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Justice Dept. will intervene in challenges to Ohio and Wisconsin’s voting laws

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By Brendan O’Brien and Kim Palmer

(Reuters) – The U.S. Department of Justice plans to intervene in court challenges to laws that restrict voting in Wisconsin and Ohio, Attorney General Eric Holder said in remarks released on Tuesday.

Holder told ABC news during an unaired portion of an interview last week that the Justice Department intends to file in both cases, but did not elaborate on how or when it would do so, according to a transcript of the remarks provided by the department.

Wisconsin and Ohio are among several states that have been forced to defend changes to voting protocol. Judges in recent months have overturned photo identification laws in Pennsylvania and Arkansas, and the Justice Department has intervened in similar cases challenging voting laws in Texas and North Carolina.

Republicans argue tighter rules are needed to prevent voter fraud, while Democrats say the revisions target likely Democratic voters such as minorities, the poor and college students.

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Holder had already voiced his displeasure with a 2012 Wisconsin law that requires voters to have identification to cast a ballot, saying last month that it “erected significant barriers to equal access without serving any legitimate government interest.”

A federal judge ruled Wisconsin’s law unconstitutional in April and Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen is appealing the ruling and objected on Tuesday to federal intervention.

“At a time when an immigration crisis is rattling the nation, the Attorney General is choosing to spend taxpayer money to meddle in a state law that does nothing more than ask a voter to show a photo ID,” Van Hollen said in a statement.

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Ohio Republican lawmakers in February passed a law eliminating the first week of the state’s five-week early voting period when people could register and vote the same day. The American Civil Liberties Union in May filed a federal lawsuit challenging its constitutionality.

(Reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Milwaukee, Kim Palmer in Cleveland; Editing by Eric Walsh)

[Image via Agence France-Presse]


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Newly revealed video shows Trump and Jeffrey Epstein ogling cheerleaders at Mar-A-Lago party

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Newly revealed video recorded in 1992 shows Donald Trump and Jeffrey Epstein ogling NFL cheerleaders at a party held at the future president's Mar-A-Lago club.

The video recorded by NBC and broadcast Wednesday by MSNBC shows Trump, then a celebrity businessman, dancing with dozens of cheerleaders for the Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins, and then greeting Epstein and two other men.

Trump and the accused pedophile Epstein are then seen pointing toward various women and commenting on their looks, although it's not always clear what they're saying.

"She's hot," Trump says about one woman, and then leans in to say something that makes Epstein double over with laughter.

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‘Clear and present racism’: MSNBC’s Morning Joe and Mika say Kellyanne Conway should have been ‘fired on the spot’ for slurring reporter

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MSNBC's Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski were astonished by Kellyanne Conway's response to a reporter asking about President Donald Trump's racist attacks on four first-year lawmakers.

The White House senior adviser asked Breakfast Media White House correspondent Andrew Feinberg, who is Jewish, about his ethnicity after he asked Conway what countries Trump was telling the Democratic congresswomen to return.

"I won't draw any parallels with any fascist countries, but what happened yesterday in a press gaggle has nothing to do with the United States of America," Scarborough said, "and in any other administration over the past 240 years, a person that did what Kellyanne Conway did yesterday would have been fired on the spot. By the time she left the press gaggle and went back into the White House, they would have already packed up her belongings and would have told her leave by the back door and never talk to us again."

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Elon Musk shows off progress on brain-machine interface

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Futurist entrepreneur Elon Musk late Tuesday revealed his secretive Neuralink startup is making progress on an interface linking brains with computers, and said they hope to begin testing on people next year.

Musk has long contended that a neural lace meshing minds with machines is vital if people are going to avoid being so outpaced by artificial intelligence that, under the best of circumstances, humans would be akin to "house cats."

Musk and members of the Neuralink team laid out progress they have made on their mission at an event held in San Francisco to recruit talent in software, robotics, neuroscience and more.

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