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Politics: 2024Talks - May 16, 2024

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Politics and views in the United States.

Audio file

Speaker of the House Johnson calls the Trump trial 'a sham', federal officials are gathering information about how AI could impact the 2024 election, and, preliminary information shows what could have caused the Francis Scott Key Bridge crash.


Welcome to 2024 Talks, where we're following our democracy in historic times.

This is the fifth week that President Trump has been in court for this sham of a trial.

They are doing this intentionally to keep him here and keep him off of the campaign trail.

And I think everybody in the country can see that for what it is.

Speaker of the House Mike Johnson is joining a league of Republicans, including possible VP pick Ohio Senator J.D. Vance and former presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy, in describing former President Donald Trump's trial as a political conspiracy.

Polls show most Americans feel Trump is being treated fairly as a legal matter, although a bit less than half say the cases obstruct his campaign.

House Democrats say they're disappointed by Johnson's comments coming just a week after they helped him keep his office.

California Representative Pete Aguilar says Trump is using the cavalcade of conservatives outside the New York court to get around his gag order.

And Aguilar says it's odd for the Speaker to attack an independent criminal investigation, although Johnson is politically dependent on the former president.

That's the price that House Republicans have to pay, and that's the price specifically Speaker Johnson has to pay to have President Trump have his back.

Meanwhile, President Joe Biden and Trump say they will have two debates before the election, one in late June on CNN and the other in September on ABC.

Biden said he would not participate if they were sponsored by the nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates, which has come under criticism from both parties.

The New York Times is reporting that Russian government actors are creating disinformation videos smearing Biden, and intelligence officials testified to the Senate yesterday about foreign threats to the 2024 election.

Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines says artificial intelligence is magnifying the danger.

Innovations in AI have enabled foreign influence actors to produce seemingly authentic and tailored messaging more efficiently at greater scale and with content adapted for different languages and cultures.

This comes as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is announcing a bipartisan regulatory framework on AI.

Schumer wants $32 billion to fund research and says lawmakers of both parties are already taking action ahead of the first election in the age of AI.

If we're not careful, AI could jaundice, even totally discredit our entire system of elections as we know it.

Today, I am joining the Rules Committee, which is marking up three bills, all three with bipartisan support, to address AI's impact on our elections.

Federal officials testified yesterday to a House committee investigating the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse.

And TSB Chair Jennifer Hamanti says preliminary findings show the cargo ship Dolly experienced power outages the day before it hit the bridge.

The March 25th blackouts were mechanically distinct from those that occurred on March 26th.

Two were related to routine maintenance in port.

Two were unexpected tripping of circuit breakers on the accident voyage.

The U.S. Supreme Court is temporarily putting back in place a Louisiana congressional map that includes a second majority black district.

I'm Edwin J. Vieira for Pacific Network and Public News Service.

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