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First Debate Preview: Moderator Chris Wallace To Grill Trump, Biden about SCOTUS

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“Fox News Sunday” anchor Chris Wallace, who will moderate next Tuesday’s presidential debate, grilled Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) Sunday on his show about the senator’s past comments regarding election-year Supreme Court appointments and how he has since changed his views.

This interview could foreshadow how the veteran news anchor will likely not hold back in his questioning of both President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden on the contentious issue of replacing the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg following her Friday passing.

“Why would we squelch the voice of the people?” Cotton said on the Senate floor following the 2016 death of Justice Antonin Scalia, in the clip that Wallace played. “Why would we deny the voters a chance to weigh in on the makeup of the Supreme Court?”

After playing the clip, Wallace asked Cotton, “You don’t see any hypocrisy between that position then and this position now?”

Cotton, deflecting, then said, “Chris, the Senate majority is performing our constitutional duty and fulfilling the mandate that the voters gave us in 2016 and especially in 2018.”

(Watch the full “Fox News Sunday” interview with Sen. Cotton here.)

While Republicans have just secured enough senators to ensure that the appointment process will proceed before the election, with Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) announcing his support Tuesday morning via Twitter, the issue remains controversial as Nov., 3 nears. Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) are the only two Republican senators to come out in favor of waiting until after the election to fill the Supreme Court vacancy.

In the wake of Justice Ginsburg’s death, and of the renewed Supreme Court issue, this interview sends a warning to both President Donald Trump and Joe Biden that they should be prepared to answer for any past statements on the matter.

The debate will be held in Cleveland, Ohio, and is scheduled to air from 9 to 10:30 pm (Eastern Standard Time).

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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BREAKING: Hunter Biden Found Guilty on All Three Felony Charges

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Hunter Biden, son of President Joe Biden, was found guilty on all three felony charges on Tuesday. After a six-day trial, a jury concluded that the first son lied on a federal gun-purchase background-check form by falsely claiming he was not a drug addict. The jury deliberated for three hours, starting Monday afternoon following the conclusion of closing arguments.

Hunter Biden was convicted on two charges for lying about his crack-cocaine addiction on federal gun paperwork when he purchased a Colt Cobra revolver on October 12, 2018. Additionally, he was found guilty of a third charge for possessing the firearm while addicted to crack cocaine.

According to National Review, the criminal trial exposed deep rifts within the Biden family. Hunter’s ex-wife, Kathleen Buhle, and his deceased brother Beau Biden’s widow, Hallie Biden, testified against him. This created an emotional divide within the family, especially when Naomi Biden, the eldest daughter of Buhle and Hunter, testified for the defense, pitting mother against daughter.

Federal prosecutors Derek Hines and Leo Wise led the case against Hunter Biden as part of special counsel David Weiss’s legal team. Throughout the trial, Weiss was present in the courtroom, often seen conversing and eating chocolates during breaks.

Prosecutors presented what they described as “overwhelming evidence” of Hunter Biden’s drug addiction at the time he completed the gun purchase. This evidence included witness testimony, text messages, videos, images, bank records, and excerpts from Hunter’s memoir. Key testimonies from Hallie Biden, gun salesman Gordon Cleveland, and ex-girlfriend Zoe Kestan were crucial in establishing Hunter Biden’s pattern of drug use and his decision to lie about his addiction.

Defense attorney Abbe Lowell argued that Hunter Biden’s behavior had improved around the time of the gun purchase, asserting that he did not “knowingly” lie on the federal paperwork. However, the testimonies of Kestan and Cleveland, along with Hunter Biden’s own admissions of drug use in texts and memoir excerpts, posed significant challenges to the defense’s narrative.

Throughout the trial, Lowell conducted extensive cross-examinations of the prosecution’s witnesses and disputed the context of the evidence presented. However, Leo Wise’s cross-examination of Naomi Biden, where he scrutinized her text messages with her father from October 2018, proved to be a pivotal moment, undermining her defense testimony.

Before the verdict, President Biden stated he would respect the jury’s decision and would not pardon his son if convicted. At the trial’s onset, President Biden issued a statement expressing pride in his son’s efforts to overcome his drug addiction.

Hunter Biden is scheduled to face another trial in September on nine federal tax charges related to his alleged failure to pay over $1.4 million in taxes over four years.

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