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Biden bars Trump from receiving intelligence briefings, citing ‘erratic behavior’

WASHINGTON – President Biden said on Friday he would ban his predecessor Donald J. Trump from receiving intelligence briefings traditionally given to former presidents, saying Mr. Trump could not be trusted due to his “erratic behavior Even before January. 6 attack on the Capitol.

It was the first time that a former president was excluded from briefings, which are provided partly as a courtesy and partly for times when a sitting president asks for advice. Currently, information sessions are regularly offered to Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

Mr Biden, speaking to Norah O’Donnell of CBS News, said Mr Trump’s behavior worried him ‘unrelated to the insurgency’ which led to Mr Trump’s second indictment .

“I just don’t think it’s necessary for him to have the intelligence briefings,” Biden said.

“What’s the value of giving him an intelligence briefing?” Mr Biden added. “What impact does he have at all, other than the fact that he might slip up and say something?”

The White House said this week it had considered whether the former president, whose Senate impeachment trial begins on Tuesday, should receive the information. The Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Representative Adam B. Schiff, said last month, just before Mr. Biden’s inauguration, that Mr. Trump’s access to any classified information should be cut off.

“There is no circumstance under which this president should get another intelligence briefing, neither now nor in the future,” said Mr. Schiff, a Democrat of California, who was the House Director of the first trial of Mr. Trump’s impeachment a year ago.

“Indeed, there were, I think, a number of intelligence partners around the world who probably started withholding information from us because they didn’t believe the president would protect that information and protect their sources and methods. Said Mr. Schiff. “And that makes us less sure. We’ve seen this president politicize intelligence, and that’s another risk to the country.

The question of how Mr. Trump handles intelligence has been raised several times during his presidency. Shortly after sacking FBI Director James B. Comey in 2017, Mr. Trump briefed the Russian Foreign Minister and the Russian Ambassador on highly confidential intelligence on the Islamic State from Israel. . The Israelis were outraged.

Later in his presidency, Mr. Trump took a photo with his phone of a classified satellite image showing an explosion on a missile launch pad in Iran. Some of the marks were blacked out first, but the revelation gave opponents information – which they perhaps had, anyway – about the capabilities of U.S. surveillance satellites.

There were other examples, and Mr. Trump’s aides later said that because he refused to read the intelligence reports – preferring an oral briefing – he had not seen the inscriptions ” (S) “and” (U) “indicating” secret “and” unclassified. “

But there was deeper concern about how Mr. Trump might use the intelligence now that he has retired to Mar-a-Lago, his club in Florida. The former president has spoken openly about the possibility of running for the White House again, possibly under the banner of a third party. The fear was that he would use or distort intelligence to fit his political agenda, something he was often accused of in power.

Among those claiming to cut off Mr. Trump’s access was Susan M. Gordon, a career CIA officer who served as deputy director of national intelligence until 2019, when she left after being transferred to director position.

In an opinion piece in the Washington Post in January, Ms Gordon, one of the most respected intelligence officers of her generation, wrote that the danger of providing intelligence to a president whose business dealings could make him beholden to foreign investors and lenders was just too good. Ms. Gordon has frequently briefed Mr. Trump.

“Her post-White House ‘security profile’, as professionals like to call it, is intimidating,” she wrote the week following the attack on Capitol Hill. “Any former president is by definition a target and presents risks. But a former President Trump, even before the events of last week, could be exceptionally vulnerable to bad, malicious actors.

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Judge postpones Guantánamo court appearances, citing pandemic

WASHINGTON – A military judge on Tuesday indefinitely postponed the indictment of three prisoners at Guantánamo Bay, who were due to appear for the first time in 17 years in detention, saying the coronavirus pandemic made the trip to the naval base too risky.

The Indonesian prisoner known as Hambali, who has been held since 2003 as a former leader of an extremist group in Southeast Asia, and two accused accomplices were due to appear in war tribunal on February 22. But Colonel Charles L. Pritchard Jr., the military judge who was due to visit Guantánamo this week, ruled that “the belief of various lawyers that their health is at risk while traveling” to the base was reasonable.

Colonel Pritchard is the last military judge to join the bench of the military commissions of Guantánamo and the last to postpone a procedure too risky in almost a year of cancellations on the coronavirus. Preliminary hearings in the death penalty case against five men accused of plotting the September 11, 2001 attacks have been delayed for a year.

The judge, court staff and attorneys destined for the hearing began a quarantine in the Washington area this weekend before a charter flight to the base Thursday.

Once there, passengers were to be individually quarantined for 14 days as part of a plan devised by prosecutors to protect people living on the base of 6,000 residents and in prison from the threat of infection.

“The risk to the health and safety of arraignment participants due to the global Covid-19 pandemic is high,” the judge wrote in a seven-page order dated Tuesday. “The government’s proposed risk mitigation measures reduce the risk, but the risk persists.” He suggested getting to the base might not be safe until late summer.

The case was dormant throughout the Trump administration, but on the second day of the Biden administration, a senior Pentagon official appointed under the Trump administration who had been in charge of military commissions approved the lawsuits.

Among the accused are Mr. Hambali, accused of Encep Nurjaman and former leader of the extremist group Jemaah Islamiyah, and his accused accomplices, Mohammed Nazir Bin Lep and Mohammed Farik Bin Amin, who are Malaysian.

The three men were captured in Thailand in 2003 and are accused of conspiring in the 2002 Bali nightclub bombings., which killed 202 people and the bombing of the Marriott hotel in Jakarta in 2003, which killed at least 11 people and injured at least 80. They spent their first three years in the secret prison network of the CIA before being transferred to Guantánamo for trial in 2006.

Military commission rules require a detainee to be brought to justice within 30 days of approval of the charges, but the judge’s ruling appears to be hanging that clock.

Colonel Pritchard, head of the Southeast Army’s judicial circuit, had to travel to Washington last week to self-quarantine before traveling to Guantánamo. He noted in his ruling that most of those who have gone to arraignments have not yet been vaccinated against the virus, and neither have prisoners.

He also noted the decision by the Biden administration on Saturday to suspend a plan to offer vaccines this week to the 40 inmates at the prison. According to the original plan, the three defendants could have voluntarily received their shots on February 1 and their reminders in time for their court date on February 22.

As of Tuesday, all soldiers and other service members working on the prison operation had received the Moderna vaccine, said Maj.Gregory J. McElwain, an army spokesman, who declined to say how many of the An estimated 1,500 soldiers refrained from getting a hit. Navy medical personnel vaccinate volunteers among base residents in stages since January 9.

This week, as part of the staged program, teachers and foreign workers from the base commissioner and bars were offered the vaccines, as were the marine forces guarding the base perimeter.

Prosecutors had offered to postpone the hearing to April 3. The judge wrote that he would issue a new arraignment order “in due course”.

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San Francisco drops 44 school names, citing racism

The San Francisco Board of Education voted this week to rename 44 of its schools after prominent figures, in an effort to purge the district of tributes to what it called controversial people linked to racism, sexism or slavery.

Schools named after historical figures, including Abraham Lincoln and George Washington, as well as current schools, such as Senator Dianne Feinstein, should be renamed.

Following the unrest in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017, which led to the murder of a protester by a white supremacist, the council decided in 2018 to create a commission to assess the renaming of schools in order to “Condemn any symbol of white supremacy and racism,” said Gabriela López, the council president.

The commission had decided that schools named after personalities meeting the following criteria would be renamed: “engaged in the subjugation and enslavement of human beings; or who oppressed women, inhibiting societal progress; or whose actions led to genocide; or which have otherwise greatly diminished the chances of those of us having the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

The school board’s decision – which was voted 6 to 1 on Tuesday – to rename 44 of the district’s 121 schools has been criticized by some as inappropriate amid the coronavirus pandemic and uncertainty as to when students can return to class.

Yukina Grady, a senior at Abraham Lincoln High School who is half white and half Japanese, said she was “somewhere in the middle” regarding the name change, adding that there was “a lot more than schools. could and should focus on “To deal with racism rather than just renaming schools.

“It’s a great discussion to have,” she said, but “with everything going on with Covid I wonder if we should be focusing on other things.”

This was echoed by the city’s mayor, London Breed, who said in a statement: ‘What I don’t understand is why the school board is putting forward a plan to have all these schools renamed by April. while there is no plan for the children to be back in the classroom by then.

“Our families are frustrated with the lack of a plan, and they are particularly frustrated that discussion of these plans was not even on the agenda for last night’s school board meeting,” a- she declared.

Ms López disputed this, saying in a phone interview that plans to reopen were discussed at every meeting and that the board could tackle both racism and the pandemic at the same time. The mayor’s response, she said, “doesn’t help us reopen.”

There were also concerns about the cost of renaming schools. Ms López said the board had considered this and estimated it would cost $ 10,000 per school.

“I wonder if there is a better use of this money,” Ms. Grady said.

A 2019 school board vote to hide, but not destroy, early 20th-century murals that some deemed offensive to blacks and Native Americans also came under criticism.

Community members at Tuesday’s board meeting, which was held via video conference, were also divided on their views on the decision. One person, who identified himself as Julie, said: “The heroes we choose to name our schools are opportunities for our children to see who is important to us.”

The commission, whose members include teachers, students, former board members and other members of the community, found that George Washington – a slaveholder for whom a San Francisco high school is appointed – was responding to its name change criteria.

Lincoln, who had a high school in the town named after him and which was also on the list, was criticized for his response to the so-called Minnesota uprising, in which more than 300 Native Americans were sentenced to death by a military court after being accused of attacking white settlers in 1862. Lincoln said he found a lack of evidence in most cases and reduced the number of convicts to 38, who were hanged in what was considered as the greatest mass execution in US history.

The list of schools to be renamed also includes lesser-known figures, such as James Denman, a former school district superintendent who denied Chinese students an education.

An elementary school in the city named Ms. Feinstein, Democrat and Senior Senator from California, is also expected to get a new name. Ms Feinstein was on the list because a vandalized Confederate flag outside City Hall was replaced while she was mayor of San Francisco.

The flag was “part of a design installed years before” she became mayor, and the flag has been replaced “by the parks and recreation department on its own,” said Tom Mentzer, spokesperson by Mrs. Feinstein.

Mr Mentzer said that after the flag was replaced, Ms Feinstein consulted city officials before ordering its replacement with a Union flag. Ms Feinstein made no comment regarding the name change, he said.

Ms López, chairman of the board, said the commission had reviewed the full episode regarding the flag, but that “unfortunately it met the criteria.”

This month, a letter from parents of elementary school students Dianne Feinstein expressed disapproval of the school’s name change, writing that Ms Feinstein had “paved the way and paved the way for women’s rights. and equality in government ”, and highlighted the legislation she drafted to support immigrants and the LGBTQ community.

Ms Grady, the high school student, said she was unaware of Lincoln’s actions in Minnesota. She said that none of her classmates were “against the idea of ​​tackling racist issues”.

And although “these people are just as human as we are,” she said, “we shouldn’t put them on a pedestal”.

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Citing a “ partisan deadlock, ” Republican Senator Rob Portman has said he will not seek re-election in 2022.

Ohio Senator Rob Portman, a Republican deeply connected with the former party, announced Monday that he would not stand for re-election in 2022, expressing frustration at the deep polarization and partisanship in Washington.

“It has become increasingly difficult to break the partisan deadlock and make progress on substantive politics, and this has contributed to my decision,” Portman said in a statement revealing what was considered a surprise announcement so soon after the last election.

Mr. Portman, former senior trade and budget official in the George W. Bush administration, was once considered a conservative mainstay, but as his party has shifted to the right in recent years, it has become one of the few centrist Republican senators interested in making bipartisan deals. He was one of the lawmakers tasked with pushing through the new North American trade deal in 2019 and was part of a bipartisan coalition that pushed House and Senate leaders late last year to pass a emergency measure in the event of a pandemic after months of delay.

His decision to step down illustrates how difficult it has become for more mainstream Republicans to navigate the current political environment, with hard-right allies of former President Donald J. Trump insisting that Republican members Congress either on their side or face primary competitions.

Mr. Portman called it “a difficult time to be in public service.”

“We live in an increasingly polarized country where members of both parties are pushed further to the right and further to the left, and that means that too few people are actively seeking to find common ground,” he said. he declares.

Mr. Portman, who also served for 12 years in the House, is said to have sought his third term in the Senate. He said he has made his decision public now to give others time to prepare for a statewide race.

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Citing Taylor Swift, Supreme Court Appears To Support Nominal Damages Lawsuits

WASHINGTON – About 70 minutes into what had been a technical and twisty Supreme Court argument on Tuesday over whether two Georgian students could sue their college for symbolic damages, a series questions about Taylor Swift brought the issue to the forefront.

Judge Elena Kagan asked about “the most famous nominal damages case that I know of in recent times, namely the Taylor Swift sexual assault case.”

Pop superstar Ms. Swift sued a Denver radio host who she said had groped her. She asked for $ 1 in nominal damages.

“I’m not really interested in your money,” Justice Kagan said, describing Ms. Swift’s thinking. “I just want a dollar, and that dollar will mean something both to me and to the world of women who have been through what I have been through.”

The jury sided with Ms Swift and awarded her the dollar she asked for. “It was undoubted physical harm, but she just asked for that dollar to say she was injured,” Justice Kagan told Andrew A. Pinson, solicitor general of Georgia. “Why not?”

Mr Pinson admitted that he only vaguely knew about the case. But he said proving a point, as opposed to getting compensation, “isn’t something federal courts exist to do.”

Judge Amy Coney Barrett followed up on her own thoughts on Ms Swift’s case. “What Taylor Swift wanted was, you know, the moral right, the legal right, that sexual assault is wrong and wrong,” Justice Barrett said.

And Judge Neil M. Gorsuch said the court should be wary of penalizing plaintiffs who act on principle, including “those like Ms Swift who have a qualm or a reason not to ask for more, who might.”

At the end of the discussion, it seemed that the singer’s position would help that of the students in the case before the judges, Uzuegbunam v. Preczewski, No. 19-968.

The students said officials at Georgia Gwinnett College, a public institution in Lawrenceville, Georgia, violated their First Amendment rights by enforcing a particularly harsh version of school language codes that have become commonplace at colleges and universities across the country. .

One of the students, Chike Uzuegbunam, was threatened with discipline for making public remarks about his Christian faith outside a campus food court. Shortly after pursuing college, he abandoned his policy and replaced it with one that allows students to “speak anywhere on campus and at any time without having to first obtain a permit.”

The revised policy, state officials said, rendered the case moot. A trial judge agreed, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Atlanta upheld her ruling.

The students said they should be able to pursue their claim for symbolic damages to gain recognition that their constitutional rights had been violated.

Some members of the Court have expressed concern over this approach. “The only remedy you are asking for is a statement that you are right,” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. told Kristen K. Wagoner of the Defending Freedom Alliance, which represents the students.

Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh said nominal damages claims may have an additional purpose, at least when plaintiffs are entitled to recoup their legal fees. He said he had “a strong suspicion that attorney fees are what drives all of this on both sides.”

But Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr. said nominal damages can serve an important purpose, such as when there is “a real, concrete violation that cannot be easily monetized.”

Justice Alito made a similar point in a dissent in April, when the court dismissed a Second Amendment challenge to a New York City gun control order after the city repealed it. The majority said there was nothing more to decide, with the plaintiffs only asking for a declaration of unconstitutionality of the law and an injunction blocking its application.

But, Judge Alito wrote, the plaintiffs may well be entitled to symbolic damages.

“Courts routinely award nominal damages for constitutional violations,” he wrote. “And it is widely accepted that a claim for symbolic damages excludes mootness.”

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Distrustful businesses hesitate on Super Bowl ads, citing pandemic

It seemed like money well spent, when Sabra paid millions to reserve a 30-second slot for Super Bowl 2020.

On the one hand, the game has attracted an audience of 99.9 million people, which means it has delivered on its promise to bring the hummus brand name to a large audience.

Then there was the ad itself. Unlike so many other commercials, Sabra’s received a lot of attention, praising its message of inclusion amid negative reactions from a group of conservative activists to the presence of two “RuPaul’s Drag queens”. Race”.

Despite the marketing victory, Sabra decided not to make the 2021 game, alongside former Super Bowl advertisers such as SodaStream and Avocados From Mexico. Many companies are reluctant to pay CBS around $ 5.5 million for a 30-second slot when the pandemic has complicated the annual day of football and partying.

What if there was an increase in coronavirus cases in the days leading up to the February 7 game? How should a business market itself in an ad designed specifically for an audience that has experienced over 300,000 pandemic deaths in the past year? Will a funny advertisement seem insensitive? Will a dark advertisement just look depressing?

What if the game is canceled?

These questions and many more have led to hesitation among advertisers. This is the time of year when many companies are tweaking big budget ads for what is traditionally the biggest advertising event of the year. But as of mid-December, CBS still had dozens of openings, according to two people familiar with the sales process. Fox, the game’s broadcaster last year, had sold all of its 77 national ad slots before Thanksgiving 2019.

Hyundai Motor America, whose Boston-accented 2020 Super Bowl ad was one of the most-viewed ads on YouTube this year, said it was weighing its options.

“We don’t know what the Super Bowl will look like,” said Angela Zepeda, the company’s chief marketing officer. “It’s a great time for a brand to stand out, but it’s also a lot of expense for a day. If it was a normal year, it would be yes at all, but there are still too many unknowns to commit to.

Companies are also concerned that the Super Bowl broadcast will suffer without the energy of a stadium full of fans. The virus can also cut into regular viewing areas, taking the excitement to another level.

Frequent Super Bowl announcers including Anheuser-Busch, Pringles and Toyota have vowed to return, but they face uncertainty after a turbulent National Football League season with relocated teams, games postponed and sick quarters. Media buyers have said the big game could move to February 28 if the pandemic forces a postponement. Their clients’ contracts with CBS include stipulations for reimbursement if the Super Bowl is canceled, they added.

Advertisers have spent a record $ 489 million to reserve slots for the 2020 show, according to research firm Kantar. They spent millions more to produce the ads and associated promotions, paying to feature the ads on YouTube, and to distribute marketing materials to stores across the country.

“It’s just a massive effort, like a military operation, to get all of these steps in sync,” said Kevin Krim, managing director of EDO, a TV ad measurement platform that works with networks and advertisers. “You don’t have a lot of gifts here. At this point, if you haven’t shot and edited your Super Bowl ad yet, you’re late. “

Avocados from Mexico, a nonprofit marketing organization linked to an import group, has been involved in the Super Bowl broadcast every year since 2015, but is moving away from the next. “There’s a big benefit to being in the Super Bowl, but there’s also a cost,” said Kevin Hamilton, the organization’s brand marketing manager. “We thought it would be a good year for us to try different things.”

Yet, in an age of streaming shows you want to watch when you want and fractured viewing habits, the Super Bowl is one of the few events to draw tens of millions of live viewers – a “highlight,” a said Cathleen Ryan, vice president of marketing for Intuit, the company behind TurboTax.

The TurboTax commercial for the last Super Bowl was packed with all kinds of people doing club-like dance moves. The 2021 version involved a scaled-down film set, with fewer in-person people on either side of the camera, Ms Ryan said. The company also distributes wealth by making sure it has a strong presence on social media and other platforms.

“The theme this year has been contingency planning,” Ms. Ryan said. “We have contingency plans on contingency plans. It’s about making sure we can have a hard-hitting reach with or without the Super Bowl this weekend. “

For Pringles, back for his fourth Super Bowl, gambling is “an opportunity that you don’t get for the rest of the year, the time when a lot of people are going to watch your ad,” said Gareth Maguire, director. senior corporate marketing.

Pringles will try a light advertisement, to underline his first makeover in 20 years.

“We don’t want to give the impression that we are not reflecting on what happened – obviously we are,” said Maguire. “But in the context of the game, we hope to give back the fun.”

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Citing Trump’s forgiveness, judge dismisses case against Michael Flynn

Kerri Kupec, a spokesperson for Mr Barr, said in a statement: “The rejection is, of course, the correct result,” but did not comment on Judge Sullivan’s scathing dissection of the department’s arguments for dismissing the business before grace. Last week, the ministry officially brought the pardon to the attention of Judge Sullivan, arguing in a motion that “no further proceedings are necessary or appropriate, as the court must immediately dismiss the case with prejudice.”

Prior to the pardon, the Justice Department’s main argument for dismissing the case despite Mr. Flynn’s guilty plea was that his lies to the FBI were not a crime because they were not “important.” for a legitimate investigation since the office had decided to close an investigation. investigation into whether Mr. Flynn was a Russian agent before his tendency to lie to colleagues about the Russian ambassador raised new suspicions.

This rationale has been widely disputed, in part because FBI agents have broad authority to conduct voluntary interviews, and Mr. Flynn’s statements seemed clearly relevant to the larger investigation into the nature of any relationship between the Russian government. and the Trump campaign.

In his view, Justice Sullivan said the department’s narrow definition of what was considered “material” in the Flynn case was simply “not the law”. He called the government’s arguments “puzzling,” contrary to what he had previously said even in the Flynn case and unsupported by what prosecutors have said in any other misrepresentation case.

He wrote that in order to close the case before pardon, he should have been satisfied that the government had made a “carefully considered judgment,” but said prosecutors “probably” failed.

The other major argument made by Mr Barr’s prosecutors after the about-face was that the Justice Department was no longer certain that it could prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr Flynn had made false statements, citing statements issues surrounding the interview with the FBI that Mr. Flynn advocates have pointed out with suspicion.

Justice Sullivan also rejected these arguments.

For example, Mr. Trump’s allies pointed out that officers who interviewed him said they had not detected any signs that he was lying. But the judge said it was “irrelevant in a misrepresentation case.”

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Artists call on MoMA to remove Philip Johnson’s name, citing racist views

Philip Johnson was one of the most influential architects of the last century, a chameleon in each of his roles as New York energy broker, art collector and creator of his “Glass House”, a famous landmark of Modernist design. in Connecticut.

He also championed racist and white supremacist views in his youth. Johnson’s Nazi sympathies, for example, have been well documented and he spent the years after World War II trying to distance himself from them.

Today, a group of more than 30 prominent artists, architects and academics shed light on the most distasteful part of Johnson’s legacy, demanding in a letter posted online Nov. 27 that institutions such as the Museum of Modern Art and the Harvard Graduate School of Design are removing the name of the architect, who died in 2005, from their spaces.

“Johnson’s architectural work has a role to play in archives and historical preservation,” wrote the Johnson Study Group, a largely anonymous group of designers and architects, in the letter. “However, the naming of titles and spaces inevitably suggests that the winner is a role model for curators, administrators, students and others who participate in these institutions.

The letter was signed by contemporary artist Xaviera Simmons; Kate Orff, landscape architect and member of MacArthur; and V. Mitch McEwen, Assistant Professor of Architecture at Princeton University, one of eight of 10 architects for an upcoming MoMA exhibit – “Reconstructions: Architecture and Blackness in America” – slated to open on February 20 .

He cites Johnson’s “widely documented” plea for white supremacist views, his attempt to found a fascist party in Louisiana, and his failure to include the work of a single black artist or designer in the MoMA collection during his tenure there. -low. (He served in various roles for six decades.) The letter urged all institutions using his name to remove it.

“He not only nodded but added to the persistent practice of racism in the field of architecture,” the letter said, “a legacy that continues to hurt today.”

Johnson’s name appears in one of the exhibition galleries at the Museum of Modern Art, where he was the first responsible for architecture and design since 1984. His name is also included in the title of chief curator of the architecture and design of the museum.

Johnson created buildings that are widely regarded as architectural masterpieces of the 20th century, including the MoMA Sculpture Garden and the Pavilion that houses pre-Columbian art from the Dumbarton Oaks Estate in Washington. In his obituary, New York Times critic Paul Goldberger hailed him as the “godfather, fly, scholar, patron, critic, curator and cheerleader” of American architecture.

But as a youth, he openly admired Hitler’s manifesto, “Mein Kampf,” attended Nazi rallies in Germany and was investigated by the FBI for his ties to the Nazi Party. He rejected Nazism after the end of World War II.

Representatives from MoMA and Harvard did not immediately respond to requests for comment Thursday.

Ms Orff, a landscape architect and MacArthur scholar, said in an email Thursday that removing Johnson’s name from the gallery and from the post of curator would represent an important step in dismantling racism in design culture.

“Landscape architecture is catching up in its assessment of its own heritage,” Ms. Orff said. “To move forward with a more imaginative, fair and equitable culture in the fields of design, we have to take into account the numbers of the past that set the ground rules.”

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Citing Pardon, Justice Department asks judge to dismiss Flynn case ‘immediately’

WASHINGTON – The Justice Department on Monday asked a federal judge to dismiss the criminal case against President Trump’s former national security adviser Michael T. Flynn, citing his pardon last week – and clarifying that it covered widely potential legal issues beyond the prosecution Mr. Flynn had faced with lying to federal investigators.

“The pardon of the president, which General Flynn accepted, argues this case”, indicated the file of the Ministry of Justice.

Mr Flynn had twice pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his conversations in late 2016, during Trump’s presidential transition, with the Russian ambassador to the United States. His original plea deal also covered legal liability for other potential charges related to his work as an unregistered foreign agent from Turkey in 2016.

But Mr. Flynn – whose case became a cause for Mr. Trump and his supporters as they attacked the Trump-Russia inquiry led by Special Advocate Robert S. Mueller III – sought to change his plea to not guilty. And Attorney General William P. Barr has asked District of Columbia Federal Court Judge Emmet G. Sullivan to dismiss the case in a very unusual about-face for the Department of Justice.

But the judge instead began a review of the claim’s legitimacy, appointing an outside critic – John Gleeson, a former federal judge and Mafia prosecutor – who described Mr Barr’s decision as an illegal abuse of power to show a special favor to a presidential ally, and urged Judge Sullivan to proceed with Mr. Flynn’s conviction instead.

Last week, with Judge Sullivan yet to render a ruling, Mr. Trump instead pardoned his former aide, taking political responsibility for shutting down the case. As a result, the Justice Department said in a new case, the whole case is moot.

The deposit was accompanied by the text of the pardon itself, which had not yet been published. While Mr. Trump had said on twitter while granting Mr. Flynn a “full” pardon, he did not specify how far that would go in terms of potential legal risk to Mr. Flynn on other matters for which he had not been charged.

The pardon, however, was drafted broadly not only to cover up lying to the FBI, but to exclude any legal danger Mr Flynn might face from a future Justice Department arising from the Turkey case, his inconsistent statements under oath to Judge Sullivan and any possible perjury or misrepresentation to Mr. Mueller’s team or to the grand juries they used.

In a three-page dossier accompanying the pardon, the Justice Department pointed out to Justice Sullivan that the wording covered “any future charges of perjury or contempt in relation to General Flynn’s affidavits and any other possible future charges. That the judge or Mr. Gleeson “Suggested that might somehow keep this criminal case alive despite the government’s objection.”

Justice Sullivan did not immediately file a response to the new motion to dismiss, and Mr. Gleeson did not respond to an email requesting comment.

Andrew Weissmann, a former member of the special advocates team who was not directly involved in the prosecution of Mr. Flynn, condemned the Trump administration’s handling of the case after Mr. Mueller’s office was closed .

“Trump did not issue the pardon until after Barr degraded the Justice Department by filing a dishonest dismissal petition,” Weissmann said. “Sullivan will have the opportunity to weigh in on his views on all of this when he allows the motion to dismiss on the basis of a full pardon.

But the Justice Department file signaled that under the Trump administration, at least, the Flynn case was closed.

“No further proceedings are necessary or appropriate, as the court must immediately dismiss the case with prejudice,” he said.

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Business leaders, citing damage to country, urge Trump to start transition

Ms James, in a statement on Sunday evening, said: “This is not about partisan politics, but about protecting our democracy.”

“Without the rule of law and an orderly transfer of power, everything is at risk from business to health care delivery to national security, and our business leaders can see it as clearly as the rest of the world. ‘between us,’ she added.

Among the topics discussed during the call, according to attendees, was the idea of ​​denying the support of Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, both Republicans, who are running for re-election in Georgia, until the presidential transition is underway.

At least one attendee, Rob Speyer, managing director of Tishman Speyer, suggested some high net worth donors had already considered turning down their support, according to four people familiar with his comments.

(Mr. Speyer, a registered independent, is largely a Democratic donor, while his father, Jerry Speyer, is largely a Republican donor.)

A prominent member of the partnership who did not sign the letter is Stephen A. Schwarzman, the chief executive of Blackstone, who is a staunch supporter of Trump. However, Schwarzman said in a statement that “the outcome is very certain today and the country should move on.”

“I have supported President Trump and the strong economic path he has built,” he added. “Like many in the business community, I am now ready to help President-elect Biden and his team as they face the significant challenges of rebuilding our post-COVID economy.”