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In his final argument, Derek Chauvin’s lawyer urges jurors “not to be misled”.

Derek Chauvin’s lawyer argued on Monday that the former officer acted reasonably when he knelt on top of George Floyd for more than nine minutes, imploring jurors to also consider the moments before the officers took Mr. Floyd to the ground as they began to debate whether to do so. condemn or acquit Mr. Chauvin.

Eric J. Nelson, counsel for Mr. Chauvin, said in his closing argument that there was much more to the case than the moments that had been captured on cell phone video and seen by the world. Mr. Nelson argued that there was at least a reasonable doubt on two vital questions: whether Mr. Chauvin’s actions were permitted under the policies of the Minneapolis Police Department and whether Mr. Chauvin caused Mr. Floyd. Jurors must believe that prosecutors have proven their case beyond a reasonable doubt to convict.

The prosecution made its argument earlier on Monday, and another prosecutor will have the opportunity to rebut Mr Nelson’s argument later today, after which the 12 jurors who listened to three weeks of testimony will begin to deliberate on a verdict. They must be unanimous to convict Mr. Chauvin of one of the three charges he faces: second degree murder, third degree murder and second degree manslaughter.

For nearly three hours, Mr. Nelson focused on Mr. Chauvin’s decision-making and the factors that may have caused Mr. Floyd’s death. He pointed out that the jury’s instructions say that no crime was committed if a police officer was justified in using reasonable force and that jurors should determine what is justified by considering what “a reasonable police officer in the same situation would be deemed necessary ”.

In determining what is needed, Mr. Nelson argued, special attention should be paid to the moments before officers put Mr. Floyd face down, when they tried to handcuff Mr. Floyd to the back. of a police car, which he resisted. , saying he was claustrophobic. Prosecutors repeatedly noted the exact time – nine minutes and 29 seconds – that Mr. Chauvin knelt on top of Mr. Floyd, but Mr. Nelson said that was only evidence.

“This is not the correct analysis because the nine minutes and 29 seconds ignores the previous 16 minutes and 59 seconds,” said Nelson. He added: “A reasonable policeman would, in fact, take into consideration the previous 16 minutes and 59 seconds.”

Mr. Nelson argued throughout the trial that a group of bystanders yelling at the police to get off Mr. Floyd and check his pulse had actually distracted police from the declining health of Mr. Floyd. On Monday, he highlighted the moment when experts said Mr. Floyd took his last breath, pointing out that at the same time, an off-duty firefighter and another bystander moved closer to Mr. Chauvin, prompting the officer to withdraw. its mass.

“Human beings are making decisions in very stressful situations that they believe to be right as they happen,” Nelson said.

Mr Nelson also criticized prosecutors’ medical experts, many of whom had said Mr Chauvin’s actions were the main cause of Mr Floyd’s death, saying their testimony “went against reason and common sense”. He particularly highlighted the testimony of Dr Martin J. Tobin, a pulmonologist, who he said had selectively chosen screenshots that obscured the context of full-length videos.

“Don’t be fooled by just one still image,” Nelson said. “Put the evidence in context.”

Mr Nelson said he was not arguing that Mr Floyd died of an overdose, but that jurors had to consider a wide range of factors regarding what could have caused Mr Floyd’s death, including poor heart health and fentanyl and methamphetamine. found in his system.

Mr Nelson said that when jurors considered all the evidence, they would conclude that prosecutors had not discharged their onus.

“The state has failed to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt, and therefore Mr. Chauvin should be found not guilty on all counts,” he said.

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The final divorce problem: who gets the embryos?

The Latest Divorce Problem: Who Gets the Embryos Amid the pandemic, IVF rates are on the rise, as are disputes over what to do with leftover frozen embryos when couples go their separate ways. For some, it got complicated.By Jenny Gross and Maria Cramer

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James Levine’s Final Years: A Timeline

During the last years of his life, conductor James Levine, who had shaped the Metropolitan Opera for more than four decades and who is dead on March 9, he returned to his podium after an injury that threatened his career; was fired as music director after health problems made it difficult for him to perform his duties; and was fired from his new post as Music Director Emeritus after multiple allegations of sexual misconduct with young men and teens surfaced.

After injuring his spine in a fall and being sidelined for more than two years, Levine returned in triumph to his podium at the Met. The company once again greeted him with fanfare, making the orchestra pit wheelchair accessible and installing new elevators and ramps as well as a rising mechanical podium called the “maestro lift”. He allowed a reporter to watch his rehearsals.

After declining health from Parkinson’s disease prevented musicians and singers from following his lead, the Met tried to get him to resign as music director, but he resisted. At the end of the season, the company announced that Levine would step down and take on a distinguished role that would see him lead regularly.

Levine regularly led as Music Director Emeritus and was given high profile assignments by the company, when several men came forward to say Levine sexually abused them as teenagers. The Met suspended him and opened an investigation.

The Met sacked Levine, saying an investigation he commissioned “revealed credible evidence that Mr. Levine engaged in sexually abusive and harassing behavior towards vulnerable artists early in their careers, on whom Mr. Levine had authority ”.

Levine sued the Met for breach of contract and libel; the Met counterattacked, detailing some of the abuses its investigation uncovered. Almost all of Levine’s libel charges were dismissed, but the contract matter continued. The Met and its insurer eventually agreed to pay Levine $ 3.5 million; his contract as emeritus musical director lacked a moral clause.

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Two whistleblowers say a Justice Department official mispromoted an employee in the final days of Trump’s tenure.

Two whistleblowers on Wednesday accused Jeffrey Bossert Clark, a former Justice Department official, of politicizing the hiring process in the final days of President Donald J. Trump’s tenure by improperly elevating an employee seen as loyal to the former president.

Mr Clark, who headed the Environment and Natural Resources Division and was the interim head of the ministry’s Civil Division, promoted an employee days before leaving the ministry in January. The employee had previously worked on a case, Garza v. Hargan, which involved the Trump administration’s efforts to ban pregnant teens in federal immigration custody from having abortions, whistleblowers said in a letter. to the Inspector General of the Department of Justice and to members of Congress.

Few of the department’s career employees were willing to work on the case, according to the whistleblower’s letter. And the policy was ultimately ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge.

On January 12, Mr Clark announced that the person who had worked on the Garza case had been hired to be deputy director of two more qualified candidates, the whistleblowers said in their letter.

The whistleblower’s letter had previously been reported by NPR.

Whistleblowers claimed that the Civil Division had changed its long-standing hiring practices for this type of position to allow a nominated politician to select the finalists. They said Mr Clark then engaged in “superficial” 15-minute talks with each of the candidates before choosing “the one and only candidate who had volunteered to champion one of the most controversial policies. of the Trump administration ”.

“Mr. Clark abused his authority by injecting himself into the process of promoting career staff,” the whistleblowers said in their letter. They called the hiring process a “sham selection process.”

Mr. Clark said in a statement that managers in the civilian division had sent him three candidates for interviews, “each of whom they considered very qualified.”

“I interviewed the three using the same process I had used for other positions,” Mr. Clark said. “I think it’s very unfortunate that disappointed candidates attack the selection of their own colleague. This candidate had strong leadership qualities and was the most qualified.

Mr Clark described the whistleblower’s decision to point out that the lawyer who was promoted had worked on the Garza litigation as “a baseless attempt to disparage.”

David Z. Seide, whistleblower lawyer and senior advisor to the Government Accountability Project, said in a statement that “the last-minute politicization of the DOJ recruiting process” called for “immediate, close and transparent oversight. and surveys. “

Mr Clark made headlines in January for his efforts to help Mr Trump overturn the election results, a plan that nearly led to the ousting of the acting attorney general and a massive resignation at the top of the agency.

Mr Clark denied any wrongdoing and said the discussions reported by The New York Times were distorted by colleagues who misrepresented them. The Inspector General of the Ministry of Justice is investigating the incident.

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TimesVideoWatch Live: House to vote on stimulus bill Lawmakers are expected to give final approval to President Biden’s massive, nearly $ 1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package.

TimesVideoWatch Live: House to vote on stimulus bill Lawmakers are expected to give final approval to President Biden’s massive, nearly $ 1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package.

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Supreme Court rejects Trump’s final offer to block release of financial documents

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court on Monday rejected a final attempt by former President Donald J. Trump to protect his financial records, issuing a brief unsigned order requiring Mr. Trump’s accountants to turn over his taxes and other records to New York prosecutors York.

The court order was a decisive defeat for Mr. Trump, who had gone to extraordinary lengths to keep his tax returns and related documents secret. No disagreement was noted.

The case involved a subpoena to Mr. Trump’s accountants, Mazars USA, by the office of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr., a Democrat. The cabinet said it would comply with the courts’ final ruling, which means the grand jury should receive the documents as soon as possible.

Mr. Vance made a three word statement in response to the court order: “The work continues.”

The former president criticized the court’s action. “The Supreme Court should never have let this ‘fishing expedition’ happen, but it did,” Trump said in a statement. “This is something that has never happened to a president before, all of this is Democratic inspiration in a totally democratic place, New York City and the state, completely controlled and dominated by one of my very enemies. publicized, Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Under the rules of grand jury secrecy, it would generally be difficult to know when, if at all, the public would see the information. But The New York Times has obtained more than two decades of data on the tax returns of Mr. Trump and his companies, and recently published a series of articles about them.

Mr Trump, according to the reports, has suffered significant losses, owes huge debts that he is personally obligated to repay, has avoided paying federal income taxes in 11 of the 18 years the Times examined, and only paid $ 750 in 2016 and 2017.

The scope of Mr. Vance’s investigation is not known. This stems in part from an investigation by his office into quiet payments to two women who said they had had relationships with Mr. Trump, relationships the president has denied. But judicial statements from prosecutors suggest they are also investigating potential crimes such as tax and insurance fraud.

The subpoena targeted Mr. Trump’s tax records and financial statements since 2011, the engagement agreements with the accountants who prepared them, the underlying raw financial data, and information about how the data was analyzed.

As a candidate in 2016, Mr. Trump promised to disclose his tax returns, but he never did. Instead, he fought hard to protect returns from scrutiny, for reasons that have been the subject of much speculation. In 2019, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York City ruled that state attorneys can require third parties to turn over the financial records of a sitting president for an investigation before a grand jury.

In a footnote to the ruling, Judge Robert A. Katzmann said Mr. Trump’s break with the practice of his predecessors was significant.

“We note that the last six presidents, dating back to President Carter, have all voluntarily made their tax returns public,” Judge Katzmann wrote. “While we do not give this fact decisive weight, it reinforces our conclusion that disclosure of personal financial information, by itself, is not likely to hamper the President in the performance of his duties.”

Mr. Trump appealed to the Supreme Court. In July, judges firmly rejected Mr. Trump’s central constitutional argument against the subpoena – that state prosecutors are powerless to investigate a sitting president.

“No citizen, not even the President, is categorically above the common duty to produce evidence when called upon in criminal proceedings,” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote for the majority in this decision.

Although Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr. disagree with other aspects of the decision, all nine judges agreed with the proposition. But the court gave Mr Trump another opportunity to challenge the subpoena, on more limited grounds.

“A president can enjoy the same protections as all other citizens,” wrote Chief Justice Roberts. “These include the right to challenge the summons on any ground permitted by state law, which generally includes bad faith and excessive burden or magnitude.”

This is exactly what Mr. Trump did, but his arguments were rejected by a trial judge and a panel of three unanimous judges from the New York Federal Court of Appeal.

“All documents produced in connection with Mazars’ subpoena would be protected from public disclosure by the rules of grand jury secrecy,” the panel said in an unsigned notice, “which greatly reduces the plausibility of the allegation that the district attorney acts out of desire to embarrass the President. “

“There is nothing to suggest,” the panel added of the information sought, “that these are just trivial documents generally relevant to a grand jury investigation into possible financial or corporate misconduct. . “

Mr. Trump’s lawyers then filed an “emergency request” asking the Supreme Court to intercede. He urged the court to block the appeal court’s decision while it decides to hear another appeal from Mr. Trump.

“Even if the disclosure of his papers is limited to prosecutors and grand jurors, the status quo can never be restored once confidentiality is destroyed,” said the brief. “But the damage will be more than irreparable if the records are made public. It will be a pitch – the strongest possible basis for a stay. “

In response, lawyers for Mr. Vance – including Carey R. Dunne, who first argued the case; Walter E. Dellinger III, former Acting Solicitor General of the United States in the Clinton administration; and Michael R. Dreeben, a long-time former Deputy Solicitor General and a member of the team that helped Robert S. Mueller III investigate Russian interference in the 2016 election – the Times reported. The cat, they said, was out of the bag.

“The New York Times got its tax return data and describes that data in depth in a series of articles,” Mr. Vance said. “With the details of his tax returns now public, the privacy interests claimed by the claimant have become very mitigated if they survive. And even assuming there are some left, they cannot justify an extraordinary remedy from this tribunal that would deprive the only grand jury of the facts available to anyone who reads the press.

“This litigation has already considerably hampered the grand jury investigation,” the brief said. “There is no legal basis for the extraordinary remedy that the plaintiff seeks – or remotely justifies the additional delay it causes.”

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Trump’s final speech as president included lies and exaggeration. Here’s a fact check.

President Trump used his presidential final speech on Wednesday morning to repeat many of the same lies and exaggerations he has told over the past four years.

He falsely claimed, as he has done almost 300 times already, to have passed by far “the biggest tax cut and the biggest reform in the history of our country” despite the tax cut of 2017 which ranked below several others.

Mr Trump also once again boasted of having presided over the “biggest economy”, with “numbers” that were “at a level no one has ever seen before.” Average annual growth, even before the coronavirus pandemic decimated the economy, was lower under Mr. Trump than under recent former Presidents Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan.

And he announced his legacy in transforming the justice system, exaggerating the number of appointments to “nearly 300” and saying it was a “record.” In fact, Mr. Trump has appointed 229 judges, a significant sum for a single-term president but well below the total number of Presidents Barack Obama (320), George W. Bush (322) and Bill Clinton (322).

Mr Trump also used his last speech as president to once again take the wrong credit for creating the Veterans Choice healthcare program that was enacted by his predecessor in 2014. As a President, Mr. Trump signed a program modifying measure.

He also falsely claimed that the Department of Veterans Affairs could not lay off employees before he took office. In fact, Mr. Trump signed a law to encourage whistleblowing and facilitate the dismissal of bad employees in the department.

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For Trump and the nation, a final test of accountability

WASHINGTON – Barely 11 months after President Trump’s acquittal in a momentous Senate trial, the nation now faces the possibility of another impeachment battle in the twilight of its presidency, a final showdown that will test the limits politics, accountability and the Constitution.

No president has ever been indicted twice for serious crimes and misdemeanors. But President Nancy Pelosi weighed in by bringing a new article of impeachment to the House on Monday accusing Mr. Trump of “inciting an insurgency” for encouraging the mob that trashed the Capitol to disrupt the solemn process ending to his own electoral defeat.

If Ms Pelosi decides to continue, the House could approve the article within days, this time with even disgruntled Republicans joining the Democratic majority in sending the case back to the Senate for a new trial, unlike one of the three precedents of American history.

While it seemed unlikely that 17 Republicans in the Senate would rally with Democrats to achieve the two-thirds needed for sentencing, the anger at Mr Trump was so palpable that party leaders said privately it was not out. of question.

The renewed attempt to remove Mr. Trump from office and strip him of power without waiting for his term to expire on January 20 capped a traumatic week that has rocked Washington more than anything since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

The emotions were raw. The White House was in the throes of collapse. The army was at its end. The cabinet was in revolt. The Republican Party was in civil war. And the president was in hiding, stripped of his social media megaphone, ostracized by his allies and at odds with almost everyone, including his staunch vice president.

The storming of Capitol Hill by supporters of Mr. Trump, which killed five people, including a police officer, transformed the city’s politics in ways that are still difficult to measure. A new indictment would be more than a revival of the campaign that failed last year because this time the crime was not a phone call to a foreign leader captured on the dry pages of a transcript, but the seat of American democracy took place live. television for all.

“Insurgents instigated by Mr. Trump attacked our nation’s Capitol to prevent Congress from accepting Electoral College results,” said Representative Ted Lieu of California, who began writing the impeachment article while sheltering in the Capitol takeover and sponsored it with Reps David Cicilline of Rhode Island and Jamie Raskin of Maryland, two fellow Democrats. “People have died. We can’t just issue harshly worded press releases in response. Unless Trump resigns, Congress must remove him to hold him accountable.

Yet the timing of such an effort, with just 11 days before Mr. Trump stepped down, muddied the equation. Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican Leader, indicated that under Senate rules a trial could not begin until Jan. 19, the day before President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. was inaugurated, this which means the process would not move fast enough to avoid any dangerous move feared in Mr. Trump’s final days in power.

It raised the prospect of a trial after Mr. Trump left the White House, eclipsing the early days of Mr. Biden’s administration at a time when he would like to turn the page and deal with crises like the coronavirus pandemic, which has become even more deadly. while attention has focused on Washington’s political wars. A nationally televised trial could dominate discussion and prevent further work in the Senate.

“If the House sends out articles of impeachment, they really hurt the Biden administration off,” Republican Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri said in an interview on Saturday. “Whether it’s the first 10 days or the first 20 days of the Biden administration, this is certainly not how you would want to start your presidency.”

Some of Mr. Trump’s critics have argued that it would be important to hold a trial even if he is already out of power in order to prevent him from running again, a sanction under the Constitution – and possibly more importantly, to deliver a verdict condemning his actions in the name of history.

“We never had to even consider the possibility of impeaching a president twice, or in the last days of his presidency,” said Michael J. Gerhardt, a constitutional expert at the University of North Carolina who testified at the time. of the first indictment of Mr. Trump. and promotes another try. “But we’ve never had a president who encourages sedition like Trump did during his last days in office.”

Yet even some of the president’s harshest critics feared that a last-minute indictment and overtime trial might help him rally supporters by portraying himself as a victim and not a villain, allowing him to divert attention from his own actions to those of his adversaries.

“This will be historically important,” said Andrew Weissmann, who was a deputy to the Robert S. Mueller III special council and recently published a book, “Where Law Ends,” expressing frustration that the president was not fully held. responsible for his actions. during the investigation of Russia. “But the danger is that he will be acquitted and the momentum for the conviction is now lost. Also, until we change the mindset of its grassroots, we haven’t addressed the underlying problem.

At the moment, a strong majority of Americans hold Mr. Trump responsible for the attack, with 63% of them saying he has a good part, if not a lot of responsibility, according to a PBS Newshour-Marist poll. But when asked if steps needed to be taken to remove him as a result, Americans retreated to their partisan corners, with 48% saying yes and 49% saying no.

A Reuters-Ipsos survey found that 57% of Americans want Mr. Trump to step down immediately. But most of them were in favor of impeachment by Vice President Mike Pence and the cabinet through the 25th Amendment invalidity clause, with just 14% calling for another impeachment.

Mr. Trump has few supporters among Republicans for his actions urging the crowd before they march on Capitol Hill and even some in the conservative news media have turned against him, most notably the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal, who called his actions “uneasy” and urged him to resign.

But in the face of threats of impeachment, some Republicans have resumed fighting against their opponents. They may not like him or believe that it is politically viable to be seen as an excuse for his behavior, but they are always energized by fighting his enemies on the left.

On Friday night, on Sean Hannity’s Fox News, South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who was accosted by Trump supporters at an airport for opposing the president’s efforts to overturn the election, suddenly returned to lambasting and talking about Mr. Trump’s rivals. Hunter Biden.

Mr. Graham focused on Mr. Trump’s video message Thursday calling for healing and reconciliation, a video the president regretted making. “Instead of trying to match what President Trump has done, radical Democrats are talking about yet another impeachment that will further destroy the country,” Graham said.

Still, Mr. Trump might struggle to find lawyers to defend him in any lawsuit. Jay Sekulow, his personal attorney who headed the defense team during the impeachment trial last year, was not involved in Mr. Trump’s legal efforts to overturn Mr. Biden’s election. Pat A. Cipollone, the White House lawyer who teamed up with Mr Sekulow, was so upset by the attack on Capitol Hill that he considered stepping down.

One of the few members of his defense team who said he would stay with the president was Alan M. Dershowitz, professor emeritus at Harvard Law School who had played a secondary role last time around. In an email on Saturday, he said he would defend Mr. Trump on the grounds of free speech.

“Trump’s speech, whatever the substance of it, is clearly protected by the First Amendment,” he said. “To indict him for a constitutionally protected speech would violate both the First Amendment and the constitutional criteria for impeachment and cause lasting damage to the Constitution.”

Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University who testified in the House against Mr Trump’s first indictment, said the latest attempt was a hasty trial out of partisan anger. The fact that Mr. Trump’s critics have called for his impeachment either by indictment or by the 25th Amendment, he said, has shown that they are only interested in the outcome, not the outcome. legitimacy of the method.

“This opportunistic use of impeachment would do to the Constitution what the rioters did on Capitol Hill: leave it in tatters,” Mr Turley said.

The House voted almost entirely on party lines to impeach Mr. Trump in December 2018 for abuse of power and obstructing Congress as part of its efforts to pressure Ukraine to incriminate Mr. Biden in charges. wrongdoing while withholding a vital safety aid. But the Senate acquitted him last February also on an almost partisan vote.

A second indictment would in some ways be like revisiting the appearance of the first in history. Some have argued that focusing on the Ukrainian episode is too narrow given Mr. Trump’s many norm-violating actions in Washington. Others said it served as a warning that the president would use his power to cheat in an election, a prediction now confirmed.

While there is scientific debate as to whether a public servant can be indicted or tried after leaving office, there is precedent. When William Belknap, President Ulysses S. Grant’s Secretary of War, was accused of corruption, he rushed to the White House to submit his resignation minutes before the House intended him to be. Lawmakers proceeded anyway and the Senate went ahead and brought him to justice, although he acquitted him.

The Constitution expressly provides that the Senate prohibits any convicted person from holding federal office in the future, a secondary sanction that can be approved in a separate vote but requires only a simple majority of 51 senators rather than two-thirds. The Senate has applied this penalty to dismissed judges in the past.

“At some point democracies have to be able to defend themselves,” said Corey Brettschneider, an impeachment expert at Brown University. “The framers probably didn’t give us enough to protect us from a president, but disqualification is something they rightly gave us.”

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The White House sinks further into crisis in the final days of the Trump presidency.

What was already shaping up to be an unstable last step until the Trump presidency took on an air of national urgency as the White House emptied and some Republicans joined President Nancy Pelosi and a cascade of Democrats calling on Mr. Trump’s resignation from office without waiting for the 13 days until the inauguration of President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.

The prospect of bypassing Mr. Trump’s tenure in his final days seemed remote. Vice President Mike Pence has privately ruled out invoking the 25th Amendment’s invalidity clause to sideline the president, as many had urged him and the cabinet, officials said.

Democrats have suggested they could move quickly to impeachment, a step that would have its own logistical and political challenges. Representative Katherine Clark of Massachusetts, Deputy Speaker of the House, said Friday on CNN that Democrats could get an impeachment vote in the House as early as the middle of next week.

(The Democratic-led House has already impeached Mr. Trump once in December 2019, and he was acquitted in the Senate. The process took months.)

But the heated debate over Mr Trump’s ability to govern even for less than two weeks underscored the depth of anger and anxiety after the Capitol invasion that forced lawmakers to evacuate, halted the count. Electoral College votes for several hours and left the dead, including a Capitol Hill cop who died Thursday night.

After the restoration of Mr. Trump’s Twitter account, he posted a 2½ minute video Thursday night, denouncing the mob attack in a way he had refused to do the day before. Thoroughly reading a script prepared by his team, he declared himself “outraged by the violence, lawlessness and chaos” and told those who broke the law that “you will pay”.

While he did not give up on his false allegations of electoral fraud, he ultimately conceded defeat. “A new administration will be inaugurated on January 20,” admitted Mr. Trump. “My goal now is to ensure a smooth, orderly and transparent power transition. This moment calls for healing and reconciliation. “

Michael R. Sherwin, the American lawyer in Washington, did not rule out investigating Mr. Trump himself when he pledged to investigate “all actors” during Wednesday’s siege. The president reportedly discussed forgiving himself.

Despite the healing talks, however, Mr. Trump has quietly planned to take a trip next week to the southwest border to highlight his sweeping immigration policies, which have inflamed Washington over the years, according to one. person informed of the planning. He also told advisers he wanted to give an exit interview to the media, which they said could undermine the conciliation notes. But the first family discussed leaving the White House for good on January 19, the day before the inauguration.

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About the latest ‘Jeopardy!’ From Alex Trebek, a final introduction from a friend

For over 36 years, Johnny Gilbert has said the same 10 words, with the same mix of razzle-dazzle and the high cadence of a seasoned showman: “And now here’s the host of ‘Jeopardy!’… Alex Trebek! Trebek would appear with a wave of his hand and a smile, and the game would begin.

He’s delivered a version of that familiar warm-up more than 8,000 times, since the first episode of Trebek, which aired on September 10, 1984, when the newly-formed host took the stage with a dark, bushy mustache and a pale pink color. pocket square. But on Friday, TV audiences will see Gilbert’s final presentation of a longtime colleague-turned-friend, as the last episode filmed before Trebek’s death in November airs.

“As much pain he was in, I never thought he was dying,” Gilbert said. “The day I heard this, a part of me left this world.

Next week, “Jeopardy!” will return with Gilbert introducing a new name: Ken Jennings, a former record candidate, who will be the first in a series of new interim hosts.

“It was a very weird feeling,” Gilbert, 92, said in an interview Wednesday. “I never thought of anyone to host the show except Alex.

After Trebek’s death, Gilbert, who turned 70 career in entertainment, said he was wondering if now was the right time to go. At that time, due to the pandemic, he had not worked at the studio in Culver City, Calif., But had recorded his announcements from a bedroom in his house in Venice Beach.

“I was like, ‘Gee, can I keep doing this? Can I still do what the show needs? He said. “And I decided, yes, I would continue. I would continue because Alex wanted the show to continue.

When Trebek died aged 80 in November after battling stage 4 pancreatic cancer, the show’s producers made it clear that there would be no rush to play the role of a man who had been the face and voice of “Jeopardy!” for so long. Just 10 days before his death, Trebek had shot in the studio and the series had enough episodes to end the year. Instead of ending the final week of 2020, a chaotic week for television and viewers, the show decided to push the final five episodes of Trebek to this week.

The show also acknowledged that Gilbert was among those who felt disturbed by a new host delivering “Jeopardy!” clues. Instead of choosing a permanent successor right away, they opted for a series of interim hosts. Jennings, the only guest host that has been officially announced, has already recorded 30 episodes, a spokesperson for the show said. (In recent days, Jennings has received criticism on social media for posting callous tweets in the past, for which he excuse, raising questions about whether he would play the role permanently.) The Los Angeles Times reported this week that Katie Couric had been signed as another guest host, but the show did not confirm this.

Gilbert and Trebek, both of whom worked in television in the early 1980s, met at a party in Hollywood a few years before Merv Griffin decided to put on a new production of “Jeopardy!” Gilbert was already a household name on daytime television, having worked as a golden voice announcer for “The Price Is Right” and Dinah Shore’s daily talk show.

In his memoir, published last summer, Trebek wrote that he recommended Gilbert to Griffin: “How could you forget a voice like that?” (Gilbert’s voice wasn’t just used for announcing; he was a singer early in his career and recorded two albums in the 1960s.)

What resulted, Gilbert said, was a friendship that involved a lot of locker room talk, good-humored teasing in front of the studio audience, and deep mutual respect. On the set of “Jeopardy !,” Trebek often scoffed at Gilbert’s age, joking that he had been Abraham Lincoln’s announcer.

“We’ve been together longer than either of our marriages, and we’ve never had a word against it,” Trebek wrote of Gilbert in his memoir.

Wearing one of his many “Jeopardy!” Branded varsity-style jackets, Gilbert was warming the audience ahead of the recordings, urging them to speak to Trebek during commercial breaks and ask him any questions they might have. When the time came, Trebek spoke endlessly with audience members, Gilbert recalled, adding that more than once Trebek’s involved conversations with studio audience members would last longer than commercial breaks.

Gilbert recalled how Trebek continued to work during his illness. When Trebek was receiving chemotherapy treatments, Gilbert said, there were times when he was clearly in great pain. Sometimes he was too sick for the usual banter between episodes with the production crew.

Trebek wrote in his memoir that there were days during his illness when he could barely make it to production meetings. But after Gilbert delivered his brand introduction – “And now here’s the host of ‘Jeopardy!’… Alex Trebek!” – Trebek wrote that he would feel like himself again and be able to take the stage.

This transformation was also evident to Gilbert.

“It didn’t matter how he felt when he came out on stage,” Gilbert said, “when I introduced him there was Alex Trebek.