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Berkeley administration overrules students: Bill Maher still invited to speak at commencement

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A campaign by Berkeley students to rescind an invitation to Bill Maher to speak at their winter commencement has failed, as the university administration has refused to disinvite the comedian.

For a moment, the petition appeared to have succeeded, as the student body group responsible for the invitation, the “Californians,” voted in favor of rescinding it on Wednesday. However, the group did so without the participation of the administration, which overruled their decision.

In a statement released late Wednesday, the administration said that it “cannot and will not accept this decision, which appears to have been based solely on Mr. Maher’s opinions and beliefs, which he conveyed through constitutionally protected speech.”

“For that reason Chancellor Dirks has decided that the invitation will stand, and he looks forward to welcoming Mr. Maher to the Berkeley campus.”

The statement was careful to note that “this decision does not constitute an endorsement of any of Mr. Maher’s prior statements,” which the petition to rescind the invitation characterized as bigoted and racist.

His “public statements on various religions and cultures are offensive and his dangerous rhetoric has found its way into our campus communities,” the petition claimed. “Too many students are marginalized by his remarks and if the University were to bring this individual as a commencement speaker they would not be supporting these historically marginalized communities.”

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The press release addressed those concerns, stating that “the administration’s position on Mr. Maher’s opinions and perspectives is irrelevant in this context, since we fully respect and support his right to express them. More broadly, this university has not in the past and will not in the future shy away from hosting speakers who some deem provocative.”

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Republican lawmakers ask judge to destroy smoking gun documents proving GOP’s white supremacy

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Republicans on Monday sought a court order to block damning documents from being used against them in a lawsuit.

"North Carolina Republican lawmakers on Monday asked a court to make sure the files of the now-deceased GOP strategist Tom Hofeller are destroyed, or at least kept secret, instead of being used in a high-profile gerrymandering lawsuit," the Raleigh News & Observer reported.

"The filing comes after the groups behind the lawsuit, including Common Cause, accused Republican lawmakers of making false statements in court in a previous gerrymandering case, when the state’s 2011 maps were ruled unconstitutional," the newspaper noted. "That blockbuster accusation made national headlines and was, it said, based on Hofeller’s files which had been secret until recently."

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Trump angrily demands newspaper reveal unnamed sources behind bombshell report on his Russia policy

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President Donald Trump on Monday evening again lashed out at The New York Times for reporting on his Russia policy.

"The story in The New York Times about the U.S. escalating attacks on Russia’s power grid is fake news, and the failing New York Times knows it," Trump argued in a tweet sent after 10 p.m.

"They should immediately release their sources which, if they exist at all, which I doubt, are phony," he continued.

"Times must be held fully accountable," he demanded.

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1140804748423118848

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Trump seethes and calls Fox ‘fake news’ after seeing a story that made him mad

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Trouble appears to be brewing between President Donald Trump and the cable news station he loves: Fox News.

In a tweet Monday night, the president lashed out at the network over its polling and called it “fake news’ — an epithet he usually reserves for mainstream outlets:

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1140768516288782336?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

Media Matters for America Senior Fellow Matthew Gertz, who has previously noted that Trump appears to record news segments and watch them a few hours later, suggested that the president appeared to be reacting to an earlier segment from Special Report with Bret Baier. The segment showed that, even according to Fox News’ polling, Trump trails every single leading candidate in the Democratic field in head-to-head matchups.

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