WNBA, Nike unveil 2023 ‘Rebel Edition’ uniforms

Breanna Stewart, Arike Ogunbowale, Napheesa Collier and more WNBA stars will don some freshly designed threads this season.

On Friday, Nike unveiled new “Rebel Edition” jerseys for five teams. This is the third year that the alternate uniforms were released for the campaign, with this year’s theme being “Trace the Lineage.”

Per Boardroom, the theme was selected to “acknowledge important moments, muses, and movements in American history and the impact they’ve made on the game.”

Here are the WNBA’s Rebel Edition jerseys for the 2023 season that have been released so far:

The WNBA season tips off May 19 with four games. The Fever will host the Connecticut Sun to open the action and the Phoenix Mercury will take on the Los Angeles Sparks (5 p.m. ET, ESPN) to close the night. Also, the New York Liberty will visit the Washington Mystics, while the Minnesota Lynx will host the Chicago Sky.

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Russia Will Struggle to Replace ‘Zoopark’ Radars Obliterated in Strikes: UK

The Russian military likely has a “limited number” of “Zoopark” radars left and may struggle to regenerate more of the counter-battery systems that have played a key role for both sides in the war, according to British intelligence.

Last week, Command of the Special Operations Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine released a video of its forces destroying a Russian Zoopark-2 radar system near the Donetsk region. Zoopark systems are able to track the origin of enemy artillery in order to direct counter fire.

“After transmitting the coordinates of the placement of the counter-battery complex, one of the units of the Defense Forces was hit by fire,” the Ukrainian Armed Forces said of the strike.

This video grab from AFPTV footage shows an aerial view of destruction during fighting in the city of Bakhmut, Ukraine, on February 27, 2023. Russian forces are likely running low on counter-battery systems, says the British Ministry of Defense.

The U.K. Ministry of Defense assessed in its latest intelligence update on Friday that “Efforts by both sides to neutralise their opponent’s counter-battery radars have been a constant element of the conflict” since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022.

“These systems are relatively few in number but are a significant force multiplier,” British intelligence wrote. “They allow commanders to rapidly locate and strike enemy artillery.”

“However, because they have an active electromagnetic signature, they are vulnerable to being detected and destroyed,” the update continued. “Russia has lost at least six ZOOPARK-1M and likely only has a very limited number left in Ukraine.

“Regenerating counter-battery radar fleets is likely a key priority for both sides, but Russia will likely struggle because the systems rely on supplies of high-tech electronics which have been disrupted by sanctions.”

Russia’s economy originally showed some resilience against the long list of Western sanctions imposed at the start of the war, but the bans have limited the Kremlin’s ability to quickly regenerate its ever-decreasing military supply.

In February, the U.S. Department of Treasury announced new sanctions on 22 individuals and 83 entities specifically targeting “the metals and mining sector” in Russia. The additional effort “further isolates Russia from the international economy and hinders Russia’s ability to obtain the capital, materials, technology, and support that sustain its war against Ukraine, which has killed thousands and displaced millions of people,” read a release from the Treasury Department.

The Kremlin has been able to escape some of the grip of sanctions, thanks to a few of its allies. Iran is set to send additional Iranian-made Shahed-131 and -136 drones to Moscow after the two countries met this week, and Chinese-made “kamikaze” drones could reach the Russian defense ministry by next month.

There are two variations of the Zoopark radar systems used by the Russian military. The OE Data Integration Network (ODIN) describes the Zoopark-1M, which was originally developed for the Russian military in 1989, as a mobile artillery system that can detect mortar and howitzer gunfire sources, as well as tactical ballistic missiles.

The Zoopark-2 system, on the other hand, can detect mortars, cannon artillery, and rocket and tactical missile batteries, and was first introduced in 1999.

“The Zoopark-2 basically addressed accuracy issues with the Zoopark-1 via new software and hardware that make topographical surveying more effective,” Jordan Cohen, policy analyst at Cato Institute, previously told Newsweek via email.

While British intelligence reported on Friday that Ukraine had destroyed one of Russia’s Zoopark-1M systems last week, the Ukraine Armed Forces said on Twitter that it had destroyed a Zoopark-2.

Ukrainian forces have been using AN/TPQ-37 “Firefinder” radar systems provided by the U.S. for counter-battery attacks, a system fully developed in 1980, according to ODIN. The Kremlin claimed last week that its forces had destroyed three of the systems in a 24-hour span, roughly two days before Ukraine reported destroying a Zoopark-2.

Newsweek has reached out to the Russian defense ministry for comment.

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Transfer Talk: Mount, Kovacic nearing exit as Chelsea eye more big spending

The January transfer window may be closed around Europe, but teams are looking ahead to the summer and there’s plenty of gossip swirling around. Transfer Talk brings you all the latest buzz on rumours, comings, goings and, of course, done deals!

TOP STORY: Mount, Kovacic nearing Chelsea exit

Chelsea are prepared to allow midfield pair Mason Mount and Mateo Kovacic to depart Stamford Bridge as the Blues look to raise funds for the summer, according to Football Insider.

The report reveals that following heavy spending in January under new owner Todd Boehly, the club must let certain players depart in the summer for further signings.

It is believed that the west London outfit are hopeful of securing £100 million in transfer fees for both players, who are out of contract in 2024.

It has been reported that Mount is looking for a new contract that reflects his role at the club, however, talks have not made progress in recent weeks, escalating rumours that the England international will leave. The 24-year-old has been linked with a move to Premier League rivals Liverpool, with Jurgen Klopp expected to undergo a midfield overhaul ahead of next season.

The Blues are optimistic that they can transfer Kovacic for a profit, after the Croatian signed for £40m from Real Madrid in 2019. The midfielder has featured over 200 times for Chelsea since his move, but will seemingly see his time at the club finish.

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Internazionale and Napoli are monitoring the situation of Liverpool midfielder Naby Keita, according to Ekrem Konur. The 28-year-old has failed to live up to expectations at Anfield since his move from RB Leipzig in 2018, as injuries and inconsistent performances have seen the Guinea international fall down the pecking order. Keita is out of contract in the summer, and with a contract extension at Liverpool unlikely.

Arsenal have made West Ham United midfielder Declan Rice a priority for the summer and are preparing a bid in excess of £100m, report Football Insider. The report states that the Gunners are in the market for a central midfield player and are willing to splash the cash, in order to beat their rivals to the signature of the England international. Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool all hold an interest in the 24-year-old.

Barcelona and Inter Milan are both interested in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang but Chelsea are reluctant to transfer the forward back to the Spanish giants, as per AS. Aubameyang was seen supporting his former club at the El Clasico earlier in the month, which left the Blues were left furious. AS have revealed that Internazionale are also interested in the former Arsenal talisman, which dampens the Catalan club’s chances.

– Barcelona would prefer to sign Bernardo Silva over his Manchester City teammate Ilkay Gundogan but finances make the latter more likely, reports Mundo Deportivo. The report states that Silva’s transfer would cost roughly £80m, which would prove to be problematic for cash-strapped Barcelona. Instead, the temptation of Gundogan, who would be available on a free transfer, could prove decisive in who the LaLiga leaders opt to sign.

Marcus Thuram is undecided on his next destination, with Inter Milan and Juventus both interested in the winger, according to Calciomercato. The Frenchman is almost certain to leave Borussia Monchengladbach on a free transfer in the summer, and the report reveals that Inter are currently ahead of rivals Juventus, in the race for Thuram’s signature.

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Minneapolis Agrees to Sweeping Changes in Policing

A deal with state human-rights officials calls for the city’s police to rein in the use of force and cease practices that critics say have been racially discriminatory.

MINNEAPOLIS — The city of Minneapolis agreed on Friday to make sweeping changes in policing, including a pledge to rein in the use of force and discontinue the practice of using the smell of marijuana as a pretext to search people.

The promised changes are part of a legal settlement between the city and the Minnesota Department of Human Rights, which found in a report last year that the Minneapolis Police Department had routinely engaged in racially discriminatory practices and failed to punish officers for misconduct.

State and city officials called Friday’s agreement a milestone in the quest to change the culture of the police force that sparked a national reckoning over systemic racism in law enforcement after the murder of George Floyd by a police officer in 2020.

“I feel optimistic,” Mayor Jacob Frey said at a news conference on Friday. “The agreement isn’t change in and of itself, but it charts a clear road map.”

The accord is the first of what are expected to be two government-mandated plans for comprehensively overhauling policing in the city. The Justice Department is conducting a separate civil rights investigation that city officials expect to yield a consent decree.

The state investigation, started in the wake of Mr. Floyd’s death, painted a damning portrait of the Police Department.

Investigators found that Black people in Minneapolis were far more likely to be arrested, searched and stopped than white people. A review of more than 700 hours of body camera footage revealed that officers often used slurs to demean women and Black people, a practice so pervasive that it often imperiled prosecutions.

The murder of George Floyd in May 2020 by a Minneapolis police officer sparked a national reckoning over systemic racism in law enforcement.Aaron Nesheim for The New York Times

Chief Brian O’Hara, who took the helm of the embattled police force in November, said that his department acknowledged the need for transformational change.

“We recognize that some terrible things have happened here in the past,” Chief O’Hara, a former senior law enforcement official and deputy mayor of Newark, told reporters on Friday. “We will continue to work tirelessly to ensure that the culture of policing in this town, as well as the narrative around policing and public safety, continues to change.”

Officials said the city’s agreement with the state included some provisions that the department had already adopted as policy, and others that were new.

Notable new requirements include a clear mandate that officers who witness colleagues committing abuses must intervene and report the misconduct. Another would prohibit officers from “using language to taunt or denigrate an individual, including using racist or otherwise derogatory language.” And the agreement precludes officers from relying on the smell of marijuana as a legal pretext to stop and search individuals.

Officers will also be barred from directing that people who are severely agitated be sedated. The tactic came under scrutiny after Mr. Floyd’s killing.

Rebecca Lucero, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Human Rights, called the agreement “a powerful tool for change,” with strong enforcement mechanisms.

The state and city plan to submit the 144-page agreement to a state court that will be responsible for monitoring compliance. State and city officials will also appoint an independent team to evaluate how effectively the agreement is being carried out and issue regular public reports.

“This is different than anything the city has ever done to strengthen public safety,” Ms. Lucero said. “The city cannot walk away from this agreement; it is only the court that can and will end this agreement, after the city reaches full, effective and sustained compliance.”

State and city officials said they had consulted widely with police officers and city residents before drafting the agreement, which the Minneapolis City Council approved unanimously during a brief session on Friday morning.

It was hard to gauge the extent to which rank-and-file officers embraced the mandate for comprehensive change. The president of the Minneapolis police union did not respond to a request for an interview on Friday.

Chief O’Hara said that since the killing of Mr. Floyd, the Police Department had grappled with an exodus of officers and a flurry of new rules and oversight that has left officers confused and overwhelmed.

“Our cops have been through so much already,” he said in an interview. “I think what they’re looking for is support and direction on what we need to do going forward.”

Putting the new agreement into practice will require an extensive retraining of officers, as well as upgrades in information technology that city officials said would cost tens of millions of dollars.

A formidable challenge to transforming the city’s Police Department is the need to bolster its depleted ranks.

Before Mr. Floyd was killed, Minneapolis had roughly 910 sworn officers. Since then, a sharp rise in resignations and retirements has reduced the total to 593 officers as of early March, well below the 731 officers required by the City Charter.

Chief O’Hara said the city hoped to recruit a new generation of officers, but that it was struggling to attract recruits to a department with a tarnished reputation at a time when unemployment is low and the competition for talent is fierce.

“Policing in general has a problem with perception, but I think it’s nowhere more pronounced than in Minneapolis,” the chief said. “We need to fight against that as we reform.”

Nekima Levy Armstrong, a civil rights attorney in Minneapolis, called Friday’s agreement a step in the right direction. But she said that profound change would take generations and require sustained commitment from all stakeholders.

“There is a long road ahead of us, because so much damage has been done over the years,” said Ms. Armstrong, who served as a co-chair of a working group that advised Mayor Frey on public safety. “There is a significant lack of trust between the public, primarily communities of color, and the city and the Minneapolis Police Department, and a consent decree itself is not going to repair that harm.”


Michigan center Dickinson enters transfer portal

Michigan star big man Hunter Dickinson entered the transfer portal Friday.

Dickinson, a 7-foot-1 junior, is classified as a graduate transfer and plans to graduate at the end of the summer semester.

One of the most dominant centers in the country over the course of his three seasons in Ann Arbor, he immediately becomes the best player in the portal this spring. Dickinson earned first-team All-Big Ten honors in 2021 and 2023 and second-team honors in 2022. He was also a consensus second-team All-American in 2021 following his freshman season with the Wolverines.

Dickinson averaged 18.5 points and 9 rebounds this season, after putting up 18.6 points and 8.6 rebounds a game last season. In 94 games at Michigan, he has averaged 17.2 points, 8.4 rebounds and 1.6 blocks, while shooting 57% from the field.

“Today is bittersweet. While Hunter Dickinson’s departure is unfortunate, there are so many reasons to be thankful for and celebrate,” Michigan coach Juwan Howard said in a statement. “This young man has accomplished so much in his three seasons. Statistics aside, Hunter helped us to a Big Ten title, back-to-back Sweet 16s, as well as a memorable Elite Eight run. These are memories that will last a lifetime.

“What I love most is he was an Academic All-Big Ten honoree, twice. That says so much about his character and maturity. As much as I tried to instill in him, he was a guide and inspiration for me. We wish Hunter and his family all the best in the future.”

Michigan went to the Elite Eight in Dickinson’s first season and the Sweet 16 in his second, but the Wolverines missed the NCAA tournament this year after losing their final three games before Selection Sunday.

If Dickinson’s career in Ann Arbor is over, he ends with the sixth-most career double-doubles in program history and is the 31st player with more than 1,000 points and 500 rebounds.

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For Some G.O.P. Voters, Fatigue Slows the Rush to Defend Trump

The Republicans who will pick their 2024 nominee expressed anger, defensiveness and also embarrassment about the indictment facing Donald J. Trump.

Republican officials almost unanimously rallied around Donald J. Trump after his indictment, but the actual G.O.P. voters who will render a verdict on his political future next year weren’t nearly as solidly behind him.

Some previous Trump voters said the indictment, the first ever of a former president, was the latest shattering of norms in a ledger already stuffed with chaos from the Trump years, and it was time for their party to move on in seeking a 2024 nominee.

In Hawthorne, N.Y., Scott Gray, a land surveyor who voted for Mr. Trump in two elections, said he had wearied of him.

“I think he did a lot of things right,” Mr. Gray said, then immediately darted in the other direction: “I think he’s completely unpresidential. I can’t believe he’s still running for office.”

As an alternative, Mr. Gray said he was interested in “that guy down in Florida who’s governor — DeSantis.” (Ron DeSantis, who is expected to run but has not yet announced a campaign, is Mr. Trump’s closest rival for the G.O.P. nomination in recent polling of primary voters.)

In conversations with Republican-leaning voters around the country, Mr. Trump’s indictment brought out much anger, occasional embarrassment and a swirl of contradictory reactions, not unlike every other twist in the yearslong high drama of Donald Trump.

As expected, many rallied around the former president, calling the indictment by a Democratic prosecutor in New York a sham — a provocation they said would only cement their allegiance to Mr. Trump, who for years has encouraged supporters to see attacks on him as also attacks on them.

Vendors selling Trump merchandise on Friday near the White House.Kenny Holston/The New York Times

But for some the rush to defend was weighed down by scandal fatigue and a sense that Mr. Trump’s time has passed.

Outside Wild Cherry Nail and Hair Studio in Port Richey, Fla., on Friday, Ilyse Internicola and Meghan Seltman, both Trump supporters, discussed the indictment during a smoke break.

“How far are they going to go?” Ms. Internicola, a hair stylist in the salon, demanded.

Ms. Seltman, a manicurist, said she would “always stay loyal” to Mr. Trump. “But for the presidency, I’d like to see DeSantis have his chance,” she said. “He’s done well with Florida, and I’d like to see what he does with the nation. Get it back to how it used to be.”

Mr. Trump was charged by a grand jury on Thursday with more than two dozen counts, with an arraignment expected on Tuesday, when specific charges will be unsealed.

The news of the day on Thursday in Times Square in Manhattan.Todd Heisler/The New York Times

Polling has shown a marked shift toward Mr. Trump among Republicans in recent months, primarily at Mr. DeSantis’s expense, which may partly reflect the highly anticipated indictment, on charges stemming from a $130,000 payment to a porn star on the eve of the 2016 election. Nearly two weeks ago, Mr. Trump incorrectly predicted the day of his arrest and called for protests, seeking to energize supporters. His provocations have included posting a picture of himself wielding a baseball bat beside a picture of the Manhattan district attorney, Alvin L. Bragg.

William Stelling, a real estate agent in Jacksonville, Fla., once kept his options open about the 2024 Republican primary. But the indictment goaded him to stand up for the former president.

How Times reporters cover politics. We rely on our journalists to be independent observers. So while Times staff members may vote, they are not allowed to endorse or campaign for candidates or political causes. This includes participating in marches or rallies in support of a movement or giving money to, or raising money for, any political candidate or election cause.

“I am dusting off my Trump flags and hanging them proudly,” Mr. Stelling said. “This proves to me that he’s the right candidate. Because they’re throwing the kitchen sink at him on a trumped-up charge that we all know is basically a misdemeanor at best.”

Debbie Dooley, a staunch Trump loyalist who helped found the Atlanta Tea Party, went so far as to organize a demonstration for Mr. Trump during a DeSantis visit to suburban Atlanta on Thursday. She said the indictment bolstered her faith that he would win the presidency in his third campaign.

“I’m going to go ahead and make reservations for a hotel in D.C. for the inauguration because Trump is going to be the next president of the United States,” she said. “The prosecutor’s not doing anything but helping him.”

And Allan Terry, a Trump supporter in Charleston, S.C., who has Trump flags flying in his front and back yard, plans to add a new one to his truck, he said.

“If he messed around, so what?” Mr. Terry said of the payment to the former porn star, Stormy Daniels, which prosecutors say underlies violations of campaign finance and business records laws. “It’s immoral. It’s wrong. He shouldn’t have done it. If he did, so what does that have to do with his presidency?”

But not all previous Trump backers share such loyalty. In a Quinnipiac University poll released this week before the indictment, one in four Republicans and one in three independents said criminal charges should disqualify Mr. Trump as a presidential candidate.

A Fox News poll of the potential Republican field this week showed Mr. Trump with 54 percent of support from primary voters, followed by Mr. DeSantis at 24 percent and others, including former Vice President Mike Pence and Nikki Haley, the former U.S. ambassador and South Carolina governor, in single digits.

In Iowa, which will hold the first Republican nominating contest early next year, Gypsy Russ, who lives in Iowa City, said she once supported Mr. Trump but doubted he could win the party’s embrace yet again.

“There’s not enough Republicans supporting him,” she said.

Gypsy Russ, of Iowa City, who identifies as a moderate Republican, on Thursday evening.Rachel Mummey for The New York Times

Ms. Russ said Mr. Trump had shown over and over that he is not presidential. “He’s just very rude,” she said. “And he doesn’t talk like a president is supposed to.” Although he has many fans, including her parents, she added, “He didn’t gain any more followers because of the way he carries himself.”

Jim Alden, a Republican businessman from Franconia, N.H., who is no particular fan of Mr. Trump’s, nonetheless predicted that the indictment would strengthen his support because Republicans find the behavior underlying the charges to be inconsequential, and they believe politics were driving Mr. Bragg, the Manhattan district attorney, in his inquiry.

“Unfortunately, it will embolden Trump’s core supporters because he has cultivated this persecution complex, and being indicted on what may be a questionably strong case is only going to strengthen the persecution complex,” said Mr. Alden.

Outside Mar-a-Lago on Friday. Josh Ritchie for The New York Times

One of those core supporters was Keith Marcus, who owns a wholesale beauty supply business in New York City.

“I’m shocked and I’m upset,” he said. The indictment “is setting a really bad precedent for the future,” he added. “It’s just a witch hunt. The D.A. is a joke — a total joke.”

But the indictment also seemed to have shaken at least some Trump voters’ willingness to back him in a bid for another four years in the White House.

In Hawthorne, N.Y., a red island of Republican voters in the otherwise liberal northern suburbs of New York, Palmy Vocaturo said he twice voted for Mr. Trump, but his confidence in him has eroded in light of the criminal investigations, not just in Manhattan but in cases pursued by a Georgia prosecutor and a special counsel for the Justice Department.

“I’m getting mixed feelings,” said Mr. Vocaturo, a retired construction worker. “If he is as bad as I think he is, go ahead and do something,” he said of the indictment.

Jon Hurdle, Elisabeth Parker and Haley Johnson contributed reporting.


Espionage Charge Adds Hurdle to Freeing a Reporter Detained in Russia

The Biden administration recently secured the release of two Americans convicted of criminal charges in Russia, but even fabricated charges of spying can raise the stakes.

WASHINGTON — Freeing any American who has been imprisoned in Russia is a daunting challenge, but the espionage charge leveled against a Wall Street Journal reporter detained there this week will make efforts to secure his release particularly difficult.

The Russian authorities have accused the reporter, Evan Gershkovich, of trying to gain illicit information about the country’s “military-industrial complex.” In the Kremlin’s eyes, experts say, that puts him in a special category of prisoners — one quite different from that of two Americans whom Russia has released since the start of the war in Ukraine.

Both of those Americans, the W.N.B.A. star Brittney Griner and the former U.S. Marine Trevor Reed, were being held on standard criminal offenses — Ms. Griner on drug charges, Mr. Reed on charges of assaulting police officers — when the Biden administration negotiated their releases, trading them for Russians who were serving criminal sentences of their own in American prisons.

“Let him go,” President Biden told reporters on Friday when asked what his message about Mr. Gershkovich was for the Kremlin.

But the allegations against Mr. Gershkovich, which he denied in a court appearance on Thursday and which his employer adamantly rejects, could signal a higher Kremlin asking price than in those earlier cases.

That is the lesson to date in the case of yet another American accused of spying and imprisoned by Russia, Paul Whelan. The corporate security executive and former Marine was arrested at a Moscow hotel in December 2018, charged with espionage, and given a 16-year prison sentence. Mr. Whelan has denied the charges against him, and U.S. officials insist that he was not conducting espionage — a claim supported by intelligence experts who do not find the notion credible.

People familiar with Mr. Whelan’s case say that Russia has insisted on what would amount to a fair trade if the charges against him were legitimate — a spy for a spy, in other words. Russia officials “continue to insist on sham charges of espionage,” Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken said in December, “and are treating Paul’s case differently.”

That helps explain why Mr. Whelan has remained in a bleak Russian prison months after Mr. Reed and Ms. Griner returned home. The United States is not known to be detaining a Russian spy, and even if it were, the Biden administration would be reluctant to make a purported spy trade that lent credibility to false Kremlin allegations of espionage.

U.S. officials say Russia has demanded to trade Mr. Whelan for Vadim Krasikov, a Russian assassin serving a life sentence in Germany for murdering a Chechen fighter in a Berlin park. The United States says it cannot make a bargain involving a prisoner held in Germany.

Clear signs have already emerged that the Kremlin was motivated by a potential spy swap. Pro-Russia commentators started speculating about the possibility almost immediately, even as they posited that Mr. Gershkovich would first need to be tried and sentenced.

Speaking on a state television talk show Thursday, one commentator, Igor Korotchenko, said the Biden administration needed to “accept the situation” and “work on thinking through possible trades that could happen after this U.S. citizen gets his sentence.”

Daniel Hoffman, a former C.I.A. operative who was stationed in Moscow for five years, called the arrest a cynical ploy by President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia.

“Putin essentially takes American citizens hostage because he wants to use them as leverage,” Mr. Hoffman said. “The charges he brings are just going to reflect how he sees the endgame. So if he brings espionage charges, he’s going to want to get one of his own spies back.”

Mr. Hoffman said Mr. Putin could be seeking the release of Sergey Cherkasov, a man who U.S. officials say is a Russian undercover operative who posed as a Brazilian student to study in the United States before getting a job at the International Criminal Court in The Hague. Mr. Cherkasov was deported last April from the Netherlands to Brazil, where he was arrested, prosecuted and sentenced to 15 years in prison. But it was only last week that the U.S. Justice Department charged Mr. Cherkasov as a Russian intelligence agent, leading Mr. Hoffman and others to think Mr. Putin might have been motivated to respond.

Several accused Russian agents have been arrested by Western nations in recent months, including six people detained by Polish authorities in mid-March and accused of planning sabotage operations, and a couple sentenced to prison by a Swedish court in January for a decade of spying for Moscow. But U.S. officials have said that, as in the case of Mr. Krasikov, they cannot instruct allies to release prisoners for America’s benefit.

For the Kremlin, the arrest of Mr. Gershkovich serves other purposes. It is also a chance to show that Russia is prepared to take ever more drastic steps in confronting what Mr. Putin frequently refers to as “Western hegemony.”

At the same time, the Kremlin’s propaganda machine has used the case to press its narrative of Western subversion. An evening news broadcast on state television referred to Mr. Gershkovich as “the wolf of Wall Street,” and asserted that he had been spreading “anti-Russian, pro-Ukrainian propaganda” in his articles.

Just days before Mr. Gershkovich’s arrest, he wrote an article on the toll that Western sanctions against Russia have begun to take on the country’s economy.

“This is a dark day for journalism and for information about what’s happening in Russia,” said Fiona Hill, a former National Security Council official for Russia matters in the Trump White House.

Mr. Gershkovich would face up to 20 years in prison if convicted. Acquittals in espionage cases in Russia are virtually unheard-of.

If recent precedent is a guide, he is likely to spend more than a year in a high-security prison in almost complete isolation awaiting the end of a lengthy investigation and trial, according to two Russian lawyers who have worked on similar cases.

A Moscow court on Thursday ordered Mr. Gershkovich jailed until May 29. But according to Ivan Pavlov, a Russian lawyer who has defended Russian clients in espionage and treason cases, the proceedings might take up to two years.

During that time, details of the case will most likely be shrouded from the public, he said.

Russia’s state media reported that after he was detained in Yekaterinburg, a city in the Ural Mountains, Mr. Gershkovich was transferred to Moscow’s infamous Lefortovo prison, once used by the K.G.B. to hold Soviet dissidents.

Mr. Gershkovich was transferred to Moscow’s Lefortovo prison after being detained in Yekaterinburg.Evgenia Novozhenina/Reuters

Ms. Griner was freed in December in a trade for the notorious Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, who was serving a U.S. federal prison sentence for aiding terrorists. Mr. Reed was traded last April for a Russian pilot convicted of drug smuggling charges. U.S. officials have reported no recent progress in their efforts to win Mr. Whelan’s freedom.

On Thursday, a Russian deputy foreign minister, Sergei A. Ryabkov, said it was too soon to discuss a swap for Mr. Gershkovich. According to the Russian news agency Interfax, he noted that recent exchanges had occurred only after the accused had been convicted.


Ivanka Trump Issues 3-Sentence Response to Trump Indictment

Former President Donald Trump‘s eldest daughter Ivanka Trump has weighed in on her father’s criminal indictment in New York City.

In an unprecedented move, a grand jury tied to Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s investigation of 2016 hush money payments to adult-film star Stormy Daniels voted to indict the former president on Thursday.

Ivanka Trump, who served as senior adviser in her father’s administration, has recently distanced herself from politics and vowed to not be involved in her father’s 2024 presidential campaign. She said in a statement posted to Instagram on Friday that the indictment “pained” her.

“I love my father, and I love my country,” she said. “Today, I am pained for both. I appreciate the voices across the political spectrum expressing support and concern.”

Ivanka Trump, then-senior adviser to the president, is pictured at a GOP rally in Dalton, Georgia, on January 4, 2021. The daughter of former President Donald Trump briefly spoke about the criminal indictment handed down against her father, saying, “I am pained.”
Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty

After the former president announced his third bid for the White House last year, Ivanka Trump said that she would “always love and support” her father but did “not plan to be involved in politics” moving forward. Her recent social media activity has been largely limited to posting photos of herself and her children.

She has also sought to distance herself from her father and brothers, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, in a civl fraud lawsuit filed by New York State Attorney General Letitia James against the Trump Organization.

Ivanka Trump’s brothers reacted to news of their father’s indictment almost immediately. Eric Trump described the indictment as “third world prosecutorial misconduct” in a tweet on Thursday.

Donald Trump Jr. denounced the move in multiple tweets, claiming it was an attempt to “interfere in the 2024 election to stop Trump.” He also described it as “Communist-level s***” on his Triggered podcast.

Ivanka Trump’s husband Jared Kushner, who also served as senior adviser in the Trump White House, reportedly suggested on Friday that the indictment was evidence Democrats “fear” the “political strength” of his father-in-law during a speech at the Future Investment Initiative summit in Florida.

“It’s been hard to watch the opponents of him politically continue to break every norm over the last years to try to get him,” Kushner said. “I’ve been by him during a lot of these instances and it’s only made him stronger, and his resolve to take on big challenges, to fight for change.”

Following Ivanka Trump’s statement, half of the former president’s closest family members remained silent about the indictment at the time of publication.

Former first lady Melania Trump has yet to publicly weigh in, although she was spotted smiling next to her husband at Mar-a-Lago on Thursday, shortly after he received the news.

The former president’s youngest daughter, 29-year-old Tiffany Trump, has also been silent, although she rarely participates in public life. His youngest son, 17-year-old Barron, does not speak publicly.

Newsweek has reached out via email to Donald Trump’s office for comment.

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Biden Surveys Damage From Deadly Tornado in Mississippi

Surrounded by piles of lumber and twisted metal, the president promised that the federal government was “not just here for today.”

President Biden said he was committed to providing federal support for Mississippi residents after a deadly tornado ripped through rural parts of the state last week.Pete Marovich for The New York Times

ROLLING FORK, Miss. — President Biden vowed on Friday that the federal government would help Mississippi recover and rebuild from devastation caused by a deadly tornado that ripped through rural parts of the state last week.

The storm left at least 26 people dead and injured dozens in Rolling Fork, a town of about 2,000, and across a wide swath of the Mississippi Delta, leaving the struggling region grasping for help to respond on behalf of those affected.

“This is tough stuff,” Mr. Biden said after arriving in his motorcade, which drove past home after home that had been reduced to piles of lumber and twisted metal.

“The thing that really always amazes me, in all the tornadoes I’ve been to of late, is that you have one house standing and one house, from here to the wall, totally destroyed,” he said. “It’s but for the grace of God.”

Mr. Biden and the first lady, Jill Biden, met privately with families affected by the storms at South Delta Elementary School, which had parts of its roof ripped off and trees toppled.

Afterward, the couple walked through streets damaged by the tornado, stopping briefly to speak with residents whose homes were torn to shreds by the high winds.

As he toured the wreckage, Mr. Biden saw a devastated town with many homes half standing and roofs torn away. Power lines remained on the ground. Blue plastic tarpaulins covered the roofs of houses that still had walls to attach to. A couch cushion hung on the branches of a tree.

On one overturned truck, one member of the town strung an American flag.

“I’ve been to too many sites like this over the last two years around the country,” Mr. Biden told a small group of people who had gathered for his short speech. “And I always see the same thing in America. When the neighborhood’s in trouble, the whole neighborhood comes to help.”

The president talked with one family whose roof had been sheared off. Farther down the road, workers had created huge piles of debris, part of the process of clearing out the area.

“I’ve been to too many sites like this over the last two years around the country,” Mr. Biden told a small group of people in a speech.Pete Marovich for The New York Times

After the brief walk, Mr. Biden spoke for about 10 minutes, saying his administration would stay with residents for as long as it took to help those affected by the storm.

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“We’re not just here for today,” he said. “I’m determined, and we’re going to leave nothing behind. We’re going to get it done for you. That’s why I’m here.”

During his remarks, Mr. Biden stood in front of a heap of twisted blue metal and wood that had once been an animal shelter and an auto-parts store. Trees behind him were stripped of their branches, making the area look even more desolate.

Earlier in the day, Mr. Biden received a briefing on the tornado and its damage from federal emergency management officials and local politicians, who described the horror of the storm, which tore through the state for more than an hour.

Throughout the day, Mr. Biden was accompanied by Tate Reeves, the state’s Republican governor, who had repeatedly clashed with the president over Covid-19 restrictions.

Mr. Biden had called out the governor for failing to implement what he called common-sense health restrictions, while Mr. Reeves labeled the president’s coronavirus policies “tyrannical” in a war of words that went back and forth for days.

That ill will was nowhere to be found on Friday, as Mr. Reeves warmly welcomed Mr. Biden — and the help of the federal government — to his beleaguered state.

“I appreciate the fact that the president of the United States is standing here in Sharkey County, Miss., to deliver more remarks today, to hear from the people most affected, and most importantly, as he and Dr. Biden have done throughout the day, show compassion for those who have been most affected,” Mr. Reeves said as he introduced Mr. Biden.

“So without further ado,” he said, “please give a warm Mississippi welcome to the president of the United States.”


Democracies Have a History of Prosecuting Their Presidents

With former president Donald Trump‘s impending arrest on Tuesday, the United States will enter a tumultuous chapter without precedent in the nation’s history.

While presidents have been impeached, none have ever been charged with a crime, much less run for president while fighting those charges. Fewer still—barring figures like Grover Cleveland—have been favorites to become their party’s nominee for president, leaving the U.S. electorate in uncharted waters entering the 2024 election season.

“There is nothing even remotely like this in American history,” presidential historian Mark Updegrove told ABC News Thursday night.

Many allies of the former president said a move to indict Trump was indicative of the country sliding into becoming a “banana republic,” a pejorative term for politically and economically unstable countries whose existence is centered on maintaining power for an elite and privileged few.

“For it to be the first prosecution of former president and the first prosecution of a man who’s running for president against an incumbent Democrat, being indicted by a Democrat…on a case of thin as this…it’s Banana Republic time,” Alan Dershowitz, an occasional ally of Trump and a professor at Harvard Law School said in an interview on right-wing network Newsmax Thursday night.

Trump’s arrest might be new for the U.S. But in democracies across the rest of the world, the arrest of former political leaders is more commonplace than one might think.

Presidents Who Have Been Indicted


In 2021, Nicolas Sarkozy, the former president of France, received a one-year sentence of house arrest after falsifying invoices on his failed 2012 campaign for president, allowing him to exceed campaign finance limits.


In Israel, current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu faces potential corruption charges at a time he is actively working to alter the makeup of the nation’s court system. If charged and convicted, he would become the third Israeli leader to weather such penalties in a dozen years, potentially joining former president Moshe Katsav (convicted of rape charges) and Ehud Olmert (convicted of bribery.)

From L-R: President of Brazil Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, former President of France Nicolas Sarkozy, and South Korean President Park Geun-Hye. All were indicted and later charged with crimes related to corruption cases that occurred during their administrations.
Andressa Anholete/Teresa Suarez/Chung Sung-Jun/Newsweek Photo Illustration/Getty Images


And in Brazil, two former presidents—Michel Temer and Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva—were charged with crimes and subsequently sentenced, with the latter’s case being thrown out after it was revealed the judge in the case was politically corrupt.

All of those sentences were handed down in established democracies. And even in flawed instances like in Brazil, those democracies survived.

“I think indicting or convicting former leaders is absolutely normal, and that Americans seem to think it’s such a big deal is another case of ‘American exceptionalism’ run amok,” Filipe Campante, Bloomberg Distinguished Professor at Johns Hopkins University and an expert in Brazil’s politics, told Newsweek.

In South America, the examples are numerous, though many fall well out of line with the realities of American politics.


In Peru, former presidents Alejandro Toledo and Alan García were both indicted for different crimes with varying results. (The U.S. is currently weighing Toledo’s extradition, while García committed suicide when the police showed up at his house with an arrest warrant.)


In Bolivia, divisive former President Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada faced charges amid a scandal involving gas exports, inciting riots that prompted his resignation following a subsequent military response that left 68 dead and more than 400 injured. (His extradition was later rejected by the United States.)

Brazilian Similarities

A better example of what could occur in the United States, Cornell University’s Associate Vice Provost for International Affairs Gustavo Flores-Macías told Newsweek, might be better seen in what occurred in the political prosecution of former President Lula on corruption charges, who replaced former right-wing president Jair Bolsonaro in the country’s elections earlier this year.

While corruption is rampant in Brazilian politics, Flores-Macías said, the country also relies on a large federal court system where prosecutors continue to enjoy a wide degree of independence. And though the charges against Lula were pressed in the context of a major corruption scandal related to Brazilian infrastructure behemoth Odebrecht and its bribing of government officials, Lula was also immensely popular within the country, with a large base of supporters who protested his arrest.

That fact did not deter prosecutors, however, and Lula was ultimately sentenced to jail.

In the end, the Supreme Court ultimately annulled Lula’s conviction not because he wasn’t guilty, but due to a technicality related to jurisdiction in Brazil’s federal system: the court that sentenced him, said Flores-Macías, was in the city of Curitiba in the state of Paraná, whereas he should have been tried in the country’s capital, Brasília, where Lula lived when he was president.

The case was not retried, Flores-Macías added, but Lula received a major political boost from the visibility and martyrdom that resulted from serving time in prison. In 2021, the charges were later annulled after it was found the judge in the case was biased against him and, soon after, narrowly unseated Bolsonaro in the country’s 2022 elections.

Trump’s arrest, Flores-Macías opined, could result in a similar boost entering the 2024 election cycle.

“These and other examples from Latin America suggest that, regardless of whether the legal charges have merit, indicting a former president that could be a leading contender in the next election tends to boost that person’s popularity,” said Flores-Macías. “These experiences can serve as a guide for what to expect with former president Trump in the U.S. context.”

Protestors gather in front of Trump Tower in New York on March 31, 2023. – A New York grand jury has voted to indict former US president Donald Trump over hush money payments made to porn star Stormy Daniels ahead of the 2016 election, multiple US media reported on March 30, 2023.
Timothy Clary/AFP via Getty Images

Upsides For Trump

Cynically speaking, Trump’s arrest could be the boost he needs to be competitive against President Joe Biden in a hypothetical 2024 campaign most polls show him likely to lose.

Even facing the alleged crime of falsifying business records to silence former adult film star Stormy Daniels in the middle of a contentious 2016 election season (as well as likely penalties for threatening the prosecutor bringing the charges), Trump remains the de facto leader of a major political party and arguably remains at the height of his power.

Rivals within his party like Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, and former Vice President Mike Pence remain reluctant to challenge him even as they mull their own campaigns for president, while those who have—figures like Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger—have been thrown aside as relics of a party that vanished with Trump’s rise to prominence.

Even though the case against Trump was in motion well before he took office, the person bringing the charges—Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg—won his seat on a progressive criminal justice platform that contrasted sharply with Trump’s, and oversees the administration of the justice system in one of the most liberal pockets of the United States.

Bragg also boasts ties to a number of galvanizing figures on the left, including liberal megadonor George Soros, that have earned him threats from Trump’s supporters and even the former president himself, who has characterized Bragg’s efforts to bring charges as a political “witch hunt.”

“We will wake up in a very different America tomorrow because can no longer have moral authority against the dictators and despots who have always found it easier to jail their political rivals than to compete against them in free and fair elections,” pro-Trump Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz said on Fox News Friday.

Polls show a large swath of America feels similarly: A Quinnipiac University survey from earlier this week found that 62 percent of respondents said the grand jury inquiry into Trump’s alleged hush money payments had been “mainly motivated by politics,” far outweighing the 32 percent who believe the probe was “mainly motivated by the law.”

A Vicious Cycle

While early, there are lessons to be learned from countries like South Korea, whose political history has long been marred by a high degree of polarization and corrupt business-government relations.

In 2018, former South Korean President Park Geun-hye was sentenced to 24 years in jail after a court found her guilty of 16 separate charges of abuse of power and coercion in a sweeping anti-corruption case. While she was later pardoned for those crimes, her arrest was just part of a long legacy of leaders being arrested, their opponents replacing them, and then their opponents arresting them out of retribution.

After the 1979 assassination of South Korean dictator Park Chung-hee (Park Geun-hye’s father) his successor, unelected strongman-turned Democratically elected president Chun Doo-hwan, was arrested after leaving office, as was his successor Roh Tae-woo.

While Roh’s successor, Kim Young-sam, was not arrested (his successor Kim Dae-jung intentionally tried to break the cycle), his son was, keeping a trend of former presidents and their families facing criminal charges immediately after office that has only recently been put on hold.

“Given this history, there may be a tendency for South Koreans to see the Trump situation as in keeping with their own politics: corruption, followed by arrest by the opposing party after leaving office,” Marcus Noland, executive vice president and director of studies at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, told Newsweek.

Such a cycle is already being hinted at in the airs of American politics, particularly with Republican threats to pursue legal charges against President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, for alleged improper business dealings dating back to the 2020 election cycle.

“I want to see Hillary in handcuffs. I want to see Joe Biden in handcuffs. I want to see Hunter Biden in handcuffs. I want to see Barack Obama in handcuffs,” tweeted Students for Trump founder Ryan Fournier after news of the indictment. “This is the reality. You morons opened a door of opportunity and I’m going to lobby every R prosecutor in the country.”

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