Trump’s criminal investigation continues, Manhattan DA says

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“They go through documents, interview witnesses and explore evidence that hasn’t been explored before,” Bragg said. “In the long and proud tradition of white-collar prosecutions at the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, we investigate thoroughly and follow the facts without fear or favor. ”

Bragg, in a phone interview, declined to elaborate on the nature of the evidence that had not been inspected or whether it appeared likely to lead to an indictment against Trump, who has repeatedly said that he and his company had not broken any laws by valuing their properties or taking tax deductions.

Mark Pomerantz and Carey Dunne, who resigned from their positions on February 23, sought to indict Trump for what they said were illegal asset valuation practices at the former president’s family real estate company. They resigned after concluding that Bragg, who took office on January 1, was unwilling to pursue a case they believed was viable and necessary.

“My determination was that the investigation had to be ongoing, and that continues to be my determination,” Bragg said during the interview.

Bragg’s predecessor Cyrus Vance concluded there was enough evidence against Trump to secure an indictment and conviction, people familiar with the situation said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive discussions. But Vance did not seek a grand jury vote before his term expired, leaving Bragg the final say. Bragg and his office have repeatedly pushed back against the idea that the departure of the two veteran litigants marked the end of the investigation.

Bragg’s statement also suggests that the expiration of the term of the six-month grand jury convened in the fall by Vance to hear evidence does not mean the case is over. The grand jury had been inactive for at least a month when Pomerantz and Dunne left, and the panelists were ordered to stay home, a person with knowledge of the events previously told The Washington Post.

The statement acknowledged recent “questions about the grand jury’s timeline” and suggested that Bragg’s team is in no way constrained by when the current grand jury term is expected to end.

Meanwhile, the New York attorney general on Thursday asked a court to hold the former president in contempt and fine him $10,000 a day for failing to comply with a subpoena for documents in his ongoing civil investigation into his business practices.

Attorney General Letitia James has argued in court papers that Trump should be fined “an amount sufficient to compel him to comply” after he missed a court-mandated March 31 deadline to hand over the documents. .

Trump is appealing a February court ruling requiring him to answer questions under oath in the civil investigation, but has not appealed a ruling setting a deadline for him to provide documents, James said.

A message seeking comment was left for Trump’s attorney.

James, a Democrat, said her investigation into the former Republican president’s business practices uncovered evidence he may have misjudged the value of assets such as golf courses and skyscrapers in its financial statements for more than a decade.

His office said it was seeking Trump’s testimony and documents as it worked to determine whether the misrepresented values ​​presented to lenders, tax authorities and other business interests constituted fraud and, in the affirmative, who committed this fraud.

Last week, in a related case, a judge ordered weekly progress reports from a digital forensics firm that Trump’s company, the Trump Organization, had hired to provide evidence to James’ office, which had done worry that the process will go slower than expected. The company must hand over all requested evidence by April 22, the judge said.

NEW YORK TIMES AND ASSOCIATED PRESS

Pelosi tests positive, is asymptomatic

WASHINGTON — Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat from California, has tested positive for the coronavirus and is currently asymptomatic, her office announced Thursday. Pelosi, 82, is the first congressional executive to test positive and the latest in a string of Washington officials who have contracted the virus in recent days.

“The speaker is fully vaccinated and strengthened and is grateful for the robust protection the vaccine has provided,” Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill said. ”The speaker will quarantine in accordance with CDC guidelines and encourages everyone to get vaccinated, boosted and tested regularly. ”

People who have tested positive for the coronavirus should self-isolate for five days, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, which would mean Pelosi would have to quarantine until at least next Monday.

Pelosi did not attend the Gridiron Club dinner on Saturday, after which more than a dozen guests – including two Cabinet members, two members of Congress and a senior Vice President Kamala Harris – tested positive for the coronavirus. These included Representatives Adam Schiff, a Democrat from California, and Joaquin Castro, a Democrat from Texas; Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo; and Attorney General Merrick Garland.

However, Pelosi was at the White House on Tuesday for the health care event with President Biden and former President Barack Obama, and she attended the signing of the postal reform bill with Biden on Wednesday. . Footage from both events shows her close to the president.

Pelosi had also planned to lead a congressional delegation to Taiwan and Japan this weekend, according to officials familiar with the speaker’s plans who spoke on condition of anonymity to confirm them. Hammill said Thursday that Pelosi’s planned trip “to Asia … will be rescheduled for a later date.” Pelosi would have become the first Speaker of the House to visit Taiwan since Newt Gingrich, a Republican, did so in 1997.

WASHINGTON POST

Biden signs Postal Service overhaul into law

WASHINGTON — A sweeping overhaul of the U.S. Postal Service intended to shore up the popular but embattled agency’s financial future and cement six-day-a-week mail delivery was signed into law by President Biden on Wednesday.

The legislation was approved by Congress last month after a dozen years of discussions that have taken on a new sense of urgency amid widespread complaints about postal service delays. Officials had repeatedly warned that without congressional action, the Postal Service would run out of money by 2024.

“The Postal Service is central to our economy and essential to rural America,” Biden said. He added that letter carriers and women deliver 4 million prescriptions a day, along with letters, consumer goods and even live animals, “often to parts of the country that private carriers cannot, won’t. not or are not required to achieve. ”

The final legislation won rare, bipartisan support by scrapping some of the more controversial proposals and settling on key ways to save the service. Mail delivery is one of the most popular things about government, with 91% of Americans having a favorable opinion of the postal service, according to a Pew Research Center poll released in 2020.

The signing of the bill came the same day the Postal Service announced plans to raise rates beginning July 10. According to the proposal submitted to the Postal Regulatory Commission, the cost of a first-class Forever stamp would increase from 2 cents to 60 cents.

The Postal Service said the increase, which is lower than the annual inflation rate, will help the agency implement Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s 10-year plan to stabilize the agency’s finances.

Lawmakers from both parties attended the signing ceremony and the mood was jovial, a big improvement over Republican Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran, who previously said the service was in a “death spiral” that was especially difficult for rural Americans.

Postal Service Reform Act lifts budget requirements that have contributed to agency red ink and specifies that mail must be delivered six days a week, excluding federal holidays, natural disasters and certain other situations .

Postage sales and other services were supposed to sustain the Postal Service, but it suffered 14 consecutive years of losses. Rising workers’ compensation and benefits costs, along with steadily declining mail volumes, have exacerbated the losses, even as the service serves 1 million additional locations each year.

The new law ends the requirement for the Postal Service to fund workers’ health care benefits in advance for the next 75 years — an obligation that private companies and federal agencies do not face. Biden said that rule had “stretched the Postal Service’s finances almost to breaking point.”

Now, future retirees will enroll in Medicare, while other health plans and the Postal Service only cover actual health care costs for current retirees not covered by the federal health insurance program for seniors.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

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