,” Drummond said.”Acquiescence to this intolerable situation is not in my state’s DNA; neither is surrender,” he said. “As such, HB 4156 represents a meaningful, common-sense, and legally permissible step toward addressing and correcting that which the Biden Administration has willfully refused to enforce the last 3.5 years.”CLICK HERE FOR MORE COVERAGE OF THE BORDER SECURITY CRISISMeanwhile, other states may soon have their own versions of the law. In addition to the Arizona ballot measure, lawmakers in Louisiana are moving forward with legislation similar to the Texas, Iowa and Oklahoma bills.There, the state’s attorney general has also pledged to protect the state if any lawsuit would follow.”We’re following the bill as it moves through the Legislature,” Lester Duhe, press secretary of Attorney General Liz Murrill told Fox News Digital. “The Attorney General is committed to protecting the people of Louisiana from the dangers of illegal immigration, caused by Joe Biden’s open border policies.”
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‘Satanic minds’: NAACP leader who gave Biden award invited notorious antisemite to his church multiple times

FIRST ON FOX: The NAACP leader who introduced President Biden in Detroit on Sunday night was previously slammed by the Anti-Defamation League for inviting notorious antisemite Louis Farrakhan to speak at his church where the controversial minister lashed out at Jewish people and referred to them as “satanic.”Rev. Wendell Anthony, President of the Detroit Branch of the NAACP, stood on stage with Biden in Detroit on Sunday night at the NAACP Detroit Branch’s 69th annual Fight for Freedom Fund Dinner, where the president gave a speech repeating his talking point about bringing people together and slammed former President Trump for being too divisive.Anthony, who presented Biden with a lifetime achievement award on Sunday night, has a long history of associations with Farrakhan, who leads the Nation of islam group, including being slammed by the Anti-Defamation League in 2013 for inviting the minister to speak at his church where he espoused antisemitic rhetoric.Farrakhan spoke at Anthony’s Detroit-based church, Fellowship Chapel, at least three times in 2005, 2013, and 2015. The Michigan Chronicle reported in 1994 that Anthony was a guest speaker at the Nation of Islam’s 64th annual “Saviour’s Day.”WHITE HOUSE VISITOR LOGS CONTRADICT BIDEN SPOKESMAN’S VOW TO BAN DC OFFICIAL WHO PRAISED NOTORIOUS ANTISEMITE”The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today expressed deep disappointment with the members of Detroit City Council and local clergy who met with and embraced the anti-Semitic and racist leader of the Nation of Islam, Louis Farrakhan, during his visit to the city last week,” the May 2013 press release stated. “During his visit to Detroit, Minister Farrakhan was invited by Rev. Wendell Anthony, President of the Detroit Branch of the NAACP, to address the Fellowship Chapel on May 17. His speech, which was attended by U.S. Rep. John Conyers and Detroit City Councilmember JoAnn Watson, among other prominent city leaders, invoked hateful anti-Semitic canards and open racism. Thus far, none of the leaders present for his remarks have publicly condemned Minister Farrakhan’s anti-Semitic rhetoric, and several have praised him.”The ADL statement alleges that during the speech, Farrakhan “spewed hateful anti-Semitic invective, referring to ‘Satanic Jews’ and the ‘Synagogue of Satan’ supposedly controlling major institutions.””He expressed his love for President Barack Obama, but added that the president ‘surrounded himself with Satan…members of the Jewish community,’” the ADL said. LEFT-WING ACTIVIST WHO HIRED ONE OF FARRAKHAN’S ‘TOP SOLDIERS’ HAS VISITED BIDEN WHITE HOUSE 7 TIMESCongressman John Conyers, Jr. ultimately apologized for attending Farrakhan’s speech saying that the minister made “unacceptable racist, anti-Semitic, and homophobic statements” which “I condemn in the strongest possible terms.”Fox News Digital could not confirm what Rev. Anthony said in his introduction of Farrakhan when he spoke at his church, but a tweet from “Brother Abdul Qiyam Muhammad,” whose Linkedin says he is a “staff writer” for the Nation of Islam’s Final Call newspaper, said Rev. Anthony’s introduction was “phenomenal” and said he was on the “witness stand” for Farrakhan. Another disciple of Farrakhan tweeted out a quote attributed to Anthony from the 2013 appearance at Fellowship Chapel, saying, “Don’t get mad with Farrakhan for striking a match, get upset with yourself for not keeping the fire going.””The enemy that owns [reality TV] is the same people that own Hollywood, the same people that control your press, the same people that control your media, the same people who are the publishers, the same people who are the distributors, the same Synagogue of Satan, and they put you before the world in this disgraceful matter,” Farrakhan said in May 2013 at Fellowship Chapel, according to the ADL.”What are you feeding filth to your people, you’re popular in filth, but they pay well. See, because you’re Satan’s man. He gives you money, that’s what you want. They print it all day long now next to the Holocaust place in Washington…These are not good people, these are Satanic minds,” he continued. “Whatever God says thou shalt not do, they make sure that they tell you it’s all right and then publicize it.”BIDEN GIVES INTERVIEW TO RADIO SHOW THAT PROMOTED NOTORIOUS ANTISEMITE WHO COMPARED JEWS TO ‘TERMITES’In addition to the visits to Anthony’s church, Farrakhan was also a guest speaker at a “Religious leaders’ breakfast” in 2004 for a “Freedom Weekend” hosted by Freedom Institute for Economic, Social Justice and People Empowerment, a think tank founded by Anthony. The think tank’s website lists Farrakhan along with other activists as “the best and brightest in their respective fields.”In 1995, Anthony was quoted as praising Farrakhan as “the only man with the vision to envision” the Million Man March, saying, “He is the only leader speaking to the moral issues of decay in our community, and that’s why people are responding to his call.” Anthony wasn’t the only person with ties to Farrakhan at the dinner. A Facebook social media post shows that Troy Muhammad, who also goes by Troy X and is a “State Representative for Minister Louis Farrakhan and as Minister of Muhammad Mosque #1, was in attendance. The long Facebook post thanked Anthony and Kamilia Landrum, whose Facebook bio says she is the executive director of the NAACP’s Detroit branch, for “their efforts” in organizing the dinner. One of the pictures he included was a placard that said, “Michigan Representative of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan.”Troy X also noted he walked out of the building when Biden was being introduced and said he was just attending to support the NAACP.The White House has previously faced criticism for its ties to Farrakhan’s network including a left-wing activist who hired one of Farrakhan’s ‘top soldiers’ visiting the White House 7 times. Last fall, President Biden sat down for a radio interview with a show that has actively promoted Farrakhan’s teachings. The White House previously told Fox News Digital, “For decades, President Biden has unequivocally condemned Louis Farrakhan and the repugnant Antisemitic hate he represents.”Andrew Bates, who was recently promoted to White House Senior Deputy Press Secretary and Deputy Assistant to the President, also told Fox News Digital previously that a Washington, D.C., official who repeatedly praised Farrakhan wouldn’t be invited back to the White House. That claim turned out to be false after visitor logs showed she visited the White House at least two more times. “In addition to asking them to pray like hell for me — (laughter) — I asked their advice on a bunch of things,” the White House transcript of a Biden campaign stop quotes Biden as saying about the reverends he has met with in Detroit. Fox News Digital reached out to the White House, NAACP, and Anthony’s Fellowship Chapel for a comment but did not immediately receive a response.  Fox News’ Aubrie Spady contributed to this report.
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State Department offers condolences for death of Iran’s president in ‘baffling’ move, human rights lawyer says

The State Department offered its condolences Monday following the deaths of two Iranian leaders, including the Islamic Republic’s president – a “baffling” move considering Iran’s well-known human rights abuses, a human rights lawyer said. In a statement, the agency expressed “its official condolences for the death of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, Foreign Minister Amir-Abdollahian, and other members of their delegation in a helicopter crash in northwest Iran.””As Iran selects a new president, we reaffirm our support for the Iranian people and their struggle for human rights and fundamental freedoms,” agency spokesperson Matthew Miller said. Raisi and Amir-Abdollahian were killed Sunday when the helicopter crashed in the Dizmar forest in Iran’s East Azerbaijan province. Raisi was returning to Tehran after traveling to Iran’s border with Azerbaijan to inaugurate a dam with Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev.IRANIAN PRESIDENT EXPERIENCES ‘HARD LANDING’ IN HELICOPTER: IRANIAN MEDIAIran’s state-run news agency, IRNA, said the crash killed eight people, including three crew members aboard the Bell helicopter, which Iran purchased in the early 2000s.Raisi was nicknamed the “Butcher of Tehran” for his oversight of mass executions of political prisoners in 1988, which forced Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to install interim leadership for Iran’s executive branch.”He’s been responsible for the incarceration, torture, rape and murder of tens of thousands of people over the last few decades,” Gerard Filitti, senior counsel with The Lawfare Project, which provides pro bono legal services to protect the civil and human rights of Jewish people worldwide, told Fox News Digital. “Raisi is not a man who will be missed.””While it is understandable for the State Department to issue condolences when there is the death of a foreign head of state, it’s baffling that someone who has such an atrocious record of violating human rights, supporting global terrorism, targeting the United States and allies, is someone who is receiving this outpouring of condolences, effectively from the United States government,” he added.  WHAT HAPPENS IN THE EVENT OF RAISI’S DEATH? AN IRAN EXPERT WEIGHS INFox News Digital has reached out to the State Department for further comment, but has not yet heard back.Gabrielius Landsbergis, Lithuania’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, said condolences to Raisi would be inappropriate given Tehran’s alliance with Russia. “I don’t feel comfortable sending condolences while Iran is sending drones that are used against civilians in Ukraine,” he wrote on social media. Iran, an Islamic theocracy, has long cracked down on dissent from its citizens and has been known for its human rights abuses, including jailing people for dancing, social media activity and women who break the country’s strict dress code. “There’s no secret that Iran violates human rights. It’s a matter of its practice to rule according to its interpretation of religious law and that leaves little room for what we understand as civil rights or human rights in the western democratic context,” Filitti said. He noted that the Biden administration has embarked on a strategy of trying to appease Tehran with regard to nuclear deal negotiations and freeing up billions of dollars that Iran uses to conduct terror attacks and abuse its citizens.”It’s really troubling that now we’re seeing, effectively, a continuation of that. Both in offering condolences for the loss of Raisi, but mostly likely, continuing to work with the next regime on the same failed strategy of appeasement,” said Filitti.The United Nations Security Council also honored Raisi Monday with a moment of silence. The observation came after a request from Russia, China and Algeria, Iran’s Permanent Mission to the U.N. said. State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller was asked by a reporter during a press briefing why the U.S. participated in the moment of silence for Raisi at the U.N. meeting. “We have been quite clear that Ebrahim Raisi was a brutal participant in the repression of the Iranian people for nearly four decades. He was involved in numerous horrific human rights abuses, including playing a key role in the extrajudicial killing of thousands of political prisoners in 1988. Some of the worst human rights abuses occurred during his tenure as president, especially the human rights abuses against the women and girls of Iran,” Miller explained. “That said, we regret any loss of life. We don’t want to see anyone die in a helicopter crash. But that doesn’t change the reality of his record, both as a judge and as the president of Iran.””The Iranian government & people express gratitude for the UNSC’s condolences & solidarity,” the mission posted on X. U.S. Senate Chaplain Barry Black also acknowledged Raisi’s death during his invocation. “And Lord, we pray for the Iranian people who mourn the death of their president,” he said. 
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Amal Clooney played key role in ICC arrest warrants for Netanyahu, Hamas leaders

Amal Clooney, wife of actor George Clooney, was among the experts who advised the International Criminal Court (ICC) in seeking arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar over alleged war crimes. The ICC’s chief prosecutor, Karim Khan, asked Clooney, 46, to assist him with evaluating evidence of suspected war crimes and crimes against humanity in Israel and the Gaza Strip, where Israeli military forces have been operating since the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas.”I agreed and joined a panel of international legal experts to undertake this task,” Clooney, an attorney, said in a lengthy statement on the Clooney Foundation for Justice website.  The ICC determined it has jurisdiction over crimes committed by Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar, its top political leader Ismail Haniyeh and its military commander Mohammed Deif, as well as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.ICC REQUESTS ARREST WARRANTS FOR NETANYAHU, HAMAS LEADERS OVER ‘WAR CRIMES’ “We unanimously conclude that there are reasonable grounds to believe that Hamas leaders Yahya Sinwar, Mohammed Deif and Ismail Haniyeh have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity, including hostage-taking, murder and crimes of sexual violence,” Clooney wrote of the panel’s determination.She cited Israeli war crimes of “starvation as a method of warfare, murder, persecution and extermination.”BIDEN SLAMS ICC’S ‘OUTRAGEOUS’ REQUEST FOR NETANYAHU ARREST WARRANT “As a human rights lawyer, I will never accept that one child’s life has less value than another’s. I do not accept that any conflict should be beyond the reach of the law, nor that any perpetrator should be above the law,” she wrote.”So I support the historic step that the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court has taken to bring justice to victims of atrocities in Israel and Palestine,” Clooney added. Clooney is married to actor George Clooney, who is a well-known supporter of President Biden. The Biden campaign enlisted George Clooney, as well as actress Julia Roberts and former President Obama for a star-studded fundraiser in Los Angeles next month. George Clooney will appear in social media posts and digital ads in support of President Biden.Amal Clooney was joined on the panel by legal experts in international humanitarian and criminal law. Two members are former judges at criminal tribunals at The Hauge. Meanwhile, Netanyahu called the ICC’s decision the latest example of “what the new antisemitism looks like.” “It is directed against the IDF soldiers, who are fighting with extraordinary heroism against the vile Hamas murderers who attacked us with terrible cruelty on Oct. 7,” Netanyahu said in an English-language statement.”What a travesty of justice! What a disgrace!” he said. 
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