News Brief (April 11): Federal Judge Rebukes Jack Smith for ‘Failure’ to Respond | AUDIO

Good morning, and welcome to The Epoch Times News Brief for Thursday, April 11, 2024. I’m Bill Thomas, and today, we’re covering a judge’s critique in former P
News Brief (April 11): Federal Judge Rebukes Jack Smith for ‘Failure’ to Respond | AUDIO
(L) Special counsel Jack Smith in Washington, on Aug. 1, 2023; and (R) former U.S. President Donald Trump in Palm Beach, Fla., on Nov. 8, 2022. (Saul Loeb, Eva Marie Uzcategui/AFP via Getty Images)

Good morning, and welcome to The Epoch Times News Brief for Thursday, April 11, 2024.

I’m Bill Thomas, and today, we’re covering a judge’s critique in former President Donald Trump’s documents case, election dynamics, a stalled surveillance bill, the FBI’s terror threat warning, and a spike in U.S. inflation. Let’s dive into the news.

Federal Judge Rebukes Jack Smith for ‘Failure’ to Respond

Aileen Cannon, the federal judge overseeing the classified document case against President Trump, expressed her concerns about how special counsel Jack Smith was managing things.

Judge Cannon noted that sometimes Mr. Smith’s team didn’t present strong enough reasons and failed to follow the proper steps for filing their legal documents. Despite these problems, the judge still agreed with Mr. Smith’s request to redact the names of witnesses in the case.

The judge made a decision that the public doesn’t automatically get to know who these witnesses are, siding with Mr. Smith on this issue. However, the judge refused to categorically block witness statements from being disclosed. She said there was no legal ground for such a “sweeping” and “blanket” restriction on their inclusion in pretrial motions.

President Trump is facing dozens of felony counts related to the retention of classified documents.

No date has been set for when the trial will begin.

Mr. Smith has disagreed with some of the judge’s proposed jury instructions, which would allow President Trump’s lawyers to submit questions saying he had a right to keep classified documents as his personal items because he, as president, designated them as such. The special counsel’s team has said that the former president had no right to do so.

The prosecutors argue that there is no proof President Trump officially claimed any of the documents as his personal property. President Trump, on the other hand, maintains that he had the power to declassify documents for his own personal property.

Now, we turn to election concerns.

Congressman Calls on RFK Jr.’s Running Mate to Leave Race Over Trump

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) is calling on Nichole Shanahan, who is running with Robert F. Kennedy Jr., to withdraw from the race. Mr. Khanna is worried that Mr. Kennedy running as an independent might help President Trump win in the upcoming November election.

Mr. Khanna points to polls that show President Trump does better when Mr. Kennedy and other third-party candidates are in the race.

Ms. Shanahan, who is a lawyer, was upset by Mr. Khanna’s public request. She accused him of changing his opinion because of pressure from his political party. She wrote on X that it is “anti-democratic” to “ask someone to step down from a race that empowers the American public to make their own decisions.”

Mr. Kennedy thanked Ms. Shanahan for her support and criticized Mr. Khanna for changing his position.

Ms. Shanahan, who previously donated to Mr. Kennedy, Mr. Khanna, and President Joe Biden, left the Democratic Party feeling let down. She has been vocal about her belief that both major parties are ignoring crucial issues.

Mr. Khanna believes Ms. Shanahan’s political views are actually more in line with President Biden’s. He argues that her support for Mr. Kennedy might end up helping President Trump by mistake.

Mr. Khanna also said that “any third party candidates help Trump” during an interview with CNN.

Next up, the House hits a wall on renewing surveillance powers.

House Tanks FISA Bill

On April 10, House conservatives stopped a bill reauthorizing surveillance powers from moving forward due to its lack of warrant requirements.

The development is another blow to Speaker Mike Johnson. He’s also dealing with efforts by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) to oust him.

The bill, known as the “Reforming Intelligence and Securing America” Act, would extend Section 702 under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) for another five years.

Section 702, which was last authorized in 2018, was intended to permit warrantless surveillance of foreign nationals located outside the United States. However, in practice, it is also used to monitor communications of U.S. citizens on a large scale.

There’s been trouble with how this power was used, like the FBI using it to search for names of people involved in Black Lives Matter activities and Jan. 6 protesters.

People across the political spectrum are worried this goes against the Constitution.

President Trump earlier on April 10 called on House Republicans to “KILL FISA.” He said the FBI misused Section 702 to spy on his 2016 presidential campaign.

Not passing this bill is another loss for Mr. Johnson, who has faced several failed rule votes during his roughly six months as speaker. Even though he thinks this surveillance program is important, he admits it’s been misused before.

Although the House faced setbacks on the surveillance bill, the FBI’s concerns about terror threats underscore the significance of Section 702. Let’s learn more about it.

FBI Director Issues Warning on ‘Increasingly Concerning’ Terrorist Threat

FBI Director Christopher Wray said on Tuesday that there is a growing threat of foreign terrorism—from groups such as ISIS-K and al-Qaeda—targeting the United States, particularly Jewish communities across the West. He pointed out a recent ISIS attack in Moscow as a sign of what these groups are capable of orchestrating.

The ISIS attack on March 22 this year in a concert hall left more than 140 people dead.

In the United States, there have been recent actions to counter these threats, including the arrest of an 18-year-old in Idaho planning terrorist attacks on local churches, and another 18-year-old in Colorado facing charges for supporting ISIS.

Mr. Wray is also spotlighting the dangers of cyberattacks from countries like China, Russia, and North Korea. He’s particularly worried about China’s large-scale hacking efforts and stressed the importance of more funding and legal powers, specifically mentioning the need to keep Section 702 for spying on foreign activities.

He brought up Russian cyberattacks that have gone after vital U.S. sectors like energy since the Ukraine war started.

Several weeks ago, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and national security adviser Jake Sullivan also warned about possible cyber strikes on drinking water and sewage systems across the country by Iranian and Chinese hackers. These warnings come amid concerns over incidents that have already happened and calls for better security measures.

Additionally, warnings have been issued over Chinese hackers, after disruptions to AT&T and Cricket wireless services left potentially millions of Americans unable to make phone calls, send text messages, or use their phones for 12 hours. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) warned that an attack on U.S. infrastructure by China could have devastating consequences, affecting power, water, and banking systems. He said, “It will be 100 times worse.”

Lastly, as inflation rates surge, they are impacting the Dow.

Dow Jones Drops 500 Points After Strong US Inflation Report

On Wednesday, U.S. stock markets fell after it was revealed that inflation in March was higher than what many had expected.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped by more than 500 points, driven by a sharp fall of share prices of Home Depot and Intel. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite both went down by around 1 percent.

This drop came after an increase in U.S. consumer prices, which went up by 3.5 percent in March. Some analysts noted that this is the biggest rise in inflation in six months. There have been concerns that this high inflation might make the Federal Reserve wait longer before it lowers interest rates.

Because of this, investors are now thinking that the Fed might not cut rates until September instead of June as they had hoped. They’re also expecting the Fed to cut its main interest rate by just 0.5 percent this year, less than previously thought.

The inflation report for March has also changed what people think will happen at the Fed’s June meeting. Now, many believe a rate cut then is not likely.

President Donald Trump blamed his successor for the high inflation.

The former president wrote on Truth Social: “INFLATION is BACK—and RAGING!” He added: “The Fed will never be able to credibly lower interest rates, because they want to protect the worst President in the history of the Untied States!”

President Joe Biden accused “corporations, including grocery retailers,” of making “record profits,” and he called on companies to use those profits to lower their prices.

That’s our final story on today’s edition of The Epoch Times News Brief, but before we wrap it up, turn out the lights, and lock the doors, this brief reminder: If you enjoy our News Brief program, please let us know by shooting over an email. We’re at [email protected]. We always welcome your thoughts, comments, and suggestions.

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Finally, we end today’s program with this notable quote:

“If you set your goals ridiculously high and it’s a failure, you will fail above everyone else’s success” —Movie director James Cameron

His movies include 1984’s “The Terminator” starring Arnold Schwarzenegger.

He wrote, produced, and directed “Titanic,” which has grossed more than $2.2 billion worldwide. He also directed “Avatar,” and I met him once at a media event about a year ago. One of the most successful showbiz guys on the planet, and he could not have been more friendly and amiable.

Thanks a million for tuning in to the program. We hope, like James Cameron, that you set YOUR goals ridiculously high. And for all of us here at The Epoch Times News Brief, I’m Bill Thomas. Have a fabulous day today.

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