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Updated: 49 min 43 sec ago

Canada marks National Day for Truth and Reconciliation with events across country

3 hours 36 min ago

Communities are gathering across Canada today to recognize the third annual National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

The federal holiday recognizes the legacy of Canada’s residential school system and its harms to Indigenous Peoples.

In Ottawa, residential school survivors and Indigenous leaders are set to attend a commemorative event on Parliament Hill beginning at noon.

Categories: News

The Hunka affair has embarrassed Canada — how bad is it, historically speaking?

3 hours 46 min ago

In the days since parliamentarians unwittingly applauded a Ukrainian veteran who fought in a Nazi unit, political parties and observers have found one thing to agree on — Canada has embarrassed itself.

Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre has called it the “biggest single diplomatic embarrassment in Canadian history.”

Politicians across party lines have condemned the impact the incident has had on many people in Canada and around the world, including Jews and Poles.

Categories: News

Blinken on Canada-India rift: ‘Those responsible must be held accountable’

3 hours 55 min ago

WASHINGTON — America's top diplomat is again urging India and Canada to work together on bringing Hardeep Singh Nijjar's killers to justice — and hopefully forestall a deepening of a serious geopolitical rift between two important allies. 

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he delivered that message Thursday during his meeting in Washington, D.C., with Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, India's external affairs minister. 

Relations between Canada and India have plumbed new depths since Prime Minister Justin Trudeau cited "credible allegations" of links between the Indian government and the shooting death of Nijjar, a prominent Sikh separatist and Canadian citizen. 

"We're very concerned about the allegations that have been raised by Canada, by Prime Minister Trudeau," Blinken told a news conference Friday. 

"Those responsible need to be held accountable, and we hope that our friends in both Canada and India will work together to resolve this matter."

Blinken said the U.S. has been in close contact with both countries about the allegations ever since Trudeau made them public earlier this month in the House of Commons. 

"At the same time, we have engaged with the Indian government and urged them to work with Canada on an investigation, and I had the opportunity to do so again in my meeting yesterday with Foreign Minister Jaishankar."

A State Department readout of that meeting made no mention of the controversy, but experts in international diplomacy say that's hardly surprising. 

The allegations have put the U.S. in an awkward spot, with the Biden administration courting India as it works to develop a geopolitical bulwark against the mounting influence of China. 

Trudeau, who expressly asked Blinken to reiterate Canada's concerns with Jaishankar, paid a visit Friday to a community centre in Brampton, Ont., a Toronto suburb that's home to Canada's largest Sikh population. 

He moved through an outdoor picnic area, where he encountered a number of people worried about the tensions and the safety of members of the Indo-Canadian community. 

"It's very, very complicated times right now," Trudeau said. "It's a time where we have to pull together, we have to be there for each other." 

At another table, he acknowledged the challenge of navigating such serious allegations with a country that is widely seen around the world as a vital economic and geopolitical ally with the West.

"Every Canadian, regardless of where they come from, needs to be safe in this country," Trudeau said.

"That's something that even as we look to work and grow our trade ties around the world, including with India, we have to be unequivocal about the rules being the rules."

Diplomacy under such circumstances can be a tricky and nuanced endeavour. But the U.S. has already taken steps to ensure Trudeau had at least some support from inside the so-called Five Eyes security alliance. 

That came last week from David Cohen, the U.S. envoy to Canada, who confirmed that  Canada's allegations were supported in part by intelligence from inside that alliance, which includes the U.S., the U.K., Australia and New Zealand. 

"I think the Americans feel they have backed up the head of the government, the prime minister, with the comments of the ambassador," said Gary Doer, who spent more than six years as Canada's envoy to D.C. 

"I think if they hadn't been public through their ambassador, you could look for a tilt, but they did get somebody out there to back up the prime minister."

A strong economic and diplomatic relationship with India is as important for Canada as it is for the U.S., he added. 

"It's not one versus the other. I think we benefit both ways. And so do they." 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Friday, Sept. 29. 

— With files from Jordan Omstead in Brampton, Ont.

James McCarten, The Canadian Press

Categories: News

OHL roundup: Spitfires stung by Sting 8-2 in Sarnia

3 hours 55 min ago

SARNIA, Ont. — Tyson Doucette scored twice as the Sarnia Sting stung the visiting Windsor Spitfires 8-2 in Ontario Hockey League action on Friday night.

Mitch Young, Dennis Lominac, Roman Kukumberg, Lukas Fischer, Marko Sikic and Zach Filak also scored for the Sting.

Sting netminder Nick Surzycia stopped 31 of 33 shots.

Rodwin Dionicio and Liam Greentree scored for the Spitfires.

Spitfires goaltender Ian Michelone saved 21 of 25 shots and Joey Costanzo stopped seven of 11 shots.

Elsewhere in the OHL:



GUELPH, Ont. — Leo Serlin scored twice as the Guelph Storm beat the Owen Sound Attack 4-2.

Braeden Bowman and Michael Buchinger also scored for the Storm. Goaltender Brayden Gillespie kicked out 34 of 36 shots for the Storm.

Deni Goure scored twice for the Attack. Goaltender Corbin Votary kicked out 23 of 27 shots for Owen Sound.



SUDBURY, Ont. — Chase Coughlan scored twice as the Sudbury Wolves defeated the Brantford Bulldogs 6-2.

Kocha Delic, Ryan Pryce, Evan Konyen and Nick Yearwood also scored for the Wolves. Netminder Jakub Vondras saved 11 of 13 shots for Sudbury.

Marek Vanacker and Nick Lardis scored the Bulldogs' goals. Brantford goaltender Matteo Drobac kicked out 31 of 37 shots.



SAULT STE. MARIE, Ont. — Travis Hayes and Julian Fantino each scored twice as the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds defeated the Flint Firebirds 11-3.

Jack Beck, Brenden Sirizzotti, Jordan D'Intino, Marco Mignosa, Christopher Brown, Owen Allard and Justin Cloutier also scored for Sault Ste. Marie.

Greyhounds netminder Charlie Schenkel saved 17 of 20 shots.

Jeremy Martin, Daks Klinkhammer and Kaden Pitre all scored once for Flint.

Firebirds netminder Nathan Day saved 22 of 28 shots and netminder Jacob Brown saved 14 of 19 shots.


PETES 5 67'S 2

OTTAWA, Ont. — Braydon McCallum scored twice as the Peterborough Petes defeated the Ottawa 67's 5-2.

Samuel Mayer, Jonathan Melee and Jax Dubois also scored for the Petes. Peterborough netminder Zach Bowen stopped 26 of 28 shots.

Chris Barlas and Luca Pinelli scored for the 67's.

Ottawa netminder Collin MacKenzie kicked out 30 of 34 shots.



NORTH BAY, Ont. — Beau Akey scored a goal and added an assist as the Barrie Colts tripped the North Bay Battalion 3-1.

Riley Patterson and Zach Wigle also scored for the Colts. Barrie goaltender Sam Hillebrandt stopped 29 of 30 shots.

Lirim Amidovski scored for the Battalion. North Bay goaltender Dom DiVincentiis kicked out 22 of 24 shots.



MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — Ryerson Leenders earned a shut out as Mississauga Steelheads beat the Erie Otters 5-0.

Chas Sharpe, Porter Martone, Luke Misa, Angus MacDonell and Jakub Fibigr all scored for the Steelheads. Leenders kicked out all 34 shots he faced.

Otters netminder Jacob Gibbons saved five of eight shots and Nolan Lalonde saved 22 of 24 shots.



LONDON, Ont. — Sam O'Reilly scored the game-winning goal at 14:21 of the second period as the London Knights edged the Niagara IceDogs 2-1.

Kasper Halttunen also scored for the Knights. London goaltender Michael Simpson kicked out 34 of 35 shots.

Mathieu Paris scored for the IceDogs. Niagara goaltender Owen Flores kicked out 26 of 28 shots.



KITCHENER, Ont. — Antonino Pugliese knocked in the game-winning goal at 17:52 of the third period as the Kitchener Rangers edged the Saginaw Spirit 4-3.

Matthew Andonovski, Kyle Morey and Mitchell Martin also scored for the Rangers. Kitchener goaltender Jackson Parsons kicked out 31 of 34 shots.

Michael Misa scored twice, while Hunter Haight scored once for the Spirit. Saginaw goaltender Andrew Oke stopped 25 of 29 shots.



KINGSTON, Ont. — Nathan Poole scored a key goal as the Kingston Frontenacs defeated the Oshawa Generals 4-2.

Tyler Hopkins, Jacob Holmes and Linus Hemström also scored for the Frontenacs. Goaltender Mason Vaccari stopped 30 of 32 shots for Kingston.

Dylan Roobroeck and Ryder McIntyre scored for the Generals.

Oshawa goaltender Jacob Oster stopped 25 of 28 shots.

* This roundup was generated automatically with a CP-developed application.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 29, 2023.

The Canadian Press

Categories: News

Iowa’s two campaigns: Donald Trump’s rivals search for paths to stop him as he blazes his own trail

3 hours 55 min ago

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Having stood out in two presidential debates, Nikki Haley has booked her largest venue in Iowa since launching her campaign. She's hoping to fill a 600-person hall in a western Des Moines suburb on Saturday.

That would be a huge number for most of her rivals. It's also less than the smallest crowds usually drawn by Donald Trump, who is dominating the Republican field for the 2024 Iowa caucuses less than four months away.

The former president will be in rural southeast Iowa the following day to headline an organizing event. Aides were expecting at least 1,000 to attend.

In essence, there are two Iowa campaigns underway: Trump is holding fewer, bigger events that demonstrate the strength of his organization and grip on GOP base voters, while his rivals attend the state's traditional candidate forums and meet-and-greets, searching for ways to cut into his lead or consolidate second place.

While things could change before the Jan. 15 caucuses, some campaigns are trying to shift expectations. They're hoping a close runner-up to Trump in Iowa — or even someone who falls well short of Trump but pulls away from other rivals — could begin consolidating support and force others out.

“What’s crystal clear to me is that until there is a winnowing event, you’re never going to get to the head-to-head that it would require to have somebody other than Trump win the nomination,” said Gentry Collins, who managed Mitt Romney’s campaign for the 2008 caucuses. “That winnowing starts in Iowa and it changes the dynamics of the race.”

Here’s a look at the campaigns working hardest in Iowa to catch Trump.


Campaign overspending and donor jitters prompted the Florida governor to shake up his organization and narrow a broad, national approach to one increasingly focused on Iowa. His national support has slipped substantially from its high point earlier this year.

DeSantis hired David Polyansky as a senior deputy campaign manager in August. Polyansky is a top strategist with Iowa chops from past presidential campaigns. He was working for Never Back Down, the super PAC supporting DeSantis.

Never Back Down has taken on a huge share of work normally done by candidates directly. It has put on almost 50 of DeSantis’ Iowa appearances, hired 22 paid staff in Iowa — more than on any campaign team in the state — and purchased almost $8 million of television and digital ads this year, the most of any single political group, according to analysis from the tracking firm AdImpact.

Speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss internal strategy, two DeSantis advisers suggest he could survive three second-place finishes — in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina — and try to force a head-to-head matchup with Trump ahead of March's Super Tuesday slate of primaries.

DeSantis has already visited two-thirds of Iowa's counties, Polyansky said in an interview, The candidate pledged earlier this year to visit all 99, a goal that could net extra support and allow him to shore up more populous counties down the stretch.

“Knocking out a majority of our 99-county swing this early, before the caucus campaigning heats up even further, gives us the freedom down the stretch to travel where we want to go and when we want to go” in Iowa, New Hampshire and beyond, Polyansky said.


Haley's team pumped up expectations going into Wednesday's second debate and hopes her energetic performance — including several tussles with rivals — translates to a rise in polls.

She impressed Iowa fundraiser Nicole Schlinger, who has not committed to a 2024 candidate.

“Nikki's showing she can be strong and assertive and put these guys back on their heels,” said Schlinger, who is not committed in the 2024 race.

Toiling before smaller crowds throughout the spring and summer, Haley, the former United Nations ambassador and governor of South Carolina, drew a noticeably more robust 400 to stops in rural eastern Iowa this month. She took the wheel of a combine among amber rows of corn.

She has recently signed noteworthy Iowa GOP talent, including Troy Bishop, who was Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley's organizational director. And she's lured some donors away from DeSantis, including billionaire former Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner. Now, the super PAC supporting her is spending more on ads in Iowa.


Scott was striding toward the midway at the Iowa State Fair this summer when a man approached from behind to tell him, “I've seen your ads.”

He wasn't alone. Scott's campaign and the super PAC supporting him have combined to spend roughly $10 million in advertising this year introducing Scott to Iowans, about a quarter of all GOP caucus campaign and super PAC ad spending, according to AdImpact.

The South Carolina senator's team argues Iowans are more familiar with him through advertising and ready to see him emerge in the up-close settings that are traditionally critical here.

He has started criticizing his rivals more, going after Trump, DeSantis and Haley for refusing to push for a federal abortion ban. His more aggressive posture was on display during the Wednesday debate in California, when he criticized a proposal by Haley to increase the gas tax.

“I think I come across as a nice guy. I will say, though, that I am not an angry guy,” Scott told one Iowa audience after being asked if he was tough enough to confront Russia. “I think we sometimes confuse anger with strength.”


Long before he grabbed attention at the first debate, Ramaswamy was working hard in Iowa.

The 38-year-old entrepreneur has traveled the state more than any candidate, holding nearly 70 campaign events. He's gotten buzz for his youth and charisma, his lack of political background, and a brashness that reminds some people of Trump. Some Iowans have also voiced unfavorable impressions sparked by what some see as foreign policy naivete and lack of experience.

Ramaswamy's Iowa team is small and led by outspoken social conservative former state Sen. Jake Chapman and former Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz.

Ramaswamy, who is Hindu and the son of Indian immigrants, always cites what he calls his lists of truths, the first of which is “God is real." Evangelical Christians are critical in Iowa.

While few will say out loud that Ramaswamy's faith is an obstacle, one voter raised it at a Tim Scott event last week.

"He talks about God all the time, but it's a pagan god,” said Liz Kuennen of Fort Dodge.

Hindus worship several gods, who they believe to be manifestations of the one formless supreme being.


For a former vice president so closely identified with evangelical Christians, it would seem Pence would have a leg up.

Yet Pence faces distinct challenges.

Among the most stubborn is the lingering — and false — perception that Pence could have refused to certify the 2020 election. A man in the state fair crowd this summer confronted Pence and asked him, “Why did you commit treason?”

Pence patiently walked through the constitutional requirements of the vice president during the certification process.

“Even though my former running mate and his outside lawyers told me that authority was there, I knew it never was,” Pence told the crowd. “I’ll always believe, by God’s grace, I did my duty that day.”

Though the now well-rehearsed answer sparks respectful applause, Pence faces stubbornly high unfavorable ratings in Iowa among likely GOP caucusgoers.

Still, Pence, who had seven events planned in Iowa over the coming days, was on track to top 60 campaign stops by the end of next week, second only to Ramaswamy.


Associated Press writers Deepa Bharath in Los Angeles, Linley Sanders in Washington, and Will Weissert in Grand Mound, Iowa, contributed to this report.

Thomas Beaumont, The Associated Press

Categories: News

Biden says shutdown isn’t his fault. Will Americans agree?

3 hours 55 min ago

WASHINGTON (AP) — Staring down a likely government shutdown, the White House wants to make sure any blame falls at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue — specifically on House Republicans.

After all, it's House Republicans who have been paralyzed by their inability to pass a funding package, and Republicans who don't want to uphold a bipartisan spending agreement from earlier this year.

President Joe Biden is hoping the rest of the country will see things the same way. It's a murky proposition at a time of extreme political polarization, with many Americans dug into their partisan corners regardless of the facts of the matter.

A shutdown would arrive at a tenuous moment for Biden, who already faces low poll numbers and concerns about the economy as he seeks a second term in office, partially on the pitch that he offers steady stewardship in Washington.

If no spending bill passes Congress by the end of Saturday, federal workers stop getting paid, air travel could be ensnarled by staffing shortages and food benefits will pause for some of the country's most vulnerable families.

Asked on Friday if Biden should bear any responsibility for the shutdown, White House budget director Shalanda Young said “absolutely not" and accused Republicans of being cavalier with people's lives.

“The guy who picks up the trash in my office won’t get a paycheck," she said. "That’s real. And that’s what makes me angry.”

Anita Dunn, Biden’s senior adviser, blamed the looming shutdown on “the most extreme fringe” of House Republicans in a presentation to allies on Thursday. She said “we have to hold them accountable” and “make sure they pay the political price.”

Speaking from the White House, she criticized adherents of former President Donald Trump's Make America Great Again coalition — but she stopped just short of using the MAGA acronym.

“We’re not allowed to actually use the M-word here in the White House right now," said Dunn, referring to legal guidance intended to ensure compliance with the Hatch Act, which prevents political activity while administration officials are on the job. “But everyone here knows what I mean. It’s a four-letter word. It begins with M. It ends with A. It’s got an AG in the middle.”

Dunn added, "So those people are the ones who are refusing to do their job and shutting the government down for no reason.”

The current crisis is a sequel to the standoff over raising the debt limit earlier this year. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., refused to authorize the federal government to issue debt unless Biden negotiated over spending cuts.

After resisting, Biden agreed to budget talks, reaching a bipartisan deal that averted a first-ever default. But now a group of House Republicans want even deeper spending cuts and they've threatened to oust McCarthy from the speaker's job if they don't get what they want.

So far, the White House has refused to negotiate, stressing that an agreement was already in place and House Republicans are refusing to honor its terms. Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Friday that Republicans were “solely to blame” for any shutdown, calling that “a basic fact.”

Administration officials have also been highlighting that a shutdown would cause lapses in paychecks for military service members and delays in assistance for victims of natural disasters.

The White House messaging effort has received no shortage of unintended help from Republicans themselves, with moderates criticizing their hard-right colleagues.

Rep. Mike Lawler, R-New York, said “just throwing a temper tantrum and stomping your feet — frankly, not only is it wrong — it’s just pathetic.”

Even McCarthy acknowledged recently that some members of his caucus “just want to burn the whole place down.”

At a Wednesday fundraiser outside San Francisco, Biden said McCarthy cares more about protecting his job as speaker than keeping the government open.

“The fact is that I think that the speaker is making a choice between his speakership and American interests,” Biden said.

While Washington endured partial shutdowns as long as 35 days during Trump’s presidency, Biden warned his donors that Republicans could shutter the government for weeks, if not months.

“It would be disastrous for us, especially if it became long-term,” he said.

Romina Boccia, a veteran of Washington fiscal debates and the director of budget and entitlement policy at the Cato Institute, said this situation is much different than the government shutdown in 2013.

At that time, Republicans were united around trying to block implementation of the Affordable Care Act. And even then, it didn’t work. Once the shutdown happened, Boccia recalled, “it didn’t provide any more leverage," and “Republicans caved and reopened the government when they learned the hard way that they weren’t going to get their way.”

This time, she said, “it’s not clear what they’re trying to get out of a government shutdown. It just seems dysfunctional all around.”

Some polls conducted ahead of the expected shutdown suggest Biden and Democrats in Congress could bear a substantial portion of the blame if a closure occurs. But U.S. adults generally have two conflicting priorities regarding the federal budget.

About 60% of them say the government spends too much money, but majorities also back more money for Social Security, health care and infrastructure, according to a survey by the Associated Press and NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. This enables some Republicans to say the public backs them on cuts, but it also justifies spending on programs that are projected to contribute to higher deficits in the years to come.

The likely shutdown overlaps with Biden ramping up next year's reelection campaign. For the past few months, the president has taken full ownership of the economy's performance as inflation has dropped while unemployment has stayed low.

But an emerging set of risks are on the horizon and most U.S. adults still feel pessimistic about the country's direction.

Mortgage rates are at a 22-year high. Oil prices are nearly $91 a barrel, pushing up the cost of gasoline. Unionized autoworkers are likely entering a third week of strikes. Student loan repayments are restarting. Pandemic-related money for child care centers is set to end, potentially triggering a set of closures that could hit working parents.

A government shutdown would be another dose of chaos that could cause pain for millions of households. White House officials who are ready to blame Republicans say they'd rather see a shutdown avoided.

“I'm still hoping," Young said Friday. “I'm still remaining an optimist.”

Josh Boak And Chris Megerian, The Associated Press

Categories: News

Prosecutor in Hunter Biden case cut a contentious path in Baltimore

3 hours 55 min ago

BALTIMORE (AP) — Before being assigned to investigate President Joe Biden’s son, Leo Wise built a reputation in Baltimore as a tough and hard-charging federal prosecutor, taking on powerful, and seemingly untouchable, figures — whether a gang of corrupt cops, a police commissioner, a top local prosecutor and even a mayor.

Wise’s backers call him talented and savvy, with a knack for navigating complex, headline-generating cases. To detractors, he’s stubborn and uncompromising as well as self-promotional: he wrote a memoir about one of his major cases while still employed by the Justice Department. His approach – aggressive in a way that has won him accolades but riled other lawyers – sets the stage for a contentious fight in the high-stakes prosecution of Hunter Biden.

“He holds everything very close to the vest, and he takes every possible advantage that he can take,” said Gerard Martin, a Baltimore criminal defense lawyer who calls Wise a “hard-ass.” “He’s not a guy you can go meet with and sit down and say, ‘Look, this is what my client says. This is what happened,’” and have that be taken into account.

Wise’s track record in Baltimore is newly relevant given his position as a lead lawyer in what is already a politically fraught prosecution. The case, overseen by special counsel David Weiss, is poised to unfold in the heat of the president’s 2024 re-election campaign and could give fresh momentum to a nascent Republican impeachment inquiry while drawing the White House deeper into questions about Biden’s relationship with his son.

The Justice Department declined to comment on Wise or make him available for an interview.

The first public glimpse of Wise in the Hunter Biden case came during a fractious July plea hearing on gun and tax charges when the agreement was scuttled amid a tense dispute over the deal’s terms. An indictment under federal firearms statutes followed, even though charges related to gun possession by drug users are rare, especially when not in connection with other crimes.

Hunter Biden is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday. The Justice Department has not disclosed whether it will bring a tax indictment.

That Wise would be at the center of a media and legal vortex doesn’t surprise attorneys who have tracked his career. The Harvard Law graduate and avid runner was already an experienced prosecutor by the time he joined the U.S. attorney’s office in 2010, having served on Justice Department teams that pursued the tobacco industry and executives of Enron, the financial services company that collapsed in a notorious financial scandal.

Soon after arriving, he established a reputation as a premier public corruption prosecutor with a taste for big cases.

“Leo is an exceptionally talented and extraordinarily diligent lawyer,” Rod Rosenstein, Wise’s onetime boss as U.S. attorney in Baltimore before becoming deputy attorney general, wrote in an email. He called him “impervious to political considerations.”

In 2018, he secured a guilty plea from a former police chief who admitted he cheated on his taxes. The next year, former mayor Catherine Pugh pleaded guilty to conspiracy and tax evasion charges related to her self-published children’s books to nonprofit organizations to promote her political career.

Wise also netted high-profile convictions of members of the Baltimore Police Department’s Gun Trace Task Force who’d terrorized the city, robbing drug dealers and planting narcotics and firearms on innocent people. A prosecutor who worked with Wise on that case and others, Derek Hines, has also been assigned to the Hunter Biden prosecution team.

The police case spurred two books by journalists who covered the investigation, an HBO series, and even a BBC podcast. In an unusual move for a sitting prosecutor, Wise penned his own account, titled “Who Speaks for You?” He has said he earns no compensation from it.

Isabel Mercedes Cumming, Baltimore’s inspector general, said Wise has proven successful in court because he is extremely detail-oriented and thorough in his preparation of corruption cases. He’s careful and balanced, always striving for the truth, she said.

“If you look at the highest-profile cases in the Baltimore area in the last few years, Leo’s done most of them," Cumming said. "It's not personal. It’s just a matter of the job you have, the job you chose, and doing it to the best of your ability."

“Sometimes the cases make us controversial,” she said. "Sometimes controversy comes with the job. But you just do your job.”

Wise acknowledged as much in his book. He boasted how during his tenure at the Office of Congressional Ethics, a law journal profile described him as on his way to “becoming one of the least-liked lawyer on Capitol Hill.” It was a “badge of honor,” he wrote.

“As I quickly learned on the job,” he wrote of the ethics positions, “going after the powerful doesn't tend to make one popular.”

In Baltimore, not all of his recent prosecutions have been easy, or successful.

His case against the city’s former top prosecutor Marilyn Mosby -- accused of perjury and mortgage fraud related to applications for relief during the COVID-19 pandemic – has been defined by acrimony.

Mosby’s former lawyer leveled incendiary accusations against Wise, including that he'd been motivated by personal animus in his pursuit of Mosby and had a history of targeting Black elected officials.

Wise said the claims had no merit, adding that he was only one of three prosecutors on the case and had no unilateral authority to seek indictments. During a hearing last year, he equated the attack-the-prosecutor strategy to “just like what Trump did.” Former President Donald Trump has repeatedly lashed out at federal and local prosecutors who have indicted him in four separate cases.

“Witch hunt, witch hunt, witch hunt,” Wise said. “That’s what the politicians always say.”

A judge sided with Wise and rejected the allegations. The case is set for trial later this fall.

The prosecution that caused Wise the most trouble went to trial in 2021, and he's still grappling with the fallout.

The case concerned two prominent and well-regarded attorneys: Kenneth Ravenell and Joshua Treem. A year after Ravenell was indicted in a money laundering conspiracy case, Wise and colleagues charged Treem, who'd represented Ravenell earlier in the investigation, with obstructing the probe and creating false documents related to a meeting he had with a witness.

The charges against Treem roiled the city’s legal community, with defense lawyers aghast that a federal prosecutor would so aggressively go after an attorney with some 50 years of experience and pursue a case they saw as exceptionally weak.

Treem, who denied any wrongdoing and testified in his own defense, was acquitted outright. Ravenell was convicted of a single count.

The controversy extended beyond Treem’s acquittal. A brief Wise filed in Ravenell's appeal that accused a major law firm of benefiting from laundered proceeds was swiftly withdrawn and corrected by his own office, a rarity for the Justice Department and a clear rebuke.

Andy Levy, a former law partner of Treem's, said Wise “was pretty well-respected, not just for his legal ability, but I think people thought that he was a reasonable guy that could be trusted.” But, he added, the Treem prosecution was “such a colossal error of judgment” that it hurt his reputation in the legal community.

In a sign of lingering tensions, a Baltimore law club event at which Wise was slated to speak about his book was abruptly canceled in May amid opposition from Treem’s supporters. Wise was quoted by the Daily Record as saying, “I find it bizarre that somebody would object to the fact that I did my job.”

Wise’s assignment to the Hunter Biden investigation in Delaware came not long after he was replaced as chief of the public corruption unit in the U.S. attorney's office in Baltimore. The personnel move followed clashes with office leadership, according to several people familiar with the office dynamics.

Even for a lawyer with extensive experience prosecuting prominent Baltimore figures, Wise will confront unique challenges in the Hunter Biden case, his every move certain to be dissected by the national media, presidential candidates and lawmakers; he’ll also square off against one of Washington’s most successful defense attorneys, Abbe Lowell.

Last week, Lowell asked the court to excuse Hunter Biden from appearing in person, citing the inconvenience of a cross-country trip and the public spectacle it would create.

In a hardball move, Wise and his colleagues balked, and a judge agreed. There will be no special treatment for the president's son.


Tucker reported from Washington.

Eric Tucker And Juliet Linderman, The Associated Press

Categories: News

On the brink of a government shutdown, the Senate tries to approve funding but it’s almost too late

3 hours 55 min ago

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. is on the brink of a federal government shutdown after hard-right Republicans in Congress rejected a longshot effort to keep offices open as they fight for steep spending cuts and strict border security measures that Democrats and the White House say are too extreme.

Come midnight Saturday with no deal in place, federal workers will face furloughs, more than 2 million active duty and reserve military troops will work without pay and programs and services that Americans rely on from coast to coast will begin to face shutdown disruptions.

The Senate will be in for a rare Saturday session to advance its own bipartisan package that is supported by Democrats and Republicans and would fund the government for the short-term, through Nov. 17.

But even if the Senate can rush to wrap up its work this weekend to pass the bill, which also includes money for Ukraine aid and U.S. disaster assistance, it won't prevent an almost certain shutdown amid the chaos in the House. On Friday, a massive hard-right revolt left Speaker Kevin McCarthy's latest plan to collapse.

“Congress has only one option to avoid a shutdown — bipartisanship,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell echoed the sentiment, warning his own hard-right colleagues there is nothing to gain by shutting down the federal government.

“It heaps unnecessary hardships on the American people, as well as the brave men and women who keep us safe,” McConnell said.

The federal government is heading straight into a shutdown that poses grave uncertainty for federal workers in states all across America and the people who depend on them — from troops to border control agents to office workers, scientists and others.

Families that rely on Head Start for children, food benefits and countless other programs large and small are confronting potential interruptions or outright closures. At the airports, Transportation Security Administration officers and air traffic controllers are expected to work without pay, but travelers could face delays in updating their U.S. passports or other travel documents.

Congress has been unable to fund the federal agencies or pass a temporary bill in time to keep offices open for the start of the new fiscal year Sunday in large part because McCarthy has faced unsurmountable resistance from right-flank Republicans who are refusing to run government as usual.

McCarthy's last-ditch plan to keep the federal government temporarily open collapsed in dramatic fashion Friday as a robust faction of 21 hard-right holdouts opposed the package, despite steep spending cuts of nearly 30% to many agencies and severe border security provisions, calling it insufficient.

The White House and Democrats rejected the Republican approach as too extreme. The Democrats voted against it.

The House bill’s failure a day before Saturday’s deadline to fund the government leaves few options to prevent a shutdown.

“It’s not the end yet; I've got other ideas,” a clearly agitated McCarthy told reporters as he exited the chamber.

Later Friday, after a heated closed-door meeting of House Republicans that pushed into the evening, McCarthy said he was considering options — among them, a two-week stopgap funding measure similar to the effort from hard-right senators that would be certain to exclude any help for Ukraine in the war against Russia.

Even though the House bill already axed routine Ukraine aid, an intensifying Republican resistance to the war effort means the Senate's plan to attach $6 billion President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is seeking from the U.S. may have bipartisan support from Democrats but not from most of McCarthy's Republicans.

Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky is working to stop the Ukraine funds in the Senate package.

“We continue to work through trying to find out of this," McCarthy told reporters. "There are no winners in a government shutdown and I think that’s the best way forward, make sure the government does not shut down.”

The White House has brushed aside McCarthy's overtures to meet with President Joe Biden after the speaker walked away from the debt deal they brokered earlier this year that set budget levels.

On Friday, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said, “The path forward to fund the government has been laid out by the Senate with bipartisan support — House Republicans just need to take it.”

Catering to his hard-right flank, McCarthy had returned to the spending limits the conservatives demanded back in January as part of the deal-making to help him become the House speaker.

The House package would not have cut the Defense, Veterans or Homeland Security departments but would have slashed almost all other agencies by up to 30% — steep hits to a vast array of programs, services and departments Americans routinely depend on.

It also added strict new border security provisions that would kickstart building the wall at the southern border with Mexico, among other measures. Additionally, the package would have set up a bipartisan debt commission to address the nation's mounting debt load.

As soon as the floor debate began, McCarthy’s chief Republican critic, Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, announced he would vote against the package, urging his colleagues to “not surrender.”

Gaetz said afterward that the speaker's bill “went down in flames as I’ve told you all week it would.”

He and others rejecting the temporary measure want the House to keep pushing through the 12 individual spending bills needed to fund the government, typically a weeks-long process, as they pursue their conservative priorities.

Republicans leaders announced later Friday that the House would stay in session next week, rather than return home, to keep working on some of the 12 spending bills.

Some of the Republican holdouts, including Gaetz, are allies of Donald Trump, who is Biden's chief rival in 2024. The former president has been encouraging the Republicans to fight hard for their priorities and even to “shut it down.”

The hard right, led by Gaetz, has been threatening McCarthy’s ouster, with a looming vote to try to remove him from the speaker’s office unless he meets the conservative demands. Still, it’s unclear if any other Republican would have support from the House majority to lead the party.

Late Friday, Trump turned his ire to McConnell on social media, complaining the Republican leader and other GOP senators are “weak and ineffective” and making compromises with Democrats. He urged them, “Don't do it!”

Lisa Mascaro, Kevin Freking And Stephen Groves, The Associated Press

Categories: News

Colorado laws that add 3-day wait period to buy guns and open paths to sue gun industry take effect

3 hours 55 min ago

DENVER (AP) — When two Colorado gun control laws take effect Sunday, purchasing a firearm will require a three-day waiting period — meant to curtail suicide attempts and shootings — and gun violence victims will have an easier path toward filing lawsuits against the firearm industry.

The laws, pushed through Colorado's Democrat-controlled legislature this year, come as violent crime and mass shootings surge nationwide — including last year's bloodshed at an LGBTQ+ nightclub in Colorado Springs, where a gunman killed five people and wounded 17 others.

The new laws edge the once-purple Colorado nearer the Democratic bastions of California and New York. But gun groups have vowed to challenge the restrictions in court, encouraged by a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that expanded gun rights last year.

The Colorado laws were spurred by waves of protests over gun violence this year. Students flooded the Colorado Capitol's halls in March after a high school student was shot and killed just outside their campus. Later that month, teachers marched into the House and Senate chambers after a student shot and wounded two school administrators in Denver.

The state now joins at least 10 others by enacting a waiting period.

Democratic state Rep. Judy Amabile, one of the bill’s sponsors, said she's experienced first hand the benefits of a buffer between buying and receiving a gun. Her son had sought a firearm she believed he was planning to use on himself, but his background check had been delayed.

“I am forever grateful he did not have instant access to a firearm that day,” she said in a news release.

Taylor Rhodes, executive director of Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, said that when the waiting period takes effect on Sunday, he will file a lawsuit.

“We aren’t talking about things that are privileges, we are talking about constitutionally guarantied freedoms,” said Rhodes. He added that if someone needs to protect themselves from a stalker, for example, waiting three days might not cut it.

A second law in Colorado would roll back some long-held legal protections for gun manufacturers and dealers, partly by making the industry more accountable to consumer protection laws.

Similar to legislation passed in California, New York, Delaware and New Jersey, Colorado's new law would make it easier for victims of gun violence to file civil suits partly around how companies market their products — such as one lodged against Remington in 2015.

Remington made the rifle used in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Connecticut, and families of those killed accused the company in a lawsuit of targeting younger, at-risk males in advertising and product placement in violent video games. Last year, the company settled with the families for $73 million.

“Removing Colorado’s overly broad gun industry immunity law will provide another avenue for survivors to pursue justice," said Democratic Sen. Chris Kolker, one of the bill's sponsors, in a statement.

Kolker, along with the other bill sponsors, named the act after Jessica Ghawi, who was slain in the 2012 Aurora theater shooting, along with 11 others.

Ghawi's parents, Sandy and Lonnie Phillips, tried to sue the companies that had sold the shooter ammunition and tear gas but were unsuccessful. Ultimately, the couple ended up owing more than $200,000 in defense attorney fees and had to file for bankruptcy.

Opponents of the law worry that it would open up dealerships and manufacturers to frivolous lawsuits, driving especially the smaller shops out of business.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation, a gun advocacy group which has filed lawsuits against similar laws in other states, including California, is expected to take legal action in Colorado.

Mark Oliva, managing director of the foundation, has told The Associated Press Colorado's law would be “ripe” for a legal challenge.


Bedayn is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.

Jesse Bedayn, The Associated Press

Categories: News

Emerging election issues in New Jersey include lawsuits over outing trans students, offshore wind

3 hours 55 min ago

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey Republicans are seizing on flashpoint issues in this year's election, aiming to energize voters over the state's lawsuits against school districts to stop them from outing transgender students to their parents as well as stoking skepticism toward offshore wind turbines.

Both subjects are turning up in GOP talking points, fueling the party's hopes of expanding Republican victories from two years ago when they netted seven seats in the Assembly and Senate.

All 80 seats in the Assembly and all 40 in the Senate are up for grabs this November, with mail-in ballots already going out to voters. Democrats have a nearly million-voter registration advantage over Republicans, and they also controlled the redistricting process last year when they had little incentive to redraw maps unfavorably to their party.

Democrats, meanwhile, are pointing to what they said was a lesson learned from a close gubernatorial race in 2021: Focus on affordability, especially in a state with among the highest property taxes in the country.

Patrick Murray, the director of the Polling Institute at Monmouth University, said he views the GOP's message discipline as a way of igniting the party faithful to turn out in what is traditionally a low-turnout election year.

“We always talk about motivating your base. It’s about turnout rather than persuasion. So these issues aren’t out there to change people’s minds. They're out there to light a fire under the base,” he said.

The attorney general's lawsuits have generated among the most intense Republican attacks in the campaign.

They revolved around Attorney General Matt Platkin’s complaints filed in June against three Monmouth County school districts, arguing that policies they recently enacted requiring school officials to notify parents if their child is transgender violate the state’s Law Against Discrimination.

Republicans argue the lawsuits defy common sense and that parents should be told if their children are transgender.

State guidelines stemming from a 2018 legislative directive call for schools not to disclose a student’s transgender identity except in narrow cases where their health or safety is concerned. The suits vary slightly. Among the school board rules at issue is calling for parental notification in cases involving students up to fifth grade. The suits haven’t been resolved yet.

Steve Dnistrian, a GOP candidate in the competitive 11th Legislative District against incumbent Democratic Sen. Vin Gopal, said education and the state’s lawsuit against Monmouth County districts are a top concern. He reflected a GOP view that the issue isn't just about motivating the base.

“Do you hear what’s going on in our schools?” he said voters ask him when he meets them on the trail. It’s "grandparents — greatest generation folks — who are like, ‘What’s happening in this country?’”

Republican state party chairman Bob Hugin said the GOP is calling for expanding school choice in cities and rural areas, traditional right-leaning views. But he also summarized what he said was emerging as a top issue in the election: the Monmouth County lawsuits.

“Democrats want us to presuppose every parent is abusive and schools should keep secrets,” Hugin said, summarizing his view.

Gopal said in an interview the the issue amounted to a “manufactured culture war.”

“I’m a father. My wife and I are raising our 13-month-old daughter. We’re going to know everything going on in the school district,” he said. Still, Gopal added, he thinks the attorney general overstepped by bringing the suits and cited home rule in the state’s more than 600 school districts.

Republicans are also aiming to galvanize opposition to offshore wind turbines — a centerpiece of Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy’s efforts to move toward renewable energy sources in the state — after a number of whales washed ashore this year.

Hugin cast the issue as a political role reversal because Democrats have balked at exploring other energy-production avenues, like fracking.

“Republicans are fighting Democrats who are trying to industrialize the ocean,” he said in a recent interview. He also cited a recent bill Murphy signed to allow a wind company to keep federal tax credits it otherwise would have had to pass along to ratepayers.

“It’s uneconomic,” he said. “New Jersey has its head in the sand.”

Federal officials have said the whale deaths are not tied to efforts to construct offshore wind turbines in waters off the state’s coast.

Democrats have tread carefully around this issue, with Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin and Senate President Nicholas Scutari releasing a joint statement recently after regulators considered bids for four new offshore wind projects, in a sign of possible offshore wind energy expansion.

“The legislature has concerns about the BPU’s approach on the offshore wind projects. There are still many unanswered questions about the economic impact these projects will have on ratepayers,” they said.

Democrats have sought to rewrite a narrative that they’re not responsive to concerns about New Jersey’s high taxes, particularly property taxes.

This year they enacted a program for homeowners 65 and older who make up to $500,000 to qualify for $6,500 in property tax relief. Renters would also get up to $700 in rebates. Those benefits, though, would take until 2026 to ramp up fully, with seniors and renters expected to see $250 in immediate relief.

Last year, some 870,000 families that make up to $150,000 would get “direct relief” of $1,500; those earning from $150,000 to $250,000 will get $1,000 in credits, and for the first time ever, renters making up to $150,000 would also get $450 assistance.

Iris Delgado, executive director of the Democratic Assembly’s campaign arm, cited both property tax cut programs as signs the Legislature is mindful of voters’ concerns.

“The overall arching theme is people are concerned about the future,” she said. “What did the Legislature do? Cut taxes.”

It's unclear to what extent the swirl of national political factors like the looming government shutdown and Democratic U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez’s indictment last week on federal bribery charges could play in the election. Republicans have begun to say the charges reflect the dangers of having one party in control of state government.

Democrats counter that the GOP is changing the subject. Menendez's seat isn't up for reelection until next year. He hasn't said whether he'll seek reelection, though many in his party are calling for his resignation. He has pleaded not guilty and denies wrongdoing.

Republicans haven't controlled a chamber of the Legislature in two decades.

Mike Catalini, The Associated Press

Categories: News