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Trump’s tax returns aren’t the only crucial files prosecutors will get

When New York prosecutors can finally review former President Donald J. Trump’s federal income tax returns, they’ll discover a real how-to guide to getting rich while losing millions of dollars and paying little to no tax on Income.

However, whether they find evidence of crimes will also depend on other information that is not in the actual statements.

The United States Supreme Court on Monday cleared the way for Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. to obtain eight years of federal tax returns from Mr. Trump and other documents from his accountants. The ruling ended a long legal battle over prosecutors’ access to information.

Last year, The New York Times gave more or less a glimpse of what lies ahead for Mr. Vance, when it obtained and analyzed decades of tax data for Mr. Trump and his businesses. The tax records offer an unprecedented and highly detailed look into the Byzantine world of Mr. Trump’s finances, which he has simultaneously bragged about for years and sought to keep a secret.

The Times review showed the former president reported hundreds of millions of dollars in business losses, spent years without paying federal income tax, and was facing an Internal Revenue Service audit. ‘a $ 72.9 million tax refund he claimed ten years ago.

Among other things, records revealed that Mr. Trump had paid only $ 750 in federal taxes in his first year as president and no income tax in 10 of the previous 15 years. They also showed that he wrote off $ 26 million in “consulting fees” as a business expense between 2010 and 2018, some of which appears to have been paid to his eldest daughter, Ivanka Trump, while she was employee of the Trump organization.

The legitimacy of the fees, which reduced Mr. Trump’s taxable income, has since become a subject of Mr. Vance’s investigation, as well as a separate civil investigation by Letitia James, the New York attorney general. Ms James and Mr Vance are Democrats, and Mr Trump has sought to portray the multiple investigations as politically motivated, while denying any wrongdoing.

Mr Vance’s office has issued subpoenas and conducted interviews in recent months as it examined a variety of financial matters, including whether the Trump organization had distorted the value of assets when obtaining loans or the payment of property taxes, as well as the payment of $ 130,000 in silent money. during the 2016 campaign to Stephanie Clifford, the pornographic actress whose stage name is Stormy Daniels. Among those interviewed were employees of Deutsche Bank, one of Mr. Trump’s biggest lenders.

Despite all their disclosures, Mr Trump’s tax records are also noteworthy for what they do not show, including new details about the payment to Ms Clifford, who was the original subject of Mr Vance when she started two years ago.

Tax returns represent self-reported income and expense accounting, and often lack the specificity required to know, for example, whether legal fees related to discrete payments have been claimed as a tax waiver, or whether the money of Russia once scanned Mr. Trump’s bank accounts. The lack of that level of detail underscores the potential value of other documents Mr. Vance had access to with Monday’s Supreme Court ruling.

In addition to tax returns, Mr. Trump’s accountants, Mazars USA, are also required to produce business records on which those returns are based and communications with the Trump organization. Such documents could provide important context and context for the decisions Mr. Trump or his accountants have made when preparing the tax return.

John D. Fort, former head of the IRS’s criminal investigations division, said tax returns were a useful tool in uncovering leads, but could only be fully understood with additional financial information obtained elsewhere.

“It’s a very important personal financial document, but it’s only one piece of the puzzle,” said Mr. Fort, a CPA and director of investigations at Kostelanetz & Fink in Washington. “What you find in the statement should be followed by interviews and subpoenas.”

Yet the Times’ investigation into Mr. Trump’s returns uncovered a number of misleading claims and lies he spread about his wealth and business acumen.

Many claims of Mr. Trump’s generous philanthropy have collapsed when reviewing his tax returns, which has raised questions about the amount of some donations and the overall nature of his tax-deductible donations. For example, $ 119.3 million of the roughly $ 130 million in charitable deductions he had claimed since 2005 turned out to be the estimated value of pledges not to develop real estate, sometimes after the failure of a planned project.

At least two of these land-based charitable deductions, one linked to a golf course in Los Angeles and the other to an estate in Westchester called Seven Springs, are known to be part of Ms James’ civil investigation. , which examines whether valuations support tax write-offs have been inflated.

More generally, tax records have shown how the public disclosures he filed as candidate, and then as president, offered a distorted view of his overall finances by reporting glowing numbers for his golf courses, hotels and the like. companies based on the gross revenues they collected each year. . The actual bottom line, after losses and expenses, was much bleaker: In 2018, while Mr. Trump’s public filings showed income of $ 434.9 million, his tax returns reported a total of 47, $ 4 million in losses.

And such dire numbers were not an anomaly. Mr. Trump’s numerous golf courses, a vital component of his business empire, recorded losses of $ 315.6 million between 2000 and 2018, while revenues from licensing hotels in his name and resorts had all but dried up by the time he entered the White House. In addition, Mr. Trump has hundreds of millions of dollars in loans, much of which he has personally guaranteed, which will mature in the next few years.

The Times investigation also found he was facing a potentially devastating IRS audit focused on the huge refund he claimed in 2010, which covered all federal income taxes he paid. from 2005 to 2008, plus interest. Mr Trump has repeatedly cited the ongoing audit as the reason he couldn’t release his tax returns, having initially said he would, even though nothing in the audit process did. prevented from doing so.

If an IRS ruling were ultimately to go against him, Mr. Trump could be forced to repay more than $ 100 million, including interest and possible penalties, in addition to some $ 21.2 million in local and state tax refunds based on the numbers. in its federal documents.

Russ buettner and Susanne Craig contribution to reports.

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Video: Biden returns to the international stage

new video loaded: Biden returns to the international stage

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Biden returns to the international stage

President Biden spoke on Friday of struggles for democracy and the importance of building close alliances with foreign leaders.

The last time I spoke in Munich, I was a private citizen. I was a professor, not elected, but I said at that time that we will be back. And I’m a man of my word – America is back. I speak to you today as President of the United States at the very beginning of my administration, and I send a clear message to the world: America is back, the transatlantic alliance is back and we are not watching backward. We wait together. Global dynamics have changed. New crises demand our attention. We cannot focus only on the competition between countries which threaten to divide the world or only on the global challenges which threaten to engulf us all together if we do not cooperate. We need to do both, working together with our allies and partners. So let me clear up any lingering doubt. The United States will work closely with our partners in the European Union and the capitals of the continent.

Recent episodes of United States and politics

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US aircraft carrier returns home after long sea tour to observe Iran

WASHINGTON – The aircraft carrier Nimitz is finally returning home.

Last month, the Pentagon ordered the warship to remain in the Middle East amid Iranian threats against President Donald J. Trump and other U.S. officials, just three days after announcing the ship was returning home as a signal to defuse the growing tensions with Tehran.

As those immediate tensions appear to ease a bit and President Biden seeks to resume talks with Iran over the 2015 nuclear deal from which Mr Trump has withdrawn, three Defense Department officials have said Monday that the Nimitz and her 5,000-member crew were ordered Sunday to return to the ship’s home port of Bremerton, Wash., after a 10-month longer-than-usual deployment.

The Pentagon had been engaged for weeks in a muscle-flexing strategy to deter Iran and its Shiite proxies in Iraq from attacking US personnel in the Persian Gulf to avenge the death of Major General Qassim Suleimani. General Suleimani, commander of the elite Iranian Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, was killed in a U.S. drone strike in January 2020.

The Pentagon then claimed last month – without presenting any evidence – that it detected new information that Iran was targeting Mr. Trump in the weeks leading up to the inauguration. The Nimitz and its attack plane wing were therefore ordered to stay close to the Persian Gulf, just in case.

Biden’s aides assessed soon after taking office that it was time to send the Nimitzes home. General Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., the commander of Army Central Command, said last week that US firepower in the region had most likely helped deter Iran and its proxies from any attack in the last days of the Trump administration.

“For the most part, they were able to tell them now is not the time to start a war,” General McKenzie said, according to Defense One, who was among the publications traveling to the region with him. “All of this is probably not the result of the military component. I’m sure there is a political calculation in Iran to come up with a new administration and see if things change.

Indeed, Robert Malley, a seasoned Middle East expert and former Obama administration official, was selected last week to be Mr. Biden’s special envoy to Iran. He will be tasked with trying to persuade Tehran to curb its nuclear program – and to stop enriching uranium beyond the limits imposed by a 2015 nuclear deal with world powers – and to agree to new negotiations. before the United States lifted its punitive economic sanctions against Iran.

This prospect angered important regional allies. Israeli military chief Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi last week warned the Biden administration against returning the nuclear deal even if it tightened the terms of the deal. Gen. Kochavi also said he had ordered his forces to step up preparations for possible offensive action against Iran in the coming year.

No decision has been made on sending another carrier to the Middle East to relieve the Nimitz, the three Pentagon officials said on Monday, but carriers Eisenhower in the Mediterranean and Theodore Roosevelt in the Pacific could be shipped to the weeks or months to come. .

The Air Force is also expected to continue to send B-52 bombers on periodic round-trip U.S. show-of-force missions to the Persian Gulf. Two B-52s flew a 36-hour mission from Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana last week – the first under the Biden administration and the third in total this year – 10 days after a similar bomber tandem flew the same route from Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota.

“It’s still a tense time,” said Vice Admiral John W. Miller, a retired Bahrain-based Fifth Fleet commander who recently visited the Persian Gulf region. .

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Bible Museum returns artifacts to Egypt

The Bible Museum in Washington, which has been tormented since its inception in 2017 by claiming to have acquired thousands of biblical artifacts on the black market, has quietly repatriated 5,000 manuscripts and papyrus pieces to Egypt, which has long claimed that the Articles were searched across the country in 2011 amid the turmoil of the Arab Spring.

Steve Green, President of the Bible Museum and Co-Founder from the multibillion-dollar Hobby Lobby channel, had alluded to the return in March when he said that “several thousand items which probably originated in Iraq and Egypt, but for which reliable source information was insufficient, would be returned to their country of origin. . “

The return is one of the many cases in which the museum, under pressure from the law, has been forced to repatriate antiques lacking papers. Some 450 Cuneiform tablets and 3,000 ancient seals known as bubbles were returned to Iraq in 2017, and Hobby Lobby was fined $ 3 million.

In 2018, the museum announced that experts concluded that five of the 16 fragments believed to have been part of the Dead Sea Scrolls were fakes and removed them from the exhibit. He also returned an item known as the “Gilgamesh’s Dream Tablet,” containing part of the Gilgamesh epic. It was found in Iraq in 1853 and Hobby Lobby bought it at auction in 2014 for $ 1.6 million.

The museum, a 430,000 square foot structure located three blocks from the U.S. Capitol, says its mission is to keep the Bible relevant in the modern age. Its collection of bibles dating from the 10th century has been applauded by scholars.

“We first offered to return these items in March 2018 and are pleased that they are now in the custody of their rightful owners, the Egyptian government,” said Jeffrey Kloha, chief curator of the museum.

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Eric Swalwell: impeachment veteran returns for another pass

WASHINGTON – Representative Eric Swalwell approaches his duties as impeachment official both as a seasoned prosecutor and a vocal critic of President Trump in recent years.

After graduating from law school, Mr. Swalwell spent seven years in the Alameda, California district attorney’s office, and was the office’s senior prosecutor for hate crimes.

Since his election to Congress in 2012, he has risen to prominence through positions on the House Intelligence and Justice Committees, roles in which he helped investigate evidence against the President during his time in office. first dismissal in 2019.

Mr. Swalwell has often come into public conflict with Mr. Trump over what he has described as the president’s lack of leadership during times of crisis. In 2018, as the deadliest wildfires in California history blanketed his neighborhood in smoke and ash, Mr. Swalwell was among the loudest voices demanding action from Mr. Trump on climate change and regularly made television appearances berating the president for not doing more to support the state.

Even before the first impeachment campaign, Mr Swalwell had aggressively lobbied to investigate the president’s conduct and uncover details of his relationship with Russia. Along with Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, he pursued action within the Intelligence Committee to subpoena Marina Gross, the interpreter who was the only other American in the room at a meeting between Mr. Trump. and Russian President Vladimir V. Putin who raised questions about the nature of the president’s relationship with an adversary. He also helped draft a subpoena requiring former special advocate Robert S. Mueller III to testify before Congress, helping to set the stage for the president’s first impeachment.

Mr Swalwell took his criticism of the president to a broader stage during a brief run for the Democratic presidential nomination, frequently clashing with Mr Trump publicly as the impeachment process simmers backwards – plan.

“What we need to do now in Congress is determine how we hold it to account,” Mr. Swalwell said in an interview with the New York Times Editorial Board in June 2019. “What we do next is not will not only assure us that it checks out an uncontrollable and abusive executive, but it also sets the standard for future presidents.

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Even when the music returns, pay cuts due to pandemic will continue

When the coronavirus epidemic brought performances to a screeching halt across the United States, many of the country’s leading orchestras, dance companies and opera houses temporarily cut their workers’ wages and some stopped paying them.

Now, hopes that vaccines will restore performance next fall are tempered by fears that hibernating box offices will take years to rebound, and many battered institutions are looking to their unions to negotiate cuts. longer term than they deem necessary to survive.

The crisis poses a major challenge to performing arts unions, which over the past decades have been among the most powerful in the country. While musicians from some major ensembles, including the New York Philharmonic and the Boston Symphony Orchestra, have accepted steep cuts that would have been unthinkable under normal circumstances, others are resisting. Some unions fear that the concessions sought will last longer than the pandemic and restore the balance of power between management and workers.

“Historically, collective agreements in the performing arts have evolved into more money and better terms,” said Thomas W. Morris, who has conducted major orchestras in the United States for more than three decades. “And all of a sudden, that’s not an option. It’s a fundamental change in the model. “

Nowhere is the tension between unions and management more intense than at the Metropolitan Opera, the largest performing arts organization in the country. Its artists and other workers, many of whom have been on unpaid leave since April, are resisting management’s offer to resume receiving reduced wages of up to $ 1,500 per week in exchange for long-term pay cuts and rule changes. of work. After failing to come to an agreement with its technicians, the company locked them out last week, shortly before others returned to work to start building sets for next season.

But musicians in a growing number of orchestras are accepting long-term cuts, recognizing that it would take years for audiences and philanthropy to bounce back from this long period of dark concert halls and theaters.

The New York Philharmonic last week announced a new contract that will cut musicians’ base salaries by 25% through mid-2023, and let players earn less than before the pandemic when it expires in 2024. The Boston Symphony Orchestra, one of the richest ensembles in the country, accepted a new three-year contract slashing wages by 37% on average in the first year, gradually increasing in subsequent years, but only fully recovering if the orchestra meets at least one of the three financial benchmarks. The San Francisco Opera has agreed to a new deal that cuts the orchestra’s salary in half this season, but later catches up.

Unions play a major role behind the scenes of many arts organizations. The contracts they negotiate not only fix compensation, but also help establish a wide range of working conditions, from the number of permanent members an orchestra should have to the number of stagehands needed behind the scenes for each performance, and so on. by the fact that Sunday performances require additional remuneration. It is not uncommon to see large orchestras abruptly ending rehearsals in the middle of a sentence – even when a famous maestro is conducting – when the digital rehearsal clock indicates they are about to work overtime. .

Workers and performers say many of these rules have improved health and safety and increased the quality of performances; management often got angry at the expense.

Many nonprofit arts organizations, including the Met, faced real financial challenges even before the pandemic hit. Now, they say, they are fighting for their survival, firing or firing administrative staff and seeking relief from unions.

“The unions are very reluctant to make concessions; it goes against everything union strategy has been telling them for over 100 years, ”said Susan J. Schurman, professor of labor and labor relations studies at Rutgers University. “But they clearly understand that this is an unprecedented situation.”

But in some institutions, notably the Met and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, workers accuse management of trying to take advantage of the crisis to push for their long-standing union contracts to be changed.

Peter Gelb, the chief executive of the Met, wants to cut workers’ wages by 30% and only restore half of those cuts when box office revenues recover. He hopes to achieve most of the cuts by changing the work rules. In a letter last month to the union representing the 300 or so technicians at the Met, Local 1 of the International Alliance of Theatrical Employees, he wrote that “the health crisis has exacerbated the Met’s previous financial fragility, threatening our very existence. He also wrote that the average full-time machinist cost the Met $ 260,000 last year, including perks.

“For the Met to get back on its feet, we’re all going to have to make financial concessions and sacrifices,” Gelb told employees during a video call last month.

There are 15 unions at the Met, and while executives from several of the biggest have said they are ready to agree to some cuts, they are pushing back changes that would survive the pandemic and redefining the working rules they’ve signed up for. long beaten. – especially after so many workers, including the orchestra, choir and legions of backstage workers, endured many months without pay. The Met Orchestra, which is represented by Local 802 of the American Federation of Musicians, said in a statement that management “was exploiting this temporary situation to permanently empty the contracts of the same workers who create the shows on their world stage. “.

Leonard Egert, national executive director of the American Guild of Musical Artists, which represents choir members, soloists, dancers, stage managers and others at the Met, said the unions recognize the harsh reality and are ready to make changes. compromise. “It’s just that no one wants to sell the future,” he says.

In Washington, the Kennedy Center machinists are waging a similar battle. David McIntyre, president of the alliance’s Local 22, said he had been in controversial negotiations with the Kennedy Center for months over their demand for a 25% pay cut, which members of the union find it hard to bear after many of them have left. without pay since March.

Management is also asking for concessions such as the elimination of time-and-a-half pay on Sundays, he said, a change that would be permanent rather than limited to the pandemic. Labor workers are particularly outraged because the Kennedy Center received $ 25 million from the federal stimulus bill passed in March.

“They’re just trying to get us concessions by taking advantage of a pandemic when neither of us are working,” McIntyre said.

Kennedy Center spokeswoman Eileen Andrews said several of the unions he works with with already agreed pay cuts, including musicians from the National Symphony Orchestra, and the resumption of the pandemic must be accomplished thanks to “shared sacrifices. “

Organizations have lost tens of millions of dollars in ticket revenue, and the prospects for the philanthropy they rely on for their survival remain uncertain. As union negotiations unfold in video call grids rather than the typical stifling board tables, both sides are acknowledging financial fragility.

In some ways, the pandemic has changed the negotiating landscape. Unions, which normally carry enormous weight because strikes stop performance, have less at the moment, when there is no performance to stop. The leverage of management has also changed. While the Met’s threat to lock out its machinists unless they take cuts was less threatening at a time when most employees were not working anyway, its offer to start paying workers who went without. paycheck since April in exchange for long-term agreements. can be hard to resist.

In some institutions, memories of the destructiveness of recent labor disputes have helped foster cooperation during this crisis. At the Minnesota Orchestra, where a bitter lockout kept the concert hall dark for 16 months from 2012, the management and musicians agreed to a 25% pay cut until August.

And the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, which experienced its own hard-fought labor dispute last year, came to an agreement on a five-year contract this summer, drastically slashing players’ wages at the start before increasing it. gradually again.

The last time a national crisis of this magnitude hit every performing arts organization in the country was during the Great Recession, when organizations sought cuts to offset the decline in philanthropy and sales. of tickets, triggering strikes, lockouts and bitter conflicts.

Meredith Snow, president of the International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians, which represents the players, said the unions and management mostly seemed to be working together more amicably than they were then – at least for now. .

“There’s more recognition that we have to be a united face for the community,” said Ms. Snow, violist for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, “and that we can’t bicker or we’ll both go down. . “

“You meet,” she said, “or you sink.

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Where are your papers? New Yorker returns home to locked France

SACLAY, France – Where are my keys, wallet, face mask, backup face mask? Do I have my username? Have I filled in documents describing where I am going, when and why? Is my destination legal? Can I come back in three hours or less?

I spent most of the pandemic in New York City, but a trip to visit my family in Saclay, a small town outside of Paris, turned everything upside down. The French government has imposed many more restrictions to help reduce coronavirus infections, even regulating something as simple as getting outdoors.

The differences were obvious even before I landed in Paris, when I checked in for my Air France flight at JFK airport. Unsurprisingly, I needed a negative Covid-19 test and a statement swearing that I was not sick. But I also needed a form allowing me to travel from Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport to a hotel near my parents’ house to quarantine myself for a few days.

This paperwork is not only required for traveling from the airport. In fact, the form – a certificate, in French – is the new lifeline for venturing out of your home in France. You should fill it out on paper or on a mobile app and have it with you every time you leave the house. Forget that and you risk heavy penalties of up to six months in jail and a fine of 3,750 euros (approximately $ 4,500) for the third offense.

It’s radically different from the harshest foreclosure measures I experienced last spring in Brooklyn. Leaving my apartment in New York might have seemed risky during the worst of the pandemic, but never illegal. I could walk or cycle the parks for hours at any time of the day, meet friends in the great outdoors, or shop across town.

Here in France, having a little fun takes a lot of effort.

Until November 28, I was not allowed to leave home for more than an hour a day and could not travel more than a kilometer (less than a mile) from home without facing a fine. I could only buy essential items. Stores that sold non-essential items have been closed. Those who normally sold a variety of products could only sell items deemed necessary by the government – other products were off limits to customers. For example, I could buy a newspaper, but not a book. Building materials, but no flowers.

Fortunately, those rules have loosened somewhat, along with the spread of the virus. I can now go outside for three hours and walk 20 kilometers (almost 13 miles) from home, which feels liberating to me. True, we are still not allowed to meet people from other households in public areas.

However, even conscientiously adhering to the rules does not mean that one will avoid a meeting with the police, as happened to me one recent evening.

All I wanted to do was take a walk. The government says this is one of the acceptable reasons for leaving home. Among other things: shopping for groceries, picking up a child from school, helping a family member in need.

And it is still possible to walk at night, although a new curfew may soon be imposed.

Before venturing out, I filled out the form with today’s date and the exact time I was leaving the house. My sister and her husband joined me for the walk, both completing their own certificates. We climbed a hill to the Saclay plateau to admire the beautiful view of the neighboring fields. This was before the recent easing of restrictions so we were only allowed one hour outside.

It was a place that I had visited several times before with friends, often by bicycle, although this kind of outing is still prohibited for the moment. Conflicting feelings of longing, sadness and calm swept over me as I observed my old hometown, now quieter than ever.

There were barriers and chalked instructions on the sidewalk outside a community center, reminding people of social distancing while lining up to take a Covid test, a constant reminder – even here in a semi-rural place – from the pandemic.

And to my surprise, a police car came out of the darkness. The cruiser approached slowly, its headlights a beacon in the dark, hazy night.

We knew straight away that the agents intended to do an identity check. They rolled down a window and called us.

We took out our identifications and certificates and handed them over. The officers looked at our certificates and questioned us.

What were we doing outside during the lockdown? Where were we going? Where did we live?

They were trying to see if we had not followed the very specific rules allowing us to leave our home. We weren’t doing anything wrong, but it was baffling nonetheless. And elsewhere in the country, police checks linked to a pandemic are not always as easy as ours.

As the officers left, their greeting echoed in my ear: “Your attestation, please” – a stark reminder that a person’s physical presence in the outside world is no longer normal or acceptable, but limited and codified by strict laws, even temporary.

When I initially planned my trip home – last January – I envisioned meeting friends at La Villette, a science museum, and eating in restaurants. I was looking forward to the delights of the Unexpected Bar in Paris and a show in the elegant MK2 cinema along the Quai de Loire. I was hoping to visit cousins ​​in Lille, a town near the Belgian border.

Maybe next year?

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Trans woman returns to prison says rape and abuse continues

Trans woman, back in prison, says rape and abuse continues Ashley Diamond became a voice for transgender people in prison when her trial forced changes in Georgia politics. She says the state is failing to protect her once again.By Shaila Dewan

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Biden returns Arizona, further cementing his presidential victory.

President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. narrowly won Arizona, capturing the state’s 11 electoral votes and strengthening his electoral college margin as President Trump continues to make baseless attacks on the vote count in favor of Mr. Biden.

Mr. Biden, whose margin in Arizona is currently around 11,000 votes, or 0.3 percentage point, is the first Democratic presidential candidate since President Bill Clinton in 1996. Four years ago, Mr. Trump won by 3.5 percentage points. .

It is remarkable that Arizona – the home of the late Senator John McCain and Senator Barry Goldwater, founder of the 20th century Conservative political movement and 1964 Republican presidential candidate – played for Democrats. Before the state voted for Mr. Clinton, the last Democrat he supported as president was Harry S. Truman in 1948.

Mr. Biden’s victory underlined a profound political change in Arizona, a longtime Republican stronghold that has shifted to the left in recent years, fueled by rapidly changing demographics and a growing contingent of young Hispanic voters defending liberal policies.

Last week, Democratic challenger Mark Kelly defeated Republican State Senator Martha McSally in a special election, making Mr Kelly and Senator Kyrsten Sinema the first Democratic couple to represent Arizona in the Senate since the 1950s.

Arizona’s victory brings Mr. Biden to 290 electoral votes, 20 more than the 270 needed to take the White House.

Republicans have launched long-term legal attempts to try to overturn the results in major battlefield states, but mostly they have suffered setbacks – and some of their cases involve a small number of ballots.

For example, Mr. Trump would have to invalidate about 55,000 Pennsylvania votes to undo Mr. Biden’s victory there. Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s office said there was no evidence to support claims by Mr. Trump’s lawyers that the election in Philadelphia or elsewhere in Pennsylvania was fraudulent.

The Trump campaign has filed a lawsuit in Arizona, alleging that election officials in the state’s largest county, Maricopa, pressured voters to enter their votes in a way that would wrongly reject them. votes.

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, a Republican, told Fox News on Wednesday that state officials received around 1,000 complaints about the election but found “no evidence” of voter fraud generalized.

“If there was indeed a grand conspiracy, it apparently didn’t work,” he said.

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Dispute over Nazi-looted Pissarro painting returns to court

When Léone Meyer discovered in 2012 that a painting that Nazi looters had stolen from her father was in the collection of an American museum, her first instinct was to demand that it be returned.

But Ms. Meyer, who lives in Paris, and the University of Oklahoma’s Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, struck a deal in 2016: the 1886 painting, “La Bergère Rentrant des Moutons” or “Shepherdess Bringing in Sheep, ”By Camille Pissarro, would be exhibited in a museum in France for five years, then rotate every three years between the university and one or more French institutions chosen by Ms. Meyer. Ms. Meyer, who is 80, also agreed that, during her lifetime or by will, she would donate the painting to an artistic institution in France.

In 2018, Ms. Meyer, a Holocaust survivor who owned the painting, attempted to donate it to the Musée d’Orsay, where it has been on display since 2017, for its permanent collection.

But the museum refused, telling Ms Meyer that it did not want to bear the cost and risk of transporting the painting to America every three years, which would have been required under the terms of the settlement (Ms Meyer had insured the painting while it was on a temporary display). Ron Soffer, an attorney for Ms Meyer, said any other French institution she proposed him to would likely do the same.

Ms. Meyer, who owns the painting, is now seeking to prevent it from being on display at the University of Oklahoma, where it is expected to return in July. She also took legal action in France to obtain permanent ownership without rotation.

But the university does not agree that the refusal of the French museum to accept the work – and the possibility that the painting could remain indefinitely in America – is a reason for canceling the original agreement.

Ms. Meyer now “inexplicably seeks to break” a settlement that “was heralded as the first international art-sharing agreement between the United States and France,” said university president Joseph Harroz, Jr. , and the University of Oklahoma Foundation Chairman and CEO Guy Patton said in a statement Thursday.

The university admitted that the painting was stolen by the Nazis from Ms Meyer’s father, but said in previous legal proceedings that it was unwilling to return the work due to procedural rules and the limitation period. . She also provided evidence that the former owners, the Weitzenhoffer family, who bequeathed her to the university in 2000 after buying her from a New York gallery, had acted in good faith.

But Ms Meyer’s lawyer said a ruling from France’s highest court in July determined that possessors of the stolen art must return the work to the rightful owner free of charge, regardless of how they took it. came to own it.

Mr Soffer said Ms Meyer had proposed a compromise of a partner exhibition between the university and the Musée d’Orsay, in which the French museum would loan other works to the university, such as a painting by Renoir. But the university’s position is that the deal is done.

“Despite all the good faith that the OU Foundation and the University of Oklahoma have shown Ms. Meyer, it is disappointing that she is actively working to reverse the deal,” the statement said. “We are ready to challenge this unjustified threat in American and French courts.”

The case is expected to be heard by a French court in January.