NEW YORK (Reuters) - A U.S. judge has rejected a bid by Britain's Prince Andrew to dismiss Virginia Giuffre's lawsuit accusing the Duke of York of sexually abusing her when she was 17 and being trafficked by the late financier Jeffrey Epstein. The decision by U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan was made public on Wednesday. (Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York)
Donald Trump hosted secret meetings in the White House residence in the days ahead of the Jan. 6 insurrection, according to statements from his former press secretary to the the House select committee.
Stephanie Grisham also told House investigators that documents provided to the U.S. Secret Service would memorialize whether Trump actually intended to march himself with supporters to the Capitol after his speech at the "Stop the Steal" rally at the Ellipse, two sources told The Guardian.
The sources said Grisham, who was Melania Trump's chief of staff when she resigned on Jan. 6, 2021, was more significant than the select committee expected, saying that she gave House investigators an overview of the former president's chaotic last weeks in office and the days leading up to the Capitol riot.
Only a small number of aides knew about the off-the-books meetings in the White House residence that were mostly scheduled by former chief of staff Mark Meadows, and she also said former chief usher Timothy Harleth would permit participants to go upstairs.
The former president tried to fire Harleth, a former top employee at the Trump International Hotel before joining the White House in 2017, after he aided Joe Biden's transition team, but Melania Trump stepped in to keep him until Inauguration Day.
Grisham said she wasn't sure who Trump met with in the White House residence, where other officials have said he conducted private business in his presidency's final days, but told House investigators that Harleth and other individuals would likely know.
And oh yeah – they also want to address the fact that in this country we have too few guns readily available to irresponsible, untrained and unvetted people. Their so-called “constitutional carry” provision ought to fix that problem quick as a bullet fired in a road-rage incident.
Honestly, though, it’s a neat trick, especially in an election year. Fake problems are infinitely more susceptible to fake solutions by fake leaders than are real problems, which tend to be complicated and bring the risk of potential failure to those who dare try to fix them.
You know what else is a neat trick? Swooping in to take credit for somebody else’s accomplishment.
In his State of the State address last week, Gov. Brian Kemp bragged that as recently as 2019, “Georgia had only four health insurance carriers offering plans in the individual market. Today, we have nearly tripled that number with eleven carriers offering plans for 2022.”
He went on to point out that “in 2019, only 26 percent of Georgia’s counties had more than one carrier offering insurance on the individual market. Now, in 2022, 98 percent of all counties have more than one carrier – which means expanded choice and lowered costs for hardworking Georgians.”
If your hypocrisy alarm is blaring, it ought to be. Without saying the “O word,” Kemp is basically embracing and taking credit for the success of Obamacare, the health insurance program that he and every other Republican predicted would destroy the American health care system, produce ruinously high insurance premiums resulting in the dreaded “death spiral,” and in the process turn us all into Communists. Here in Georgia, GOP officials tried hard to ensure that the program failed, with then-Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens at one point pledging to do “everything in our power to be an obstructionist.”
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None of that happened. Last year, Georgia had the fifth highest enrollment total in the country, with 517,000 signing up for Affordable Health Care Act plans. That was up 11% from 2020. Enrollment in 2022 has jumped to 654,000, an increase of 26.5%. Despite all attempts to kill it, Obamacare is working and working well.
And while Kemp wants to credit his 2019 “Patients First Act” for that success, much of his legislation has yet to take effect and probably never will, and the improvements in rates and availability that he cites as the product of his leadership are being experienced in states all over the country, not just in Georgia.
That’s why you no longer hear Republicans pledging to repeal Obamacare. They don’t because it is a success, and because it is popular, so popular that Kemp wants credit for it. It turns out Nancy Pelosi was right when she told voters they needed to wait to see how the legislation worked before condemning it.
Despite that progress, however, Georgia still has the third highest rate of uninsured in the country, because under Republican rule it has steadfastly refused federal offers to expand Medicaid for the state’s working poor. Four years ago, when Kemp first ran for governor, 17 states, including Georgia, still refused Medicaid expansion dollars. Now it’s down to 12. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 452,000 additional low-income Georgians would become eligible for coverage if Georgia took that step.
But it won’t, because our leaders are more interested in fake solutions to fake problems than in actually making life better for the people who pay their salaries.
Georgia Recorder is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Georgia Recorder maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor John McCosh for questions: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Georgia Recorder on Facebook and Twitter.
A potentially explosive report into the handling of child sex abuse in the Catholic Church will on Thursday be published in Germany, with former pope Benedict XVI among those in the spotlight.
The report by law firm Westpfahl Spilker Wastl (WSW) will analyze how abuse cases were dealt with in the archdiocese of Munich and Freising between 1945 and 2019.
The Munich archdiocese, which commissioned the report, said it will examine "whether those responsible complied with legal requirements... and acted appropriately in dealing with suspected cases and possible perpetrators".
Ex-pope Benedict -- whose civilian name is Josef Ratzinger -- was the archbishop of Munich from 1977 to 1982.
During this time, a now notorious pedophile priest named Peter Hullermann was transferred to Munich from Essen in western Germany where he had been accused of abusing an 11-year-old boy.
Hullermann was reassigned to pastoral duties despite his history.
In 1986, by which time Ratzinger had been transferred to the Vatican, he was convicted of molesting more children and given a suspended prison sentence.
Even after the conviction, he continued to work with children for many years and his case is regarded as a pertinent example of the mishandling of abuse by the Church.
Benedict has denied knowing about the priest's history.
The ex-pope has provided an 82-page statement in response to questions from WSW, according to German media reports.
The pope emeritus "takes the fates of the abuse victims very much to heart" and is fully "in favor of the publication of the Munich report", his spokesman Georg Gaenswein told the Bild daily.
Benedict, 94, in 2013 became the first pope ever to step down from the role in 600 years and now lives a secluded life in a former convent inside the grounds of the Vatican.
The reformist Catholic group "Wir sind Kirche" (We are Church) called on the ex-pontiff to take responsibility for what happened while he was in charge of the Munich diocese.
"An admission by Ratzinger that through his actions or inactions, knowledge or ignorance, he was personally and professionally complicit in the suffering of many young people would be... an example for many other bishops and responsible persons," it said in a statement.
Germany's Catholic Church has been rocked by a string of reports in recent years that have exposed widespread abuse of children by clergymen.
A study commissioned by the German Bishops' Conference in 2018 concluded that 1,670 clergymen in the country had committed some form of sexual attack against 3,677 minors between 1946 and 2014.
However, the real number of victims is thought to be much higher.
Another report published last year exposed the scope of abuse committed by priests in Germany's top diocese of Cologne.
Cardinal Reinhard Marx, the current archbishop of Munich and Freising, last year offered Pope Francis his resignation over the church's "institutional and systemic failure" in its handling of child sex abuse scandals.
However, Pope Francis rejected his offer, urging the cardinal known for his reforms to stay and help shape change in the Catholic Church.
As archbishop in Munich since 2007, Marx could also find himself under scrutiny in the WSW report.
Friedrich Wetter, who held the role from 1982 to 2007, is also still alive.
The abuse scandal has thwarted the Catholic Church's efforts to spearhead broad reforms in Germany.
It counted 22.2 million members in 2020 and is still the largest religion in the country, but the number is 2.5 million fewer than in 2010 when the first major wave of pedophile abuse cases came to light.
Payouts for victims of abuse were increased in 2020 to up to 50,000 euros ($56,700), from around 5,000 euros previously, but campaigners say the sum is still inadequate.
Ahead of the publication of the Munich report, the Eckiger Tisch victims' group called for "compensation instead of hollow words".
"Far too many children and young people have fallen victim" to a system "shaped by abuse of power, intransparency and despotism", said Matthias Katsch, a spokesman for the group.