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Appeals court order in Jan. 6 documents case may be bad news for Trump

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WASHINGTON — An order from a federal appeals court late Tuesday may be a worrisome sign for former President Donald Trump in his effort to assert executive privilege over documents sought by a House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia notified lawyers for Trump, the House committee and the National Archives that they should be prepared to address whether the court even has the legal authority to hear the dispute. Oral arguments in the case are slated for Nov. 30.

The committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot has asked the National Archives to turn over scores of Trump administration documents — including memos, emails, records of White House conversations and visitor logs — as it investigates the origins of the attack.

The House panel is seeking Trump’s records from the Archives because that agency maintains all documents from past administrations. Trump claimed executive privilege over some of the material, but President Joe Biden said the records should be released to Congress, citing the importance of the bipartisan committee’s work.

U.S. District Court Judge Tanya S. Chutkan this month ordered the Archives to hand over the material, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia granted a brief stay of her order, in order to take a longer look at the issue.

Late Tuesday, the appeals court ordered the lawyers in the case to be prepared to address the jurisdiction issue. The fact that the court is wondering about its own authority to take up the case is telling: Courts are typically protective of their jurisdictions.

The court raised this question on its own, meaning that it was not suggested by the lawyers in the case. “Does the provision in the Presidential Records Act providing that the Archivist’s ‘determination whether access to a Presidential record…shall be restricted…shall not be subject to judicial review, except as provided in subsection (e) of this section’…implicate this court’s or the district court’s jurisdiction in this case?”

The court then cited a 2001 case involving a challenge to the plans for the World War II Memorial on the National Mall in Washington. Congress had passed a law saying that no court could review the plans. The challengers argued the legislative language was unconstitutional, but an appeals court disagreed and tossed the lawsuit.

If the D.C. Circuit were to take similar action in Trump’s case, he could appeal to the Supreme Court. But if his lawsuit is ultimately dismissed, it would pave the way for the Jan. 6 committee to receive documents from the Archives.

Tuesday’s order also directed the lawyers to be ready to answer a second question: “If so, what effect, if any, do [those provisions] have on the subject matter jurisdiction of the district court to adjudicate any of the requests listed in the Complaint’s Claim for Relief?”

Lawyers for the former president have argued that the congressional committee had no proper legislative purpose for seeking his White House records and instead launched the investigation to “intimidate and harass President Trump and his closest advisors under the guise of investigating the events of January 6, 2021.”

The committee responded by saying, in its court filings, that it needs the request records “to complete a thorough investigation into how the actions of the former President, his advisers, and other government officials may have contributed to the attack on Congress to impede the peaceful transfer of Presidential power.”

In addition to seeking Trump White House records, the committee has issued numerous subpoenas in recent weeks for Trump administration officials and key allies of the former president, including Roger Stone and Alex Jones.

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Tensions run high as Swiss vote on Covid vaccine certificate law | Switzerland

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People in Switzerland are voting on a Covid vaccine certificate law, after a campaign characterised by unprecedented levels of hostility in a country renowned for its culture of compromise.

As in much of Europe, Switzerland has seen growing anger over restrictions aimed at reining in the pandemic, and pressure to get vaccinated.

But in a country where there are referendums every few months in a climate of civility and measured debate, the soaring tensions around the vote have come as a shock. Police increased security around several politicians who have faced a flood of insults and death threats.

The polls close at noon (11am GMT) on Sunday, with the results expected within the following hours as the vast majority vote by mail before polling day.

Voters are deciding whether to approve amendments to the Covid law which, among other things, provide the legal basis for a Covid certificate that says if a person has been vaccinated or has recovered from the virus.

Opponents say the certificate, which has been required since September for access to restaurants and other indoor spaces and activities, is creating an “apartheid” system.

Final opinion polls showed about two-thirds of the voters supported the Covid laws.

Police blocked the square in front of the seat of government and parliament in Bern on Sunday, anticipating protests after the result.

Observers have warned that the vote could exacerbate tensions, and even spark a violent backlash among the anti-vaccine crowd if results do not go in their favour.

During the campaign, fences were erected around the buildings to protect them during anti-vax demonstrations.

They were often led by the “Freiheitstrychler” or “Freedom ringers” – men dressed in white shirts embroidered with edelweiss flowers and with two large cowbells suspended from a yoke resting on their shoulders.

Some of the demonstrations have led to violent clashes with police, who have used rubber bullets and teargas to rein in the crowds.

The referendum comes as the new Covid-19 variant Omicron, first detected in southern Africa and classified as a variant of concern, has rattled countries and markets around the world.

It is the second time in less than six months that the Swiss have been called on to vote on the government’s response to the pandemic. In June, 60% of voters approved prolonging national measures.

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James Austin Johnson is already the best ‘SNL’ Trump [POLL RESULTS]

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James Austin Johnson only just joined the cast of “Saturday Night Live” this fall, but he’s already made a big impression. The comedian not only played President Joe Biden in the opening sketch of the season but he’s also portrayed the former president, Donald Trump, to rave reviews. After decades of Trump impersonations on the late-night sketch series, fans have voiced their overwhelming support for the most recent one.

Johnson collected the vast majority of votes in our “best ‘SNL’ Trump” poll results, with a whopping 61% of the vote. The actor has only played him twice on “SNL,” though he has cultivated his impression of Trump for many years through viral videos. In a distant second place, Alec Baldwin collected 22% of the vote. Baldwin played Trump through his turbulent presidency and even won an Emmy for his performance in 2017, with additional nominations in 2018 and 2021.

Darrell Hammond came in third place at 10%, despite playing him for the longest period of time. Phil Hartman, the original Trump impressionist for “SNL,” placed in fourth at 3% of the vote. Johnson, Baldwin, Hammond and Hartman are the best-known Trump portrayers on the show, with all others playing the businessman in an episode or two.

Among that smaller group, Jason Sudeikis received 1% of the vote (though he won our “best ‘SNL’ Biden” poll), followed by Leslie Jones and Vanessa Bayer at 0.5%. Taran Killam, who actually played him in three episodes, and John Cena failed to collect a single vote in the poll.

Considering Trump has left office, it is likely that we will see less of Johnson’s impression on “SNL,” though they have already found a way to integrate him into multiple Judge Jeanine Pirro (Cecily Strong) cold opens.

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Covid-19: Decision on resumption of international flights to be reviewed, MHA says | India News

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NEW DELHI: The Centre’s decision on the effective date of resumption of scheduled commercial international passengers service will be reviewed as per evolving global scenario, MHA spokesperson said on Sunday.
This was discussed during an urgent meeting that was called by the home secretary earlier in the day in view of the possible threat that the new Covid variant of concern ‘Omicron’, can pose to the nation.

Various experts were part of the meeting, including Dr V K Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog, D Vijay Raghavan, principal scientific adviser to Prime Minister, senior officers from health, civil aviation and other ministries.

Here’s what other things were discussed during the meet-
* Overall global situation in wake of the Omicron virus was comprehensively reviewed.
* Various preventive measures in place and to be further strengthened were discussed.
* Genomic surveillance for variants to be further strengthened and intensified.
* Airport health officials (APHOs) and port health officials (PHOs) to be sensitized for strict supervision of testing protocol at airports/ ports.
* Closer watch on the emerging pandemic situations within the country will be maintained.

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