What A Day: Have your cake and indicted too | Crooked Media
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What A Day: Have your cake and indicted too

A young Iranian boy is holding portraits of the late Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, the late Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian, and other Iranian officials who have died in a helicopter crash in northeastern Iran, during a mourning ceremony in downtown Tehran, Iran, on May 20, 2024. The incident involving the helicopter carrying President Ebrahim Raisi is happening on Sunday, May 19, in Dizmar forest between the cities of Varzaqan and Jolfa in East Azarbaijan province as the president is returning from an event to inaugurate a dam with Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev. Local residents are telling IRNA's reporter that they are hearing ''sounds'' in the region a while ago. MORTEZA NIKOUBAZL/NurPhoto (Photo by Morteza Nikoubazl/NurPhoto via AP)

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A young Iranian boy is holding portraits of the late Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, the late Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian, and other Iranian officials who have died in a helicopter crash in northeastern Iran, during a mourning ceremony in downtown Tehran, Iran, on May 20, 2024. The incident involving the helicopter carrying President Ebrahim Raisi is happening on Sunday, May 19, in Dizmar forest between the cities of Varzaqan and Jolfa in East Azarbaijan province as the president is returning from an event to inaugurate a dam with Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev. Local residents are telling IRNA's reporter that they are hearing ''sounds'' in the region a while ago. MORTEZA NIKOUBAZL/NurPhoto (Photo by Morteza Nikoubazl/NurPhoto via AP)

IRAN IN CRISIS

The death of Iran’s hardline president threw the region into fresh uncertainty at a critical moment in the country’s shadow war with Israel.

  • President of the Islamic Republic of Iran Ebrahim Raisi had been widely seen as the implementer of supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s policies, rather than the guy making the calls. Still, his sudden death in a helicopter crash on Sunday alongside Iran’s foreign minister throws his country into a political crisis after months of escalating conflict with Israel. Many analysts said they expect the country’s policies to remain relatively stable until a new election is held, although tensions with Israel remain on a knife’s edge. Iranian state media have so far attributed the crash to an unspecified “technical failure” as the president returned over foggy mountains from inaugurating a new dam on the country’s northwest border. But some U.S. officials worry the country could try to blame the incident on Israel or the U.S., according to Politico. 

  • Raisi’s death scrambles the search for a successor to the 85-year-old Khamenei. As the country’s top elected official, Raisi had been seen as a serious contender for that high post, even though his tenure was wracked with controversy. Raisi oversaw brutal crackdowns on protests and ordered tighter enforcement of the country’s divisive hijab law restricting women’s dress and behavior. For now, Vice President Mohammad Mokhber will serve as interim president until elections are held within 50 days.

  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is meanwhile facing new pressures at home and abroad. The chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Court announced Monday he’s seeking to charge both Netanyahu and Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar with crimes against humanity. Such charges would be extremely difficult to enforce, but the move still represents a symbolic blow to Netanyahu as he grows increasingly isolated. At the same time, a key member of Israel’s war cabinet, Benny Gantz, has threatened to step down if Netanyahu does not develop a plan for the future of the country’s war in Gaza within the next three weeks.

The White House said it does not expect Raisi’s death to significantly alter U.S.-Iranian relations. President Biden condemned the ICC prosecutor’s call for criminal charges, insisting there is no equivalence between the conduct of Israel and Hamas.

NEWS NEWS NEWS

The prosecution rested in the hush money trial of disgraced former President Donald Trump, after testimony from Trump’s former fixer Michael Cohen. Cohen admitted stealing roughly $30,000 from Trump, and called it a form of “self-help.” Perhaps he meant “helping himself.”

The first witness for Trump’s defense, a former lawyer for Cohen named Robert Costello, enraged Judge Juan Merchan by acting the fool on the stand. The judge cleared the courtroom and thundered at Costello: “You don’t give me side-eye and you don’t roll your eyes.” He added: “If you don’t like my ruling, you don’t say ‘jeez.’” Seriously? Rolling his eyes and saying “Jeez” to the judge? Brilliant legal defense strategy from the former guy!

Actress Scarlet Johansson is calling out OpenAI, the maker of ChatGPT, for allegedly using a voice that was “eerily similar” to hers after she declined to provide her actual voice to the company last year. OpenAI denied the voice used for its “Sky” system was a direct imitation of ScarJo. But the company said in a statement on X that it’s working to pause the voice while the company “addresses questions.” You don’t say! We’ve got a few questions ourselves!

A Texas federal judge blocked the Biden administration from fully implementing a rule that expanded background checks when selling firearms online and at gun shows. A Trump-appointed judge banned the rule from being enforced in Texas or against members of certain gun rights groups. The Biden administration had hoped to close the “gun show loophole” by requiring the same background checks standards held in gun stores.

The Supreme Court chose not to hear a challenge on Maryland’s ban on certain assault-style semi-automatic weapons on Monday, while a lower circuit court is pending litigation. Maryland banned military-style rifles like AR-15s and AK-47s in 2013 after the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting.

Senate Democrats plan to push forward with a second vote on a bipartisan border enforcement bill that Senate Republicans blocked back in February to appease former President Trump. Republicans are likely to shoot it down again, but Democrats want to show voters that they are trying to address migration and the crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border and point the finger at the other side for any inaction. President Biden, of course, showed support for that plan.

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