It's been another day for the history books.
I heard, but go on.
Yesterday, former President Trump surrendered to authorities in Manhattan after a grand jury indicted him for his alleged role in a $130,000 hush money payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels. He arrived with his legal team and an 11-vehicle motorcade surrounded by Secret Service. Also on the scene: competing anti- and pro-Trump protesters and lawmakers like Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and George Santos (R-NY). Officials fingerprinted the former president, but didn't take a mugshot or handcuff him, reportedly citing security concerns.
What was he charged with?
34 felony counts of falsifying business records. Prosecutors allege Trump used a “catch and kill” scheme to bury any negative info that would have affected his 2016 presidential campaign. That includes stories of his alleged affairs with Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal, among others. Prosecutors say Trump “went to great lengths to hide this conduct, causing dozens of false entries in business records to conceal criminal activity.” He faces up to four years in prison per felony conviction, but experts reportedly say first-time offenders don’t typically see any jail time.
How are Americans feeling?
Divided. One poll found that nearly all Democrats approve of the indictment, whereas 79% of Republicans disapprove. But it also found that a majority of Americans believe the indictment was motivated by politics. Trump says Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg — who campaigned on indicting the former president — is using the lawsuit for name recognition. Falsifying business records is typically considered a misdemeanor in New York. But the charges can rise to a felony, if the misdemeanor was committed in order to cover up another crime. Some Democratic lawmakers say that no one is above the law and believe Trump will be given a fair trial.
Trump says the only crime he’s committed is “to fearlessly defend our nation from those who seek to destroy it.” He called his impeachments a “hoax” and told Americans that “our country is going to hell.” Bragg says, “everyone stands equal before the law” and that “no amount of money and no amount of power” changes that. The Biden admin says this case “is not something that is a focus” for the president. Meanwhile, Trump’s next hearing is scheduled for December 4, but prosecutors are asking for a trial date to be set in January 2024.
Trump’s arraignment is one for the history books. The arrest comes as 45 faces several other investigations, including for election interference and mishandling classified documents. What this means for his bid for the 2024 presidency is still unclear.
Where people are seeing change…
Wisconsin. Yesterday, voters elected liberal Judge Janet Protasiewicz to a 10-year term on the state’s Supreme Court. Her win over conservative former Justice Dan Kelly means Wisconsin's high court flips to a 4-3 liberal majority for the first time in 15 years. The race made history as the most expensive judicial election ever, with more than $40 million in spending. It all comes as the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s expected to weigh in on the state’s 1849 abortion ban soon. Protasiewicz, who's openly supported abortion access, is expected to help reverse the ban. The court could also decide on cases connected to voter ID laws and redistricting. But the liberal majority could be short-lived, with a justice’s term set to expire in 2025. In the meantime, Protasiewicz said the state's “taking a step forward to a better and brighter future.” Kelly acknowledged his loss and wished Wisconsin luck, saying the state's “going to need it.”
…Oh and speaking of elections in the Midwest, Chicagoans picked Brandon Johnson as the city's 57th mayor. Starting in May, he’ll take the top job and lead the country’s third-largest city.
What's trying to settle things…
Johnson & Johnson. Yesterday, the company said it’s ready to pay nearly $9 billion to settle allegations that its baby powder and other talc products cause cancer. More than 60,000 people have sued J&J, including many women who say they developed ovarian cancer or mesothelioma. For years, J&J has denied the allegations and maintained that its talc products are safe. But last year, the company said it would stop selling its talc-based baby powder globally after stopping sales in the US in 2020. Now, J&J says it has the support of the vast majority of claimants to pay the settlement over 25 years. If a bankruptcy court approves the plan, it would be one of the largest settlements of its kind in US history.
Who made it to the Finnish line...
Finland. Yesterday, it became the 31st member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). After Russia invaded Ukraine last year, Finland dropped its neutral position and applied to join NATO. Now, after initial holdouts from Turkey and Hungary, Finland's officially part of the squad. The new alliance is a blow to Russia, which has been against NATO's expansion east. Finnish President Sauli Niinistö said their NATO membership marked a “new era.”
Who’s saying 'let’s get together Aesop'…
While Doge might be top dog…
Elon Musk is not.
While the Kens are not OK...
Neither are we after hearing about “Shrek 5.”
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