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Sunday, May 26th

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Trump lawyers seek to block US release of biopic The Apprentice

Biopic of The Apprentice shown at Cannes

Lawyers for Donald Trump have sent a cease-and-desist letter to the producers of The Apprentice in an attempt to block its US sale and release after the film – which depicts the former US president raping his first wife – shocked audiences at its world premiere at the Cannes film festival.

The Trump campaign said earlier this week they would take legal action against Ali Abbasi’s film, with spokesperson Stephen Cheung vowing “to address the blatantly false assertions from these pretend film-makers”.

“This garbage is pure fiction which sensationalises lies that have been long debunked,” Cheung told Variety on Monday. “This ‘film’ is pure malicious defamation, should not see the light of day, and doesn’t even deserve a place in the straight-to-DVD section of a bargain bin at a soon-to-be-closed discount movie store. It belongs in a dumpster fire.”

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Police arrest man suspected of assaulting pro-Palestinian demonstrators at UCLA

Edan OmPolice have arrested a man suspected of assaulting pro-Palestinian demonstrators in a violent attack at the University of California, Los Angeles, last month.

In late April, a group of masked people marched on to the campus at night and attacked a Gaza solidarity encampment. They threw fireworks, beat students, and attacked staff and student journalists while law enforcement and campus-hired security guards failed to intervene for hours.

The attack caused outrage and sparked fierce criticism of the university, its leader and the campus police department.

Edan On was taken into custody by UCLA police on Thursday on a felony charge – what appears to be the first arrest of a member of the group involved in the attack. The 18-year-old is currently being held in a Los Angeles jail on $30,000 bail, according to jail records.

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Harvard student speaker denounces university over Gaza protest response

Shruthi Kumar

A graduating Harvard University student went off script and upbraided Harvard over the university’s treatment of students protesting against what they say is a genocide being carried out by Israel in Gaza.

“As I stand here today, I must take a moment to recognize my peers – the 13 undergraduates in the class of 2024 that will not graduate today,” said student Shruthi Kumar, who was chosen to deliver the English commencement remarks for the undergraduate class.

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Trump trial updates: Appeals court denies defense's bid for judge's recusal

Juan MerchanNew York's Appellate Division has upheld Judge Juan Merchan's decision not to recuse himself from former President Trump's hush money case.

Trump's defense team had sought Merchan's recusal based on his daughter's work for a consulting firm with Democratic clients.

A panel of appellate judges ruled that Trump failed to prove the judge overstepped his authority by denying a defense motion for recusal.

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Senate Democrats to investigate Trump’s reported big oil ‘deal’

Senate Dems to investigate Trump big oil deal

Powerful Senate Democrats have launched an investigation into an alleged quid pro quo offer from Donald Trump to fossil fuel executives.

At a meeting at his Mar-a-Lago home and club last month, the former president reportedly told oil bosses he would immediately roll back dozens of environmental regulations if elected, and requested $1bn in contributions to his presidential campaign. It would be a “deal” for the executives because of the costs they would avoid under him, he reportedly said.

On Thursday morning, the chairmen of two Senate committees each sent letters to eight oil companies and top fossil fuel trade group the American Petroleum Institute.

The letters from Sheldon Whitehouse, the Senate budget committee chairman, and Ron Wyden, the Senate finance committee chair, accused the companies of engaging in a quid pro quo with Trump and requested additional details about the meeting.

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Mike Johnson’s woes continue after exodus of staff in run-up to elections

Mike Johnson

The Republican speaker of the House of Representatives, Mike Johnson, is reeling from a sudden staff exodus as he struggles to keep his position and the GOP’s tiny majority in the run-up to November’s elections.

In the latest in a spate of resignations, Johnson’s well-connected communications director, Raj Shah, a former White House deputy press secretary under Donald Trump, has confirmed he is leaving, Axios reported. He is expected to depart by the end of the summer.

News of his impending departure comes a day after it was announced that three top policy staff members, Brittan Specht, Jason Yaworske and Preston Hill, had quit and would leave by the end of May.

All three worked for the previous speaker, Kevin McCarthy, who was ousted in an internal party coup last October, but were retained by Johnson when he ascended to the speaker’s chair.

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'A Major Milestone': Senate Confirms Joe Biden’s 200th Lifetime Federal Judge

Angela Martinez The Senate confirmed President Joe Biden’s 200th judicial nominee on Wednesday, a significant milestone both in terms of the number of lifetime federal judges he has confirmed and the unprecedented diversity he’s infused into the nation’s courts.

With the Senate’s confirmation of Angela Martinez to a U.S. district court in Arizona, Biden surpassed the number of lifetime federal judges that Donald Trump had confirmed by the same point in his presidency. Trump, who made judicial confirmations a major focus of his presidency, was at 196 at this point in his presidency.

It is the diversity of Biden’s judges, though, that really jumps out. He has put more women, people of color, LGBTQ+ people and professionally diverse people into lifetime federal judgeships than any of his predecessors, and in some cases, more than any of them combined.

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