The civil rights icon whose refusal to give up her bus seat to a white passenger sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955. She would have turned 108 today.
Feb. 4 marks the birthday ofRosa Parks, the woman who is befittingly called the “Mother of the Modern Day Civil Rights Movement” for sparking the Montgomery Bus Boycott with one daring move nearly seven decades ago: staying in her seat. The occasion prompts memories of Parks’ iconic resilience and resistance in the face of racism.
Born Feb. 4, 1913, it’s. not a coincidence Parks’ birthday month would go on to be celebrated annually asBlack History Month.
Parks’ signature move, simple in delivery but stellar in impact, represented a refusal to relinquish her seat to a white passenger when bus driverJames F. Blakedemanded that she do so in Montgomery, Alabama, on Dec. 1, 1955. Blacks were known as colored, and inferiority was the superior thought about African Americans at the time of Parks’ burgeoning resistance. She, like so many Black people, was tired of being resigned to second-class status because of racism.
On that day, Parks’ resistance was right. Yet, the courageous woman, 42, was arrested and briefly locked up, handcuffed by the stigmatization of segregation.
Parks’ revolution was racialized and publicized. Threats and caveats alike were thrown her way, but proved futile.
The activist summed up her feelings about that heavily documented day in her “Rosa Parks: My Story” autobiography in 1992: “I was not tired physically, or no more tired than I usually was at the end of a working day. I was not old, although some people have an image of me as being old then. I was 42. No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in.”
Parks, the secretary of the MontgomeryNAACPchapter at the time, was not the first woman to refuse to vacate her seat.Claudette Colvin, Susie McDonald, Mary Louise Smithand other women were arrested for their resistance of the segregated bus system. A small boycott snowballed into a major boycott that lasted more than 300 days, starving revenue for the Alabama buses operations.
Colvin, Parks and the other female protesters, along with Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., in solidarity with one another, supported a major legal case, Browder V. Gayle, that caused a reversal in course pertaining to bus segregation in 1956. Black folks won the agency to sit in whatever seats they wanted, a right that should have been there’s from the start.
Parks, who died in 2005 at the age of 92 in Detroit, Michigan, will forever be remembered for her role in the revolution in Montgomery.
African Americans, includingBarack Obama, have admired the intrepid Parks.
Bus seats are still posthumously reserved for the activist even to this day.
President Donald Trump is the most admired man in the country, according to a Gallup poll released Tuesday.
Trump's top slot on the annual list overtakes former President Barack Obama, who's been No. 1 for the past 12 years.
Trump joins the top rank alongside former first lady Michelle Obama, who was named most admired woman.
For the first time, President Donald Trump alone is the most admired man of the year, according to aGallup pollreleased Tuesday.
The annual survey broadly asked Americans to name any living man around the world they admire most, and 18% out of 1,018 respondents chose Trump, beating former President Barack Obama, who has topped the list for the past 12 years.
Obama was selected by 15% of respondents, followed by President-elect Joe Biden, named by 6% of respondents. Top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci earned fourth place, mentioned by 3% of those polled.
Incumbent presidents have historically ranked first in the poll, though when they don't, it's typically because of national unpopularity, according to Gallup.
Trump's relatively low approval ratings as president over his four years in office may explain why he has never topped the list by himself. In both 2017 and 2018, Trump came in second to Obama. In 2019, Trump and Obamatiedfor the No 1. spot.
For 2020, Gallup noted that Trump, despite the general public still viewing him unfavorably, finally overtook his predecessor mainly because of GOP support. Roughly 48% of Republicans named Trump in the poll, whereas Democrats split up their choices between Obama, Biden, Fauci and other prominent public figures this year.
The poll suggests that although during his final year in office, Trump was impeached, oversaw a pandemic that has killed more than 335,000 people in the country and lost the 2020 presidential election, among several other issues, the president still retains influence and likeability within his party.
Trump joins the top rank alongside former first lady Michelle Obama, who was named the most admired woman for the third consecutive year.
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris fell behind her in second place, and first lady Melania Trump came in third.
The poll was conducted to American adults from December 1 to 17 and has as a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.
Joe Biden has won the 2020 presidential election, the Associated Press projected Saturday, sending President Trump to a bitter defeat four years after he shocked the world by winning the White House with a victory over Hillary Clinton.
Biden crossed the 270-vote threshold in the Electoral College on Saturday after the AP called Pennsylvania for him. He was also able to capture Wisconsin, Michigan and Arizona, states that Trump carried in 2016.
Other states remain too close to call, and the Trump campaign has filed multiple lawsuits to contest the legitimacy of certain ballots. The fate of those challenges was obscured Thursday after Biden was projected to have won the Electoral College.
Biden now holds the record for the most number of votes cast for any presidential candidate in history — more than 73 million — shattering the previous mark (69,500,000) set by Barack Obama in 2008. He leads Trump by nearly 4 million votes nationwide.
The former vice president, who turns 78 this month, won his bid for the White House on his third attempt, becoming the oldest person ever elected president in the U.S. His running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., is the first Black woman and first Asian American elected vice president in U.S. history.
Trump, however, has signaled that he is not likely to concede defeat quickly. In a Wednesday tweet, the president declared without evidence that he had won in Pennsylvania, Georgia and North Carolina.
“We have claimed, for Electoral Vote purposes, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (which won’t allow legal observers) the State of Georgia, and the State of North Carolina, each one of which has a BIG Trump lead,” Trump wrote in tweets that were quickly flagged on Twitter as containing disputed or misleading election information. “Additionally, we hereby claim the State of Michigan if, in fact, there was a large number of secretly dumped ballots as has been widely reported!”
Hours earlier, the Trump campaign announced it would seek a recount in Wisconsin, another state the AP said Biden had won.
On Thursday, as it became clear that his early lead in states like Pennsylvania and Georgia was eroding as more ballots were tabulated, Trump posted a dramatic tweet that read, “STOP THE COUNT!”
“If you count the legal votes, I easily win,” Trump said, though no state allows the counting of illegally cast votes. “If you count the illegal votes, they can try to steal the election from us.”
Ahe president portrayed the counting of legally cast mail-in ballots as improper — an assault on American democracy by the president himself.
“Our numbers started miraculously getting whittled away, in secret,” Trump said, again without evidence. “This is a case where they’re trying to steal an election. They’re trying to rig an election. And we can’t let that happen.”
Biden’s election was as much about rallying support among Democrats, independents and even some Republicans with a message of unity as it was a repudiation of Trump, whose approval rating, according to Gallup, never hit 50 percent.
In poll after poll leading up to Election Day, large majorities of voters disapproved of Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 234,000 Americans and infected more than 9.5 million in the U.S., including him.
Throughout the pandemic, Trump sought to downplay the virus, mocking Biden for wearing a mask and falsely claiming that the United States is “rounding the corner” on the pandemic at a time when cases and deaths from COVID-19 continue to rise. As the race for the White House pushed into October and November, the country set a string of new daily records for coronavirus cases and saw a dramatic spike in states that Trump needed to win to secure his reelection.
After recovering from his own bout with the disease caused by exposure to the coronavirus — which led to a three-day hospitalization and forced the cancellation of one presidential debate — the president returned to the campaign trail in mid-October, holding rallies where he and many of his supporters eschewed the recommendations from public health officials to wear face masks and follow social distancing guidelines.
The Biden campaign offered a sharp contrast, adhering to guidelines from Trump’s own Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, avoiding large rallies and making attendees at campaign events wear masks and follow social distancing guidelines.
Biden overcame numerous attacks from Trump on the campaign trail, including claims of cognitive lapses (Trump branded him “Sleepy Joe”) and questions about his son Hunter’s business dealings in Ukraine and China. Trump even called on Attorney General William Barr to launch an investigation into the Bidens just two weeks before Election Day. (Barr did not.)
Trump, who sought to paint his opponent as a closet socialist being manipulated by the progressive wing of his party, falsely claimed that Biden wanted to “defund” the police and argued that a Biden presidency would “destroy” the suburbs and embrace antifa.
He also floated wild conspiracy theories and disinformation about Biden and other Democratic figures that had been promoted by right-wing activists on social media.
But none of the punches managed to land, infuriating the president and the GOP.
“If I lose, I will have lost to the worst candidate, the worst candidate in the history of presidential politics,” Trump said at an Oct. 17 campaign rally.
The president also accused Democrats of trying to “steal” the election, falsely claiming that mail-in voting would lead to widespread fraud.
The pandemic caused many states to expand early-voting options, and a record 101 million ballots were cast either in person or by mail before Election Day.
In 2016, Trump won office by riding a populist message against a deeply unpopular establishment candidate in Clinton. But polls showed Biden as far more popular with the electorate than the former secretary of estate, giving him more ways to win the election.
Biden, a Scranton, Pa., native, began his presidential campaign in April 2019, joining an already crowded field of Democrats with a video denouncing Trump for his response to the violent white-supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., in August 2017. While speaking out against the violent clashes that erupted among white supremacists and counterprotesters, Trump infamously said there were “some very fine people on both sides.”
“With those words, the president of the United States assigned a moral equivalence between those spreading hate and those with the courage to stand against it,” Biden said in the video. “And in that moment, I knew the threat to this nation was unlike any I had ever seen in my lifetime.”
He carried that message into the general election campaign, promising that his election would “restore the soul of the nation.”
Biden shrugged off disappointing performances in early primary and caucus states like Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada, gaining his footing after a crucial win in South Carolina, where he was buoyed by the support of African American voters wary of the candidacy of Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who had emerged as the frontrunner. Biden went on to control of the race, winning 10 of 14 states on Super Tuesday in March. Sanders dropped out of the race and quickly endorsed Biden, paving the way for his nomination.
In August, Biden, who had promised to pick a woman as his running mate, announced his choice of Harris shortly before the Democratic convention. The senator from California, who lost her own bid for the 2020 Democratic nomination, had clashed with Biden during the first primary debate by attacking his record on race. But after ending her campaign, she endorsed the former vice president and stumped for him in Michigan ahead of Super Tuesday.
While Biden enjoyed a wave of support among Democrats, he was also backed by “Never Trump” Republicans who opposed the president from the start of his term or became disillusioned by what they considered to be his chaotic and divisive style of governing. During the campaign, Biden was endorsed by dozens of Republican former national security officials, U.S. attorneys and governors, including former Ohio Republican Gov. John Kasich, former Michigan Republican Gov. Rick Snyder, former Arizona Republican Sen. Jeff Flake and Cindy McCain, the widow of the 2008 Republican nominee for president, Sen. John McCain of Arizona.
Biden now faces the enormous challenge of attempting to unify a country deeply divided by partisan politics. While that reality predated Trump’s time in office, it also crystallized over the last four years.
Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. was born in Scranton, Pa., on Nov. 20, 1942, to Catherine Eugenia “Jean” Biden (née Finnegan) and Joseph Robinette Biden Sr. He was raised in Scranton and New Castle County, Del.
Biden studied at the University of Delaware before earning his law degree from Syracuse University in 1968.
He married his first wife, Neilia Hunter, in 1966. They had three children: Joseph R. “Beau” Biden III (born 1969), Robert “Hunter” Biden (1970) and Naomi Christina Biden (1971). A month after he won his first race for the U.S. Senate in 1972, Neilia and Naomi died in a car accident that also injured his sons.
During his six terms in the Senate, Biden commuted by train between his Delaware home and Washington, D.C. — 90 minutes each way.
He met his second wife, Jill, in 1975, and they married in 1977, having a daughter, Ashley, in 1981.
Biden mounted two unsuccessful presidential bids, in 1988 (which was marred by a plagiarism scandal) and 2008 (which he lost to Barack Obama, who ultimately picked him as his running mate).
He flirted with the idea of running again in 2016 but was too grief-stricken over the loss of his son Beau, who died of brain cancer in 2015 at the age of 46.
“Beau should be the one running for president, not me,” he told MSNBC host Joe Scarborough in January. “Every morning I get up, Joe, not a joke, and I think to myself, ‘Is he proud of me?’”
White House adviser Jared Kushner described Black America's issues with inequality and racism in the country as "complaining," during an interview Monday on "Fox & Friends."
"The thing we've seen in the Black community, which is mostly Democrat," he said, "is that President Trump's policies are the policies that can help people break out of the problems that they're complaining about, but he can't want them to be successful more than that they want to be successful."
Kushner's words appear to blame Black Americans’ disproportionate lack of wealth, job opportunities, health disparities and other inequalities on a lack of drive — suggesting the problem is that Black Americans don’t “want” success enough. However, his comments do not address the roots of systemic racism.
According to a 2019 McKinsey study,the racial wealth gap between Black and white families in America has been widening for decades, in part because white family wealth has continued to grow while Black families have stagnated.
The president's re-election campaign has been working with the rapper Ice Cube, who had promoted his own Contract With Black America as a platform for the presidential campaigns to adopt. The entertainer's plan included federal financial oversight, criminal justice reform, dismantling Confederate monuments and several other actions. He's received backlash for his willingness to work with Trump on a plan to address these historic inequalities, given Trump's record on addressing racism, including cutting diversity training in the federal government.
"I've told everybody that I'm not playing politics with this,"Ice Cube said on Fox Newsover the weekend. "I'm willing to meet with anybody who could bring this to life and make it a reality."
Black Voices for Trump, an arm of the president’s re-election campaign, says Trump will focus on bolstering Black businesses, enabling school choice, criminal justice reform, and supporting historically Black colleges and universities. Hisofficial campaignechoes these promises.
Meanwhile, Trump hasrepeatedly said that no president since Abraham Lincolnhas done more for Black Americans. In particular, he has trumpeted the low Black unemployment rate before the pandemic affected the economy. The rate, however, had been slowly decreasing under the Obama administration, but still remained higher than other racial groups, even at its lowest point of 5.9 percent in May 2018.
Kushner also asserted that Black voters are creeping over to the Trump column in 2020. Four years ago, only 8 percent of Black voters chose Trump. While his opponent Joe Biden is leading with Black voters overall in the polls, some — particularly men — have shown interest in supporting Trump, according to a newFiveThirtyEight analysis. According to the report, many Black men say the Democrats have long taken Black voters for granted.
The Fox News president and several on-air personalities have been advised to quarantine after sharing a private plane with someone who later tested positive for thecoronavirus,The New York Timesreported Sunday.
Chief political anchorBret Baier,Martha MacCallumof “The Story” and “The Five” hosts Dana Perino and Juan Williams were exposed, along with Fox News President Jay Wallace, the Times noted, citing sources “with direct knowledge of the situation.”
The infected passenger shared a charter flight with executives, reporters and other crew from the conservative news channel to New York from Nashville, Tennessee, after last week’s presidential debate.
The anchors are “expected” to broadcast from home for now, according to the report.
Chris Wallace, the moderator of the first debate, was among several network employees who were tested for COVID-19 after President Donald Trump contracted the virus,The Hill noted.
Even as the coronavirus death toll has topped 225,000, Fox News coverage has mostly remained in lockstep with Trump downplaying the pandemic, questioning infectious disease experts, and discounting health precautions like mask-wearing.
A network spokesperson told HuffPost that Fox News would not confirm any details of the exposure due to privacy concerns.
The former vice president made it clear in his official remarks that Democrats needed to unite to unseat President Trump.
Joe Biden officially accepted the Democratic nomination for president on the final night of the party’s virtual convention on Thursday. As he accepted the honor, Biden promised to work hard for everyone, including people who didn’t vote for him.
“While I’ll be a Democratic candidate, I will be an American president,” Biden said in his remarks. “I’ll work hard for those who didn’t support me, as hard for them as I did for those who did vote for me.”
The former vice president said that PresidentDonald Trump has “cloaked America in darkness for much too long.”
“Too much anger,” he said. “Too much fear. Too much division.”
“If you entrust me with the presidency, I will draw on the best of us, not the worst,” Biden continued. “I’ll be an ally of the light, not the darkness. It’s time for us — for we the people — to come together.”
Biden noted that America is facing “four historic crises,” including the coronavirus pandemic, the economic recession, racial injustice and the ongoing protests to end it, and climate change.
“Just judge this president on the facts,” Biden said of Trump before listing the number of Americans infected with COVID-19 (over 5 million) and the number of Americans who have been killed by the virus (more than 173,000).
“If this president is reelected, we know what will happen. Cases and deaths will remain far too high,” Biden said.
His remarks culminated four days of impassioned and emotional pleas from prominent Democrats and politicians, many warning that four more years of Trump’s administration loom as an existential threat to U.S. democracy.
Much of Biden’s message adhered to the theme of the convention’s slogan that urged Americans to create a “more perfect union” and highlighted the effects of Trump’s divisive rhetoric on the country.
Biden recalled the violent white supremacist demonstration that brought “neo-Nazis and Klansmen” to Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017.
“Remember what the president said? There were quote, ‘very fine people on both sides,’” Biden said.
“It was a wake-up call for us as a country. And for me, a call to action,” the candidate said. “At that moment, I knew I’d have to run. My father taught us that silence was complicity. And I could not remain silent or complicit.”
“At the time, I said we were in a battle for the soul of this nation,” he said. “And we are.”
Earlier this month, Biden tapped Sen. Kamala Harris of California to be his running mate. Since then, the pair have focused fire on Trump and his administration while also fleshing out their own biographies for voters.
While Biden’s speech was the centerpiece of the convention, he made appearances several times during the virtual event, including Tuesday night after his wife, Jill Biden, gave a speech touting her 77-yeat-old husband’s commitment to public service, even as he much personal grief in his life.
The former vice president in Barack Obama’s administration also briefly appeared on stage with Harris after she gave her acceptance speech Wednesday night in Delaware, Biden’s home state which he represented in the Senate for 36 years.
Biden’s presidential bid got off to a rocky start when he ran poorly in the opening nominating contests in Iowa and New Hampshire. But he turned his campaign around with an impressive win in the South Carolina primary on Feb. 29. He then dominated the rest of the primary campaign, which took an unexpected turn in late March when the coronavirus pandemic forced him and the other remaining candidates to cease large rallies and in-person politicking.
As the Nov. 3 election day nears, Biden’s campaign is focusing not only on battleground states, but on some Republican-leaning states where polls have shown him competitive against Trump. In early August, his team announced plans to spend $280 million in TV ads across Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Florida, North Carolina, Arizona, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, Colorado, Virginia, Georgia, Iowa, Ohio and Texas.
The California Democrat said she would call on the House to return to the Capitol in the coming days.
“Lives, livelihoods and the life of our American Democracy are under threat from the President,” Pelosi wrote in a letter to colleagues. “That is why I am calling upon the House to return to session later this week to vote on Oversight and Reform Committee Chairwoman [Carolyn B.] Maloney’s ‘Delivering for America Act,’ which prohibits the Postal Service from implementing any changes to operations or level of service it had in place on January 1, 2020.”
The House was not scheduled to return until Sept. 14, but the vote on the Postal Service legislation will likely take place Saturday, both Politico and The New York Times reported.The House Democratic leader, Rep. Steny Hoyer (Md.), will announce a final schedule on the vote in the next few days.
The abrupt return to Congress comes amid growing concerns about the Postal Service as an unprecedented number of Americans are expected to vote by mail in November’s upcoming election because of changes to absentee voting rules and the threat of the coronavirus pandemic. President Donald Trump’s new postmaster general, Louis DeJoy, enacted changes to mail service that voting rights advocates worry could disenfranchise many voters who could have trouble getting their ballots in time.
DeJoy, a top Republican megadonor and supporter of the president, took over the Postal Service in May and quickly moved tolimit overtime for postal workersand remove mail-sorting machines from some processing centers.
The agency recentlywarned 46 statesthat it couldn’t guarantee that all mailed ballots would be delivered to voters in time (Americans are also deeply concerned about getting regular mail, including prescriptions and paychecks).
DeJoy moved to assuage those concerns earlier this month by saying the Postal Service still had “ample capacityto deliver all election mail securely and on time,” arguing that he instituted the changes to keep the agency from losing money because of a “broken business model.”
But Democrats havecalled for DeJoytotestifybefore lawmakers to address “why they are pushing these dangerous new policies that threaten to silence the voices of millions just months before the election.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) called on the chamber’s Republican leader, Sen. Mitch McConnell (Ky.), to bring back the Senate early as well.
“I call on Leader McConnell to bring the Senate back into session to quickly act on the House’s legislation that will undo the extensive damage Mr. DeJoy has done at the Postal Service so that people can get their paychecks, medicines and other necessities delivered on time and to ensure our elections will remain completely free and fair,” Schumer said in a statement Sunday night.
Pelosi on Sunday called the Postal Service a “pillar of our democracy” and urged her colleagues to move to protect the agency.
“In a time of a pandemic, the Postal Service is Election Central,” she wrote. “Americans should not have to choose between their health and their vote.”
“Let me just say this to the president of the United States on behalf of the police chiefs in this country. Please, if you don’t have anything constructive to say, keep your mouth shut. Because you’re putting men and women in their early 20s at risk,” Acevedo told CNN’sChristiane Amanpour.
“It’s not about dominating, it’s about winning hearts and minds,” the police chief continued, referencing Trump’s order earlier this week that governors should “dominate” anti-racism protesters.
“And it hurts me to no end because whether we vote for someone or we don’t vote for someone, he’s still our president, but it’s time to be presidential and not try to be like you’re on ‘The Apprentice,’” he added.
“This is not Hollywood, this is real life, and real lives are at risk.”
An autopsy commissioned for George Floyd’s family found that he died of asphyxiation due to neck and back compression when a Minneapolis police officer held his knee on Floyd's neck for several minutes and ignored his cries of distress, the family’s attorneys said Monday.
The autopsy by a doctor who also examined Eric Garner’s body found the compression cut off blood to Floyd’s brain, and weight on his back made it hard to breathe, attorney Ben Crump said at a news conference.
The family’s autopsy differs from the official autopsy as described in a criminal complaint against the officer. That autopsy included the effects of being restrained, along with underlying health issues and potential intoxicants in Floyd’s system, but also said it found nothing “to support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation.”
Floyd, a black man who was in handcuffs at the time, died after the white officer ignored bystander shouts to get off him and Floyd's cries that he couldn't breathe. His death, captured on citizen video, sparked days of protests in Minneapolisthat have spread to cities around America.
The official autopsy last week provided no other details about intoxicants, and toxicology results can take weeks. In the 911 call that drew police, the caller described the man suspected of paying with counterfeit money as “awfully drunk and he’s not in control of himself.”
Crump said last week that he was commissioning the family's own autopsy. Floyd’s family, like the families of other black men killed by police, wanted an independent look because they didn’t trust local authorities to produce an unbiased autopsy.
The family's autopsy was conducted by Michael Baden and Allecia Wilson. Baden is the former chief medical examiner of New York City, who was hired to conduct an autopsy ofEric Garner, a black man who died in 2014 after New York police placed him in a chokehold and he pleaded that he could not breathe.
Baden also conducted an independent autopsy of Michael Brown, an 18-year-old shot by police in Ferguson, Missouri. He said Brown's autopsy, requested by the teen's family, didn’t reveal signs of a struggle, casting doubt on a claim by police that a struggle between Brown and the officer led to the shooting.
The officer who held his knee on Floyd's neck, Derek Chauvin, has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter and is in custody in a state prison. The other three officers on scene, like Chauvin, were fired the day after the incident but have not been charged.
Crump on Monday called for the remaining three officers to be arrested and for the charge against Chauvin to be upgraded to first-degree murder.
The head of the Minneapolis police union said in a letter to members that the officers were fired without due process and labor attorneys are fighting for their jobs. Lt. Bob Kroll, the union president, also criticized city leadership, saying a lack of support is to blame for the days of sometimes violent protests.
When asked to respond, Mayor Jacob Frey said: “For a man who complains so frequently about a lack of community trust and support for the police department, Bob Kroll remains shockingly indifferent to his role in undermining that trust and support." Frey said Kroll's opposition to reform and lack of empathy for the community has undermined trust in the police.
Gov. Tim Walz announced Sunday that Attorney GeneralKeith Ellison would take the leadin any prosecutions in Floyd's death. Local civil rights activists have said Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman doesn't have the trust of the black community. They have protested outside his house, and pressed him to charge the other three officers.
A lawyer who representedTara Reade, the woman who has accused Joe Biden of sexually assaulting her in 1993, announced Friday that Reade is no longer his firm's client.
The news came as California defense attorneys and a district attorney's office said they are reviewing past criminal cases in which Reade testified as an expert witness, following a CNN report that questioned her education credentials.
Doug Wigdor said the decision to no longer represent Reade was made on Wednesday, the day after CNN published an extensive investigation about Reade's background and past statements. In the report, CNN first revealed problems with Reade's claim that she received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Antioch University in Seattle; the school denied to CNN that she ever graduated from the university.
Wigdor had sent CNN a lengthy statement on Monday responding to numerous questions related to the story. However, Reade directly contacted CNN on Monday night to discuss the issue of her degree from Antioch, telling a CNN reporter that she had asked for and received permission from Wigdor to reach out directly.
"Our decision, made on May 20, is by no means a reflection on whether then-Senator Biden sexually assaulted Ms. Reade," Wigdor said in a statement. "We also believe that to a large extent Ms. Reade has been subjected to a double standard in terms of the media coverage she has received. Much of what has been written about Ms. Reade is not probative of whether then-Senator Biden sexually assaulted her, but rather is intended to victim-shame and attack her credibility on unrelated and irrelevant matters."
Wigdor said his firm wishes Reade well and hopes that she will be treated fairly.
On behalf of Reade, Maria Villena, a friend who handled media inquiries on Friday, told CNN Reade is "seeking new counsel with PR support," and that she does not wish to make a public statement at this time.
Reade "stands by her interview with Meghan (sic) Kelly," Villena said in an emailed statement.
Reade alleges that in 1993 when she was working as an aide in Biden's Senate office, the then-senator sexually assaulted her. Biden himself has vehemently denied Reade's allegation.
Wigdor, a prominent sexual harassment and assault lawyer, announced that his firm was representing Reade earlier this month. He has represented accusers of Harvey Weinstein, and was a vocal supporter of Christine Blasey Ford when she accused Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault. Wigdor supported President Donald Trump in the 2016 election.
Wigdor previously told CNN that Reade wasn't paying his law firm and that he didn't "anticipate ever getting paid for anything."
Wigdor is parting ways with Reade as many aspects of her background have come under scrutiny in light of her allegation against Biden.
On Monday, Reade had told CNN that she received a bachelor of arts degree from Antioch University in Seattle under the auspices of a "protected program," personally working with the former president of the school to ensure her identity was protected while she obtained credits for her degree. She also said that she was a visiting professor at the school, on and off for five years.
But a spokesperson for the university told CNN that Reade "attended but did not graduate from Antioch University" and that she was never a faculty member, but she did provide several hours of administrative work.
University officials confirmed with former university president Toni Murdoch that no special arrangements existed, university spokeswoman Karen Hamilton said.
An Antioch University official also told CNN that such a "protected program" does not exist and never has.
Reade graduated from Seattle University School of Law in 2004, gaining admission to the school through its Alternative Admission Program.
Two California lawyers said they are concerned over inconsistencies in her education credentials and that her testimony may have improperly influenced the outcomes of their trials.
"This could affect innocent people that got convicted," defense attorney William Pernik, law partner of Roland Soltesz who represented a defendant in a case where Reade testified as an expert witness, told CNN.
Reade participated in cases in Monterey County courts for "probably a decade or more" as a government witness on domestic violence, according to Monterey County Chief Assistant District Attorney Berkley Brannon. Reade had testified in a 2018 trial that she received a liberal arts degree with a focus on political science when she was asked questions about credentials presented on her resume, according to court documents.
Brannon said the district attorney's office is going through cases to determine when Reade testified as a domestic violence expert. Brannon said their office is also trying to determine whether Reade graduated from Antioch University.
"The first thing we need to do is we need to figure out whether she lied under oath in any of our cases, and so in order to know whether she lied under oath, we need to know whether she has that degree," Brannon told CNN.
Defense attorneys William Pernik and Roland Soltesz became concerned afterCNN first reported about discrepancies in Reade's education background.CNN's report combined with a local profile of Reade as a domestic violence expert witness in Monterey County under the name Alexandra McCabe caused Soltesz and Pernik to realize that Reade may have misstated her credentials under oath, the attorneys told CNN.
Reade also told the court that she worked in domestic violence prevention for decades, starting off as a legislative assistant in Biden's office when he worked on the Violence Against Women Act, according to a trial transcript. Reade was a staff assistant in Biden's office, according to a congressional staff list at the time, which is a different position.
Reade told CNN that she did not misrepresent her credentials and that she does have a bachelor's degree.
Soltesz told CNN he believes Reade's testimony significantly swayed the outcome of that 2018 trial in which his client received a life sentence for attempted murder, arson and armed robbery. He is now looking to reopen the case and considering additional action he can take to learn the true nature of Reade's credentials.
Nearly two-thirds of registered voters (63 percent) agree with Democrats that the Senate should call new witnesses to testify during President Trump’s impeachment trial, according to a new Yahoo News/YouGov poll. Only 26 percent of voters disagree.
In the survey, 85 percent of Democrats and 53 percent of independents said the Senate should call new witnesses. Among Republicans surveyed, 43 percent said the Senate should not call new witnesses, while 35 percent said witnesses should be called and 22 percent indicated they were unsure on the question.
When asked about specific possible witnesses, majorities of voters said they wanted to hear from each of the four Trump allies Democrats have formally identified. Sixty percent of voters said they wanted to hear from Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani; 57 percent said they wanted to hear from Trump’s secretary of state, Mike Pompeo; 53 percent said they wanted to hear from Trump’s former national security adviser, John Bolton; and 50 percent said they wanted to hear from Trump’s acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney. In each case, only about a quarter of voters said they did not want to hear from these figures. Both Giuliani and Bolton have said they would testify if summoned or subpoenaed.
Registered voters were slightly less interested in Giuliani’s Ukraine fixer Lev Parnas, but a plurality (47 percent) still said they wanted to hear from him. Lest Democrats get too excited about those numbers, registered voters also support summoning both Joe Biden (52 percent in favor vs. 36 percent against) and Hunter Biden (50 percent in favor vs. 34 percent against) to testify.
Either way, the Americans surveyed expressed a lack of confidence in the Senate trial, with a plurality (42 percent) saying it will not be conducted fairly — 10 points higher than the percentage who say the trial will be fair. Among Democrats, the “unfair” response number rises to 63 percent, and a plurality of independents (40 percent) agree. Only Republicans (57 percent) believe the Senate will conduct a fair trial. A December Yahoo News/YouGov poll found that a plurality of Americans (49 percent) believed that House impeachment hearings had been fair to Trump.
Overall, registered voters remained divided over whether the president should be removed from office, with 46 percent saying he should, 45 percent saying he shouldn’t and nine percent saying they’re not sure. Three-quarters of registered voters, however, predict that the Republican-controlled Senate will decline to convict and remove Trump.
That said, a full 64 percent of registered voters in states holding an election for a Senate seat this November say that their senator’s vote on impeachment will be a “very important” factor in how they vote on Election Day, and 67 percent of voters nationwide say they are either following the trial “very closely” (35 percent) or “somewhat closely” (32 percent). Even if the outcome of Trump’s trial seems preordained, the stakes remain high.
The filing says the two articles of impeachment brought against the president don’t amount to impeachment offenses.
President Donald Trump’s legal team asserted Monday that he did “absolutely nothing wrong,” calling the impeachment case against him flimsy and a “dangerous perversion of the Constitution.”
The brief from Trump’s lawyers, filed ahead of arguments expected later this week in the Senate impeachment trial, offered the most detailed glimpse of the lines of defense they intend to use against Democratic efforts to convict the president and oust him from office over his dealings with Ukraine. It is meant as a counter to a brief filed two days ago by HouseDemocratsthat summarized weeks of testimony from more than a dozen witnesses in laying out the impeachment case.
The 110-page filing from the White House shifted the tone toward a more legal response but still hinged on Trump’s assertion he did nothing wrong and did not commit a crime — even though impeachment does not depend on a material violation of law but rather on the more vague definition of “other high crimes and misdemeanors” as established in the Constitution.
It says the two articles of impeachment brought against the president — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress — don’t amount to impeachment offenses. It asserts that the impeachment inquiry centered on Trump’s request that Ukraine’s president open an investigation into Democratic rival Joe Biden was never about finding the truth.
“Instead, House Democrats were determined from the outset to find some way — any way — to corrupt the extraordinary power of impeachment for use as a political tool to overturn the result of the 2016 election and to interfere in the 2020 election,” Trump’s legal team wrote. “All of that is a dangerous perversion of the Constitution that the Senate should swiftly and roundly condemn.”
The prosecution team of House managers was expected to spend another day on Capitol Hill preparing for the trial, which will be under heavy security. Ahead of the filing, House prosecutors arrived on Capitol Hill to tour the Senate chamber. Opening arguments are expected within days following a debate over rules.
The White House brief argues that the articles of impeachment passed by the House are “structurally deficient” because they charge multiple acts, creating “a menu of options” as possible grounds for conviction.
The Trump team claims that the Constitution requires that senators agree “on the specific basis for conviction” and that there is no way to ensure that the senators agree on which acts are worthy of removal. Senior administration officials argued that similar imprecision in the articles applied to the multi-part article of impeachment for perjury in the Bill Clinton impeachment trial.
They accused Democrats of diluting the standards for impeachment, an argument that echoed the case made Sunday by one of Trump’s attorneys, Alan Dershowitz, who contended on a series of talk shows that impeachable offenses must be “criminal-like conduct.” That assertion has been rejected by scholars, and Rep. Adam Schiff, the Democratic chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, called it an “absurdist position.”.