Trump Urged Ukraine’s Jewish President to Investigate Biden’s Son

    President Trump pressured Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky several times to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s son, The Wall Street Journal reported.

    In a July phone call, Trump asked Zelensky, a Jewish former comedian who won the presidency in April, to work with his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, to learn if Biden, when he was vice president, attempted to cover up an investigation of a Ukrainian gas company that has ties to his son Hunter Biden, the Journal reported.

    Trump asked Zelensky eight times.

    “He told him that he should work with [Mr. Giuliani] on Biden, and that people in Washington wanted to know” whether allegations were true or not, a source said.

    That person said that he didn’t think Trump offered Zelensky foreign aid, nor a favor in return.

    According to the Journal, a Ukrainian official said there was no evidence Joe or Hunter Biden did anything wrong.

    Alyssa Fisher is a writer at the Forward. Email her at fisher@forward.com, or follow her on Twitter at @alyssalfisher

      GOP Senate Candidate: Republicans Have ‘Dual Loyalties’ To Israel

      A U.S. Senate candidate once employed an anti-Semitic trope by accusing Republicans of having “dual loyalties” to Israel, CNN reported.

      Jason Lewis, a Republican from Minnesota and a former radio talk show host, said on his show in 2013 that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and a “very strong American Jewish lobby” cared about Israel like it was the “51st state.”

      He claimed that the Israel lobby did not control the country but did control the Republican Party.

      “The Republican Party is essentially a neo-conservative party that believes on unending support for Israel,” Lewis continued. “A blind loyalty towards Israel is the linchpin of being a good Republican. And when you get those sort of dual loyalties, what happens if it’s not in America’s best interest?”

      Lewis also claimed that many dual citizens of Israel and the United States were serving in government. One of them, he said, was John Bolton, at the time best known for serving as President George W. Bush’s ambassador to the United Nations. Bolton is a supporter of Israel but does not have Israeli citizenship.

      Lewis became defensive when his commentary resurfaced, telling CNN that their reporting was “pathetic” and attacking “pawns in the partisan media.”

      Ironically, Lewis has been a harsh critic of his fellow Minnesotan Ilhan Omar, the Democratic representative who was criticized for her own comments about AIPAC and alleged Jewish dual loyalty.

      Alyssa Fisher is a writer at the Forward. Email her at fisher@forward.com, or follow her on Twitter at @alyssalfisher

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      Duke, UNC Must Fix Pro-Islam Bias In Middle East Program, Government Says

      (JTA) — The U.S. Education Department told Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to revise its federally funded Middle East Studies program because of an alleged pro-Islam bias.

      The assistant secretary for postsecondary education, Robert King, wrote in a letter to university officials last week that programs run by the Duke-UNC Consortium for Middle East Studies appeared to be misaligned with the $235,000 federal grant it had received, The New York Times reported Thursday.

      Federal resources offered to the program are part of Title VI funding, which strengthens diversity in international studies.

      In June, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos ordered a probe of the consortium, which sponsored an event in March titled “Conflict Over Gaza: People, Politics and Possibilities” featuring supporters of boycotts against Israel.

      Too few of the Duke-UN. programs focused on “the historic discrimination faced by, and current circumstances of, religious minorities in the Middle East, including Christians, Jews, Baha’is, Yazidis, Kurds, Druze and others,” the department said.

      There was “a considerable emphasis placed on understanding the positive aspects of Islam,” the letter also said, but of no other religion or culture.

      University spokespeople told The Times that their institutions will work with the department on the program.

      Zoha Khalili, a staff lawyer at the Palestine Legal group, criticized what she called an attempt by the government to “micromanage to death” any program that criticizes Israel.

      Miriam Elman, director of the Academic Engagement Network, told The Times that the intervention helps diversity in academia.

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      Poway Shooter Told 911 He Was ‘Defending Our Nation Against The Jewish People’

      (JTA) — The accused gunman in the deadly shooting at a San Diego-area synagogue told a 911 operator in the moments after the attack that he did it to save white people from Jews.

      The recording was played Thursday at a preliminary hearing in San Diego to determine if the case should proceed to trial, the Associated Press reported.

      One woman was killed and three people were wounded in the April 27 shooting at the Chabad of Poway synagogue.

      “I’m defending our nation against the Jewish people, who are trying to destroy all white people,” John Earnest told the operator, adding that he believed he had killed people. Earnest gave detailed descriptions of the San Diego intersection where he was parked shortly before he was taken into custody.

      The hearing featured witnesses including a combat veteran who confronted the suspect and a medical examiner who described the wounds of the woman who was killed, according to the AP report.

      Earnest, 20, has pleaded not guilty to murder, attempted murder and an unrelated arson charge at a mosque. The murder charge, classified as a hate crime, would make him eligible for the death penalty if convicted, but prosecutors have not said what punishment they will seek.

      During the 911 call, Earnest said without prompting that he would leave his AR-15 rifle on the passenger seat and step out of the car once law enforcement arrived.

      “You guys are taking a long-ass time,” he is heard saying before police arrived.

        Sackler Family Fortune Protected Under Purdue Pharma Bankruptcy Plan

        Purdue Pharma has a bankruptcy plan that may ensure the Sackler family keeps their fortune.

        Purdue, maker of the painkiller OxyContin, filed for Chapter 11 as it began the process of the settling several lawsuits, The Washington Post reported. The company asked the judge on Wednesday to temporarily pause the lawsuits racking up against the Sacklers, the family that owns it.

        The Sacklers already agreed to a settlement with several states, which sued for their perpetuating role in the opioid crisis. If the judge doesn’t grant them protection, the company said the settlement deal may fall through.

        State attorneys are incredulous, believing the Sacklers should be using their wealth — the state of Oregon believes they have taken about $10 billion out of the company, according to the Post — to combat the growing problem of opioid addiction.

        Alyssa Fisher is a writer at the Forward. Email her at fisher@forward.com, or follow her on Twitter at @alyssalfisher

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