Trump to travel to New York Monday ahead of Tuesday arraignment

Trump to travel to New York Monday ahead of Tuesday arraignment

Former President Donald Trump is expected to travel to New York on Monday ahead of his scheduled arraignment on Tuesday on still unknown charges, a source familiar with the planning confirmed.

Trump is expected to turn himself in Tuesday morning ahead of the arraignment, which a court spokesperson indicated would be at 2:15 p.m. eastern time.

The Washington Post reported Friday that Secret Service agents were at the Manhattan courthouse where Trump will turn himself in, to tour the site and determine how the former president will get in and out securely.

Authorities are preparing for a frenzied atmosphere given the media attention and possible protests that will accompany Trump’s arraignment.

A grand jury voted earlier Thursday to indict Trump on criminal charges for his role in organizing hush money payments made to an adult film star during his 2016 campaign.

The indictment, which remains under seal, follows an investigation by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg (D) that centered on a $130,000 payment fixer Michael Cohen made to adult film star Stormy Daniels shortly before the election.

Joe Tacopina, an attorney representing Trump in the case, has said he does not expect Trump to be handcuffed. But other details remain unknown, including whether he will have his mugshot and fingerprints taken.

New York state law does not allow for the public distribution of mugshots.

Trump is expected to be released after his arraignment on Tuesday because the charges against him do not include any violent felonies. He does not have any rallies or campaign events currently scheduled for next week.

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Cincinnati recognizes Transgender Day of Visibility as Statehouse considers perceived anti-LGBTQ laws

Cincinnati recognizes Transgender Day of Visibility as Statehouse considers perceived anti-LGBTQ laws

CINCINNATI — As states across the country consider legislation viewed by some as an attack on transgender people, allies of trans men, women and nonbinary people gathered at Cincinnati City Hall on Friday to show support for that community.

What You Need To Know

  • Friday marked International Transgender Day of Visibility on Friday with a press conference slamming proposed state laws in Ohio 
  • Two trans people who spoke at the event stressed how far the country has come in recent years but voiced fear of what these news laws could mean to their community
  • The laws would bar trans athletes from competing in competitive sports in Ohio
  • City leaders and advocates called on local allies to protect local trans people

The press conference marked International Transgender Day of Visibility. The annual happening aims to celebrate the lives of transgender people, who Mayor Aftab Pureval said have for too long had to hide in the shadows or deny their own identity.

“We as a city stand together in steadfast support of our transgender friends, family, and neighbors, but also in recognition of how much work is ahead of us in the fight for equality,” he added.

Pureval stood side-by-side with a group of elected officials and community leaders during the morning event. More than two dozen advocates and allies attended.

“We’ve got such amazing advocates and Cincinnati, members of our transgender community, members of our LGBTQIA-plus family,” Pureval added. He noted that many have risked their livelihoods and sometimes their lives, to “build a society where everyone is accepted with open arms and love for who they are, where children don’t have to grow up afraid to express their truth.”

On Friday night, the lit-up “Cincinnati” sign on the side of the Duke Energy Convention Center will glow in stripes of powder blue, light pink and white to represent the transgender pride flag.

Council member Reggie Harris, who hosted the press conference, said the city planned to raise the pride flag outside City Hall on Friday. But rain and Gov. Mike DeWine ordering flags lowered to half-staff across the state halted those plans. Instead, the city will raise it along with the traditional rainbow-colored Pride flag on June 1. June is national Pride month.

“It deserves to have its moment in the sunshine,” said Harris, who is openly gay and a longtime LGBTQIA-plus advocate.

‘Feeling safe’ in your own skin

Being able to live openly as trans or gay is something many LGBTQ people thought they’d experience in their lifetimes, according to Cathy Allison, a trans woman and member of the Transgender Advocacy Council’s board.

Allison said that she recognized herself as trans as early as 7 years old, even if she didn’t know what that term meant back then. She recalled not feeling comfortable expressing that part of herself growing up in rural Indiana in the late 1960s and ‘70s.

She met several trans women in the 1990s, but only a couple of them ever got involved in the community.

“The rest were afraid,” Allison added.

Cathy Allison praised young people for their bravery and willingness to come out. (Casey Weldon/Spectrum News 1)

Cathy Allison praised young people for their bravery and willingness to come out. (Casey Weldon/Spectrum News 1)

The “bad old days,” as she referred to them, meant experiencing “365 days of trans invisibility.” It caused her to deal with what she diagnosed as more than 50 years of internalized transphobia.

Allison credits the bravery of this generation’s young people with helping her come out of her shell. She praised them for refusing to wait for permission to express themselves.

“When I saw the kids coming out, it changed everything about how I wanted to (express being) trans,” she added.

Elliot Draznin came out as nonbinary just a few years ago. They were reluctant at first to ask others to use their preferred name or pronouns. Draznin credits a group of people they met in Cincinnati with creating a welcoming environment to speak up.

“It’s just so amazing to be in a place and feel safe,” Draznin added.

Draznin related their experience as being trans to growing up Jewish. They said people in both groups share similar experiences to persecution and a lack of acceptance: “They tried to kill us, and we survived, so let’s eat and party and enjoy life.”

“We are going to be loud as we can so people will know from generations to come to know that yes, we are here, and it’s OK for them to be here as well,” they added. “The biggest importance trans visibility is that when they are actively trying to kill us, to the extent it’s safe, say, ‘No, this is who I am. Here I am. Respect it.’”

New round of ‘anti-trans’ legislation makes its way to Statehouse

Despite the progress trans people have made in recent years, the community is under attack, Draznin said. It’s not just overt hate groups, like the ones targeting drag shows and other LGBTQIA-related events in northern Ohio. She believes the biggest threat right now is elected officials.

In Kentucky, state legislators voted overwhelmingly on Wednesday to overturn Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear’s veto of Senate Bill 150. The new state law essentially bans gender-affirming care for children. It also requires students to use the bathroom aligned with their gender at birth. School staff now has legal permission not to use a student’s requested pronouns. 

The bill will go into effect in late June.

The Ohio General Assembly is currently considering a pair of laws — House Bills 6 and 8 — that critics also view as anti-transgender.

HB 6, also referred to as the “Save Women’s Sports Act,” would require schools and state-run and private colleges to designate separate single-sex teams and sports for each sex and to limit participation on teams. It would ban schools from knowingly allowing athletes identified as male at birth to be on sports teams or take part in competitions designated for females only.

HB 8 aims to create a “Parents’ Bill of Rights” that would require public schools to adopt a policy on parental notification on student health and well-being and class materials that feature sexually explicit content.

“The focus is to ensure that parents are empowered to be involved in their child’s education both inside and outside of the classroom,” State Rep. D.J. Swearingen, R-Huron, said of HB 8. “In Ohio, we prioritize parents taking an active role in their child’s life.”

Critics, such as Draznin, voiced concerns that passing the bill could force teachers and staff out students to their parents or guardians by notifying them if their child asks the school to use a different name or pronoun than what’s listed on their school forms.

Elliot Draznin thanked the city for being so supportive of the trans community. They believe Friday's press conference will send a message to the statehouse. (Casey Weldon/Spectrum News 1)

Elliot Draznin thanked the city for being so supportive of the trans community. They believe Friday’s press conference will send a message to the Statehouse. (Casey Weldon/Spectrum News 1)

Draznin fears high rates of depression and suicide among the trans community will soar because of this type of legislation.

“It keeps me up at night,” they added. “We don’t have elders right now, because an entire generation was wiped out (by AIDS or suicide). And with our youth, we’re at risk of them looking around and thinking, ‘They hate me. Why do I want to exist in that?’ We can’t let that happen.”

The House Republican Caucus put forth HB6 and HB8 as part of a 12-bill package dubbed “Ohio is our Home.”

“The House Republicans are putting forth an agenda all about growing the economy, protecting Ohio families, and educating our communities,” said Speaker Jason Stephens, R-Kitts Hill, during a press conference on Feb. 15.

During that announcement, Stephens stated his view of the plan as a way for Ohio to attract and keep residents, particularly families.

But Pureval believes the opposite is true. The first-term mayor told the reporters Friday that supporting transgender rights and promoting equality, in general, isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s also good for business.

He stressed that being perceived as a welcoming community to all people gives Cincinnati a leg up on other cities when competing for businesses, top talent and other opportunities to move or expand there.

Pureval described the situation in Columbus as “people in power” trying to take away transgender people’s rights and “erase them.”

“When I’m out in other parts of the country talking about how great Cincinnati is, it’s very difficult to sell our… when the General Assembly is making it very, very clear that trans folks that trans folks aren’t welcome,” he added.

Pureval called on residents to “stand on the side of equality,” to “make it clear to the world that in Cincinnati, we will not let hate win.”

Allison echoed those sentiments, asking allies to continue to help protect trans people and be willing to “get hit by the same rocks we are.”

Draznin called Friday incredible, partly because it provided a brief respite from what they called “continued attacks from Statehouse representatives.” But they also hope it sends a message to Columbus.

“It was an opportunity to say, ‘No, we don’t agree with what they’re doing. We’re going to make sure Cincinnati is a safe place for our trans siblings,’” they said.

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Ohio man accused of attacking church ahead of planned drag shows

Ohio man accused of attacking church ahead of planned drag shows

Washington –  A member of the White Lives Matter Ohio branch is accused of attacking a church with Molotov cocktails in anticipation of drag shows the religious community planned to host, the Justice Department announced Friday.

According to charging documents, Aimenn Penny — who investigators say is a part of the pro-Nazi and anti-gay group — admitted to using vodka and beer bottles and gasoline to target the Community Church of Chesterfield outside of Toledo. 

Ohio man Aimenn Penny, shown in military tactical gear, admitted targeting a church over drag shows it planned to host.

Government exhibit

On the morning of March 25, prosecutors allege Church leaders found scorch marks on an exterior sign and the front door of their building and a broken sign on the property. Church representatives told investigators that before the alleged attack, “they received hate mail and messages containing non-specific threats of protest and violence against the drag events.”

The criminal complaint unsealed Friday revealed this was not Penny’s first time targeting drag events. According to prosecutors, on March 11, he attended a drag queen story hour “to distribute propaganda flyers representing White Lives Matter, Ohio’s anti-drag queen views,” and was wearing, “military style gear including camouflage pants, a tactical vest, and jacket with a patch showing a firearm.”

At that same event, according to the government, members of the White Lives Matter group “showed up at the event carrying swastika flags and shouting racial and anti-gay slurs and ‘Heil Hitler.'”

In October of last year, the complaint alleges Penny told local police that African Americans were “the problem” and he looked forward to “the civil war coming between races.” 

Investigators say they were able to geolocate Penny’s phone to the church property on March 25, in the early morning. 

Church sign allegedly destroyed by Ohio man.

Government exhibit

During an FBI interview, charging documents contend the defendant told investigators he was responsible for the attack at the Chesterfield church and he was “trying to protect children and stop the drag show event.” 

“Penny stated that night he became more and more angry after watching internet videos of news feeds and drag shows in France and decided to attack the church,” according to court documents. “[He] stated that he would have felt better if the Molotov cocktails were more effective and burned the entire church to the ground.”

An attorney for Penny could not be immediately identified. 

News of Penny’s targeting of the Church comes days after investigators announced a Wisconsin man had been arrested for allegedly firebombing a Wisconsin government building, prompted by his pro-abortion access views. 

According to the FBI, on Mother’s Day 2022, Hridindu Sankar Roychowdhury attacked the building with a mason jar, lighter, and liquid accelerant that started an active fire. 

“If abortions aren’t safe then you aren’t either,” was allegedly written outside the building in graffiti. 

This month, according to the Justice Department, the defendant bought a one-way ticket from Boston, Massachusetts to Guatemala, but was arrested at the airport before his scheduled departure. 

Roychowdhury remains detained and will be transported from Boston to Wisconsin to face charges. 

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Federal government published 1,900 White House visitors' Social Security numbers

Federal government published 1,900 White House visitors' Social Security numbers

The federal government inadvertently published the Social Security numbers of 1,900 people who visited the White House in December 2020, as part of the final report published by the Jan. 6 House select committee late last year, the Government Publishing Office’s (GPO) inspector general acknowledged in a report Friday

In February 2022, the White House directed the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) to provide the select committee with White House visitor logs from December 2020 to January 2021, agreeing that birthdates and Social Security numbers would be removed, the GPO inspector general’s report said. 

NARA provided the visitor logs to the committee, and in December 2022, the select committee sent its final report and supporting materials to GPO for publishing through GovInfo, as the select committee was being disbanded before the new Congress. The committee’s final report had concluded that “the central cause of January 6th was one man, former President Donald Trump, whom many others followed.”

On Jan. 4 of 2023, a news outlet notified GPO that a supporting document in the report — the White House visitor logs — included the Social Security numbers of nearly 2,000 visitors, the GPO inspector general said. The sensitive information was removed from the web. 

Visitors to the White House are required to submit their Social Security numbers and birth dates to be screened by Secret Service in order to gain entry. In December 2020, many of the visitors who came to the White House were attending holiday parties hosted by Trump. 

The GPO inspector general said the “perfect storm” of several factors led to the disclosure of sensitive information of hundreds of White House visitors. The IG noted that the select committee had changed its request within two weeks of the publication deadline, which put a strain on the publishing office. 

And the “sheer volume of supporting materials” varied, so much so that the publishing office “does not always have an automated process to ingest, process, and publish to GovInfo,” the inspector general’s report said. It also found that the transition from the 117th to 118th Congress “caused confusion” and left the publishing office “without active committee oversight” in the period immediately after the release of the “personally identifiable” and sensitive information.

The GPO inspector general report comes as Congress is dealing with another data breach. The hacking of the D.C. Health Benefit Exchange Authority data system has triggered at least three investigations and a federal civil lawsuit against the District of Columbia government, CBS News has learned. At least 17 current or former members of Congress had personal information exposed in the hack, according to a top Democrat investigating the matter. 

— Scott MacFarlane and Nicholas Kurtz contributed to this report

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Trump indictment: What we know and what happens next

Trump indictment: What we know and what happens next

Former President Trump’s indictment by a Manhattan grand jury has sent the political and legal worlds into a frenzy.

Here’s what we know so far about the case against Trump and what could happen next as the country awaits the former president’s arraignment.

Surprise jury vote on Thursday

A Manhattan grand jury voted Thursday to indict Trump on criminal charges for his role in organizing hush money payments made to an adult film star during his 2016 campaign.

The indictment, which remains under seal, follows an investigation by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg (D) that centered on a $130,000 payment fixer Michael Cohen made to adult film star Stormy Daniels shortly before the 2016 election.

The indictment required support from a majority of the grand jury, which typically is made up of 16 or 23 people and hears evidence in secret. 

The timing of Thursday’s announcement came as something of a surprise. The grand jury had not met as scheduled on multiple occasions the past two weeks, and multiple reports emerged earlier in the week that it would go on a one-month hiatus that had previously been planned.

“I think what happened was the delay was because with all the hype, especially when President Trump came up about, ‘go protest,’ I think the jurors were frightened to come in. So I think that’s why they held it off, let it calm down a little bit,” said Karen Santucci, a former New York grand jury court reporter who now directs Plaza College’s court reporting program.

Catch up with coverage of the Trump indictment from The Hill:

Trump is expected to be arraigned next week

Trump is expected to be arraigned in Manhattan on Tuesday afternoon at 2:15 EDT, according to a court spokesperson. 

A spokesperson for Bragg’s office on Thursday said they have been in touch with Trump’s lawyers to coordinate his surrender.

Trump’s attorney, Joe Tacopina, said on “Good Morning America” on Friday that much of what will happen is still unknown, but he does not expect Trump to be put in handcuffs.

“We’ll go in there, and we’ll proceed to see a judge at some point, plead not guilty, start talking about filing motions, which we will do immediately,” Tacopina said.

Speculation has been rampant for weeks over whether Trump would be handcuffed, fingerprinted and have his mugshot taken, though any mugshot would not be made public, in accordance with New York state law. That whole process will play out Tuesday under intense media attention. 

“I’m sure they’ll try and get every ounce of publicity they can from this thing,” Tacopina said.

Trump is expected to be released after next week’s arraignment since the indictment does not include violent felony charges.

We still don’t know the exact charges

The indictment stems from the hush money payment to Daniels before the 2016 election, but beyond that little will be known until Trump is arraigned.

The indictment — which contains the specific charges — will remain under seal until Trump appears in court for his arraignment on Tuesday, unless Bragg successfully asks a judge to unseal it early.

CNN and NBC News reported Trump is facing roughly 30 counts related to business fraud.

The specifics remain unclear, but a source familiar with the proceedings confirmed to The Hill that the indictment includes a felony.

The number and nature of the charges will provide more clarity about the case prosecutors intend to bring against Trump, and it could shed light on how much evidence they have against the former president.

But Trump’s lawyers have said they’ll fight them

While the specific charges Trump is facing won’t be known publicly for a few more days, the former president and his team have already made clear they intend to put up a fight.

“President Trump has been indicted. He did not commit any crime. We will vigorously fight this political prosecution in Court,” Trump attorneys Tacopina and Susan Necheles said in a statement shortly after the indictment was announced.

Tacopina told “Good Morning America” on Friday he plans to file motions “immediately, and very aggressively regarding the legal viability of this case.”

The former president took to Truth Social on Friday to preemptively attack the judge who will handle his case, Juan Marchan, claiming Marchan had previously treated his companies “viciously.”

“Appealing!” Trump added in all caps.

Possibility of protests

The specter of protests — and concerns about potential violence — are likely to linger for the next several days, particularly after Trump in mid-March urged his supporters to protest his eventual arrest.

“I’m going to New York on Tuesday. We MUST protest the unconstitutional WITCH HUNT!” Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), one of Trump’s most ardent defenders, tweeted Friday.

Jesse Watters, a Fox News host, warned Thursday that the country “is not going to stand for” Trump’s indictment.

“And people better be careful. And that’s all I’ll say about that,” Watters said.

Other leading Republicans have sought to tamp down the idea of widespread demonstrations over Trump’s indictment or call for any protests to remain peaceful.

There is expected to be a heightened police presence around the Manhattan courthouse where Trump will be arraigned on Tuesday, and authorities were unloading metal barriers in the vicinity days before the indictment was announced.

Trump will be accompanied by Secret Service agents throughout the process, and they will likely be coordinating with court authorities and local law enforcement.

Trump will keep running for president

Trump is running for the Republican presidential nomination for 2024, and he has for months said he would not drop out of the race even if he were indicted.

Statements from Trump and his team on Thursday made clear that remains the case.

“The political elites and powerbrokers have weaponized government to try and stop him. They will fail. He will be re-elected in the greatest landslide in American history, and together we will all Make America Great Again,” Taylor Budowich, head of the Trump-aligned MAGA, Inc. super PAC, said in a statement.

There is no legal standard that prevents Trump from running while under indictment, and even a potential conviction would not disqualify him from campaigning.

Other 2024 Republican hopefuls largely attacked Bragg and called the indictment politically motivated, though few defended Trump’s conduct or mentioned the former president by name.

Former Vice President Pence dodged a question about if he’d call on Trump to drop out if he’s convicted, calling it a hypothetical matter. 

Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R), who is weighing a 2024 bid, said Trump should drop out of the race, but he acknowledged he wouldn’t.

“To me the office of presidency is more important than any one person,” Hutchinson said on Fox Business Network.

Zach Schonfeld contributed reporting

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Ivanka Trump 'pained' over father's indictment

Ivanka Trump 'pained' over father's indictment

Ivanka Trump on Friday said she is “pained” by the indictment of her father, former President Trump.

“I love my father, and I love my country. Today, I am pained for both,” Ivanka Trump wrote in an Instagram story posted to her page. “I appreciate the voices across the political spectrum expressing support and concern.”

A grand jury voted to indict Trump on criminal charges Thursday for his role in organizing hush money payments made to an adult film star during his 2016 campaign.

The indictment, which remains under seal, follows an investigation by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg (D) that centered on a $130,000 payment fixer Michael Cohen made to adult film star Stormy Daniels shortly before the election.

Trump and his supporters have decried the indictment as politically motivated and intended to damage his 2024 White House bid. The former president is expected to be arraigned in Manhattan next week.

Ivanka Trump, who served as a senior adviser to her father during his four years in the White House, previously said she does not “plan to be involved in politics” as he pursues another term.

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