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Hurricane Irma strengthened into a powerful Category 4 storm on Monday forcing Florida to be declared a state of emergency.

Florida Governor Rick Scott declared the state of emergency for all 67 counties in the state on Monday after some forecasts showed the powerful storm could be headed for the East Coast.

Meteorologists had earlier predicted the storm posed a ‘serious threat’ to the US.

‘Hurricane Irma is a major and life-threatening storm and Florida must be prepared. I have continued to be briefed by the Florida Division of Emergency Management on Hurricane Irma and current forecast models have Florida in Irma’s path – potentially impacting millions of Floridians,’ Scott said.

‘Today, given these forecasts and the intensity of this storm, I have declared a state of emergency for every county in Florida to make certain that state, federal and local governments are able to work together and make sure resources are dispersed to local communities as we get prepared for this storm.’

Irma grew into a Category 4 storm on Monday as it approached the northeastern Caribbean with winds of 140 mph. In comparison, Hurricane Harvey had winds of 130 mph when it made landfall in Texas last week.

It is forecast to begin buffeting the region on Tuesday and the US National Hurricane Center said additional strengthening was expected.

Emergency officials warned that the storm could dump up to 10 inches of rain, unleash landslides and dangerous flash floods and generate waves of up to 23 feet as the storm drew closer.

Hurricane watches were posted on Sunday for parts of the Caribbean including Antigua and Barbuda, Anguilla, Monserrat, St Kitts and Nevis, St Martin, Guadeloupe and the British Virgin Islands.

The US National Hurricane Center said the center of the storm could near that region late Tuesday and that islands farther north, including the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, should monitor the progress of the storm and be prepared for Irma possibly to head their direction.

‘Irma is a serious threat for the Caribbean islands and United States,’ AccuWeather Lead Long-Range Meteorologist Paul Pastelok said.

It is still unclear what path Irma will take as it inches closer to the US.

Right now, meteorologists believe there are about three paths the storm could take. It could move out into the Atlantic and completely bi-pass the US, it could hit the Carolinas or it could go south and graze Cuba before hitting the Gulf of Mexico, around the Florida panhandle.

‘This hurricane has the potential to be a major event for the East Coast. It also has the potential to significantly strain FEMA and other governmental resources occurring so quickly on the heels of Harvey,’ Evan Myers, Expert Senior Meteorologist and Chief Operating Officer said.

If it does hit the U.S., it won’t be until this weekend, but residents in the southern U.S. shouldn’t waste time getting an emergency plan together.

‘As we saw just 10 days ago with Harvey, it is important to be ready to evacuate and be prepared with at a minimum, a list of items you would take if you had 30 minute notice or 1 hours notice of 6 hours or a day to evacuate,’ Myers said.

Meanwhile, government workers on the islands of the eastern Caribbean are clearing drains and pruning trees ahead of Irma.

The Antigua and Barbuda weather service said Irma was expected to bring heavy rains, rough surf and high winds.

Antigua’s prime minister, Gaston Browne, urged people to take preventative measures in case the storm should keep on its current arc, saying that should include cleaning drains and removing objects that could be sent flying by high winds. Workers began pruning trees and shrubs to reduce chances for branches to tear down power and phone lines.

‘The passage of a hurricane is not a matter to be taken lightly, but we must not panic,’ Browne said in a statement.

The U.S. hurricane center said Irma had maximum sustained winds of 115 mph Sunday night and some strengthening was expected over the next 48 hours. The storm was centered about 710 miles east of the Leeward Islands and moving west-southwest at 14 mph.

Puerto Rico’s governor, Ricard Rossello, said government agencies in the U.S. territory were prepared to deal with any emergencies caused by the storm.

‘We have established protocols for the safety of all,’ he said at a news conference, while he also urged islanders to take precautions.

In the Dominican Republic, Public Works Minister Gonzalo Castillo said workers there were clearing away road works and also cleaning out blockages of sewer drains. He said President Danilo Medina would hold a meeting with emergencies agencies Monday to discuss storm preparations.

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FBI Ambushes Trump Election Lawyer as He’s Exiting Restaurant with His Wife, Seizes His Phone

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The January 6 Committee sent the feds after Trump lawyer John Eastman because he dared to take action against the Democrats and their massive election fraud operation in 2020.

Trump’s election lawyer John Eastman said the FBI searched and seized his phone last week, according to a new court filing.

Eastman filed a federal lawsuit in New Mexico on Monday and asked a judge to order the feds to return his property and block the January 6 investigators from accessing his phone.

According to the court filing, John Eastman was exiting a restaurant with his wife and friend last week when FBI agents ambushed him and “forced” him to unlock his phone.

The federal agents then took Eastman’s iPhone 12 Pro.

The feds ambushed John Eastman on the same day they conducted a pre-dawn raid of Trump DOJ official Jeffrey Clark.

VIDEO:

CNN reported:

The FBI seized the phone of former President Donald Trump’s election attorney John Eastman last week, according to a new court filing from the lawyer.

Eastman disclosed the search and seizure in federal court in a lawsuit that he filed in New Mexico on Monday, calling it improper.

About six federal investigators approached the right-wing lawyer in New Mexico when he was exiting a restaurant after dinner with his wife and a friend, according to the court filings. Agents were able to get access to Eastman’s email accounts on his iPhone 12 Pro, the filings said.

Eastman contends the agents “forced” him to unlock his phone. A seizure warrant document included in Eastman’s filing noted any electronic devices agents seized were to be sent to Washington, DC, or the Justice Department inspector general’s forensic lab in northern Virginia.

The sham January 6 Committee earlier this year targeted Eastman in a filing where they claimed Trump may have engaged in criminal conduct to overturn the 2020 election.

“Evidence and information available to the Committee establishes a good-faith belief that Mr. Trump and others may have engaged in criminal and/or fraudulent acts,” the committee said in a court filing in March.

The filing was submitted in federal court in Los Angeles as part of a legal fight with John Eastman.

Eastman sued the January 6 panel in December in an effort to block a subpoena seeking emails.

Last week the FBI raided former Trump DOJ official Jeffrey Clark.

The feds conducted a pre-dawn FBI raid on Clark’s Northern Virginia home last Wednesday.

Clark said the agents made him go outside in his pajamas while they searched his house.

Clark said twelve FBI agents, two Fairfax County police officers and an ‘electronic sniffer dog’ searched his house for over three hours. All his electronic devices were seized.

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Senate Sergeant at Arms Who Was in Charge of Securing the Capitol on Jan 6 Dies Suddenly

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Michael C. Stenger, the former U.S. Senate sergeant-at-arms who was in charge of Senate security during the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, died on June 27.

The circumstances and cause of Stenger’s death were not immediately clear.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Georgia) posted on Twitter that Stenger “was found dead today.”

Stenger, 71, of Falls Church, Virginia, resigned the day after the Capitol violence, at the request of then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who hired Stenger for the post in April 2018. Stenger served as the 41st sergeant-at-arms of the U.S. Senate.

The sergeant-at-arms is the chief law enforcement, protocol, and executive officer for the U.S. Senate. The sergeant-at-arms is responsible for security in the Capitol and all Senate buildings and serves as Senate doorkeeper.

In remarks before a congressional hearing on Feb. 23, 2021, Stenger called the events of Jan. 6 “a violent, coordinated attack where the loss of life could have been much worse.”

Former U.S. Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund said Stenger and then-House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul Irving balked at his initial request to put the National Guard on alert after it was apparent that huge crowds were gathering on Jan. 6. National Guard forces did not arrive at the Capitol until after 5:30 p.m.

Stenger, Sund, and Irving resigned on Jan. 7, 2021, in the wake of protests and rioting across the Capitol grounds.

Stenger and Irving also served on the Capitol Police Board, which oversees the 2,200-member U.S. Capitol Police force. The other member of the board is Capitol Architect J. Brett Blanton.

Stenger succeeded Frank Larkin as Senate sergeant-at-arms. He was succeeded by Jennifer Hemingway as acting sergeant-at-arms until March 22, 2021, when Karen Gibson was named his replacement.

Stenger spent more than three decades working for the U.S. Secret Service before being named Senate sergeant-at-arms.

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MSNBC Announces Rachel Maddow Successor

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MSNBC’s 9 p.m. slot, previously held by Rachel Maddow, will now be hosted by political analyst and former anchor Alex Wagner.

MSNBC President Rashida Jones broke the news in interviews with the New York Times and Variety.

According to Jones, Wagner has “got something to say.”

“She pulls in perspective. She brings in some of the context throughout her discussion,” she added. “She knows politics. She knows everything from foreign policy to culture,” Jones told Variety.

“This is not a show where our hair is on fire and we’re yelling past each other, and we’re creating these manufactured moments of tension,” she told the New York Times. “I really want the takeaway from this show to be a better understanding of what’s happening in the world.”

“It’s no secret that the audiences on cable are changing, and changing quickly,” Jones added. “It’s still a big part of the audience that consumes MSNBC, but we’ve really been focused on, how do we take that deep connection and bring it to new places?”

Wagner’s debut will be Aug. 16, and the show will run Tuesday through Friday.

She is the author of a 2018 memoir called Futureface: A Family Mystery, an Epic Quest, and the Secret to Belonging. She was also previously a co-host on Showtime’s The Circus.

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NY Supreme Court Eliminates Law that Allowed 800k Non-Citizens to Vote

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A New York State Supreme Court Judge ruled Monday that a New York City law, which would have permitted resident non-U.S. citizens in the city the right to vote, violated state law and the state constitution.

“There is no statutory ability for the City of New York to issue inconsistent laws permitting non-citizens to vote and exceed the authority granted to it by the New York State Constitution,” Staten Island Supreme Court Justice Ralph Porzio wrote in his 13-page ruling, according to the New York Post.

The judge said that the city’s December “Our City, Our Vote” would go against the state’s Election Law and Municipal Home Rule Law. These laws permitted only U.S. citizens above 18 to vote in state and local elections, according to the judge, the New York Post reported.

Because the city’s law went against state constitutional requirements, should the city extend voting rights to its over 800,000 resident aliens, it would first need to hold a referendum, the judge wrote in his ruling, according to the New York Times.

In December, the New York City city council approved 33-14 with two abstentions in the measure granting the city’s resident aliens, who comprise 10 percent of its population, the right to vote, according to reporting from the Washington Post.

The law was set to come into effect in the state’s January 2023 elections, according to the Times.

Then former New York Mayor Bill de Blasio doubted the law’s survivability in the face of lawsuits, although he did not veto it.

“I still have a concern about it. Citizenship has an extraordinary value. People work so hard for it,” de Blasio said in December, according to the Associated Press.

Republican New York City city council Minority Leader, Joseph Borelli, was among the plaintiffs challenging the law.

In December, Borelli said that the law “devalues citizenship, and citizenship is the standard by which the state constitution issues or allows for suffrage in New York state elections at all levels,” the wire service reported.

Borelli welcomed the Monday ruling in a news release.

“Today’s decision validates those of us who can read the plain English words of our State Constitution and State statutes,” Borelli wrote in the news statement shared on his Twitter account.

“Noncitizen voting in New York is illegal,” Borelli wrote.

The law’s proponents told Gothamist that the case’s outcome was not surprising since plaintiffs filed the lawsuit in Staten Island, a Republican-leaning part of the city.

“They went court shopping where they knew that the court would be favorable to them,” New York City Immigration Coalition head Murad Awawdeh told Gothamist.

“We’re gonna keep fighting to ensure that nearly 1 million New Yorkers who are building their families, paying taxes and investing in our communities have a say in their local democracy,” Awawdeh said, according to the Gothamist.

“That is what this comes down to,” Awawdeh added.

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Voicemail Reveals Joe Biden Knew About Hunter’s Chinese Business Dealings

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Joe Biden called his son Hunter in late 2018 to discuss a New York Times article detailing the younger Biden’s dealings with a Chinese oil tycoon accused of economic crimes — telling him, “I think you’re clear,” according to a report Monday.

The voicemail, discovered on a cellphone backup contained on Hunter Biden’s infamous discarded laptop, would appear to contradict President Biden’s continued denial that he ever talked with his disgraced 52-year-old son about his overseas business transactions — and was aware they could be improper.

“Hey pal, it’s Dad,” Joe Biden said, the Daily Mail reported. “It’s 8:15 on Wednesday night. If you get a chance, just give me a call. Nothing urgent. I just wanted to talk to you.”

Biden then made his intentions clear.

“I thought the article released online, it’s going to be printed tomorrow in the Times, was good,” Biden continued. “I think you’re clear. And anyway if you get a chance, give me a call, I love you.”

During a campaign appearance in Iowa in September 2019, Joe Biden said, “I have never spoken to my son about his overseas business dealings.” His former press secretary, Jen Psaki, and his chief of staff, Ron Klain, have both repeatedly echoed that sentiment.

The unearthed voice message renewed calls for a probe of the now-president’s handling and knowledge of his son’s overseas dealings.

“Joe Biden said he ‘never spoke’ with Hunter about his business dealings. That is simply not true. We need to know what Joe Biden knew and when he knew it,” Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), the No. 3 Republican in the House of Representatives, told The Post Monday.

“This voicemail is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the evidence mounting against the Biden Crime Family. When Republicans take back Congress, we will use our congressional power of oversight to uncover the truth for every American as a matter of national security.”

The Biden voicemail followed a Times report on Dec. 12, 2018, detailing Hunter’s dealings with Ye Jianming, a “fast-rising” Chinese oil tycoon who headed CEFC China Energy Company in 2016 before being arrested two years later amid allegations of economic crimes.

The Post reported in April that Ye, who was named No. 2 on the Forbes “40 Under 40” list in 2016, has not been seen since his arrest and many of the now-bankrupt company’s assets were seized by the government.

In October 2020, emails first obtained by The Post showed that one of Hunter Biden’s business partners, James Gilliar, outlined the proposed percentage distribution of equity in the company.

The plan included a proposed 10 percent share for Hunter for “the big guy,” an apparent reference to Joe Biden, who was then the Democratic candidate for president, according to another former Hunter Biden partner, US Navy veteran Tony Bobulinksi.

“I have heard Joe Biden say he has never discussed his dealings with Hunter,” Bobulinski has said. “That is false.”

But files from Hunter’s abandoned laptop show he struck a deal worth millions with CEFC after touting his deep and monied family connections. One of Ye’s top lieutenants, Patrick Ho, was also convicted in New York of bribing African officials to help Iran evade oil sanctions.

The Times reported in 2018 that Ho called Joe’s brother James Biden following his arrest, but James told the newspaper he believed the call was actually meant for Hunter Biden. James Biden said he passed on his nephew’s contact info, according to the report.

“There is nothing else I have to say,” James Biden told the newspaper in 2018. “I don’t want to be dragged into this anymore.”

Through an attorney, Hunter Biden declined to comment for the 2018 report, which indicated it was unclear whether he struck any business deals with CEFC or Ye.

But the newly discovered voicemail, found on a backup of Hunter’s iPhone XS stored on his laptop that The Post first revealed, seemingly contradicts President Biden’s repeated denials.

Hunter’s friends, meanwhile, ribbed him about James Biden’s comment to the Times linking him to Ho. Devon Archer, a former business partner sentenced to a year and a day in prison in February for defrauding a Native American tribe, texted him the next day, the Daily Mail reported.

“Nice quote from uncle jimmy,” Archer texted Hunter Biden. “I hope you thanked him for that.”

Hunter replied: “Took it totally out of context [actually] the text itself that it was said in. Either way yeah I’m delighted.”

Ho later contacted Hunter Biden and paid him a $1 million retainer to rep him as his attorney, according to the report.

Federal agents at the time were monitoring Ho as a potential spy for China and Hunter accidentally recorded himself referring to Ho as the “spy chief of China,” the Daily Mail reported.

“I have another New York Times reporter calling about my representation of the, literally, Dr. Patrick Ho — the f—king spy chief of China who started the company that my partner [Ye], who is worth $323 billion, founded and is now missing,” Hunter reportedly told a female friend in May 2018. “The richest man in the world is missing, who was my partner.”

The White House did not immediately return a message seeking comment Monday.

Text messages on Hunter’s laptop also reveal he began panicking when the New York Times started asking questions as to why Ho called James Biden looking for him.

Other messages also showed Hunter’s attorney, George Mesires, boasting about steering Times reporter David Barboza away from Hunter and James’ involvement with CEFC.

“Barboza said that there is ‘very little about Hunter’” in the story, Mesires wrote.

There was more good news, according to Mesires.

“No reference to Joe Biden specifically relative to CFEC’s efforts,” Mesires texted.

Hunter Biden later praised Mesires for his efforts, text messages show.

“You did an incredible job of keeping this basically to a big fat nothing,” Hunter told him in one message.

“At the end of the day, I think people jadedly say, ‘This is how the world works,’” Mesires replied.

Hunter Biden remains under federal investigation for possible tax fraud stemming from his overseas business dealings. House Republicans have said they want his longtime partner Eric Schwerin to turn over documents they believe link the president to those relationships.

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At Least 46 Illegal Aliens Found Dead in a Trailer in Texas, and Death Toll May Climb Higher

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A horrendous scene was discovered by police in San Antonio, Texas, in a tractor-trailer where at least 46 illegal aliens were found dead and the death toll could climb higher.

The 18-wheeler vehicle was found on Monday at Quintana road and Cassin road in a secluded area in the southwest of the city.

Local news outlets reported a large law enforcement response of at least 20 emergency vehicles to the incident at about 6 p.m. Multiple sources from the San Antonio Police Department told KSAT-TV that 16 others were found alive and transported to hospitals for treatment.

A KSAT crew also documented a mass casualty evacuation ambulance at the site.

At least 5 victims were reported in critical condition at Baptist Medical Center hospital.

Republican Gov. Greg Abbott responded to the tragedy on Twitter and blamed it on the lax border enforcement policies of President Joe Biden.

“These deaths are on Biden. They are a result of his deadly open border policies. They show the deadly consequences of his refusal to enforce the law,” he tweeted.

A similar horror unfolded in July 2017 when a trailer full of illegal aliens was abandoned at a Wal-Mart in San Antonio. Eight of the nearly 40 migrants were found dead from the heat and two others lated died at hospitals in that incident.

“They were very hot to the touch. So these people were in this trailer without any signs of any type of water,” said San Antonio Fire Chief Charles Hood at the time. “It was a mass casualty situation for us.”

The driver of the truck was later sentenced to life in prison over the deaths.

Here’s footage at the scene from KSAT-TV:

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Mary Mara Dead at 61: ‘Law & Order’ Actress Drowned in New York River

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Mary Mara, a veteran actress who appeared on TV shows such as “Law & Order,” “NYPD Blue” and “Ray Donovan,” has died after drowning in the St. Lawrence River over the weekend.

She was 61.

Troopers responded to a possible drowning call at 8 a.m. Sunday. Once on the scene in Cape Vincent, they found her body, according to a New York State Police report obtained by The Post.

Mara was visiting her sister and was swimming in the water, police said. TMZ reported she jumped in to exercise.

Her body exhibited no signs of foul play and has been taken to the Jefferson County Medical Examiner’s Office for an autopsy, according to the state police.

“Mary was one of the finest actresses I ever met,” Craig Dorfman, her manager, said in a statement to Variety. “I still remember seeing her onstage in 1992 in ‘Mad Forest’ off-Broadway. She was electric, funny and a true individual. Everyone loved her. She will be missed.”

Mara, who lived in Cape Vincent, was a Syracuse native. She graduated from Corcoran High School before heading to San Francisco State University and Yale — she earned a master’s degree in fine arts from the latter’s School of Drama — to learn the skills she used in her more than three-decade professional career.

Mara went on to act in over 20 movies and 40 TV shows, including “The West Wing,” “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” “ER,” “Nash Bridges,” “The Practice,” “Star Trek: Enterprise,” “Lost” and “Shameless,” among others. She also appeared in the films “Mr. Saturday Night,” starring Billy Crystal, and “Love Potion No. 9,” opposite Sandra Bullock.

Her most recent gig, according to her IMDb page, was 2020’s “Break Even.”

Mara also appeared opposite Michelle Pfeiffer and Jeff Goldblum in the 1989 Shakespeare in the Park production of the Bard’s “Twelfth Night,” followed by a string of 1990s appearances for NYC’s acclaimed Manhattan Theatre Club.

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