Epstein pal Maxwell trained underage girls as sex slaves, documents allege. GOP rebukes Trump over “election delay” suggestion. Nationalism on the rise in China. Hong Kong postpones elections over “COVID fears”… Read more in National & International News.
Epstein pal Maxwell trained underage girls as sex slaves, documents allege
Court papers from a 2015 defamation lawsuit against Jeffrey Epstein’s longtime confidant Ghislaine Maxwell shed light on Maxwell’s role in Epstein’s sex trafficking. Virginia Roberts Giuffre filed the suit against Maxwell after Maxwell called her a liar for her accusations against Epstein. The suit has since been settled. Maxwell’s attorney’s have been fighting inclusion of the papers in the current sex trafficking case against Maxwell. In the suit, Giuffre accused that Maxwell “trained me as a sex slave.” The suit also alleged that Giuffre witnessed Maxwell herself having sex with underage girls on many occasions.
Maxwell’s lawyers have also been fighting inclusion of e-mails between herself and Epstein. In them, Epstein concocts a defense for Maxwell during an ongoing investigation into Epstein’s sexual misconduct. The e-mails are significant in the current case against Maxwell because Maxwell contends she had not had contact with Epstein in over a decade, but some of the e-mails date from 2015.
As an aside, Giuffre is believed to have had a sexual relationship with Britain’s Prince Andrew when Giuffre was just 17 years old. There is a now infamous photo of Giuffre with the Prince, who has his arm around her waist. In “Filthy Rich” a recent documentary series chronicling the Epstein case, Giuffre also alleges she had sex with prominent attorney Allen Dershowitz, who was one of Epstein’s attorneys. Both the Prince and Dershowitz have vehemently denied Giuffre’s allegations.
Trump floats delaying election, gets panned by GOP lawmakers
Yesterday, President Trump tweeted: “With Universal Mail-In Voting (not Absentee Voting, which is good), 2020 will be the most INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT Election in history. It will be a great embarrassment to the USA. Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???”
Trump would need Congressional approval for any such delay and unusually sharp rebukes from Republican lawmakers suggest they are not on board. Both Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy rejected the idea. Republican Senator from Iowa Chuck Grassley was especially critical: “All I can say is, it doesn’t matter what one individual in this country says. We still are a country based on the rule of law, and we want to follow the law.”
Trump has variously stated that mail-in voting is vulnerable to fraud, though it has not been demonstrated that mail-in voting is any more vulnerable than any other voting method. Trump has also claimed mail-in voting would unfairly favor Democrats. This second claim is somewhat bizarre, as Republicans have recently won several special elections which made extensive use of mail-in voting.
China’s aggressive global stance sparks wave of nationalism
It won’t have escaped readers’ attention that China has recently taken a harder stance on international and territorial issues. These stances have ranged from rhetorical to legislative to outright militaristic. Whether it’s the increasingly pointed retorts to international criticism, recent crackdowns on dissent in Hong Kong, or incursions into Indian territory, Beijing is unabashedly making a claim to being the world’s only superpower as Western powers are in decline.
Either in spite of or because of criticisms from outside, this aggressive posturing has lead to a wave of nationalism at home. This is despite domestic troubles due to the coronavirus and rampant flooding which has left millions homeless. This is in part due to the government’s powerful propaganda machine and an educational system which reinforces blind patriotism. Part of this propaganda holds that China is on the rise and can no longer be restrained in its ambitions by Western powers.
Hong Kong postpones legislative elections for a year over “coronavirus fears”
Just days after banning 12 pro-democracy activists from taking part in the elections, Hong Kong’s pro-Beijing leader Carrie Lam has announce that the elections have been postponed for a year. Tellingly, Lam also insisted the delay was necessary to ensure “fairness” in the election. The elections were previously scheduled for September 6 and were viewed by many as a chance to voice their displeasure with Beijing’s crackdown on the island. While it’s true that Hong Kong has had a recent uptick in infections, activists doubt this is the reason for the postponement. Pro-democracy figures accuse Lam of postponing the elections out of fear of even a largely symbolic blow against the passage of a security law, which bans secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces.
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