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Woody Allen and Soon-Yi Previn call HBO Docuseries a ‘shoddy hit’

Shortly after the premiere of the first episode of “Allen v. Farrow, ”an HBO documentary series that re-examines Dylan Farrow’s sexual abuse allegations against filmmaker Woody Allen, his adoptive father, a spokesperson for Mr. Allen released a statement Sunday night criticizing the series, calling it of “poor quality hit”.

Letty Aronson, Mr Allen’s sister, sent the statement – attributed to a spokesperson – shortly after the first episode aired, on behalf of Mr Allen and Soon-Yi Previn, the filmmaker’s wife and Mia Farrow’s adopted daughter. In 1992, Ms Farrow, Mr Allen’s longtime girlfriend, learned of Mr Allen’s relationship with Ms Previn while Ms Previn was a freshman at university. This relationship is also scrutinized in the four-part docu-series.

Neither Mr. Allen nor Ms. Previn participated in the series, but it does include audio clips from Mr. Allen’s recent memoir, “Apropos of Nothing.”

“These documentary filmmakers had no interest in the truth,” the statement said. “Instead, they spent years surreptitiously collaborating with the Farrows and their enablers to put together a hatchet job riddled with lies.

On Monday, the publisher of Mr. Allen’s memoir Skyhorse raised another objection to the series: that the filmmakers had used clips from the audiobook without permission. In a statement, Skyhorse president and editor Tony Lyons said the “unauthorized” use of the audio in the first episode was “a clear and willful violation of existing legal precedent.”

Mr Lyons said in the statement that the filmmakers had not applied for permission to use the clips and that the publisher learned late last week that the episodes “extensively” use the audiobook. The publisher’s attorney informed HBO on Friday that “if the use of the audiobook was pretty much what we heard it would be copyright infringement,” he said.

The brief was originally scheduled to be published last year by Grand Central Publishing, a brand of Hachette Book Group, until dozens of Hachette employees staged a walkout in protest and the publisher gave up. About two weeks later, his book was published by Arcade Publishing, a brand of independent publisher Skyhorse.

Responding to the publisher’s objections, an HBO spokeswoman provided a statement from the filmmakers, saying, “The creators of ‘Allen v. Farrow ‘legally used limited audio clips of Woody Allen’s memoir in the series under the fair dealing doctrine. The doctrine was invoked to allow artists and journalists – including documentary filmmakers – to use limited amounts of copyrighted works for certain purposes, including using the material to illustrate an argument or to serve as a subject for criticism.

Episode 1 includes in-depth interviews with Mia Farrow and Dylan Farrow, who accused Mr. Allen of sexual assault when he was 7. It also included interviews with family and friends who said that even before August 4, 1992 – the day Dylan Farrow says Mr. Allen assaulted her – they had witnessed Mr. Allen towards his daughter whom they considered inappropriate.

Mr Allen has long denied the abuse allegations, arguing that Mia Farrow trained Dylan to make the allegations after learning of his relationship with Ms Previn.

In Sunday’s statement, Mr. Allen continued to deny the allegations.

“As has been known for decades, these allegations are categorically false,” the statement said. “Several agencies investigated them at the time and found that whatever Dylan Farrow may have been led to believe, no abuse had ever taken place.”

In later episodes, the series raises questions about one of those investigations, in particular: a report released by the Yale Child Sexual Abuse Clinic, at Yale-New Haven Hospital, which revealed that Dylan had not been assaulted by anyone after questioning the child. nine times in a seven month period. According to the series, all interview notes from those sessions were destroyed when the final report was released.

Attorneys in Connecticut, where Dylan Farrow says Mr. Allen sexually assaulted her, refused to prosecute Mr. Allen in 1993. The state attorney said he did so to spare Dylan the trauma from a trial but believed she had been assaulted.

The statement said Mr. Allen and Ms. Previn had been approached about the documentary less than two months ago and had “only had a few days” to respond. He also said that it was “sadly not surprising” that HBO is airing the series, given a production deal with Ronan Farrow, Dylan Farrow’s brother, who has spoken on behalf of his sister, y included in the series. (Mr. Farrow, an investigative reporter who has talked a lot about sexual misconduct, has made a deal with HBO to create special investigative material, though he’s not on the production team of ” Allen v. Farrow. ”)

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Scientists call on CDC to set air standards for workplaces now

Almost a year after scientists showed that the coronavirus can be inhaled in tiny droplets called aerosols that linger inside in stagnant air, more than a dozen experts are calling on the Biden administration to take immediate measures to limit aerial transmission of the high-risk virus from places such as meat packing plants and prisons.

The 13 experts – including several who advised President Biden during the transition – have urged the administration to impose a combination of masks and environmental measures, such as better ventilation, to mitigate risks in various workplaces.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidelines for reopening schools on Friday, but quickly adopted improved ventilation as a precaution. It wasn’t until July that the World Health Organization admitted the virus could linger in the air in crowded indoor spaces, after 239 experts publicly called on the organization to do so.

In a letter to the administration, scientists detailed evidence supporting airborne transmission of the virus. It has become even more urgent for the administration to take action now, experts said, due to the slow rollout of the vaccine, the threat of more contagious variants of the virus already circulating in the United States, and the rate high Covid-19 infections. and deaths, despite a recent decline in cases.

“It’s time to stop snooping on the fact that the virus is transmitted primarily through the air,” said Linsey Marr, an aerosol expert at Virginia Tech.

“If we properly recognize this and put the right recommendations and directions in place, this is our chance to end the pandemic within the next six months,” she added. “If we don’t, it could very well go on forever.”

The letter was delivered Monday to Jeffrey D. Zients, the Biden administration’s Covid-19 response coordinator; Dr Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; and Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

The letter urged the CDC to recommend the use of high-quality masks, such as N95 respirators, to protect workers at high risk of infection. Currently, health workers mainly rely on surgical masks, which are not as effective against aerosol transmission of the virus.

Many workers vulnerable to infection are people of color, who have borne the brunt of the outbreak in the United States, experts noted.

Mr Biden ordered the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which sets workplace requirements, to issue emergency temporary standards for Covid-19, including those for ventilation and masks , by March 15.

But OSHA will only prescribe standards backed by CDC guidance, said David Michaels, an epidemiologist at George Washington University and one of the signatories.

(Dr. Michaels led OSHA during the Obama administration; the agency has not had a permanent leader since he left.)

“Until the CDC makes certain changes, OSHA will have a hard time modifying the recommendations it is proposing, as it is understood that the government must be consistent,” said Dr. Michaels. “And the CDC has always been viewed as the lead agency for infectious diseases.”

Public health agencies, including the WHO, have been slow to recognize the importance of aerosols in the spread of the coronavirus. It wasn’t until October that the CDC recognized that the virus could sometimes be airborne, after a confusing sequence of events in which a description of how the virus spreads appeared on the site. Agency web then disappeared, then resurfaced two weeks later.

But the agency’s recommendations on workplace accommodations did not reflect this change.

At the start of the pandemic, the CDC said healthcare workers did not need N95 respirators and could even wear bandanas to protect themselves. He also did not recommend covering their faces for the rest of the population.

The agency has since revised these recommendations. He recently recommended that people wear two masks or improve the fit of their surgical masks to protect themselves from the virus.

“But they don’t say why you need a better-fitting mask,” said Dr. Donald Milton, an aerosol expert at the University of Maryland. “They recognize the importance of inspiring it and the channel of transmission, but they don’t clearly state it in their various web pages.”

The agency recommends surgical masks for healthcare workers and says N95 respirators are only needed during aerosol-generating medical procedures, such as certain types of surgery.

But numerous studies have shown that healthcare workers who do not have direct contact with Covid-19 patients are also at high risk of infection and should wear high-quality respirators, said Dr Celine Gounder, infectious disease specialist at Bellevue Hospital in New York and an advisor to Mr. Biden during the transition.

“The CDC has not emphasized enough the risk of aerosol transmission,” said Dr Gounder. “Unfortunately, concerns about the supply continue to cloud the discussion.”

Many hospitals still expect their staff to reuse N95 masks as per the agency’s recommendation to reuse them when stocks are low. But as masks are no longer scarce, the agency is expected to change its recommendations, Dr Gounder said.

“We really need to stop this approach of reusing and decontaminating N95s,” she added. “We’re a year away and it’s really not acceptable.”

Hospitals, at least, tend to have good ventilation, so healthcare workers are protected in other ways, experts said. But in meat-packing plants, prisons, buses or grocery stores, where workers are exposed to the virus for long periods of time, the CDC does not recommend high-quality respirators and does not endorse ventilation improvements. .

“If you go to other workplaces, this idea that aerosol transmission is important is virtually unheard of,” said Dr. Michaels. In food processing plants, for example, a refrigerated environment and lack of fresh air are ideal conditions for the virus to thrive. But the industry has not put security measures in place to minimize the risk, he added.

Instead, employers follow the CDC’s recommendations for physical distance and surface cleaning.

The recent emergence of more contagious variants makes it urgent for the CDC to tackle the airborne transmission of the virus, said Dr Marr of Virginia Tech. Germany, Austria and France are now mandating N95 respirators or other high-quality masks on public transport and shops.

Dr Marr was one of the experts who wrote to the WHO last summer to call for recognition of airborne transmission. She didn’t expect to be in a similar situation again so many months later, she said, “It’s like Groundhog Day.”

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White House press aide resigns following journalist’s call

WASHINGTON – TJ Ducklo, deputy White House press secretary, resigned on Saturday after learning he used abusive and sexist language with a reporter working on an article about his romantic relationship with a reporter at another publication.

Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, announced the resignation in a statement on Saturday evening, a day after saying Mr. Ducklo would be suspended without pay for a week.

“We have accepted TJ Ducklo’s resignation after a discussion with him this evening,” Psaki said, noting that Ron Klain, the White House chief of staff, agreed with the decision. “We are committed to striving each day to meet the standard set by the President by treating others with dignity and respect, with courtesy and with value to others through our words and actions.

Mr Ducklo, 32, had been a national press secretary during Mr Biden’s presidential campaign, frequently engaging with reporters and acting as a campaign spokesperson. During the transition, Mr. Ducklo served as spokesperson and was appointed deputy press secretary.

His swift departure suggests that Mr Biden was keen to prevent his communications office from getting bogged down in long controversy in the early days of his administration. On Friday, several women journalists asked Ms Psaki how Mr Ducklo could work effectively with journalists.

The resignation follows a report released on Friday by Vanity Fair which recounted an exchange he allegedly had with Tara Palmeri, a Politico reporter who contacted him about his relationship with Alexi McCammond, who was covering the Biden campaign for the Axios online publication.

According to the Vanity Fair account, later confirmed by the New York Times, Mr. Ducklo told Ms. Palmeri that he would “destroy” her if she published an article about the relationship. He also allegedly told her that she was “jealous” of Mrs. McCammond and was pursuing the story because of it. He used vulgar language, according to two people familiar with the phone call.

Ms Psaki said on Friday that Mr Ducklo spoke with Ms Palmeri and apologized and subsequently sent a note to apologize again. Ms Psaki also said White House officials told Politico editors that Mr Ducklo’s behavior was not acceptable.

When Mr. Ducklo returned to work, she said, he would not be allowed to interact with Politico reporters.

“And that, in our opinion, was a – was an important step in sending the message that we don’t find this acceptable,” she said at the time. She also called the one-week suspension a “severe punishment”.

But this position was not viable for more than a day.

In a press release at the end of SaturdayMr. Ducklo admitted the circumstances surrounding his dismissal and regretted having used “odious, disrespectful and unacceptable” language.

“This incident is not representative of who I am as a person,” he said, “and I will be determined to regain the trust of all those I have let down because of my intolerable actions. “

In part, the rapid change reflected the red line that Mr. Biden himself had drawn for the personal conduct of his administration.

On the day of the inauguration, the president lodged a complaint against hundreds of his elected politicians when he swore them in, warning that he would fire anyone he heard disrespecting.

“If you ever work with me and I hear you treating another colleague with disrespect, talking to someone, I promise I will fire you on the spot,” Biden said. “No ifs, ands, or buts. Everyone has the right to be treated with decency and dignity. This has been greatly missed over the past four years.

Asked on Friday whether Mr Ducklo’s behavior met that standard, Ms Psaki said “it doesn’t meet our standard – it doesn’t meet the president’s standard.” But she declined to say at the time why he shouldn’t be fired.

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144 constitutional lawyers call Trump’s First Amendment defense ‘legally frivolous’

WASHINGTON – Claims by lawyers for former President Donald J. Trump that his conduct around the Jan.6 riot on Capitol Hill is protected by the First Amendment are “legally frivolous” and should do nothing to prevent the Senate from condemn him in his impeachment trial, leading 144 First Amendment lawyers and constitutionalists from all political backgrounds wrote in a letter released Friday.

Addressing one of the key elements of Mr. Trump’s defense, lawyers argued that constitutional protections do not apply to impeachment proceedings, were never intended to protect conduct like that Trump anyway and probably wouldn’t protect him even in a criminal court.

“While we differ from each other in our politics, disagree on many constitutional law issues, and take different approaches to understanding the text, history and background of the Constitution, we all agree that any First Amendment defense raised by lawyers for President Trump would be legally frivolous, ”the group wrote. “In other words, we all agree that the First Amendment does not prevent the Senate from condemning President Trump and disqualifying him from future office.”

Among the attorneys, academics, and litigants who signed the letter, a copy of which was shared with The New York Times, were Floyd Abrams, who fought in court on landmark First Amendment cases; Steven G. Calabresi, founder of the conservative Federalist Society; Charles Fried, Solicitor General under President Ronald Reagan; and eminent constitutional law scholars such as Laurence Tribe, Richard Primus and Martha L. Minow.

The public retort came after Mr Trump’s attorneys Bruce L. Castor Jr. and David Schoen said this week that they planned to use the First Amendment as part of their defense when the trial came to an end. open Tuesday. They argued in a written filing that the House’s charge of “inciting insurgency” “violates the 45th President’s right to freedom of speech and thought” and that the First Amendment specifically protects Mr. Trump to be punished for his baseless allegations of widespread election fraud.

House impeachment officials have argued that Mr. Trump’s false statements claiming to have been the real winner of the election, and his exhortations to his supporters to go to Capitol Hill and “fight like one.” hell ‘to reverse the result, helped instigate the attack.

In their letter, constitutional law scholars presented three counter-arguments to the president’s free speech defense that Democrats prosecuting the case were to adopt at trial.

First, they argued that the First Amendment, which seeks to protect citizens from government restricting their freedom of speech and other rights, has little place in an impeachment trial. Senators are not determining whether Mr. Trump’s conduct was criminal, but whether it violated his oath of office enough to warrant a conviction and possible ban from future office.

“As a result, asking whether President Trump was engaged in First Amendment lawful activity completely misses the point,” they wrote. “ Regardless of whether President Trump’s conduct on and around January 6 was legal, he may be constitutionally convicted in an impeachment trial if the Senate determines that his behavior was a sufficiently egregious violation of his oath to ‘office to constitute a’ serious crime or misdemeanor ‘under the Constitution. “

Further, they argued, even if the First Amendment applied to an impeachment trial, it would do nothing to rule out conviction, which has to do with Mr. Trump violating his oath, not his he should be allowed to say what he told me.

“No reasonable scholar or jurist could conclude that President Trump had the First Amendment right to incite a violent attack on the seat of the Legislative Branch, or to sit and watch television while Congress was terrorized and the Capitol sacked, ”they wrote. .

Finally, they argued that there was an “extremely strong argument” that the defense would fail even in a criminal trial because the evidence against Mr. Trump is most likely strong enough to reach the high bar of the Supreme Court to punish someone for getting others to get involved. in illegal behavior.

Many of the signatories to Friday’s letter signed a previous one rejecting another key argument in Mr Trump’s defense: the claim that the Senate lacks jurisdiction to try a former president because the Constitution does not grant him not explicitly this power.

The letter emerged as Mr. Trump’s legal team, which has been hastily assembled in recent days after firing his original impeachment lawyers, worked feverishly on Friday to catch up on the case. and prepare for trial.

Mr Schoen said that he and Mr Castor had not yet learned anything about the course of the trial – including its timing, the time available for the defense to present its case and the rules for presenting the evidence. evidence.

“I am in shock that we are starting on Tuesday and have no agreement on how the resolutions will be presented,” Schoen said in a telephone interview. “We have no rules, no agenda, no timetable – there is no possible way that this is consistent with due process.”

New York Democrat and majority leader Senator Chuck Schumer is expected to set out his proposed rules next week, just before the trial begins. Last year Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the main Republican and majority leader at the time, revealed the rules less than 24 hours before the start of Mr. Trump’s first impeachment trial.

Nicolas fandos and Michael S. Schmidt reported from Washington, and Maggie Haberman from New York.

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Lawyers call Trump’s First Amendment defense ‘legally frivolous’

Claims by lawyers for former President Donald J. Trump that his conduct around the January 6 riot on Capitol Hill is protected by the First Amendment are “legally frivolous” and should do nothing to prevent the Senate from condemning him , 144 First Amendment lawyers and constitutional scholars from all walks of life wrote in a new letter released Friday.

Addressing one of the key elements of Mr. Trump’s impeachment defense, lawyers argued that constitutional protections do not apply to impeachment proceedings, were never intended to protect conduct like Mr Trump’s anyway and probably wouldn’t protect him even in criminal court.

“While we differ from each other in our politics, disagree on many constitutional law issues, and take different approaches to understanding the text, history and background of the Constitution, we all agree that any First Amendment defense raised by lawyers for President Trump would be legally frivolous, ”the group wrote. “In other words, we all agree that the First Amendment does not prevent the Senate from condemning President Trump and disqualifying him from future office.”

Among the 144 attorneys, academics, and litigants who signed the letter, a copy of which was shared with The New York Times, were Floyd Abrams, who fought in high-profile First Amendment courts; Steven G. Calabresi, founder of the conservative Federalist Society; Charles Fried, Solicitor General under Ronald Reagan; and eminent constitutional law scholars such as Laurence Tribe, Richard Primus and Martha L. Minow.

The public retort came after Mr. Trump’s attorneys Bruce L. Castor Jr. and David Shoen said this week they planned to use the First Amendment as part of their defense at the start of the trial Tuesday. They argued in a written filing Tuesday that the House’s “incitement to insurgency” charge “violates the 45th President’s right to freedom of speech and thought” and that the First Amendment specifically protects Mr. Trump to be punished for his baseless allegations of widespread electoral fraud.

House impeachment officials have argued that Mr Trump’s false statements claiming to be the real winner of the election and his urging his supporters to go to Capitol Hill and “fight like hell ‘To reverse the result helped incite the attack.

In their letter, constitutional law scholars presented three counter-arguments to the president’s free speech defense that Democrats prosecuting the case should adopt at trial.

First, they argued that the First Amendment, which seeks to protect citizens from government restricting their freedom of speech and other rights, has little place in an impeachment trial. Senators are not determining whether Mr. Trump’s conduct was criminal, but whether it violated his oath of office enough to warrant a conviction and possible ban from future office.

“As a result, asking whether President Trump was engaged in First Amendment lawful activity totally misses the point,” they write. “ Regardless of whether President Trump’s conduct on and around January 6 was legal, he may be constitutionally convicted in an impeachment trial if the Senate determines that his behavior was a sufficiently egregious violation of his oath to ‘office to constitute a’ serious crime or misdemeanor ‘under the Constitution. “

Further, they argued, even if the First Amendment applied to an impeachment trial, it would do nothing to rule out conviction, which has to do with Mr. Trump violating his oath, not his he should be allowed to say what he told me.

“No reasonable scholar or jurist could conclude that President Trump had the First Amendment right to incite a violent attack on the seat of the Legislative Branch, or to sit and watch television while Congress was terrorized and the Capitol sacked, ”they wrote. .

Finally, they argued that there is an “extremely strong argument” that the defense will fail even in a criminal trial, as the evidence against Mr. Trump is most likely strong enough to meet the Supreme Court’s high bar to punish someone for causing others to engage in illegal behavior.

Many of the signatories to Friday’s letter signed a previous one rejecting another key argument in Mr Trump’s defense: the claim that the Senate lacks jurisdiction to try a former president because the Constitution does not grant him not explicitly this power.

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Lawyers call Trump’s defense ‘legally frivolous’

Page 1 of 7

Next week, the Senate will conduct an impeachment trial to determine whether former President Trump should be disqualified from future office for inciting insurgency and subversion of the U.S. constitutional democratic process in several ways. In this trial, President Trump’s lawyers plan to defend his actions on January 6 by arguing that the First Amendment protects him from conviction. We, the undersigned constitutional law scholars, write to explain why this is wrong. The First Amendment does not prevent the Senate from condemning former President Trump and disqualifying him from future office. Although we differ from each other in our politics, disagree on many issues of constitutional law, and take different approaches to understanding the text, history and context of the Constitution, we all agree that all First Amendment defense raised by lawyers for President Trump would be legally frivolous. . In other words, we all agree that the First Amendment does not prevent the Senate from condemning President Trump and disqualifying him from future office. Many of us think the First Amendment just doesn’t apply here. The First Amendment limits the government’s ability to make it illegal to speak, practice a religion, peaceful assembly or petition in government. So when lawyers say that a defendant has established a First Amendment defense in a court case, what they mean is that the defendant has demonstrated that the government cannot make their conduct illegal. But Congress’ power of impeachment is not limited to illegal acts. Instead, federal agents can be indicted for lawful conduct, and violations of an officer’s oath to be an officer can constitute “serious felonies or misdemeanors” that can be challenged under the Constitution, although no law is available. ‘was raped. For example, federal judges can be – and have been – indicted for presiding drunken trials. It is not a federal crime, but it is a violation of the judicial oath to faithfully and impartially perform the duties of a federal judge. Likewise, a President or Secretary of Defense could be indicted for failing to defend the United States against foreign attack. Again, this is not necessarily a violation of any criminal law, but it is certainly a violation of an oath to defend the Constitution of the United States. And for the same reason, a president could be indicted for publicly renouncing his oath “to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” Imagine a president announcing publicly, “I no longer promise to preserve the Constitution.” Such a statement would not be illegal – indeed, the First Amendment would almost certainly bar Congress from making it illegal – but the president could still be impeached for betraying the oath of office. As a result, asking whether President Trump was engaged in First Amendment legal activity completely misses the point. Regardless of whether President Trump’s conduct on and around January 6 was legal, he may be constitutionally convicted in an impeachment trial if the Senate determines that his behavior was a sufficiently flagrant violation of his oath of office. to me. The First Amendment does not apply in impeachment proceedings, so it cannot provide a defense for President Trump. Constitutional Law Scholars on President Trump’s First Amendment Defense February 5, 2021

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Trump refuses surprise call to testify in impeachment trial

WASHINGTON – House impeachment officials on Thursday asked Donald J. Trump to testify at his Senate trial next week, in a long-term attempt to question the former president under oath about his conduct on the day of the riot on Capitol Hill, but it was quickly rejected by his lawyers.

In a letter to Mr Trump, Representative Jamie Raskin, the House’s senior indictment attorney, said the former president’s response this week to the House charge that he instigated in an uprising on January 6 had disputed crucial facts about his actions and demanded further explanation. .

“Two days ago you filed a response denying many factual allegations set out in the impeachment article,” wrote Raskin, Democrat of Maryland. “You have thus attempted to challenge critical facts despite clear and overwhelming evidence of your constitutional offense.”

He offered to interview Mr. Trump “at a mutually convenient time and place” between Monday and Thursday. The trial is scheduled to begin on Tuesday.

But Mr. Trump’s attorneys Bruce L. Castor Jr. and David Schoen wasted no time dismissing the invitation. They said Mr Trump did not want any part of a proceeding that they insisted was “unconstitutional” because he was no longer in office, and called Mr Raskin’s request a “Coup in public relations”.

“Your letter only confirms what everyone knows: you cannot prove your allegations against the 45th President of the United States, who is now a private citizen,” they wrote in a letter to Mr. Raskin.

Mr Schoen and another adviser to Mr Trump, Jason Miller, later clarified that the former president did not intend to testify voluntarily before or after the start of the trial. Instead, his defense team intends to argue that the case should be dismissed outright on constitutional grounds, and that Mr. Trump is not guilty of the bipartisan charge of “inciting to insurrection ”in which the House claims to have provoked a crowd with allegations of baseless electoral fraud. attack the Capitol in an attempt to prevent Congress from formalizing its loss.

The decision, if it holds, will likely be helpful for both parties. While Senate Republicans are already lining up to acquit Mr Trump for the second time in just over a year, testimony from a deemed impolitic former president who continues to falsely insist that he winning the election risks compromising its defense.

Democrats may have benefited from Mr. Trump’s testimony, but his silence also allows House leaders to tell senators who feel they have at least given Mr. Trump a chance to speak. Perhaps more importantly, they said they could draw an “adverse inference” about his actions on January 6, meaning they would cite his silence as further evidence that their claims are true.

Mr. Raskin could still try to subpoena Mr. Trump’s testimony during the trial. But that would require the support of a Senate majority and could result in a messy legal battle over executive privilege claims that could take weeks or more to unfold, grumbling the agenda of President Biden and the Democrats. Members of both sides who were already pushing for a speedy trial on Thursday signaled their skepticism in calling out Mr. Trump.

“I think that’s a terrible idea,” said Senator Chris Coons, Democrat of Delaware and one of Mr. Biden’s closest allies, of Mr. Trump who appeared on the witness stand. When asked to clarify his reasoning, he replied, “Have you met President Trump?”

“I don’t think it would be in anyone’s best interests,” said Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, one of the president’s allies. “It’s just a nightmare for the country to do this.”

Officials said their invitation to Mr. Trump to testify was primarily motivated by his lawyers’ official response to the impeachment charge, filed in the Senate on Tuesday. In it, Mr. Trump’s attorneys categorically denied inciting the attack or intending to disrupt Congress’s electoral vote count, despite Mr. Trump’s clear and stated intention to use the process. to cancel the results. They also denied that a speech to a crowd of his supporters just before the attack in which Mr. Trump urged the crowd to come to Capitol Hill and “fight like hell” against the election results, suggesting that Republican lawmakers and Vice President Mike Pence had the power to change the outcome, “had nothing to do with the action on Capitol Hill.”

Mr Trump’s team argued that the former president could not be guilty of these statements, or the lies he spread about voter fraud, because they were protected by First Amendment rights given that ‘he thought he was the real winner.

Mr. Raskin did not immediately respond to Mr. Trump’s refusal to testify. He had not indicated whether he intended to subpoena Mr. Trump or any other witness at the start of the trial.

The question proved difficult for the nine directors of the house. Because they acted swiftly to impeach Mr. Trump just a week after the attack, they did not make any meaningful investigation before charging him, leaving holes in their evidentiary record. One of the most notable concerns the precision with which Mr. Trump behaved when it became clear that the Capitol was under attack on January 6.

The president sent out several tweets sympathizing with the crowd and calling for peace during this time, but as House officials made clear in their 80-page trial brief filed with the Senate this week, they hardly own more direct evidence of Mr. Trump’s response. . Instead, they rely on reports and accounts from lawmakers who desperately tried to reach him to send National Guard reinforcements, which suggested he was “thrilled” by the invasion.

The testimony of Mr. Trump or other White House or military officials could clarify this. But in this case, a better understanding would almost certainly prolong the trial by several weeks or more. Republicans oppose a prolonged broadcast of Mr. Trump’s conduct, but for Democrats the cost would be high relative to their ambitions to pass relief coronavirus legislation and install the rest of Mr. Biden – with very little chance of ultimately changing the verdict of the trial.

New York Democrat Senator Chuck Schumer and majority leader, with whom the decision will most likely rest, has indicated he would be comfortable proceeding without witnesses.

“We will move forward with a fair and expeditious trial,” he said Thursday. “The people in charge of the house will present their case. The former president’s lawyer will mount a defense, and senators will need to look deep into their conscience and determine whether Donald Trump is guilty, and if so, qualified again to perform an honorary office. trust or profit in the United States.

The math for Mr. Trump’s legal team is much simpler. In addition to alienating Republican senators reluctant to condemn a former president who remains so popular in their party, Mr. Trump could put himself in legal danger if he testifies. He has a penchant for telling lies, and it is a federal crime to do so in Congress.

Mr Schoen accused House and Senate Democrats of conducting an unfair process. He said they had yet to share ground rules, such as how long the defense would have to present their case.

“I don’t think an indicted person would show up for the proceedings which we firmly believe are unconstitutional,” Schoen said in a text message.

He and Mr. Castor also rejected Mr. Raskin’s reasoning that Mr. Trump’s failure to testify would strengthen their argument that he is guilty.

“As you certainly know,” they wrote, “there is no negative inference in this unconstitutional proceeding.”

But leaders also appeared to appeal, at least in part, to Mr Trump’s impetus for self-defense, betting he could defy his lawyers’ advice not to speak. Throughout Mr. Trump’s presidency – first during the Russia inquiry, then in his first impeachment inquiry – he was eager to tell his side of the story, convinced he was his best door. -speak.

During the investigation by Special Advocate Robert S. Mueller III, Mr. Trump insisted to his legal team that he wanted to sit down and answer questions from prosecutors. The desire baffled his lawyers, who believed Mr. Trump would almost certainly make a false statement and face heavier legal consequences. A member of his legal team resigned because of a problem.

In the end, Mr. Mueller refused to request a subpoena for Mr. Trump’s testimony and accepted the president’s written questions which then prompted the special advocate to question whether Mr. Trump had been truthful.

Hailey fuchs contribution to reports.

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In rare public statement, congressional aides call for Trump’s conviction

WASHINGTON – More than 370 Democratic congressional assistants will issue an unusual public appeal on Wednesday, imploring senators – in some cases their own bosses – to condemn former President Donald J. Trump for instigating a violent “attack on our workplace Which threatened the peaceful transition of power.

In a very personal letter, the staff described slipping under desks, barricading themselves in offices or watching marauding bands of rioters who “crashed” into the Capitol on January 6. The responsibility, they say, lies squarely with Mr. Trump and his “baseless, months-long effort to reject the votes legally cast by the American people.”

“As employees of Congress, we do not have a vote on whether to condemn Donald J. Trump for his role in inciting the violent attack on Capitol Hill, but our senators do,” said they wrote. “And for our good, and that of the country, we ask them to vote to condemn the former president and to ban him from returning to office.

A copy of the letter, including the names of the signatories, was shared with The New York Times ahead of its publication on Wednesday, four weeks after the attack and days before the Senate impeachment trial.

The letter, while by no means binding, underscored the remarkable momentum surrounding Mr. Trump’s trial, in which many witnesses and victims of the “incitement to insurgency” he is accused of are among the closest advisers to the authorities. legislators who will decide its decision. political destiny. Assistants in Congress often provide advice behind closed doors to the elected officials they serve, and many are authorized to speak on behalf of these officials. But they very rarely express their own views publicly – let alone for such a brutal political and constitutional appeal as conviction in an impeachment trial.

Signatories included press secretaries, planners, committee staff, and House and Senate advisers, although relatively few were at the top echelon of chiefs of staff or committee staff directors. They included Drew Hammill, Deputy Chief of Staff to President Nancy Pelosi, as well as communications assistants closely associated with lawmakers who have been implicated in Mr. Trump’s impeachments, such as Shadawn Reddick-Smith, who works for Democrats at the bench of the House. Committee; Gabby Richards, communications director for Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon of Pennsylvania; Anne Feldman, director of communications for Representative Jason Crow of Colorado; and Daniel Gleick, director of communications for Representative Val Demings of Florida.

The letter’s organizers sought the support of Republican aides, proposing to include language to allay their concerns about retaliation from bosses or harassment on social media. But despite some tentative interest, people familiar with the effort said, no Republican aides ultimately signed.

As public attention focused on the stories of their most recognizable bosses, congressional aides who were on Capitol Hill on January 6 fought in private for weeks to make sense of what they have. seen in the building’s generally empty hallways. Unlike their bosses, they generally have few outlets to publicly share these experiences.

In the letter to senators, aides refer to Brian D. Sicknick, a Capitol Hill police officer who died after meeting the crowd as “one of our colleagues who watches and greets us every day.” The letter also states that many signatories had come of age in the era of mass shootings in “post-Columbine” schools and had been trained in how to respond.

“As the crowds smashed the Capitol police barricades, smashed doors and windows, and charged the Capitol with bulletproof vests and weapons, many of us hid behind chairs and under desks or barricaded themselves in offices, ”they wrote. “Others watched TV and frantically tried to reach out to their bosses and co-workers as they fled for their lives.”

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Video: Fauci warns new viral mutations are ‘wake-up call’

Dr Anthony S. Fauci on Friday warned that new virus variants, despite the global distribution of vaccines, should sound a wake-up call to the continuing dangers of the pandemic. The Associated Press.

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Capitol Police call for more security, spark debate on how far to go

Chief Pittman, who returned to duty on Jan.8 after his predecessor resigned, had his staff assess the security of the Capitol complex when he took office. She noted that experts had pleaded for greater security measures for the Capitol even before the September 11 attacks. In addition, a security assessment in 2006 recommended a permanent fence.

“In light of recent events, I can unequivocally state that vast improvements in physical security infrastructure need to be made to include permanent fencing and the availability of ready relief forces near the Capitol,” he said. she said in a statement.

The District of Columbia is under the jurisdiction of a constellation of law enforcement agencies: the Metropolitan Police Department, the Capitol Police, and the U.S. Secret Service, among others. Poor planning and communication between various law enforcement agencies – federal, state and local – contributed to the failures exposed.

In the process, the chess reviews were just as disjointed. President Nancy Pelosi has ordered retired Lieutenant-General Russel Honoré to lead a security review at the Capitol complex. The Capitol Inspector General of Police also has additional scrutiny, Chief Pittman said, and the acting Metropolitan Police Chief has offered Congress an assessment of the Capitol Riot from his department and the government of the District of Columbia.

Even though the fence remains on the Capitol grounds, new threats have arisen. Police officers on Thursday arrested a man trying to gain access to a security checkpoint near the Capitol, Capitol police said.

Officers told the man, later identified by the Metropolitan Police Department as Donald Barr, 51, of Macomb Township, Mich., That he could not enter, but he tried to bypass them. He then “actively resisted his arrest,” Capitol police said in a statement. He was charged with destruction of property and two counts of assaulting a police officer, among other counts.