U.S. appeals court blocks Trump appointee Michael Pack’s changes to Open Technology Fund, a U.S. internet freedom group

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Pack had fired the technology group’s top officials and bipartisan board since being confirmed June 4 as chief executive of the U.S. Agency for Global Media, which oversees Voice of America and four U.S. government-funded news outlets: the Open Technology Fund, Radio Free Europe, Radio Free Asia and Middle East Broadcasting Networks.

Seven U.S. senators, including Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), wrote Pack expressing “deep concern” about the staff cuts he has ordered. Republican House members have also aired misgivings, and four existing board members, including two former U.S. ambassadors, filed suit to halt the changes.

A lower court said earlier in the case that international broadcasting sponsored by the United States for nearly 80 years has served as a “trusted and authoritative global news source” and model of journalistic excellence that has helped to undermine and topple some of history’s most oppressive regimes.

“The defendant, Michael

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Meet Robert Mercer, the conservative billionaire who was a megadonor for Trump during the 2016 campaign but is notably absent in 2020

Robert Mercer and his daughter, Rebekah.
Robert Mercer and his daughter, Rebekah.

Sean Zanni/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

  • Robert Mercer and his daughter, Rebekah, were amongst the most prominent conservative megadonors in 2016, extending unwavering support to President Trump.

  • So far, Mercer has only made one six-figure donation to Trump’s reelection campaign.

  • An influential figure in the hedge-fund industry and a computer scientist, Mercer made principal investments in both Breitbart News and Cambridge Analytica in the past.

  • The Mercer Family Foundation and Trump Campaign did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.

  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

A billionaire donor who bankrolled President Trump’s 2016 campaign has been notably absent during his reelection efforts.

Robert Mercer, a hedge fund manager, donated upwards of $25 million dollars in the previous election cycle across multiple conservative efforts. So far, Mercer and his daughter, Rebekah, have made a single $355,200 donation to Trump’s reelection effort. 

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Combative TikTok Founder Races to Save App Before Trump Ban

(Bloomberg) — Zhang Yiming is the little-known Chinese entrepreneur who built TikTok into one of the most promising franchises on the internet. Now the brainy, combative founder is under pressure to save the business from Trump administration threats.

Venture investors in TikTok parent ByteDance Ltd. have approached Zhang with a range of proposals to address U.S. concerns that the short-video app is a security threat, according to people familiar with the matter. They include selling a majority stake in TikTok to American interests, perhaps strategic investors or the venture firms themselves, said the people, asking not to be identified because the talks are private.

Zhang, who controls the company, has so far resisted. He’s tried building up TikTok’s operations in the U.S., hiring an American chief executive officer and reassuring regulators that user data will not be shared outside the country. TikTok has also stepped up its lobbying in Washington,

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John Oliver slams Trump for pushing conspiracy theories about coronavirus

On Last Week Tonight With John Oliver Sunday, Oliver slammed President Trump for pushing baseless conspiracy theories. In the past, Trump has claimed that former president Barack Obama was born in Kenya, Hillary Clinton got millions of illegal votes in the 2016 election, in which she won the popular vote, and he flirted with the conspiracy that the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was murdered. Just last week, Trump retweeted a tweet from former game show host Chuck Woolery claiming that the coronavirus is just a big lie meant to hurt Trump’s chances of re-election. The day after Woolery’s tweet, his son tested positive for COVID-19, and after posting that it is indeed real, Woolery’s Twitter account disappeared. Trump defended retweeting the conspiracy.

“I didn’t make a comment,” Trump told CBS News’s Catherine Herridge. “I did. I reposted a tweet that a lot of people feel. But all I

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Trump team relaxed training rules for nursing home staff just as pandemic hit

Shortly after the first coronavirus outbreak ravaged a nursing home in Kirkland, Wash., the Trump administration moved to fulfill a longstanding industry goal — waiving the requirement that nurse’s aides receive 75 hours of training and allowing people who study only eight hours online to become caregivers during the pandemic.

The industry had been fighting for years to reduce training requirements, saying they make it harder to recruit staff. The day after the administration announced the change, the industry rolled out a free online training program for certifying the new role — called a “temporary nurse aide” — that has since been adopted by at least 19 states.

Now, after more than 55,000 nursing home residents and workers across the country have died from the coronavirus, advocates for older adults and families of residents say they fear the change was premature, and contributed to the spread of the disease. Nurse’s

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Trump administration drops rule barring foreign students from taking online-only classes

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump’s administration agreed Tuesday to rescind its controversial rule barring international students from living in the USA while taking fall classes online, a sharp reversal after the White House faced a slew of lawsuits challenging the policy.  

A Massachusetts judge announced the decision during a federal court hearing in a case filed last week by Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Judge Allison Burroughs said the universities’ request for the court to block the rule was moot because the government agreed to rescind the policy. 

Monday, 18 state attorneys general had sued the Department of Homeland Security over the rule, which would have forced foreign students to leave or face deportation if they were enrolled in only online classes this fall, when experts fear expanded outbreaks of COVID-19 cases. 

An international student at Indiana University waits for a bus near the university on March 20, when classes first went online because of the pandemic.
An international student at Indiana University waits for a bus near the university on March 20,
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Trump administration drops plan to deport international students in online-only classes

Two of the country’s top universities won a major victory over the Trump administration on Tuesday, after the government agreed to halt its plan to deport international college students who only use online courses to study this fall.

The decision marks a stunning retreat for the Trump administration, which left schools and students reeling following a July 6 announcement that spurred lawsuits and condemnation from a growing list of states, schools, politicians, labor unions and tech sector giants. That included the powerful U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which announced it was “pleased that the Department of Homeland Security rescinded its ill-conceived policy regarding international students” following the decision.

Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology sued both DHS and Immigration and Customs Enforcement last week, days after the government warned schools it would begin to reinstate tight restrictions on the number of online classes foreign students are allowed to take while

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Trump administration reverses new visa guidelines for international students

The Trump administration walked back a sudden policy change that would have potentially blocked hundreds of thousands of international students from remaining in or returning to the U.S. while pressuring universities to resume in-person classes in the fall amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Following a week-long fight by Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and more than a dozen state attorneys general, the government agreed on Tuesday to “rescind” a policy that would have affected international students who are attending institutions that have opted to go completely remote over the fall.

“For the hundreds of thousands of international students across this country who enrich our institutions and strengthen our communities — we celebrate this victory with you,” Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey said in a statement. “This ICE rule was senseless and illegal the minute it came out, and the Trump Administration knew it didn’t have

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Trump Loving Cartoonist Sues The Anti-Defamation League for Defamation

Illustration by The Daily Beast/Public Domain
Illustration by The Daily Beast/Public Domain

Pro-Trump cartoonist Ben Garrison is suing the Anti-Defamation League for… defamation. 

Garrison alleges in his suit that when the famed Jewish non-governmental organization called one of his cartoons about wealthy Democratic financier George Soros anti-Semitic, it cost him  “embarrassment, humiliation, mental suffering, anguish, injury to his name and professional reputation,” as well as an invitation to a Trump White House event. 

The lawsuit is the latest foray into cultural and political wars for a cartoonist who has become notorious online for his adoring, elaborate drawings about the president and his enemies, many of which show a buff version of Trump easily defeating his foes in the Democratic Party and the “deep state.” 

The rendering at the heart of the current legal drama dates back to 2017. In the drawing, Garrison depicted Trump national security adviser H.R. McMaster and former Gen. David Petraeus being controlled

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