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Political notebook

Trump pays fines in NY contempt of court case

Former president Donald Trump.Joe Maiorana/Associated Press

NEW YORK — Former president Donald Trump has paid the $110,000 in fines he racked up after being held in contempt of court for being slow to respond to a civil subpoena issued by New York’s attorney general.

Trump paid the fine Thursday but must still submit additional paperwork to have the contempt order lifted, the office of Attorney General Letitia James said Friday.

A message seeking comment was left Friday with Trump’s lawyer.

A Manhattan judge declared Trump in contempt of court on April 25 and fined him $10,000 per day for not complying with a subpoena in James’ long-running investigation into his business practices.


Judge Arthur Engoron agreed May 11 to lift the contempt order if, by Friday, Trump paid the fines and submitted affidavits detailing efforts to search for the subpoenaed records and explaining his and his company’s document retention policies.

Engoron also required a company hired by Trump to aid in the search, HaystackID, finish going through 17 boxes kept in off-site storage, and for that company to report its findings and turn over any relevant documents. That process was completed Thursday, James’ office said.

Engoron told Trump to pay the money directly to James’ office and for the attorney general to hold the money in an escrow account while Trump’s legal team appeals the judge’s original contempt finding.

Engoron stopped the fine from accruing May 6, when Trump’s lawyers submitted 66 pages of court documents detailing the efforts by him and his lawyers to locate the subpoenaed records. He warned that he could reinstate it, retroactive to May 7, if his conditions weren’t met.


Secret Service employees sent back to US after incident

SEOUL — Two US Secret Service employees, in South Korea for President Biden’s trip to Asia this week, were involved in conduct that ended in a confrontation with South Korean citizens and have returned to the United Staters, according to a Secret Service official familiar with the incident, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation.


In a statement, the Secret Service said an incident occurred while employees were not on duty that ‘’may constitute potential policy violation.’’ The employees have been put on administrative leave, according to the statement from the agency’s chief spokesman, Anthony Guglielmi.

Biden’s five-day trip this week involves a visit to South Korea, where he landed late Thursday, followed by a stay in Japan.

The incident with the Secret Service in Seoul comes roughly 10 years after the agency suffered what was considered by many its most humiliating episode and ethical lapse, when more than a dozen Secret Service agents were shipped home from a trip to Colombia by President Obama because they had been caught drinking and consorting with prostitutes in advance of the president’s arrival.

Several agents were pressured to resign following the incident, and the Service instituted stricter regulations for drinking while on presidential and other trips, for example prohibiting any drinking of alcohol 10 hours or less before a work assignment.

The two Secret Service employees had gone out to a dinner with a larger group and then went barhopping afterward before returning to their hotel in a taxi, the official said. One of the employees went to his room; the other, the official said, got into an argument with the taxi driver and two Korean citizens who apparently were trying to enter the vehicle. The precise nature of the dispute could not be learned.


Hotel security officers then got involved, and police were summoned to investigate a possible assault, the official said. The Secret Service officer was allowed to return to his room, the official said, and was questioned by local police later that morning.

The official said no one involved in the incident was detained, arrested, or criminally charged, despite earlier reports to the contrary in the South Korean military. The officers were sent back to the United States, departing South Korea two hours before Biden arrived.


Former NYC mayor de Blasio says he’s running for Congress

Former New York mayor Bill de Blasio said Friday he is running for Congress in the state’s newly redrawn 10th District, casting himself as a leader who can quickly get results for New Yorkers still reeling from the coronavirus pandemic, inflation, and other challenges.

‘’Polls show people are hurting,’’ de Blasio said in an appearance on MSNBC’s ‘’Morning Joe.’’ ‘’They need help, they need help fast and they need leaders who can actually get them help now and know how to do it. I do know how to do it from years of serving the people of this city, and so today I’m declaring my candidacy for Congress in the 10th Congressional District of New York.’’

De Blasio served two terms as mayor of New York City from 2014 to 2021. He pursued an unsuccessful bid for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020 and had mulled running for governor before announcing in January that he would not pursue a bid against Governor Kathy Hochul.


The opening for de Blasio to run in the 10th District is a result of a new congressional map drawn by a court-appointed special master earlier this week. The new lines pushed Representative Jerrold Nadler into a neighboring district, and have forced him into a primary with fellow Democratic Representative Carolyn Maloney.

The courts took over redistricting after striking down the congressional map drawn by state Democratic lawmakers as an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander. The Democrats in the state legislature had drawn a map that could have yielded them an additional three seats in Congress.

New York’s primaries were originally scheduled for June, but have been pushed back to August as a result of legal wrangling over the congressional map.


Bush trails in Texas AG primary race

The Bush name helped his uncle get elected governor in Texas twice, but for George P. Bush what once was a storied legacy has become a handicap — a sign of how much the Republican Party has changed in the Lone Star State.

Polls show Bush trailing incumbent Ken Paxton as they vie for the GOP attorney general nomination in a May 24 primary runoff. Among the biggest issues driving support for Paxton is that he’s “not a Bush,” according to a survey released this week by the Dallas Morning News and University of Texas at Tyler.


Paxton has questioned whether his opponent is a true Texas conservative, especially given his ties to a political family that won Republican votes for decades but is now seen by some as too moderate for today’s GOP. The family baggage has undercut Bush’s attempt to paint Paxton as ethically challenged amid an indictment on securities fraud, accusations from aides that he intervened to help wealthy donors, and plans by the state bar to sue him over his attempt to overturn the 2020 presidential election. Paxton denies any wrongdoing.

Bush, who is serving his second term as Texas land commissioner, has worked to highlight his conservative bona fides, embracing harsh crackdowns on immigration, severe limits on abortion, and restrictions on medical care for transgender children. It’s a departure from the “compassionate conservatism” his family is known for.

“I’m a man with my own ideas, wear my own boots and bring my own experience,” Bush, the son of former Florida governor Jeb Bush, nephew of George W. Bush and grandson of George H.W. Bush, said in an interview. “My family is known for following the law, for respecting the Constitution, for putting our country first. And regretfully our current attorney general is anything but.”