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Trump ‘false denials’ in fraud suit merit sanctions, NY says

New York Attorney General Letitia James.Brittainy Newman/Associated Press

New York’s attorney general said she will seek sanctions against former president Donald Trump, his three oldest children, and their lawyers for making “demonstrably false” denials in response to the state’s $250 million fraud suit.

Attorney General Letitia James said Tuesday in a letter to the court the Trumps’ formal answer to the state’s suit was peppered with denials of basic facts, including some the Trumps had previously stated themselves under oath.

“Defendants falsely deny facts they have admitted in other proceedings, they deny knowledge sufficient to respond to factual allegations that are plainly within their knowledge, and they propound affirmative defenses that have been repeatedly rejected by this Court as frivolous and without merit,” James wrote to Justice Arthur Engoron.


As an example, she noted Trump denied he was an “inactive president” of the Trump Organization while he was in the White House, even though he described himself that way in an October 2021 deposition in a separate case.

James said she intended to file a motion to have improper denials deemed admissions and to have the Trumps and their lawyers sanctioned. She asked Engoron to schedule a hearing on the matter.

The potential fight over sanctions in the case comes less than two weeks after a federal judge who dismissed an unrelated suit Trump filed against Hillary Clinton and dozens of other people ordered the former president and his lawyer, Alina Habba, to pay nearly $1 million in legal fees and costs for filing a “frivolous” and politically motivated complaint.

Habba, who is also representing Trump in the New York case, declined to comment on James’s letter to the judge.

The New York lawsuit against Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump, Ivanka Trump, and the Trump Organization alleges they manipulated the value of key assets for years to deceive banks and insurers. They have all denied wrongdoing.


Though not a criminal case, it is one of the biggest legal threats facing the former president. In addition to seeking a $250 million penalty, James also aims to bar Trump and his three oldest children from ever operating a business in New York again.

The case is set to go to trial in October after their motion to dismiss the case was rejected by Engoron.


US says Russia not complying with nuclear arms treaty

WASHINGTON — The State Department told Congress on Tuesday that Russia was not complying with the only nuclear arms control treaty remaining between the two nations, jeopardizing a source of stability in their relationship.

The agency said Russia had refused to allow American inspectors into nuclear weapons facilities, an obligation under the treaty known as New START, which was renewed for five years in February 2021.

“Russia’s refusal to facilitate inspection activities prevents the United States from exercising important rights under the treaty and threatens the viability of U.S.-Russian nuclear arms control,” the State Department said in a statement on Tuesday.

It added that “Russia has also failed to comply with the New START treaty obligation to convene a session of the bilateral consultative commission in accordance with the treaty-mandated timeline.”

The State Department called on Russia to return to compliance by allowing inspectors onto its territory, as it had done for more than a decade, and by agreeing to hold a session of the commission, in which officials could discuss issues related to the treaty and nuclear arms control.


Russia said in August it was suspending the access of American inspectors to its nuclear arsenal. And in November, it canceled a diplomatic meeting of the bilateral commission in Cairo during which officials had planned to review compliance with the treaty. The commission last met in October 2021.

The treaty was signed in 2010, and it has ensured since 2011 that the two nations limit their strategic nuclear arsenals to 1,500 warheads each. The main verification mechanism of the treaty centers on reciprocal inspections in which each country can examine data and evidence around the nuclear arsenal.

When Russia suspended inspections, it said sanctions imposed on Russia after it invaded Ukraine made it too difficult for its inspectors to get access to the United States. The State Department said that was false.


Harris expected to attend Memphis funeral

MEMPHIS — Vice President Kamala Harris plans to attend the funeral of Tyre Nichols, who died three days after he was beaten by Memphis police officers just minutes from his home, the White House said Tuesday.

Harris was invited to attend the funeral services Wednesday by Nichols’ mother and stepfather, RowVaughn Wells and Rodney Wells, according to Harris’s press secretary, Kirsten Allen. Harris spoke by phone with the Wells family on Tuesday, expressing her condolences and offering her support. President Biden spoke by phone to Nichols’ family last week.

Harris will be joined by former Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, a senior adviser to the president for public engagement, and Mitch Landrieu, a White House senior adviser and infrastructure implementation coordinator, who is a former mayor of New Orleans, Allen said.


Five Black officers have been fired and charged with second-degree murder and other offenses in Nichols’ Jan. 7 beating and subsequent death. Video of the beating, which was released publicly last week, shows that many more people failed to help Nichols, who was also Black, beyond the five officers charged in his death.

Two more Memphis police officers have been disciplined and three emergency responders fired in connection with Nichols’ death, officials said Monday. Officer Preston Hemphill, who is white, and another officer whose name wasn’t released, have been suspended, police said.


FBI searched Biden’s office weeks after documents were found

WASHINGTON — The FBI searched President Biden’s former office at the Penn Biden Center in Washington in November, according to a person familiar with the matter, weeks after his personal lawyers first found classified records there from his time as vice president.

The discovery of the documents at the office blocks away from the US Capitol led to a search of Biden’s homes, including his residence in Wilmington, Del., where lawyers and federal agents found additional classified documents in December and January. It was not immediately clear whether the FBI search of Biden’s office uncovered additional classified documents beyond those found on Nov. 2 by Biden’s attorneys. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a law enforcement action.


News of the FBI search is the latest uncomfortable development for Biden. Attorney General Merrick Garland has appointed a special counsel to lead an investigation into how the documents ended up at Biden’s home and former office and whether any laws were broken.


President touts large grants for East Coast rail projects

NEW YORK — New day, new tunnel.

President Biden is ready to showcase a $292 million mega grant that will be used to help build a new rail tunnel beneath the Hudson River between New York and New Jersey, part of a broader effort to draw a contrast between his economic vision and that of Republicans.

The money is part of $1.2 billion in mega grants being awarded under the 2021 infrastructure law. The Democratic president’s trip to New York City on Tuesday comes on the heels of his stop Monday in Baltimore to highlight the replacement of an aging rail tunnel there, where he pledged that government spending on infrastructure will boost economic growth and create blue-collar jobs.

“When America sees these projects popping up across the country, it sends a really important message: When we work together, there’s not a damn thing we can’t do,” Biden said Monday. “There’s nothing beyond our capacity.”

The two trips amount to a form of counterprogramming to the new House Republican majority. GOP lawmakers are seeking deep spending cuts in exchange for lifting the government’s legal borrowing limit, saying that federal expenditures are hurting growth and that the budget should be balanced.