Donald Trump says he’s been indicted for classified documents

MIAMI (AP) — Donald Trump says he’s been indicted on charges of mishandling classified documents at his Florida estate, igniting a federal prosecution that is arguably the most perilous of multiple legal threats against the former president as he seeks to reclaim the White House.

The Justice Department had no immediate comment or confirmation.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.

MIAMI (AP) — Former President Donald Trump and his aides are bracing for a potential indictment in the classified documents investigation as prosecutors handling the probe were spotted Thursday at a Miami courthouse where a grand jury has been hearing from witnesses.

The former president’s lawyers have been told he is a target of the investigation, the clearest indication yet that criminal charges could be coming soon, according to two people familiar with the matter. In an effort to get ahead of a potential indictment, aides over the last two days have been reaching out to Trump allies in Congress to be prepared to go on television and offer defenses of the former president, according to another person familiar with the matter.

The people spoke on condition anonymity to discuss matters related to the secretive grand jury process.

Meanwhile, a grand jury in Miami heard from at least one additional witness this week — a former top aide to Trump — as signs continued mounting that prosecutors were building toward a potential indictment related to the handling of hundreds of classified documents at Trump’s Florida home, Mar-a-Lago.

On Monday, his lawyers met with Justice Department officials in Washington to argue against an indictment, exiting the building stone-faced less than two hours later without commenting. Trump, meanwhile, has issued social media posts this week suggesting he anticipates being charged and has escalated attacks on special counsel Jack Smith and his team. And a key prosecutor on the team, David Harbach, was spotted by an Associated Press journalist outside the courthouse on Thursday.

The notification to Trump’s lawyers that he is a target is especially ominous given that such a warning often, though not always, precedes criminal charges. The Justice Department defines a target as someone whom prosecutors have substantial evidence linking to a crime.

“The signal is increasingly that the charges against the former president will be in Florida,” said Brandon Van Grack, a former Justice Department prosecutor and a key lawyer on an earlier special counsel team that investigated ties between Russia and the 2016 Trump campaign.

Lawyers for Trump did not return calls seeking comment. A Trump spokesman would not confirm or deny receiving a letter and a Justice Department spokeswoman declined to comment.

On Wednesday, Taylor Budowich, who had served as a spokesman for Trump after his presidency and now runs a pro-Trump super PAC, testified before the grand jury. He confirmed his appearance on Twitter, writing, “Today, in what can only be described as a bogus and deeply troubling effort to use the power of government to ‘get’ Trump, I fulfilled a legal obligation to testify in front a federal grand jury and I answered every question honestly.”

A variety of witnesses, including lawyers for Trump, close aides to the former president and officials with the Trump Organization, have appeared over the past year before the grand jury in Washington as part of a Justice Department special counsel investigation into Trump over the retention of hundreds of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago and potential obstruction of the government’s efforts to reclaim the records.

But the existence of a separate grand jury in Florida adds a wrinkle to an investigation that has been largely shrouded in mystery and has been thought to be in its end stages. It suggests that prosecutors may be moving toward bringing criminal charges in Florida, where the documents were taken after Trump left the White House and where multiple acts of alleged obstruction have occurred, instead of in Washington.

Though the bulk of the investigative work has been done in Washington, prosecutors could simply read key testimony to the Florida grand jury or have a summary witness summarize all the key evidence, Van Grack said.

Trump’s lawyers met at the Justice Department on Monday with officials including Smith, part of an effort by the legal team to raise concerns about what they say is prosecutorial misconduct and to try to argue against a potential indictment. After that meeting, Trump posted on his Truth Social platform in capital letters, “How can DOJ possibly charge me, who did nothing wrong,” when no other presidents have been charged.

He also called into a radio show, where he confirmed the meeting with his lawyers and said: “Well, I can just say this: They did go in and they saw ’em and they said very unfair. No other president has ever been charged with anything like this.’”

On Wednesday, he issued a new social media post saying, “No one has told me I’m being indicted, and I shouldn’t be because I’ve done NOTHING wrong, but I have assumed for years that I am a Target of the WEAPONIZED DOJ & FBI.”

In a radio interview Thursday with WABC, Trump repeated his familiar broadsides against the investigation, calling it a “disgrace” and casting the documents case as part of a larger politically motivated campaign against him.

Trump’s super PAC, meanwhile, has been distributing talking points denouncing Smith and painting him as intent on targeting Trump, though a person familiar with the Trump campaign’s thinking denied that any specific outreach was underway and said the campaign was in contact with Capitol Hill allies as always.

A veteran public corruption and war crimes prosecutor, Smith was selected in November to serve as special counsel. As former chief of the Justice Department’s public integrity section, he oversaw investigations into multiple prominent Democrats, a track record that likely insulates him from attacks from Trump allies that he’s a partisan prosecutor.

The investigation has focused not only on the possession of classified documents, including at the top-secret level, but also on the refusal of Trump to return the records when asked, and on possible obstruction.

The FBI last year issued a subpoena for classified records at the property, and after coming to suspect that Trump and his representatives had not returned all the documents, returned with a search warrant and recovered an additional 100 with classification markings.

Beyond the Mar-a-Lago investigation, another probe in Washington also conducted by Smith centers on efforts by Trump and his allies to undo the results of the 2020 presidential election.

▶️ St. Charles nurses get ‘historic wage increases’ to avert strike

Nurses at St. Charles Medical Center in Bend have reached a tentative agreement with the hospital for what the nurses union calls “historic wage increases.” The move ends the threat of a strike that was set to begin Monday morning.

St. Charles confirmed it’s a 3 1/2-year contract. It comes after two days of negotiations with a federal mediator. 

The nurses, who have been working without a contract since Dec. 31, still need to vote on the deal.

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RELATED: Countdown to St. Charles nurses strike: What both sides are saying

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The Oregon Nurses Association laid out the wage increases this way:

  • The starting base wage for a nurse holding a bachelor’s degree in nursing will increase nearly $17.00 per hour over the life of the contract, or an increase of 41%.
  • The average base wage for nurses currently on Steps 1 through 5 will increase by 48% over the life of the contract, including steps and negotiated increases to the wage scale. 
  • The average base wage for nurses currently on Step 10 or higher would increase to by 36% per hour by the end of the contract, including steps and negotiated increases to the wage scale. 
  • The average base wage for nurses currently on Step 20 or higher would increase to nearly 33% per hour by the end of the contract, including steps and negotiated increases to the wage scale. 
  • Nurses were also able to secure additional contract protections related to rest and meal breaks. The new agreement provides assurances that nurses will receive their breaks or will receive payments when their breaks are missed.

“For our nurses, this contract is going to be a game changer. But it is really the impact on our patients that is the most gratifying,” Erin Harrington, chair of the St. Charles Bargaining Unit Executive Committee, said in a statement. “We have always put our patients, and the care of our community, front and center. With this contract, we can recruit more nurses, keep the nurses we have, stop the bleeding of nurses leaving the hospital, and ensure our nurses are supported.”

Nurses had claimed prior to this agreement that compensation affected the recruitment and retention of nurses, saying wages did not meet Bend’s cost of living.

“This salary increase will make the nurses at St. Charles among the best paid nurses in the state. It is certainly a competitive wage that will allow St. Charles to make the argument to nurses,” Chief of Staff with the ONA Scott Palmer said.

The hospital recently provided its nurses with a $5 raise, bringing the minimum hourly wage to $45 or nearly $95,000 annually. St. Charles said its average nurse wage is $108,000, making it the second-highest in the state.

Palmer acknowledged St. Charles nurses were paid “close to the top” of statewide wages, before the tentative agreement was reached, and denies the negotiation was centered around the money.

“This was never about the money,” Palmer said. “We know some people want you to think that. but this has always been from the very beginning about recruiting new nurses to ensure the best quality care could be delivered to those patients, retaining the excellent nurses who currently work there and have been working there under very difficult circumstances for years, and making sure that the nurses who bring their skills to Bend are respected by their employer.”

Statement from Oregon Nurses Association

(BEND, Ore.) – Nurses at St. Charles Medical Center in Bend successfully reached a tentative agreement with hospital management early this morning after more than 40 hours of negotiations over the last two days, including working with a federal mediator. The nearly 1,000 nurses are represented by the Oregon Nurses Association (ONA).

“It has been clear since the beginning of our negotiations that the nurses of St. Charles were laser-focused on three core issues,” said Erin Harrington, RN, chair of the St. Charles Bargaining Unit Executive Committee. “Move St. Charles management to a contract that will recruit new nurses to work at our hospital, retain the excellent nurses who already work here, and respect nurses by protecting their legal right to rest and meal breaks, and ensuring we keep our jobs should St. Charles be sold. This agreement does all of these things and more.”

Having reached this tentative agreement, nurse leaders from St. Charles have called off their planned strike, which was set to begin on June 12, 2023, at 7:00 a.m. Voting to ratify the tentative agreement will begin within a few days following detailed discussions of the proposed agreement with the nurses.

If approved, the agreement will include historic wage increases which are key to the recruitment of new nurses. Key provisions of the tentative agreement related to base pay include:

    • The starting base wage for a nurse holding a bachelor’s degree in nursing will increase nearly $17.00 per hour over the life of the contract, or an increase of 41%.
    • The average base wage for nurses currently on Steps 1 through 5 will increase by 48% over the life of the contract, including steps and negotiated increases to the wage scale.  

Compared to the starting wage at Kaiser Permanente in the Pacific Northwest in the final year of their contract (expiring Sept. 30, 2025), the starting wage at the end of this contract for a nurse holding a bachelor’s degree in nursing will be 16% higher than the wage at Kaiser.  

“Given St. Charles’ long-standing challenges recruiting new nurses to work at our hospital, these wins will be truly transformative for our ability to get new nurses at the bedside,” said Harrington. “Higher staffing levels are associated with a reduction in patient mortality, pressure ulcers, need for restraints, infection, and pneumonia among other health outcomes. In fact, research shows there is a 14% decrease in risk for in-hospital mortality for every additional one decrease in patient load over 24 hours.”

Additional elements were also agreed to with a specific focus on the retention of currently employed nurses. Nurse leaders had long pointed to St. Charles’ inability to keep nurses on staff, noting that more than 500 nurses had left St. Charles in just the past few years alone. Those pay agreements include:

    • The average base wage for nurses currently on Step 10 or higher would increase to by 36% per hour by the end of the contract, including steps and negotiated increases to the wage scale.  
    • The average base wage for nurses currently on Step 20 or higher would increase to nearly 33% per hour by the end of the contract, including steps and negotiated increases to the wage scale.  

Nurses were also able to secure additional contract protections specifically related to rest and meal breaks. St. Charles’ own data indicated that nurses missed 42,000 legally required rest and meal breaks in 2022. Research has clearly shown that nurses who miss breaks are more likely to burn out, experience exhaustion, and are ultimately more likely to leave the bedside.  

“For our nurses, this contract is going to be a game changer. But it is really the impact on our patients that is the most gratifying,” said Harrington. “We have always put our patients, and the care of our community, front and center. With this contract, we can recruit more nurses, keep the nurses we have, stop the bleeding of nurses leaving the hospital, and ensure our nurses are supported.”

The new agreement provides assurances that nurses will receive their breaks or will receive payments when their breaks are missed. Nurses were also able to reach agreement with management that the provisions of the new contract, once passed, will remain in place even if St. Charles were to be sold to a new health system.

“Studies show that nurses who work in supportive environments that prioritize nursing resources and minimum staffing standards experience better job satisfaction,” Harrington said. “They experience less illness and injury, less emotional exhaustion, burnout, and moral injury, and are less likely to want to leave their jobs. This was always at the heart of our fight and we are incredibly proud of what we have accomplished in these negotiations.”

“This has been an incredibly difficult process,” said John Nangle, RN, a member of the bargaining team. “Nurses were 1000% ready to go on strike if we did not get a fair contract. We never wanted to. We never sought to go on strike, but we were prepared to do so to protect our community and our colleagues. This agreement does that, and I am grateful a strike is no longer necessary.”

Community support was critical to the success of these negotiations. “We could not have done it without the people of Bend and people throughout Central Oregon,” said Harrington. “We want to thank our union siblings from the Oregon Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals, the Bend Education Association, the Firefighters, the Bend Police, Representative Jason Knopf, the Bend Mayor and City Council, and the hundreds and hundreds of our friends and neighbors who have stood up for nurses and for patient safety. This is as much your victory as it is ours.”

Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers, ONA’s national union, said in a statement to nurses this morning: “This is a historic contract for a historic time. Your tenacity and dedication, both to your patients and yourselves, is truly remarkable. Thank you for holding the line, and for maintaining your integrity, during this extremely difficult negotiation process. This is a victory for each and every nurse at St. Charles, but more than that it is a victory for every nurse and patient in Bend, in Oregon and across the nation! Congratulations on achieving this historic tentative agreement – it is well earned and I and the 1.7 million members of the AFT are so proud to stand with you to achieve the respect, wages, and conditions you and your patients deserve.”

More information will be forthcoming about the contract vote shortly, and additional information on the specific provisions of the contract will be made available after nurse leaders meet with the members of the bargaining unit in the coming days.

Statement from St. Charles

St. Charles Health System is pleased to announce that after two very full days and nights of bargaining we have reached a tentative agreement with the Oregon Nurses Association on a new three-and-a-half-year contract for the Bend hospital nurses.

As part of the agreement, the ONA has withdrawn its 10-day strike notice and will work alongside St. Charles leaders to communicate the details of the contract with frontline nurses. The more than 950 nurses in the Bend ONA bargaining unit will have the opportunity to vote to ratify the new contract in the coming weeks.

Timber Yards development moves forward in Bend City Council

The Bend City Council has moved closer to approving the Timber Yards development near the Old Mill District, giving it a first reading on Wednesday night.

Two more readings are required before the project gets the full go-ahead by the council.

This development will offer 1,600 units that include a mix of housing and commercial space.

Community reactions have been mixed. Some supporters are excited about the economic potential and additional housing options while others are concerned about potential traffic congestion in the area.

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RELATED: Housing, commercial development near Old Mill gets planning commission OK

Former Gov. Brown ordered to testify in lawsuit over COVID-19 policy in prisons

Former Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has been ordered to testify in a class-action lawsuit that pertains to the state’s handling of COVID-19 in its prisons.

The lawsuit, which was filed in April 2020, involves approximately 5,000 individuals who contracted COVID-19 while in custody, and 45 others who lost their lives.

The lawsuit alleges that Brown and others showed “deliberate indifference” to the health of inmates during the pandemic.

This ruling is significant as it is the first time a former Oregon governor has been required to testify in a civil case related to policy decisions made while in office.

A trial has been scheduled for July 2024.

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RELATED: DOJ: 4 in Washington arrested for fraudulently collecting millions in COVID aid

RELATED: Oregon mistakenly issues more than $1M in COVID food benefits — again

$1.6 billion lawsuit over 2020 Labor Day wildfires in hands of jury

A trial that lasted for seven weeks has concluded, and now a jury will decide whether Pacificorp is responsible for the 2020 Labor Day wildfires that ripped through several towns, including Detroit.

The plaintiffs are seeking $1.6 billion in damages, claiming that Pacificorp acted negligently by failing to shut off their power lines despite extreme weather warnings.

The defense argues that other factors were primarily responsible for the fires.

These wildfires were the most expensive in Oregon’s history, burning over one million acres.

If Pacificorp is found responsible, a separate process will determine compensation and damages.

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RELATED: Destination Oregon: Detroit’s recovery 2 years after wildfires

RELATED: $422 million in grants added to help survivors of 2020 Labor Day fires

Bend Airport fire likely sparked by plane that struck something, DCSO says

A fuel pump fire at Bend Municipal Airport appears to have started after the wing of a small plane struck something that caused a spark, igniting the fumes. That fire led to temporary evacuations.

The fire was reported about 1:40 p.m. at the airport located along Powell Butte Highway on the east end of the city.

The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office said an 81-year-old pilot and his 79-year-old passenger, both from California, had just finished fueling their 1978 Cessna 340 A, a dual-propeller aircraft. DCSO said the tip of the wing struck something as the pilot was taxiing away, causing a spark. 

“This spark more likely than not ignited the petrol fumes or possible any excess fuel that was in the area,” DCSO said.

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RELATED: ODF Central Oregon fire season begins Friday; new restrictions in place

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No injuries were reported.

Area residents were warned about possible caustic fumes and the fuel that was burning at a high rate. Evacuation notices were sent out, but lifted a few minutes later as the fire was brought under control.

Powell Butte Highway as well as other arterial roads were closed to traffic for a short time.

Normal airport operations have resumed.

Newer heart transplant method may give more a chance at lifesaving surgery

WASHINGTON (AP) — Most transplanted hearts are from donors who are brain dead, but new research shows a different approach can be just as successful and boost the number of available organs.

It’s called donation after circulatory death, a method long used to recover kidneys and other organs but not more fragile hearts. Duke Health researchers said Wednesday that using those long-shunned hearts could allow possibly thousands more patients a chance at a lifesaving transplant — expanding the number of donor hearts by 30%.

“Honestly if we could snap our fingers and just get people to use this, I think it probably would go up even more than that,” said transplant surgeon Dr. Jacob Schroder of Duke University School of Medicine, who led the research. “This really should be standard of care.”

The usual method of organ donation occurs when doctors, through careful testing, determine someone has no brain function after a catastrophic injury — meaning they’re brain-dead. The body is left on a ventilator that keeps the heart beating and organs oxygenated until they’re recovered and put on ice.

In contrast, donation after circulatory death occurs when someone has a nonsurvivable brain injury but, because all brain function hasn’t yet ceased, the family decides to withdraw life support and the heart stops. That means organs go without oxygen for a while before they can be recovered — and surgeons, worried the heart would be damaged, left it behind.

What’s changed: Now doctors can remove those hearts and put them in a machine that “reanimates” them, pumping through blood and nutrients as they’re transported –- and demonstrating if they work OK before the planned transplant.

Wednesday’s study, conducted at multiple hospitals around the country, involved 180 transplant recipients, half who received DCD hearts and half given hearts from brain-dead donors that were transported on ice.

Survival six months later was about the same –- 94% for the recipients of cardiac-death donations and 90% for those who got the usual hearts, the researchers reported in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The findings are exciting and show “the potential to increase fairness and equity in heart transplantation, allowing more persons with heart failure to have access to this lifesaving therapy,” transplant cardiologist Dr. Nancy Sweitzer of Washington University in St. Louis, who wasn’t involved with the study, wrote in an accompanying editorial.

Last year, 4,111 heart transplants were performed in the U.S., a record number but not nearly enough to meet the need. Hundreds of thousands of people suffer from advanced heart failure but many never are offered a transplant and still others die waiting for one.

Researchers in Australia and the U.K. first began trying DCD heart transplants about seven years ago. Duke pioneered the U.S. experiments in late 2019, one of about 20 U.S. hospitals now offering this method. Last year, there were 345 such heart transplants in the U.S., and 227 so far this year, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing.

In the Duke-led study, nearly 90% of the DCD hearts recovered wound up being transplanted, signaling that it’s worthwhile for more hospitals to start using the newer method.

Sweitzer noted that many would-be donors have severe brain injuries but don’t meet the criteria for brain death, meaning a lot of potentially usable hearts never get donated. But she also cautioned that there’s still more to learn, noting that the very sickest patients on the waiting list were less likely to receive DCD hearts in the study.

Schroder said most who received DCD hearts already had implanted heart pumps that made the transplant more difficult to perform, even if they weren’t ranked as high on the waiting list.

The study was funded by TransMedics, which makes the heart storage system.

Nine people challenging Trump for GOP nomination: Where the race stands

NEW YORK (AP) — After a trio of new announcements this week, the Republican Party’s 2024 presidential field is all but set.

A handful of stragglers may jump in later, but as of now there are at least 10 high-profile Republican candidates officially seeking their party’s nomination. And with the announcement phase of the primary campaign largely over, several leading Republican contenders will gather in North Carolina this weekend to begin a more aggressive sorting period.

It will be a long road to the GOP’s national convention in Milwaukee next summer when Republican delegates across the country gather to finalize their nominee to run against President Joe Biden. Surprises are guaranteed. Fortunes will change. But as of now, every Republican White House hopeful is looking up at former President Donald Trump, who is the undisputed frontrunner in the crowded contest.

Here are some takeaways on where the Republican contest stands:


Trump launched his campaign nearly seven months ago in an effort to scare off potential challengers. It didn’t work.

As of now, the former president is running in a field that features no fewer than nine high-profile challengers. They include Mike Pence, a former vice president; four current or former governors: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Arkansas Gov. Asa HutchinsonNikki Haley, the former ambassador to the United Nations and also a former South Carolina governor; U.S. Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina; biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy; and conservative talk show host Larry Elder, an unsuccessful candidate for California governor.

While big, the 2024 field could have been much bigger. The party’s 2016 class featured 17 candidates that filled two debate stages.

Several Republicans who had taken steps to prepare for a run in 2024 ultimately bowed out. They include former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton.

Meanwhile, a handful of higher-profile Republicans are still considering a run, including former Energy Secretary Rick Perry, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez and Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin.


Make no mistake: This is Trump’s race to lose.

The former president is dominating early primary polls, despite his extraordinary legal troubles, his continued lies about the 2020 election that fueled the Jan. 6 insurrection, and serious concerns among GOP officials about his ability to win the general election. Trump nonetheless maintains a strong grip on a significant portion of the Republican base that has yet to fall in love with an alternative.

DeSantis is Trump’s strongest rival on paper, but the Florida governor has yet to outline a clear path to victory. The Florida governor is trying to out-Trump Trump by taking a harder line on immigration, abortion and other policies that tear at the nation’s divides, while embracing the former president’s combative style and mannerisms.

Meanwhile, Trump’s team is thrilled about the sheer quantity of candidates in the race, which create a math problem that benefits Trump. It looks like 2016 all over again, when Trump won the New Hampshire primary with only 35% of the vote because the other candidates chopped up the rest of the vote.

Trump’s Republican critics warned against this exact scenario over the last year, but for now, they seem incapable of stopping it.


Math aside, Trump’s Republican rivals have yet to figure out a consistent strategy to take him down. That’s not to say they haven’t begun to try.

Pence told Iowa voters this week that Trump “demanded I choose between him and the Constitution,” a reference to Trump’s oft-repeated — and false — insistence that Pence had the authority to overturn the 2020 election. Pence called Trump’s words “reckless” and said the former president endangered his family.

DeSantis, like others, has dropped many indirect jabs at Trump, focused largely on the former president’s inability to serve more than one term and the GOP’s “culture of losing” under his leadership since 2016. DeSantis’ team also thinks they have an opportunity to out-flank Trump from the right on conservative priorities like abortion and immigration.

DeSantis shrugged off Trump’s large polling advantage when asked this week in Arizona: “You don’t do a poll a year out and say that’s how the election runs out,” he said.

Christie may be the most vocal Trump critic in the race, although he hasn’t held office in more than five years.

“I’m going out there to take out Donald Trump,” the former New Jersey governor told New Hampshire voters this week. “But here’s why: I want to win, and I don’t want him to win. … There is one lane to the Republican nomination and he’s in front of it.”

Expect to see anti-Trump strategies continue to evolve this weekend in North Carolina.


The 2024 Republican field equals the GOP’s 2016 class as the most racially diverse in the party’s long history.

At least four candidates of color are seeking the presidency this year: Scott and Elder are Black, while Haley and Ramaswamy are of Indian descent. For Haley and Scott in particular, race plays a central role in their pitch to voters, although all four deny the existence of systemic racism and largely oppose federal policies designed to help people based on the color of their skin.

Republican officials are hopeful that the diverse field will help the party continue its modest progress with Black voters and Latinos. Both groups still overwhelmingly support Democrats, but even small cracks in the Democratic coalition could be significant in 2024.

There is just one woman in Republican field. But there is strong diversity in the ages of the candidates: Trump is the oldest at 76, while Ramaswamy is the youngest at 37. DeSantis is just 44, while Haley and Scott are in their 50s. The rest of the candidates are in their 60s and 70s.


With few exceptions, the Republican field has embraced hardline conservative policies on issues like abortion, immigration, gun violence and LGBTQ rights.

All of the candidates oppose abortion rights to some extent, although there are differences in the degree of their opposition and their rhetoric on the procedure. Pence and Scott have openly endorsed national abortion bans, while Trump and DeSantis have avoided taking a firm position on a federal ban so far. That said, DeSantis this spring signed into Florida law a ban on abortions at six weeks of pregnancy, one of the nation’s most restrictive policies.

The entire Republican field also opposes new limits on gun ownership, including an assault weapons ban. Most blame the nation’s gun violence epidemic on mental health issues. DeSantis this spring enacted a new law that allows Florida residents to carry concealed firearms without a permit.

The Republican field has also embraced the party’s recent focus on the LGBTQ community.

Haley mocked and misgendered transgender women on the campaign trail in recent weeks. Trump and DeSantis have decried gender-affirming surgeries for minors as child abuse. And Scott co-sponsored a Senate bill that would cut funding for elementary or middle schools that change a student’s pronouns without first obtaining parental consent.

There appears to be some disagreement on Social Security and Medicare, however.

DeSantis, as a member of Congress, voted for a resolution that would have raised the age to qualify for Medicare and Social Security to 70. He seems to have moved away from that position since becoming the Florida governor. But Trump has seized on his rival’s past position, while vowing to preserve the popular programs.


The Republican field may be settling, but major surprises in the months ahead are virtually guaranteed.

Trump’s legal problems may loom largest. The former president is already facing 34 felony counts of falsifying business records related to hush-money payments made during the 2016 campaign to bury allegations that he had extramarital sexual encounters. Federal prosecutors are also currently using grand juries in Washington and Florida as part of their investigation into the possible mishandling of classified documents. And prosecutors in Georgia are investigating whether Trump broke the law while trying to overturn his 2020 election loss.

At the same time, DeSantis has only begun to be vetted on the national stage. Opponents in both parties are poring through his background for any sign of damaging information. Republican colleagues openly question his interpersonal skills. And he’s quick to tangle with the media in unscripted moments on the campaign trail.

Meanwhile, major uncertainty hangs over upcoming presidential debates, which are scheduled to begin in late August. Trump, who holds a big lead in early polls, has raised the possibility of skipping the debates altogether. DeSantis has lashed out at mainstream media outlets that would play a role in hosting the televised events. And it’s unclear whether lower-tier candidates could meet the relatively modest polling and fundraising thresholds.

Portland bans daytime camping, imposes other restrictions

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Portland’s city council voted Wednesday to pass an ordinance prohibiting camping during daytime hours in most public places as it, like other places in the U.S., struggles to address a longtime homelessness crisis.

The 3-1 vote changes city code to say that people may camp in nonrestricted areas from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m., but after that they must dismantle the site until the permitted overnight hours begin again.

The ordinance also bans camping entirely near schools, parks and busy streets among other locations.

Business and property owners were among those who backed the ordinance, saying campsites are causing them to lose customers and creating safety issues. Advocates for homeless people said it will further burden them, heightening mental and physical distress.

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RELATED: Deschutes Co. sheriff proposes camping ordinance with time, place restrictions

RELATED: Deschutes County to address Juniper Ridge homeless camping after complaint

Portland has already prohibited camping on city property at all hours. But that measure has rarely been enforced and could be found to violate a state law that takes effect July 1.

The new law codifies a 2018 federal court ruling that bars local governments from arresting people for sleeping outside when not enough shelter is available but does allow “objectively reasonable” limits on where, when and how campsites can be set up.

Mayor Ted Wheeler, who introduced the measure passed Wednesday, thanked councilmembers in an evening statement, saying the restrictions along with efforts to increase shelter availability and services are a step toward a revitalized Portland.

“The next few months will be focused on education and outreach — with an emphasis on ensuring the homelessness navigation outreach teams have clear and thorough information on this new ordinance,” Wheeler said.

Wheeler and Commissioners Dan Ryan and Rene Gonzalez voted for the measure, while Commissioner Mingus Mapps, who was out of town, did not vote but expressed support in a statement, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported. Commissioner Carmen Rubio voted no.

Rubio said the city should not have approved the measure until it builds more shelter sites, expands capacity at places where people find food, services and shelter, and trains police on how to enforce the new rules in a dignified manner.

“I need to make sure this ordinance does not cause harm,” Rubio said.

Portland has a shortage of shelter beds but plans to open city-regulated outdoor camping areas with the first set for this summer.

The ordinance will be implemented in phases with enforcement that could begin in late July, Wheeler said.

Violators would receive a warning the first two times, followed by penalties of fines of up to $100 or as many as 30 days in jail. Wheeler said prosecutions will focus on alternative sentences that connect people with resources.

DOJ: 4 in Washington arrested for fraudulently collecting millions in COVID aid

SEATTLE (AP) — Six people from Washington, Arizona and Texas have been arrested and accused of fraudulently obtaining millions of dollars of COVID-19 aid from an assistance program meant for renters, federal prosecutors said.

U.S. Attorney Nick Brown, Western District of Washington, on Wednesday announced the arrests and charges of wire fraud and money laundering.

The six people are accused of filing hundreds of fraudulent applications seeking more than $6.8 million in government aid and receiving more than $3.3 million, The Seattle Times reported. Most of the alleged fraud was in Seattle’s King County, and focused on federal emergency rental assistance money available to prevent evictions, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors allege the scheme also targeted unemployment systems in Washington, California, South Carolina, and Nevada.

They are accused of spending the money on luxury cars, vacations, designer clothes, jewelry and plastic surgery.

“The participants in this fraud were relentless in exploiting pandemic relief programs that were intended to assist small businesses and people who were vulnerable to eviction,” Brown said in a statement.

Paradise Williams, 29, of Phoenix, Arizona, allegedly led the scheme, creating fake documents and telling her friends how to pose as landlords and tenants needing rental help, prosecutors said. Williams is charged with 19 counts of wire fraud and two counts of money laundering.

Others facing wire fraud and money laundering charges are: Rayvon Peterson, 32, of Seattle; Tia Rovinson, 28, of Fife, Washington; Jahari Cunningham, 45, of Houston, Texas; D’arius Jackson, 37, of Bonney Lake, Washington; and David Martinez, 32, of Pacific, Washington.

Martinez, Peterson and Jackson pleaded not guilty to the charges on Tuesday. The others do not appear to have had initial court appearances and arraignments yet and attempts to locate attorneys for them were not successful. Martinez’s lawyer didn’t respond to a request from the newspaper for comment Wednesday. Lawyers for Jackson and Peterson declined to comment to the newspaper.

Wire fraud in connection with a declared major disaster or emergency, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, is punishable by up to 30 years in prison. Money laundering is punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

Fraud was rampant in pandemic relief programs, according to the U.S. Labor Department’s inspector general. President Joe Biden’s administration asked Congress in March to approve more than $1.6 billion to continue prosecuting people who committed fraud, to create new ways to prevent identity theft and to help people whose identities were stolen.