It’s Wednesday, November 17th, and this is your Morning Wire. Listen to the full podcast:
1) Jury Deliberates In Kyle Rittenhouse Trial
The Topline: The jury in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial deliberated all day Tuesday while protesters gathered in Kenosha.
Quote Of The Day: “Ultimately it boils down to… this whole thing started because Jacob Blake was shot in the back seven times…Everything like this seems to stem around racism and white supremacy, and nationalism, and patriotism.”
– Protester outside of the courthouse in Kenosha, Wisconsin
Morning Wire On The Ground
The jury of seven women and five men were told by the judge to reconvene Wednesday morning at 9 a.m. They deliberated all day Tuesday with a short lunch break and requested the first few pages of jury instructions.
The vast majority of the protesters Morning Wire spoke to in Kenosha support the state’s case against Rittenhouse. Many said they feel this case is explicitly about race, claiming Rittenhouse is a clear example of white supremacy.
At least one protester referenced a photo of Rittenhouse with “Proud Boy sympathizers,” although the prosecution was not able to link Rittenhouse to the Proud Boys, and he has denied association with the far-right group. Protesters also pointed to donations Rittenhouse received for his legal defense, which they say allowed him to obtain expensive counsel, claiming his race was a factor in the amount of donations he received.
Though all of the men involved in the Rittenhouse case were white, many protesters pointed to the Jacob Blake shooting in Kenosha as the reason the case was centered on race.
Throughout the day, Black Lives Matter protesters were chanting the names “Anthony and Jo Jo” and “say their names” – a reference to Joseph Rosenbaum, the first man Rittenhouse shot, and Anthony Huber, the second man Rittenhouse shot.
Activists supporting Rittenhouse claimed the charges brought against him were atypical in a case like this, adding how he has not been allowed a presumption of innocence in the court of public opinion or the media. They say this is due to Rittenhouse’s presumed political affiliation, and possibly due to him being white.
Many of them also focused on Rittenhouse’s right to self-defense, saying the video footage shows he shot Rosenbaum, Huber, and Grosskruetz after attempting to retreat, and only when harm was imminent. They say it was reasonable for Rittenhouse to feel his life was threatened, and expressed concern this case would set a dangerous precedent for self-defense if Rittenhouse is found guilty.
Preparing for unrest: 500 members of the National Guard are stationed in Kenosha in case there is violence following a verdict.
2) FBI Adds School Board Threats To Counterterrorism List
The Topline: According to whistleblower documents, the FBI has begun implementing counterterrorism tools in an effort to track threats against education officials, leaving many parents demanding answers about whether they’re being monitored by the FBI for protesting their school boards.
The Leaked Email
On Tuesday, Republican members of the House Judiciary Committee provided an internal email from the FBI’s counterterrorism division.
The leaked email revealed how the FBI’s counterterrorism and criminal divisions created a specific threat tag to track what they deemed were threats against local school districts.
The email was signed by multiple officials from the FBI’s counterterrorism division and described how those who were considered a threat would be monitored under a new tag called “EDUOFFICIALS.”
Some defended the email, saying it was a good thing, and the FBI should be monitoring those protesting school officials, because they are a threat.
It appeared there were more people, however, who viewed it as FBI overreach, and saw this as an example of the government attempting to intimidate parents who are protesting what’s happening in their children’s schools. They say equating them to domestic terrorists is insulting and the broad language in the email could result in almost anyone being monitored or deemed a threat at some point.
On Tuesday evening, Democrats were largely silent on the matter, but Republicans called it an attack on parents, saying the FBI was exaggerating the threat in an attempt to suppress protest against liberal policies in schools. They also pointed out how this email appeared to contradict statements given last month by Attorney General Merrick Garland.
Going Forward: Representative Jim Jordan (R-OH) sent a letter to Garland, saying he had “intentionally misled” the American public when he testified the FBI was not using counterterrorism tools to monitor parents. Republicans invited him to testify before the Judiciary Committee once more to amend his testimony.
3) Biden Meets With President Xi
The Topline: On Monday night, leaders of the United States and China met to discuss numerous issues concerning both countries, including military aggression, trade, and human rights.
Quote Of The Day: “Let’s get something straight, we know each other well. We’re not old friends.”
– President Joe Biden
On Monday, President Joe Biden met virtually with China’s President Xi Jinping in their first official meeting since Biden became president.
After three and a half hours of discussion, there were no significant breakthroughs on key policies underpinning the relationship between the two countries, beyond a pledge to improve cooperation.
One key area of discussion was Taiwan, which has been the target of increased Chinese aggression in recent months. Xi reportedly threatened Biden over Taiwan, warning that assisting the country in pursuing independence is “playing with fire, and if you play with fire, you will get burned.”
Xi said China would have to take “resolute” measures if Taiwan’s seperatist forces provoked them or crossed the red line.
China’s foreign minister warned Secretary of State Antony Blinken over the weekend that “any connivance of and support for ‘Taiwan independence’ forces undermine peace across the Taiwan Strait and would only boomerang in the end.”
Biden raised American concerns about human rights abuses in Hong Kong and against Uighur Muslims, which China effectively rejected as the United States meddling in its affairs.
Regarding trade, Biden discussed the “need to protect American workers and industries from [China’s] unfair trade and economic practices.” Reports indicate Xi told Biden the U.S. needed to stop abusing the concept of national security to oppress Chinese companies.
U.S. National Security advisor Jake Sullivan also claimed Biden and Xi agreed to start arms control talks.
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