Category: law

Questions raised about conflicts of interest around Biden son-in-law

Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenMcConnell challenger dodges court packing question ‘Hamilton’ cast to reunite for Biden fundraiser Trump relishes return to large rallies following COVID-19 diagnosis MORE’s son-in-law, Howard Krein, has continued his work at an investment firm overseeing health care solutions to COVID-19 while also advising the Biden campaign on the pandemic, sparking potential conflict-of-interest concerns, according to Politico

In March, StartUp Health, where Krein serves as chief medical officer, announced a new initiative to invest in entrepreneurs with various “solutions for mitigating, managing, or treating coronavirus or future pandemics.”

A month later, StartUp Health announced it would be investing $1 million across 10 different startups with potential public health solutions to the coronavirus. 

This came around the same time that Bloomberg and The New York Times both reported Krein among those taking part in daily Biden campaign briefing calls on health policy. 

As noted by Politico on Tuesday, Krein’s involvement in funding for specific coronavirus-centered projects could present a conflict of interest for Biden should he win the presidency in November. 

Politico hypothesized that the U.S. government could spend billions of dollars on nationwide coronavirus responses in 2021, with tens of billions of dollars already spent on COVID-19 testing and vaccine research. 

Since its founding in 2011, StartUp Health had close ties with the Obama administration, which described Krein at the time as a White House adviser, according to Politico. 

Krein reportedly began dating Biden’s daughter, Ashley, in 2010, with the two officially marrying in 2012. 

When contacted by The Hill, a Biden official said that Krein does not serve as a formal adviser to the campaign, although he has occasionally provides his perspective as a health care official working to combat COVID-19 on the front lines. 

However, Avik Roy, founder of investment firm Roy Healthcare Research and a former adviser to the presidential campaigns of Sens. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyThe Hill’s Campaign Report: Barrett hearings take center stage | Trump returns to campaign trail Biden: Faith shouldn’t be a subject in Barrett confirmation fight Nebraska district could prove pivotal for Biden in November MORE (R-Utah) and Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioTrump Jr. returning to campaign trail after quarantining EXCLUSIVE: Intelligence chief briefed lawmakers of foreign influence threats to Congress Trump Jr., UFC star launch anti-socialism bus tour through South Florida MORE (R-Fla.), told Politico that he had “little doubt” that Krein’s close relationship with Biden, “particularly if he becomes president, would attract the interest of some investors.”

Laura Huang, a professor at Harvard Business School who studies investment processes, told Politico that even a public perception of bias could send a certain message to investors. 

“Sometimes, the perception is all you need. Signaling is very important for startups and investors alike, and one signal is high-profile individuals who can help provide access,” she said. 

Krein’s connection with Biden had been reported earlier this year by conservative commentator and Breitbart News contributor Peter Schweizer in his book “Profiles in Corruption: Abuse of

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U.K. Plans New Law to Undo Foreign Deals on Security Grounds

(Bloomberg) — Boris Johnson’s government is drawing up plans for a radical new law that would give ministers power to unravel foreign investments in U.K. companies — potentially casting major doubt on deals that have already been concluded — to stop hostile states gaining control over key assets.



a close up of a light pole: Pedestrians walk as the Tower Bridge stands beyond in London.


© Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg
Pedestrians walk as the Tower Bridge stands beyond in London.

The National Security and Investment Bill is in the final stages of drafting and could be published later this month, according to people familiar with the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity because the subject is sensitive.

It aims to cover deals in sectors such as defense and critical infrastructure, and will make provisions to protect sensitive intellectual property.

Among the most potentially controversial parts of the draft law is a proposal to allow the government to intervene retrospectively in circumstances where national security is an issue. That would mean allowing government officials to look back at past takeovers and mergers where concerns have been raised.

While the draft legislation as it stands does not explicitly target any particular country, it comes against a backdrop of heightened political concerns in the U.K. over China’s involvement in critically important infrastructure programs.

Members of Parliament in Johnson’s ruling Conservative Party pressed him to ban Huawei Technologies Co. from the U.K.’s next-generation wireless networks, reversing an earlier decision to allow the company a role.

China Concerns

Longstanding concerns have also been raised over China’s involvement in Britain’s nuclear power program. In 2016, then Prime Minister Theresa May paused the Hinkley Point C nuclear project, which is backed by Chinese investment, before eventually allowing it to proceed.

“The bill will be brought forward when parliamentary time allows and remains a priority for the government’s agenda,” a spokesman for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said.

The draft law is likely to be presented to Parliament later this month, the people said, though the timetable could slip. The bill is a blueprint to allow Johnson’s government to strengthen its powers of scrutiny and to intervene in takeovers and mergers to protect national security.

Outlining its proposals last December, the government said its aim was to safeguard key assets while providing a transparent system for business.

Unusual Step

At the time, the government said its plan would include powers to mitigate the risks to national security by “adding conditions to a transaction or blocking the transaction as a last resort.” A regime of sanctions for companies that fail to comply with the new regime was also proposed.

But introducing a law that could apply retroactively would be highly unusual in the U.K. and risks undermining investor confidence at a time when the government wants to boost trade and attract foreign partners after Brexit.

The proposed law is close to being finalized, but some parts are still subject to internal debate, the people said.

Under the plans, the bill would include certain elements that are retroactive, enabling ministers to look back

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Cindy McCain Remembers Mother-in-Law Roberta

Win McNamee/Getty Roberta McCain (left) and Cindy McCain in 2008

Hours after the death of her 108-year-old mother-in-law, Roberta McCain, Cindy McCain couldn’t fully fathom that the family matriarch was gone.

“You’re never ready for it,” Cindy tells PEOPLE. “Never.”

“She is going to be missed so much,” says Cindy, 66. “She was a force of nature and someone I loved being around.”

As Cindy prepared to fly east on Monday night to be with brother-in-law Joe McCain, who cared for Roberta for many years at her Washington, D.C., home before she died there Monday, Cindy shared that Roberta’s health had diminished in recent months.

“She was failing,” Cindy said Monday night. “[Joe] called me, maybe two months ago, and he said she’s really starting to decline. And so she just peacefully went to sleep today, that’s really what it was.”

A cause of death has not been disclosed. But there had been other recent health struggles: Earlier this year, Roberta — an adventurous woman into her late 90s, who vigorously campaigned for son John McCain when the Arizona senator ran for president in 2008 — was hospitalized with pneumonia and was slowed by a mild stroke suffered about 10 years ago.

“She was not living her best life,” Cindy says. “She hated the fact that she was unable to move around in the spirited way she was used to prior to getting sick.”

At the end of Roberta’s life “we never talked politics,” Cindy says. “It was grandkids and all those kinds of things.”

Roberta did not get to meet her newest great-grandchild, Meghan McCain’s daughter, Liberty Sage, who was born on Sept. 28. But she lived long enough to learn about the happy news.

“Joe told her that [Meghan] had a little girl and I was going to send him a picture, I have it sitting on my kitchen counter and I was going to FedEx her the baby in a frame,” says Cindy, who calls baby Liberty “adorable” and plans on meeting her this week.

When Roberta and Cindy met some four decades ago, the elder McCain made an immediate impression.

“I was so astounded about how beautiful she was; when I met her, she was in her ’70s — so poised and gracious and immaculately dressed,” Cindy says. “She was something else, and she endeared herself to everybody.”

Ida Mae Astute /Walt Disney Television via Getty From left: Roberta, Cindy and Sen. John McCain in 2008

As a mother-in-law, Cindy recalls a woman who “was always the kindest, nicest person to me.”

“Throughout the 40 years I knew her, she never said an angry word to me, ever,” says Cindy. “She always said words of encouragement. She always told me how nice I looked.”

“She was a sweet, loving person, and she was grateful I was with John,” Cindy continues. “I really hit the jackpot with her as a mother-in-law.”

Roberta’s close friend Greta Van Susteren told PEOPLE that “there wasn’t a place in

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Donald Trump business taxes threaten the rule of law for all

It is tempting for critics of Donald Trump to react to the New York Times bombshell article by accusing Trump of tax evasion, which is a crime. And it’s equally tempting for his defenders to insist that all he did was use legal avoidance techniques, available to anyone. The truth likely lies somewhere in the middle. But the president’s sheer volume of legally dubious tax positions poses an insidious threat to the rule of law.



Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie: Donald Trump business taxes threaten the rule of law for all


© Getty Images
Donald Trump business taxes threaten the rule of law for all

The Times was careful to not accuse Trump of tax evasion. Proving criminal tax fraud, the kind that took down Al Capone, is extremely difficult. But respect for the rule of law is more than simply avoiding criminal behavior. It means abiding by our societal responsibilities without trying to game the system.

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The Times documents numerous questionable positions, ranging from (relatively) small amounts to millions of dollars. Some of these are easy to follow and almost laughable, such as the $70,000 for hairstyling during Trump’s “Apprentice” years. The Internal Revenue Service and courts have repeatedly stated that personal grooming expenses are not deductible, even when required by an employer. When a Marine pays a barber for a haircut to comply with military rules, he cannot deduct it.

The president sets an insulting and dangerous example when he does so. He brags that he is “smart” for avoiding taxes. But all he does is take risks that ordinary Americans, who cannot afford aggressive advisers and attorneys who can fight the IRS, can’t expose themselves to. He acts like there are two different tax codes, one for the rich and one for everyone else.

Several other dubious positions jump out. Business owners can deduct litigation expenses related to their business, for instance a trademark dispute, but not the costs of running for office. Trump appears to have done just that, deducting expenses associated with the investigation of Russian contacts during the 2016 campaign.

Video: Glenn Kirschner: Trump’s alleged engineering of a sudden cash windfall in 2016 ‘looks potentially criminal’ (MSNBC)

Glenn Kirschner: Trump’s alleged engineering of a sudden cash windfall in 2016 ‘looks potentially criminal’

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Under Trump’s signature 2017 tax cuts, individuals may only deduct $10,000 in state and local taxes a year, while business owners face no such limits. Since 2014, he has deducted $2.2 million on Seven Springs, a 200-acre country estate, by claiming he owns it solely for investment purposes. Nevertheless, a Trump website describes the estate as a “retreat for the family” and his sons have referred to it as “our compound.”

Suspicion also mars Trump’s deduction of $26 million in consulting fees. In some cases, third parties who worked on his projects cannot recall any outside consultants. In others, the fees appear to have gone to his daughter Ivanka Trump, who double dipped by also taking a salary from the Trump Organization for her work on the projects.

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Polish farmers protest planned animal welfare law

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Amy Coney Barrett Hearing: Why She Accepted on the Nomination

During his questioning at this morning’s round of Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation hearing, Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Lindsey Graham asked the judge how it feels to be nominated for the Supreme Court.

Barrett’s reply was thoughtful and very humanizing. Here’s what she said:

I’ve tried to be on a media blackout for the sake of my mental health but you can’t keep yourself walled off from everything. I’m aware of a lot of caricatures that are floating around. I think what I would like to say in response to that question is, look, I’ve made distinct choices. I’ve decided to pursue a career and have a large family. I have a multiracial family. Our faith is important to us. All of those things are true, but they are my choices. In my personal interactions with people, I mean, I have a life brimming with people who’ve made different choices, and I’ve never tried in my personal life to impose my choices on them. The same is true professionally. I apply the law.

Senator, I think I should say why I’m sitting in this seat in response to that question, too, and why I’ve agreed to be here. I don’t think it’s any secret to any of you or the American people that this is a really difficult, some might say excruciating process. Jesse and I had a very brief amount of time to make a decision with momentous consequences for our family. We knew that our lives would be combed over for any negative detail. We knew that our faith would be caricatured. We knew that our family would be attacked. We had to decide whether those difficulties would be worth it, because what sane person would go through that if there wasn’t a benefit on the other side?

The benefit, I think, is that I’m committed to the rule of law and the role of the Supreme Court and dispensing equal justice for all. I’m not the only person who could do this job, but I was asked, and it would be difficult for anyone. Why should I say someone else should do the difficulty? If the difficulty is the only reason to say no, I should serve my country. My family is all in on that because they share my belief in the rule of law.

Not much questioning has taken place yet, but so far, Barrett has done an excellent job of demonstrating that commitment.

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What does Colorado law say about Denver protest shooting suspect’s self-defense claim?

Whether the security guard who shot and killed a Denver demonstrator over the weekend will be able to successfully argue in court that he acted in self-defense will depend on the particular nuances of the case, Colorado legal experts said Monday.

Doug Richards, who is working with the family of Matthew Robert Dolloff, 30, called the shooting tragic Monday, and said that Dolloff fired only when he was attacked. Dolloff shot and killed Lee Keltner, 49, toward the end of two opposing demonstrations downtown, with one billed as a “Patriot Rally” and the other a “BLM-Antifa Soup Drive.”

“This was a very clear case of Matt acting in self-defense,” Richards said.

Dolloff has not yet been charged by prosecutors but is being held by police on suspicion of first-degree murder.

Under Colorado law, someone can use deadly force in self-defense only if that person reasonably thinks using less force won’t be sufficient, and the person reasonably believes he or someone else faces an immediate threat of being killed or seriously hurt.

There is no duty to retreat under state law, but the action taken in self-defense must be generally proportionate to the attack, attorneys said.

“The way I used to explain it to juries is there are two fundamental components of self-defense,” said Stan Garnett, former district attorney in Boulder County. “The first one is the perception of the person involved in it — what did they reasonably believe was happening? And the second provision is proportionality. Did they respond in a manner that was appropriate and proportionate?”

“If someone comes at you and they are going to punch you, you can’t take out a gun and shoot them,” said attorney Jacob Kartchner. “The amount of self-defense needs to be requisite with the threat presented against you.”

Keltner’s family told The Denver Post he went downtown Sunday to support law enforcement. Toward the end of the rallies, he got into a confrontation with Dolloff — it’s not clear how it started, but photos taken by a Post photographer show at one point Keltner appears to have slapped Dolloff in the face, then the two men stepped back from one another. Keltner pulled out a can of pepper spray and fired it toward Dolloff, who Keltner shot from a few feet away, according to the photos.

Whether Dolloff’s decision to fire was reasonable will depend on myriad factors, attorneys said, such as his state of mind, what words were exchanged and whether he knew Keltner was armed with pepper spray or thought he may have had a gun.

Dolloff was working as a contracted security guard for 9News when he killed Keltner, though city officials say he was not licensed for such work in Denver.

Under state law, Dolloff also can’t claim self-defense if he started the confrontation, unless he tried to end it and communicated that to Keltner, and Keltner nevertheless attacked again, attorneys said.

All of those factors will be part of the determining whether Dolloff held reasonable beliefs

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Muslim protesters march against Indonesia’s new labor law

JAKARTA, Indonesia — Thousands of conservative Muslims marched in Indonesia’s capital on Tuesday demanding that the government revoke a new law they say will cripple labor rights, with some clashing with police.

Authorities blocked streets leading to the Presidential Palace in Jakarta, where clashes between riot police and rock-throwing demonstrators, including workers and students, broke out last Thursday.

The protests spread and turned violent in some cities across the world’s most populous Muslim nation, but calm had largely returned to Jakarta over the past four days.

On Tuesday, the normally clogged streets of Jakarta were nearly empty of cars, embassies were closed and many businesses were shuttered for the day after several Muslim groups announced they would stage protests.

Waving black flags bearing the Islamic declaration of faith, several thousand demonstrators, many wearing white Islamic robes, filled a major thoroughfare.

The Job Creation Law approved by Parliament last week is expected to substantially change Indonesia’s labor system and natural resources management. It amended 79 previous laws and is intended to improve bureaucratic efficiency as part of efforts by President Joko Widodo’s administration to attract more investment to the country.

The demonstrators say the law will hurt workers by reducing severance pay, removing restrictions on manual labor by foreign workers, increasing the use of outsourcing, and converting monthly salaries to hourly wages.

Protest organizer Shobri Lubis told the crowd, including members of the Islamic Defenders Front vigilante group, that they support workers and students in fighting for the rejection of the law.

“It’s undeniable that the Job Creation Law is more intended for foreign economic domination in Indonesia and not to side with local workers,” he said.

Protesters chanted “God is Great” and “We stand with workers” near the blocked roads.

Clashes broke out in the afternoon when riot police used tear gas to try to disperse protesters who were attempting to reach roads leading to the heavily guarded palace compound and the Chinatown area. Protesters hurled rocks, bricks and bottles.

Tuesday’s protest was organized by a conservative Muslim alliance that held mass protests in 2016 against Jakarta’s ethnic Chinese Christian governor, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, that led to him being imprisoned for blasphemy.

Widodo said on Friday that the new law was meant to improve workers’ welfare. He said the widespread protests resulted from disinformation about the legislation. He urged those who were dissatisfied with the law to challenge it in the Constitutional Court and avoid violent protests.

Indonesia, Southeast Asia’s largest economy, is eagerly courting foreign investment as a key driver of economic growth in a nation where nearly half the population of 270 million is younger than 30.

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Indonesia Islamic groups, students join movement to scrap jobs law

JAKARTA (Reuters) – Wearing white Islamic garb and waving red and white Indonesian flags, more than 1,000 protesters from Islamic and student groups gathered in the world’s most populous Muslim nation on Tuesday to show discontent over a divisive new jobs law.

Conservative Islamic groups are among the latest to join the volatile street demonstrations, during which police fired tear gas on Tuesday to try to break up crowds, as pressure mounts on the government to repeal a law they say undermines labour rights and environmental protections.

The country’s largest Islamic organisation, Nahdlatul Ulama, is among its opponents and says it favours conglomerates while “trampling” on the rights of working-class Indonesians.

Hamdan, a 53-year-old teacher who goes by one name, said he would keep protesting until the law was repealed.

“People can’t go out, some people can’t even eat and unemployment is still high,” he told Reuters in Jakarta. “Even my son still can’t find a job.”

Protests against the so-called omnibus law took place in multiple locations involving thousands of Indonesians last week, some of which saw streets blocked, tyres burned and rocks hurled, leading to more than 6,000 people being detained.

“The bill will definitely affect myself, my job, my relatives, my friends and everything,” said engineer Rafi Zakaria, 30.

“It doesn’t only affect labourers. Our students here joined the protest because they’re concerned about their parents’ jobs.”

The law, designed to reduce red tape and attract investors, has yet to be published and the unofficial versions circulating in the media and online have led to speculation and confusion.

Deputy house speaker Azis Syamsyuddin told Reuters the law would be sent to the president and made public on Wednesday.

The government is standing by the legislation and President Joko Widodo has blamed the public outcry on disinformation. Indonesia’s defence minister has blamed the demonstrations on “foreign interference”.

“There are those who do not want to see Indonesia as conducive to investors, and want to always benefit from that,” the ministry spokesperson, Dahnil Anzar Simanjuntak, said, without elaborating.

(This story corrects name of deputy house speaker in paragraph 10 to Azis Syamsyuddin, not Achmad Baidowi)

Writing by Kate Lamb; Editing by Martin Petty

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Dear Annie: I don’t know how to deal with my daughter-in-law’s accusations

Dear Annie: My son and daughter-in-law have been married for about three years. She used to be a very nice girl when dating my son. When they told me they were getting married, it was just so that she could be put on my son’s health insurance because she couldn’t work anymore. I was still happy. She sold her house and moved into his house.

I live five hours away, so when I visit, I usually stay four days and play with my granddaughter, who is 9 years old. I was kidding around one day when my son was leaving for work and I said, “Aren’t you going to kiss your wife goodbye?” She yelled, “We don’t have that kind of relationship!” I quickly shut my mouth.

When I used to go down, I would ask if I could take my granddaughter for a walk, but now she always says no. She says she doesn’t trust me. She accuses me of all kinds of things that are not true. When I tell my son what she says to me, he always answers that’s just how she is. Once my son and his wife went to a ballgame, her mother was babysitting at her house because I can’t be trusted. I had nothing to do, so I vacuumed the house. When they came home, she had a fit. She considers that I’m saying she’s dirty.

When she got pregnant again, I was not allowed to know until my son called months later and told me they were having twins. That’s why they were telling me — because he said it wasn’t a good time to come down, instead of just telling me she is pregnant (everyone else knew). He said there would never have been all that arguing. My daughter-in-law and I have not spoken since she became pregnant nine months ago. She started messaging me nasty things, saying it wasn’t any of my business why I couldn’t come down. She states, “STAY UP WHERE YOU ARE NOBODY LIKES YOU DOWN HERE ANYWAY.” So we started arguing back and forth on Messenger.

I was talking with my doctor about this, and he says to stay away from her. What do I do if I’m invited to birthdays or the twins’ christening? She took away my bonding time with my granddaughter. I don’t want to be around her, but I want to see my grandchildren. — Shut-Out Grandma

Dear Shut-Out Grandma: Your daughter-in-law does sound unstable, or certainly like she believes you cannot be trusted. That must be so hurtful for you as a grandmother, and I’m sorry you are going through this. Grandparents are a gift to children, so let’s try and find a way for you to be back in their lives. You should attend events if you are invited. Birthdays and christenings are memorable days that you don’t want to miss. When you’re there, focus on the love you have for your grandchildren and your son. If you can

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