Posts tagged with "Raw Story"

Legal experts say Trump admitted guilt at Arizona rally

October 11, 2022

While speaking at a rally in Mesa, Arizona, on Sunday night, October 9, former President Donald Trump effectively admitted to his own criminal behavior when he stole government documents, reports Raw Story.

“I had a small number of boxes in storage,” Trump told the audience. “There is no crime. They should give me immediately back everything they have taken from me because it’s mine.”

In fact, it is a crime, which is why the Justice Department, the FBI, a federal judge and the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals have gotten involved in the issue.

Watching the video of Trump, legal experts noted that Trump’s comments are an admission of guilt that will likely be used in trial.

“This is what we call a summation exhibit,” said former FBI general counsel Andrew Weissmann, who also served as a prosecutor under special counsel Robert Mueller’s team. “Proof from the defendant’s own mouth. And on video.”

“There is more than ample evidence to indict Trump for crimes listed in the FBI search warrant,” explained former special counsel Ryan Goodman. “The question will come down to aggravating factors for Garland DOJ to consider. Outrageous, open defiance of the law—like this—must surely rank high among those factors.”

Teri Kanefield, a former appellate defender, noted in Trump’s comment that he’d been saying over and over that the documents were his. But from his own lawyers replying to the Special Master, the ex-president said: “There is no question and, indeed there is broad agreement, that the matters before this Court center around the possession, by a President, of his own Presidential records.”

Research contact: @RawStory

‘We’re not releasing a copy of the warrant’: Trump allies ‘circling the wagons’ after Mar-A-Lago search

August 11, 2022

Former President Donald Trump has no plans to release a copy of the search warrant that FBI agents obtained for his residence at Mar-A-Lago, reports Raw Story.

To do so, would expose the reasons for the search—and that is not something that the former president is willing to do.

Trump is free to share a copy of the warrant to clear up confusion about what investigators were looking for, but a source close to the president told NBC News that it’s the DOJ‘s responsibility to notify the public, but not Trump’s.

“No, we’re not releasing a copy of the warrant,” the source said, adding that there was a “complete circling of the wagons” by the Republican Party around the former president.

Trump’s legal team had been in discussions with the Justice Department as recently as early June about classified records stored at Mar-A-Lago, and his attorney Christina Bobb said the FBI removed about a dozen boxes from a basement storage area.

Bobb also said the search warrant indicated they were investigating possible violations of laws covering the handling of classified material and the Presidential Records Act.

She said DOJ officials said they did not believe the storage unit was properly secured, but she said Trump officials added a padlock to the door that FBI agents later broke when they executed the search warrant.

Trump had already returned 15 boxes of documents that the National Archives and Records Administration said had been improperly removed from the White House at the end of his presidency.

Research contact: @RawStory

DOJ reportedly secures Cassidy Hutchinson’s cooperation in January 6 probe

July 28, 2022

On Wednesday, July 27, ABC News reported that former Donald Trump-era White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson is cooperating with Justice Department investigators  as part of their probe into the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, as well as the former president’s effort to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

“The Justice Department reached out to her following her testimony a month ago before the House committee investigating the January 6, 2021, Capitol attack, the sources said,” reported ABC’s Katherine Faulders, Mike Levine, and John Santucci. “The extent of her cooperation was not immediately clear.”

“Hutchinson becomes the latest known figure with knowledge of the actions of top Trump Administration officials on Jan. 6 to cooperate with the Justice Department’s inquiry,” said the report, according to Raw Story, which added, “A lawyer for Hutchinson did not respond to ABC News’ request for comment. Officials with the DOJ also declined to comment, as did a spokesperson for the January 6 committee.”

Hutchinson, who served as an adviser to former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, gave bombshell public testimony before the committee last month. Among other things, she revealed that Trump demanded rioters he knew were armed be allowed to enter the Capitol because “they’re not here to hurt me,” and that Trump attacked his own security detail in his car when they wouldn’t take him to join the rioters.

A report earlier this month indicated that she is  in hiding  amid death threats from Trump supporters.

The Washington Post revealed this week that the DOJ has shifted its investigation to  focus directly on Trump’s actions  during the riot and the plot to reverse the election—a possible sign that prosecutors are considering charges against him.

Research contact: @RawStory

Contrary to popular opinion, a dog’s breed won’t predict behavior

May 2, 2022

They’re well-known stereotypes: Rottweilers and pit bulls are aggressive, while Labradors and golden retrievers are extra friendly. But a genetic study published in the journal, Science, on April 28—involving more than 2,000 dogs paired with 200,000 survey answers from owners—demonstrates that such widespread assumptions are largely unfounded, reports Raw Story in an article first published in AFP.

To be sure, many behavioral traits can be inherited—but the modern concept of breed offers only partial predictive value for most types of behavior and almost none whatsoever for how affectionate a dog will be; or conversely, how quick to anger.

“While genetics plays a role in the personality of any individual dog, specific dog breed is not a good predictor of those traits,” said senior author Elinor Karlsson, of UMass Chan and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard.

“What we found is that the defining criteria of a golden retriever are its physical characteristics—the shape of its ears, the color and quality of its fur, its size— not whether it is friendly,” she added.

Lead author Kathleen Morrill explained that understanding the relationship between breeds and behavior could be the first step in understanding the genes responsible for psychiatric conditions in humans, like obsessive disorders.

“Although we can’t really ask a dog themselves about their problems or thoughts or anxieties, we do know that dogs lead rich emotional lives and experience disorders that manifests in their behavior,” she said on a press call.

The team sequenced the DNA of 2,155 purebred and mixed-breed dogs to search for common genetic variations that could predict behavior, and combined this info with surveys from 18,385 pet-owner surveys from Darwin’s Ark.

The site is an open-source database of owner-reported canine traits and behaviors.

Because existing stereotypes are so powerful, the team designed their questionnaires to account for owner bias.

They established standard definitions for reporting traits—among them:

  • Biddability (dog response to human direction),
  • Dog-human sociability (how comfortable dogs are with people, including strangers), and
  • Toy-directed motor patterns (how interested they are in toys).

In all, Karlsson and Morrill found 11 locations on the dog genome associated with behavioral differences, including biddability, retrieving, pointing at a target, and howling.

Among these behaviors, breed did play some role — for example, beagles and bloodhounds tend to howl more, border collies are biddable, and Shiba Inus are far less so.

However, there were always exceptions to the rule. For example, even though Labs had the lowest propensity for howling, 8% still did. While 90% of greyhounds didn’t bury their toys, 3% did frequently.

“When we looked at this factor that we called agonistic threshold, which included a lot of questions about whether people’s dogs reacted aggressively to things, we weren’t seeing an effect of breed ancestry,” Karlsson added.

Overall, breed explained just 9% of variation in behavior, with age a better predictor of some traits, like toy play. Physical traits, however, were five times more likely to be predicted by breed than behavior was.

Research contact: @RawStory

Cold showers: A scientist explains if they are as good for you as Wim Hof (the ‘Iceman’) suggests

April 28, 2022

Anyone watching the BBC programFreeze the Fear with Wim Hof, may be starting to wonder whether there really is “power in the cold shower” as extreme athlete Hof claims.

Hof, who set a Guinness World Record for swimming under ice, says that a “cold shower a day keeps the doctor away” by decreasing stress and increasing energy levels, Raw Story reports.

He asks celebrity participants on the show to take a cold shower of 12°C (54°F) every day—increasing the duration of the shower over time from 15 seconds to two minutes. Watching the reaction of the participants under the cold shower shows you that it is not a pleasant experience, at least at first.

According to Raw Story, there is not much research looking at the health benefits of cold showers, so the literature is limited. The largest study—conducted among 3,000 participants—was carried out in the Netherlands and found that people who took a daily cold shower (following a warm shower) of either 30 seconds, 60 seconds, or 90 seconds for one month were off work with self-reported sickness 29% less than those who had a warm shower only. Interestingly, the duration of the cold water did not affect the sickness absence.

The reason why cold showers might prevent people from getting ill is still unclear. Some research suggests that it boosts the immune system. A Czech study showed that being immersed in cold water (14°C/57°F) for one hour) three times a week for six weeks, gave a slight boost to the immune system of “athletic young men,” the only group tested. However, further research is needed to fully understand the effects on the immune system.

In the BBC program, Hof suggests that cold water activates the cardiovascular system and therefore improves its function. He says: “We go to the gym to work our muscles, but inside our bodies we have millions of tiny muscles in the cardiovascular system—and we can train them by simply taking a cold shower.”

When you have a cold shower, your heart rate and blood pressure increase. There is some evidence that cold water activates the sympathetic nervous system, which is the part that governs the “fight-or-flight” response (an automatic physiological reaction to an event that is perceived as dangerous, stressful or frightening).

When this is activated, such as during a cold shower, you get an increase in the hormone noradrenaline. This is what most likely causes an increase in heart rate and blood pressure observed when people are immersed in cold water and is, therefore, linked to the suggested health improvements mentioned by Hof.

Cold water immersion also has been shown to improve circulation. When exposed to cold water, the skin blood vessels constrict (get smaller), reducing blood flow. When the cold water stops, the body has to warm itself up, so there is an increase in blood flow as the blood vessels increase in size due to dilation. Some scientists think that this could improve circulation. A study looking at cold-water immersion after exercise found that, after four weeks, blood flow to and from muscles had improved.

In the program, Hof recommends participants to increase the duration of the shower each day. However, the only research study which has explored the duration is the one mentioned earlier from the Netherlands. They found that the length of the cold shower was irrelevant. Therefore, a 15-second cold shower should be sufficient enough to experience any health benefits.

However, there is some danger involved: Having a cold shower can be a bit of a shock. As mentioned above, it also stimulates the flight-or-fight response which increases heart rate and blood pressure. This can have a negative effect for those with heart disease as it could precipitate a heart attack or heart-rhythm irregularities. If anyone has fatty deposits in their arteries, a rapid increase in heart rate could potentially cause some of the deposits to fall off and block the artery leading to a heart attack.

In addition, according to Mike Tipton, an expert on human physiology at the University of Portsmouth, submersion in cold water can be connected to an increase in breathing as well as heart rate. But there is also a “diving response” when submersed in cold water, where the body automatically decreases heart rate and instinctively you stop breathing (in contrast to flight-or-fight responses). This conflict can cause heart rhythm abnormalities and potentially sudden death. However, this is a greater risk with cold water immersion, such as open water swimming, than a cold shower.

Cold showers are thought to have mental health benefits too. However, the Dutch research study found no improvements in anxiety with cold showers. But it may reduce symptoms of depression. The proposed reason for this is that people have a high density of cold receptors on our skin and a cold shower activates them and sends a vast amount of electrical impulses to the brain, which may have an anti-depressive effect.

There has also been research in older adults suggesting that cold water applied to the face and neck is associated with temporary improvements in brain function—including improvements in memory and attention.

So Hof’s claim that a “cold shower a day keeps the doctor away” has some scientific evidence behind it. However, the extent of the health benefits and the exact reasons for it are still to be determined. Caution must be exercised by those who have an existing heart condition.

Research contact: @RawStory

‘An unparalleled action’: Switzerland forgoes neutrality to freeze Russian financial assets

March 1, 2022

Russians face a global financial backlash following Vladimir Putin‘s invasion of Ukraine that is so extensive that even the Swiss are taking sides, reports Raw Story.

Switzerland, a favorite destination for Russian oligarchs and their money, announced on Monday that it would freeze Russian financial assets in the country, setting aside a deeply rooted tradition of neutrality to join the European Union and a growing number of nations seeking to penalize Russia for the invasion of Ukraine,” The New York Times reported.

The Times continued, “After a meeting with the Swiss Federal Council, Switzerland’s president, Ignazio Cassis, said that the country would immediately freeze the assets of Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin; Prime Minister Mikhail V. Mishustin; and Foreign Minister Sergey V. Lavrov; as well as all 367 individuals sanctioned last week by the European Union.”

“The Swiss Federal Council has decided today to fully adopt EU sanctions,” Swiss Federal President Ignazio Cassis said Monday, according to CNN. “It is an unparalleled action of Switzerland, who has always stayed neutral before.”

The sanctions will prevent Lavrov from flying to Geneva on Tuesday to address the UN Human Rights Council, Russia announced.

“Swiss national bank data showed that Russian companies and individuals held assets worth more than $11 billion in Swiss banks in 2020,” the Times reported. “Switzerland cherishes a reputation for neutrality that has established Geneva as a home to the United Nations and a host to peace talks in numerous conflicts, including the wars in Korea and Vietnam. Recently, Geneva was the venue for last year’s summit between President Biden and Mr. Putin.”

Research contact: @RawStory

McCarthy urges his caucus not to retaliate against GOP members who voted for infrastructure bill

November 17, 2021

On Tuesday, November 16,  CNN’s Melanie Zanona reported that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-California) privately told his caucus not to retaliate against the 13 House Republicans who voted for the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (H.R. 3684), better known as the bipartisan infrastructure deal, reports Raw Story.

According to Zanona, McCarthy also addressed his own inaction on the anime kill fantasy tweet against Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) posted by Representative Paul Gosar (R-Arizona)—saying that he had asked Gosar to take down the video.

Nineteen Senate Republicans, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky), backed the infrastructure bill. However, McCarthy took a different view, urging his caucus to oppose it in order to tank Democrats’ two-track strategy that will also pass a broad overhaul of the social safety net known as the Build Back Better Act (H.R. 5376).

Despite the orders from GOP leadership, more than a dozen Republicans, including several from New York and New Jersey, backed the measure.

Some far-right rank and file Republicans, including Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-Florida), Lauren Boebert (R-Colorado), and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Georgia), have pushed for the caucus to strip these 13 Republicans of their committee assignments, with Greene going so far as to post the phone numbers of the lawmakers so her supporters could bombard them with aggressive and violent messages.

Research contact: @RawStory

30×30: More than 80 nations pledge to cut methane emissions by 30% by 2030

November 3, 2021

On Tuesday, November 2, dozens of countries joined a United States and European Union pledge to cut emissions of methane—the most potent greenhouse gas—by 30% this decade, in the most significant climate commitment so far at COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland, Agence France-Presse reports.

The initiative, which experts say could have a powerful short-term impact on global warming, followed an announcement earlier Tuesday in which more than 100 nations agreed to end deforestation by 2030.

“One of the most important things we can do between now and 2030, to keep 1.5C in reach, is reduce our methane emissions as soon as possible,” said U.S. President Joe Biden, referring to the central goal of the 2015 Paris agreement.

Biden called the pledge, which has so far been signed by more than 80 nations, a “game-changing commitment” that covered countries responsible for around half of global methane emissions.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said that the methane cut would “immediately slow down climate change”.

“We cannot wait until 2050. We have to cut emissions fast and methane is one of the gases we can cut the fastest,” she said.

Organizers say the ensuing shuttle diplomacy and painstaking negotiation will be crucial for the continued viability of the 2015 Paris Agreement, and its goal to limit temperature rises to between 1.5 and 2 degrees Celsius.

While the summit’s first day passed with much rhetoric but only lukewarm climate pledges, Tuesday’s twin announcements were broadly welcomed by campaigners.

Research contact: @AFP

Live at SCOTUS: Sotomayor and Kagan rebuke Texas for ban that ‘sets precedent to attack other rights’

November 2, 2021

On Monday, November 1, Supreme Court Justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor pushed back against a Texas law that enables private citizens to enforce abortion restrictions. Both ripped the Texas abortion ban for how it would create a model for states to attack other constitutionally protected rights, CNN reports.

Sotomayor grilled Texas Solicitor General Judd Stone on Texas’ argument that Congress could step in and write legislation that would prevent states from passing such laws.

“Can I give you examples where Congress hasn’t?” Sotomayor said, ticking off decisions the Supreme Court has made on gun rights, same-sex marriage, birth control, sodomy, and other contentious issues.

What’s more, in a move that surprised many legal observers, during oral arguments in Whole Woman’s Health v. Jackson (Texas law S.B.8), Justice Brett Kavanaugh expressed concern that Second Amendment rights could also be at risk if the Texas abortion law is allowed to stand,  Raw Story reports.

Kavanaugh suggested that new laws could make gun shops liable for millions of dollars if they sell assault-style rifles.

Texas Solicitor General Judd Stone agreed that “all constitutional rights” could be curtailed in the same fashion as abortion rights if Congress allows it.

Kagan interrupted to point out that constitutional rights cannot be blocked by legislation.

“Your answer to Justice Kavanaugh, which is go ask Congress, I mean, isn’t the point of a right that you don’t have to ask Congress?” Kagan asked. “Isn’t the point of a right that it doesn’t really matter what Congress thinks or what the majority of the American people think as to that right?”

Stone insisted that state court judges are expected to “faithfully apply the Constitution.”

But Kagan was not convinced.

“Within the state court process, it may be many years from now and with a chilling effect that basically deprives people who want to exercise the [abortion] right from the opportunity to do so,” the justice explained.

The outcome is still touch and go. The court is providing live audio, as it now does in all arguments.

Research contact: @CNN

Cheney drops bombshell—suggesting Trump ‘was personally involved in the planning of January 6th’

October 21, 2021

On Tuesday, October 19, Representative Liz Cheney (R-Wyoming) issued a blistering assessment of the decision by former President Donald Trump and ally Steve Bannon to stonewall the House Select Committee investigating the January 6th attacks on the U.S. Capitol, reports Raw Story.

After dismantling Bannon’s claims that he is protected by executive privilege from testifying before the committee, Cheney speculated that Trump and Bannon have very personal reasons for not wanting any testimony to go forward.

“Mr. Bannon’s and Mr. Trump’s privilege arguments do appear to reveal one thing, however: They suggest that President Trump was personally involved in the planning and execution of January 6th,” she said. “And we will get to the bottom of that.”

Cheney also cited Bannon’s statements on January 5th in which he seemed to anticipate that violent mayhem would break out the next day as Congress worked to certify the results of the 2020 presidential election.

“All hell is going to break loose tomorrow,” Bannon said.

Research contact: @RawStory