I am logging off for the night, here are some of the top stories to make note of from today:
An appeals court ruled against Donald Trump on withholding documents related to 6 January – the former president is expected to file an appeal of that decision with the supreme court.
Jussie Smollett found guilty of faking hate crime – a jury convicted him on five charges of disorderly conduct but acquitted him on a sixth count of lying to a detective.
House votes to block products made by forced Uyghur labor – but corporations are expected to fight against its Senate passage
New York becomes largest US city to allow non-citizens to vote – Republicans are pushing back against the law, which could spark similar legislation elsewhere
Congress moves to avert federal default with debt ceiling vote – Nearly a dozen Republicans voted with Democrats to temporarily change the voting structure for raising the debt ceiling, which would avert a massive crisis in coming weeks
Congress moves to avert federal default with debt ceiling vote
The Senate has voted to pass a one-time measure allowing Congress to quickly raise the debt limit and avoid a first-ever federal default.
A number of Republicans broke with their party on Thursday to pass the measure in a 59-35 vote. Joe Biden is expected to sign the bill into law quickly, after which Senate Democrats will be allowed to raise the US debt ceiling in a simple-majority vote, bypassing the usual requirement of 60 votes to move legislation forward.
Congress has been battling over the measure for months, with Republicans refusing long-term debt ceiling increases and filibustering Democrat efforts to do so.
Without the legislation, the US would have defaulted on more than $29tn in loans as soon as next week. It has yet to be determined by how much the debt ceiling will be raised, but reports have indicated it could be increased by as $2.5tn.
Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer called the vote “a crucial” step in “avoiding the prospect of a catastrophic, calamitous default on our sovereign debt”.
“This is the responsible path forward,” he said. “We still have a few more steps to take before we completely resolve this matter, but I’m optimistic that after today’s vote, we’ll be on a glide path to avoid a catastrophic default.”
New York becomes largest US city to allow non-citizens to vote
The city council in New York City approved a measure on Thursday allowing non-citizens to vote in local elections, including in races for mayor and other municipal positions.
The historic move has sparked backlash from Republicans, who fear new immigrant voting blocks could sway elections in favor of Democrats.
Under the new law, non-citizens who have lived in the city for at least 30 days and have a work permit will be allowed to vote. Approximately 1m non-citizens live in New York City, the equivalent of approximately 20% of currently registered voters.
Other relatively small cities have passed measures allowing non-citizens to vote including towns in Maryland and Vermont. Meanwhile Los Angeles, Washington, and Portland, Maine have proposed the idea.
Republicans have vowed to fight the expansion of voting rights in “all 50 states”, Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in a recent statement. The committee filed a lawsuit to block a similar measure in Vermont and will likely do the same in New York.
House votes to block products made by forced Uyghur labor
On Wednesday the House voted overwhelmingly to pass a bill cracking down on companies that benefit from forced labor by persecuted Muslim minorities.
The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act would ban products made in China’s Xinjiang region unless they are proven to be produced ethically.
Under the legislation a company has to prove with “clear and convincing evidence” their supply chains are free of forced labour to sell products.
The massive popularity of the bill – which passed 428 to 1 – reflects increasing concern at alleged human rights abuses in China, where the Muslim ethnic minority group Uyghurs face persecution, including internment camps and prisons.
Businesses are lobbying heavily against such legislation, saying its requirements are too onerous and would disrupt global supply chains. It will now go for a vote in the Senate, where its fate is uncertain.
Jussie Smollett found guilty of faking hate crime
A jury has found actor Jussie Smollett guilty of faking his own hate crime in an effort at raising his own profile.
The Empire star, who is Black and gay, sparked new controversy at the intersection of culture, racism, politics and celebrity when he said he was attacked. From our full report:
Many fellow stars initially rushed to support Smollett when he first made the accusations in January 2019 that he had been attacked by people that had shouted “This is Maga country,” a reference to Donald Trump’s trademark political slogan “Make American Great Again”.
Smollett told police that he had been assaulted on a darkened street by two masked men. According to Smollett, his assailants put a noose around his neck and poured chemicals on him while yelling racist and homophobic slurs and expressing their support for Trump.
But a month later police arrested Smollett himself, accusing the actor of paying two brothers $3,500 to stage the assault in a ploy to get public sympathy and boost his show-business profile.
Hello, Kari Paul here in Oakland, California taking over the blog for the next few hours. Stand by for updates.
Today so far
That’s it from me! Here’s a summary of what’s happened today:
Just in – an appeals court ruled against Trump on withholding documents related to 6 January. Trump is expected to file an appeal of that decision with the supreme court.
Biden and Ukrainian president Zelenskiy talked today, with the White House saying that Biden conveyed to Ukraine that the US supports its sovereignty and “aspiration” to join NATO.
New York state attorney general Letitia James announced on Twitter that she will be dropping out of the Democratic gubernatorial race and will be running for reelection.
James is also seeking former Donald Trump’s deposition as part of the ongoing civil fraud investigation into his business, according to reports from Reuters and the Washington Post.
Appeals court ruled against Trump on withholding documents related to 6 January
An appeals court ruled against efforts by Donald Trump to withhold documents from 6 January investigating committee.
The DC circuit court of appeals did pause its ruling for two weeks so that Trump could file an appeal with the supreme court.
More details soon.
New York governor Kathy Hochul said that “this is a very bad day for Donald Trump and the NRA” when discussing New York AG Letitia James’ decision to run for reelection and drop out of the democratic gubernatorial race.
In a press conference on James’ decision to run for reelection and drop out of the democratic gubernatorial election, Hochul made the remark, seemingly confirming that James will be looking to hold the former president accountable.
New York governor Kathy Hochul also said that James called her this morning to let Hochul know that she would drop out.
“All I can say is I respect her tremendously… and I look forward to having her on the ticket as we head into the November election together,” said Hochul of the call between the two.
New York governor Kathy Hochul releases statement on AG Letitia James ending gubernatorial bid
In more news about New York attorney general Letitia James dropping out of the democratic gubernatorial race to run for reelection, current New York governor Kathy Hochul has released a statement on James’ decision.
Releasing her statement on Twitter, Hochul said the following:
I respect @TishJames tremendously and admire her commitment to continuing the critically important work she has undertaken in the Attorney General’s office.
I fully support her re-election and look forward to continuing our work together to deliver results for all New Yorkers.
Jamesannounced earlier that she will be ending her gubernatorial campaign and instead seek reelection.
“I have come to the conclusion that I must continue my work as attorney general,” James said on Twitter.
White House: Biden will convey US support for Ukraine sovereignty
During today’s White House press briefing, press secretary Jen Psaki said that Biden is planning on conveying to the president of Ukraine that the US supports Ukraine sovereignty.
Psaki also said that the president supports Ukraine’s “aspiration” to become a member of NATO, the intergovernmental military alliance. Psaki also cited different requirements that would face the country if they tried to join the alliance.
Psaki also said that aggression is on the side of Russia, referring to ongoing escalations between the two countries.
Today, the Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy is holding talks with Biden, according to an advisor from Zelenskiy’s office, Reuters reported earlier.
Biden and Ukrainian president Zelenskiy are currently in talks
Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy is holding talks with Joe Biden today, according to an advisor from Zelenskiy’s office, reported Reuters.
The two men spoke as Russia continued a barrage of hostile rhetoric towards Ukraine and compared the crisis there to the most dangerous moment of the Cold War.