Washington Post, New York Times and NBC News retract reports on FBI Giuliani briefing

The New York Times, Washington Post, and NBC News issued corrections on Saturday to clarify that Rudy Giuliani did not receive advance warning from the FBI that he was the target of a Russian influence campaign. Why it matters: The corrections, which follow extensive reporting from the outlets to outline Giuliani's dealings in Ukraine, come after federal investigators searched Giuliani's apartment last week as part of a probe on whether his Ukraine lobbying on behalf of former President Trump broke federal law.Stay on top of the latest market trends and economic insights with Axios Markets. Subscribe for freeState of play: "An earlier version of this story, published Thursday, incorrectly reported that One America News was warned by the FBI that it was the target of a Russian influence operation," read the Post's correction. "That version also said the FBI had provided a similar warning to Rudolph W. Giuliani, which he has since disputed. This version has been corrected to remove assertions that OAN and Giuliani received the warnings."According to CNN, NBC said its story "was based on a source familiar with the matter, but a second source now says the briefing was only prepared for Giuliani and not delivered to him, in part over concerns it might complicate the criminal investigation of Giuliani."The backdrop: The Office of the Director of National Intelligence found that Putin "had purview over" the activities of Ukrainian lawmaker Andrii Derkach, a former associate of Giuliani — which included the two men meeting to discuss Biden's and his son Hunter's dealings in Ukraine. The FBI was made aware in late 2019 that Giuliani "was the target of a Russian influence operation aimed at circulating falsehoods intended to damage President Biden politically ahead of last year’s election," per the Post, which first reported the story.Giuliani denied any wrongdoing in a statement and argued the search warrants demonstrated a “corrupt double standard” from the Justice Department, per the Times.Like this article? Get more from Axios and subscribe to Axios Markets for free.

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Matt Gaetz: Democrat calls out ‘bro culture’ as former ally’s letter emerges

Joel Greenberg says Gaetz ‘involved in sexual activities’ with 17-year-old as Anna Eskamani decries ‘extreme’ bro culture Matt Gaetz has denied all wrongdoing and said he will not resign from Congress. Photograph: Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP A Florida Democrat who released audio of a strange voicemail from Matt Gaetz has called the scandal-hit Republican congressman “one of the most extreme examples of bro culture”, adding: “We can’t hold back in calling out a hostile and dangerous culture for women and girls.” Gaetz is reportedly under investigation for matters including allegedly paying for sex with an underage girl. This week, the Daily Beast obtained a letter in which a former ally said he and Gaetz were “involved in sexual activities” with the 17-year-old. Gaetz has denied all wrongdoing and said he will not resign from Congress. The Florida state representative Anna Eskamani, 30 and from Orlando, was quoted by the Tampa Bay Times in a piece which also reported how senior Republicans refused to comment on Gaetz’s behaviour. In the short voicemail, which Eskamani says was sent on 19 July 2019, the Seminole county tax collector Joel Greenberg says he and Gaetz “were just chatting about you and your lovely qualities”. Gaetz adds: “We think you’re the future of the Democratic party in Florida!” Greenberg then says: “See, I know you’re the future of it, there’s no thinking involved. Anyway, uh, if you get this and you feel like chatting, give me a shout back. Hope you’re well. Hope you had a nice Fourth, later.” Eskamani said she first thought the voicemail was just part of “another day being a woman in politics”, but had released it because she hoped others would step forward with accounts of interactions with Greenberg and Gaetz. Greenberg and Gaetz are now estranged, as the former faces a 33-count indictment including accusations of stalking and sex trafficking. His lawyer has indicated he may be willing to cooperate with federal authorities. Kevin McCarthy, the Republican minority leader in the House, has said he will not take action against Gaetz unless charges are filed. The letter obtained by the Daily Beast was written by Greenberg as he sought help from Roger Stone, a close ally of Donald Trump, in an attempt to secure a pardon before the then president left office. “On more than one occasion,” Greenberg wrote in reference to the 17-year-old girl, “this individual was involved in sexual activities with several of the other girls, the congressman from Florida’s first congressional district and myself. “From time to time, gas money or gifts, rent or partial tuition payments were made to several of these girls, including the individual who was not yet 18. I did see the acts occur firsthand and Venmo transactions, Cash App or other payments were made to these girls on behalf of the congressman.” The website also said it had obtained private messages between Greenberg and Stone. “If I get you $250k in Bitcoin would that help or is this not a financial matter,” the website said Greenberg wrote. “I understand all of this and have taken it into consideration,” Stone was quoted as replying. “I will know more in the next 24 hours. I cannot push too hard because of the nonsense surrounding pardons.” Stone was one of a number of allies and aides pardoned by Trump in December, over charges arising from the investigation of Russian election interference and links between Trump and Moscow. Trump had already commuted Stone’s sentence to more than three years in jail. “I hope you are prepared to wire me $250,000 because I am feeling confident,” the Beast said Stone wrote to Greenberg in January. Stone denied asking for or receiving payment for pursuing a pardon but told the Beast he had told Greenberg to prepare a document explaining his prosecution. Gaetz did not directly comment on the Beast story, instead retweeting a conservative commentator who wrote: “Because we have a totally stupid media, this story has transformed Joel Greenberg into a temporarily credible source because, of all things, he wrote a letter to Roger Stone.”

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Why didn't onlookers stop Derek Chauvin? Here's what research really shows about bystanders getting involved

An image from a police body camera shows bystanders including Darnella Frazier, third from right, filming a Minneapolis police officer pressing his knee on George Floyd's neck. Minneapolis Police Department via AP, FileThe most powerful evidence for the prosecution at the trial of Derek Chauvin was a video showing the then-Minneapolis police officer pinning a pleading George Floyd to the ground by kneeling on his neck until he grew silent and then died. On the witness stand, the teenager who captured the incident on her smartphone, 17-year-old Darnella Frazier, expressed regret for not doing more on the day of the crime. As a professor whose major field of research is the application of psychology and game theory to ethics, I believe that Frazier’s regret about not physically intervening illuminates two major points: First, a witness to a troubling situation who is in a group may feel a lesser sense of personal responsibility than a single individual. Second, someone in a group of people who can see one another may nonetheless feel responsible to act. The bystander effect The sense of diminished personal responsibility for people in a group has become known as the “bystander effect” – a phenomenon first described in the wake of a celebrated, infamous case. In a 1964 front-page story headlined “37 Who Saw Murder Didn’t Call the Police; Apathy at Stabbing of Queens Woman Shocks Inspector,” The New York Times related the gruesome story of the middle-of-the-night sexual assault and murder of Kitty Genovese, a 28-year-old bartender, near her apartment building. In recent years, academics and The New York Times itself have concluded that the report had significant errors – the number of witnesses was fewer than 37 and multiple people phoned the police. Reflecting on the notorious case long before these errors were known, social psychologists Bibb Latane and John Darley wondered if it would be possible to study failure of bystanders to act in lab experiments. In a 1970 book, Darley and Latane summarized that the chances of any one individual acting in a pro-social or helpful way is lower when responsibility is diffused among a number of people. Subsequent studies also confirmed that individuals are more likely to act when they feel they have the sole responsibility to do so. The bystander effect has been reformulated by game theorists as the “volunteer’s dilemma.” In the volunteer’s dilemma, a person, or a group of people, will avoid discomfort if any one of them takes a pro-social action with a small cost, such as performing first aid or fixing a clogged drain. Any one individual acting alone has good reason to take action – but if there is a crowd of, say, 20 people, the chance that they will do nothing and let someone else volunteer goes up. In the case of George Floyd, the bystander effect was complicated by the power dynamics at play. Chauvin was an armed white police officer, and Frazier and the other bystanders were unarmed civilians who were mostly Black, like George Floyd himself. Given that, it is reasonable to ask whether Frazier, if she had been the sole civilian witness, would have gone beyond recording a video to physically intervene – such as trying to pull Chauvin off Floyd. And it is also reasonable to ask whether she or any bystander should physically intervene in a situation where doing so might be extremely risky. What makes people act After Derek Chauvin was found guilty of murder and manslaughter, people gathered on the street where he killed George Floyd. Brandon Bell/Getty Images What needs to be explained in Frazier’s behavior – and that of a number of other witnesses who also recorded videos or called out to Chauvin to stop – is not why they didn’t take drastic, risky physical action, but why they did take the steps to record videos and yell for Chauvin to stop. To explain their pro-social action, an advancing line of research on the behavior of witnesses to troubling scenes is helpful. That research suggests that having more witnesses increases rather than decreases the chance of intervention and that pro-social intervention by at least some in a group is the norm. A 2008 analysis by social psychologist Daniel Stalder of previous studies found that although the bystander effect is real, larger group size increased the probability that at least one person in the group would make a pro-social intervention. More recently, a 2019 article by psychologist Richard Philpot and four co-authors found that there is a greater chance that someone will act when there are larger numbers of witnesses to public conflicts. They also found that intervention is the norm: 90.7% of public conflicts featured one or more witnesses making a pro-social intervention, with an average of 3.8 witnesses intervening in each conflict. Compared with earlier research, their study is particularly persuasive, as it relied not on lab studies, but on examining surveillance camera footage of actual public conflicts between civilians (not between police and civilians) taking place in crowded urban street settings. The research was conducted in three countries – South Africa, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. [Get the best of The Conversation, every weekend. Sign up for our weekly newsletter.] As Philpot and his co-authors put it, in a line that presages what Frazier and several others near her did: “We found that in nine-out-of-10 conflicts, at least one person – but typically several – did something to help.” In trying to understand bystander ethics, the troubling phenomenon of diffusion of responsibility remains relevant. But it is also important to understand the more positive finding that pro-social intervention like Frazier’s by one or more people in groups who witness public conflicts is common.This article is republished from The Conversation, a nonprofit news site dedicated to sharing ideas from academic experts. It was written by: Wayne Eastman, Rutgers University. Read more:Police officers accused of brutal violence often have a history of complaints by citizensDerek Chauvin trial: 3 questions America needs to ask about seeking racial justice in a court of law Wayne Eastman does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

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Ghislaine Maxwell appears with bruised face in first picture from New York prison

Ghislaine Maxwell’s lawyers have released a photograph of her in prison showing a bruised face, the first picture of the British socialite since her arrest last year on sex trafficking charges. The photo of Ms Maxwell, 59, was included in a letter filed on Thursday to a New York judge by attorney Bobbi Sternheim, who suggests she was injured while having to cover her eyes with a sock or towel at night because guards shine lights in her cell every 15 minutes. “Last night, she was confronted by MDC (Metropolitan Detention Center) staff due to a visible bruise over her left eye,” Ms Sternheim wrote in the letter. “MDC staff confronted Ms. Maxwell regarding the source of the bruise, threatening to place her in the SHU if she did not reveal how she got it,” she added, referring to the special housing unit.” Ms Sternheim added that guards at the jail put inmates in the special housing unit if they have been injured or subjected to abuse by other inmates. "While Ms. Maxwell is unaware of the cause of the bruise, as reported to medical and psych staff, she has grown increasingly reluctant to report information to the guards for fear of retaliation, discipline, and punitive chores," the attorney continued in the letter addressed to Judge Alison Nathan. Ms Maxwell appeared to have aged in the nine months she has been at Brooklyn’s federal Metropolitan Detention Center, with sunken-looking cheeks. She appeared in court last week to plead to new charges, appearing older and frailier, with greying hair and thinner frame.

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Republicans vow to fight 'Six Trillion Dollar Man' Joe Biden's massive spending plans

Republicans last night branded Joe Biden the "Six Trillion Dollar Man" as they vowed to bitterly oppose his plans for the biggest expansion of the US government's role in over half a century. In his first speech to Congress the president outlined massive spending programmes, adding up to $6 trillion, which would be paid for by a host of tax raids on the wealthy. That would include doubling capital gains tax on people making over $1 million to 43.4 per cent, hiking corporation tax from 21 per cent to 28 per cent, and raising the top rate of income tax from 37 per cent to 39.6 per cent. Mr Biden said he wanted to make a "once in a generation investment in America" and undertake the "largest jobs plan since World War II," calling it a "blue collar blueprint to rebuild America." He pointedly rejected the "small government" philosophy espoused by Ronald Reagan and said he would focus on recouping more money from millionaires, billionaires and corporations. Mr Biden said: "My fellow Americans, trickle-down economics has never worked. It’s time to grow the economy from the bottom and middle out. "There are good guys and women on Wall Street. But Wall Street didn't build this country. The middle class built this country. And unions built the middle class." The president will face a battle to get his proposals through Congress amid unified Republican opposition, and even some Democrat concern over their scale. Joe Manchin, a Democrat senator from West Virginia, said: "It’s a lot of money, a lot of money. That makes you very uncomfortable." Delivering the Republican response to the speech Tim Scott, the only black Republican senator, accused Mr Biden of setting out "socialist dreams" and "pulling us further and further apart."

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