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Trump fired Berman to give U.S. attorney job to SEC Chairman Clayton, White House claims

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U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Geoffrey Berman enters the courthouse ahead of a bail hearing in U.S. financier Jeffrey Epstein’s sex trafficking case in New York City, July 15, 2019.

Brendan McDermid | Reuters

She said Clayton is “highly regarded” by the president.

Asked directly whether Berman was fired from his post, which handles criminal cases involving federal crimes, because he oversaw cases and investigations of Trump’s associates, McEnany said: “No, he was not.” 

“No investigation will be affected by this” change in leadership at the SDNY U.S. Attorney’s office, she said.

McEnany’s statement came as Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called Berman’s firing “corrupt,” and that it “gives the impression that the President interfered in ongoing criminal investigations into himself and his associates.”

Schumer sent a letter to the Justice Department’s internal watchdog, Inspector General Michel Horowitz, and its Office of Professional Responsibility director, Jeffrey Ragsdale, asking that they conduct a joint investigation of Berman’s firing.

Another New York Democrat, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, said Sunday he is “sure” that Berman will testify to that committee about the events leading up to his termination.

At the press conference Monday, McEnany also said that Attorney General William Barr “was taking the lead on this matter” to fire Berman, and that Trump had signed off on that highly controversial termination of Berman.

“Mr. Clayton now will in time get to that position,” she said.

But Clayton’s nomination could well be doomed.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., has said he will respect a Senate tradition that gives effective veto power over the nomination of U.S. attorneys to the senators from the states that contain the prosecutors’ offices. New York’s other senator, Kirsten Gillibrand, is also a Democrat and expected to block Clayton’s appointment, along with Schumer.

McEnany’s explanation for Berman’s firing echoed claims made by unidentified senior administration officials to reporters Friday and Saturday after the bombshell news broke that Barr wanted to oust Berman from the SDNY office.

That office has and is continuing to investigate associates of Trump, most notably his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, a former New York City mayor and himself the former U.S. attorney for Manhattan.

Berman’s office previously obtained convictions of Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, for multiple financial crimes, is currently prosecuting two associates of Giuliani who helped him with efforts to convince Ukraine officials to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee. 

Jay Clayton, chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The now-official explanation of Berman’s dismissal to make way for Clayton has been widely scoffed at by former U.S. Attorney for Manhattan Preet Bharara, whom Trump fired and replaced with Berman, and other observers of the powerful prosecutors’ office.

Barr said Friday night that Berman, who had given no indication of plans to leave his job, would be stepping down as U.S. attorney, and that Trump would nominate Clayton for the position.

Berman shortly afterward, in an perhaps even more stunning move than Barr’s, announced he was refusing to leave the job until a successor was confirmed by the Senate.

Berman, according to the Justice Department’s own internal guidance, could not be fired by Barr because he had been appointed to the post by the judges of the federal district court in the SDNY, not by the president, as is the norm.

The Justice Department’s guidance says the president does have the power to fire a court-appointed federal prosecutor. But it is not clear that guidance has ever been tested in court.

On Saturday, Barr told Berman in a letter that Trump had fired him.

Trump later confused the issue Saturday by telling reporters “that’s all up to the Attorney General … I’m not involved.”

But Berman nonetheless said he was immediately leaving the office.

However, Berman pointedly noted that Barr on Saturday had conceded that Berman’s deputy Audrey Strauss would lead the office on an interim basis.

Barr first said on Friday night that  U.S. Attorney for New Jersey Craig Carpenito would also run the SDNY on an interim basis until Clayton is confirmed.

Berman’s statement said of Strauss, “I could leave the District in no better hands than Audrey’s.”

“She is the smartest, most principled, and effective lawyer with whom I have ever had the privilege of working,” Berman wrote. “And I know that under her leadership, this Office’s unparalleled [assistant United States attorneys]  investigators, paralegals, and staff will continue to safeguard the Southern District’s enduring tradition of integrity and independence.”

Sen. Doug Jones, D-Ala., on Sunday night said on MSNBC that Berman’s firing “is like deja vu all over again, as Yogi Berra would say.”

“This happened in 2006 in the Bush administration, when you had seven or eight U.S. attorneys  fired – ultimately determined to be fired for political reasons, and it costs that attorney general, [Alberto] Gonzales, his job,” Jones said.

“What we’d like to see is see the attorney general and former U.S. Attorney Berman appear before House Committees, talk about it, answer questions,” said Jones, who himself is a former U.S. attorney.

“It just doesn’t add up to me that somebody fires one U.S. attorney because somebody else might want the job. That’s just not the appropriate way to handle U.S. attorneys,” Jones said. “So things are just not adding up, and I hope they’ll come, if it’s as innocent as they say, I hope they come to testify about it.”

Source: https://www.cnbc.com/2020/06/22/trump-fired-berman-to-give-us-attorney-job-to-sec-chairman-white-house-claims.html

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Samsung hopes to ‘copy and paste’ the brain to 3D chip networks

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Samsung thinks it has a better way to develop brain-like chips: borrow existing brain structures. The tech firm has proposed a method that would “copy and paste” a brain’s neuron wiring map to 3D neuromorphic chips. The approach would rely on a nanoelectrode array that enters a large volumes of neurons to record both where the neurons connect and the strength of those connections. You could copy that data and ‘paste’ it to a 3D network of solid-state memory, whether it’s off-the-shelf flash storage or cutting-edge memory like resistive RAM.

Each memory unit would have a conductance that reflects the strength of each neuron connection in the map. The result would be an effective return to “reverse engineering the brain” like scientists originally wanted, Samsung said.

The move could serve as a ‘shortcut’ to artificial intelligence systems that behave like real brains, including the flexibility to learn new concepts and adapt to changing conditions. You might even see fully autonomous machines with true cognition, according to the researchers.

There’s a glaring problem with complexity, however. As a human brain has roughly 100 billion neurons with a thousand times more synaptic links, an ideal neuromorphic chip would need about 100 trillion memory units. That’s clearly a difficult challenge for any company, and that doesn’t include the code needed to make this virtual brain work. Samsung may have opened a door to human-like AI, but it could take a long time before anyone reaches that goal.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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Source: https://www.engadget.com/samsung-copy-and-paste-brain-neuromorphic-chips-185359994.html?src=rss

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Apple will fix bug preventing iPhone 13 owners from unlocking with Apple Watch

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Are you unable to unlock your brand new iPhone 13 with your Apple Watch? Don’t despair just yet. According to MacRumors, Apple has promised to fix a bug that prevents the unlock through an “upcoming software update.” You can turn off the feature in Settings and rely on passcodes until that solution is in place, Apple said, although it didn’t offer a timeframe for the patch.

The flaw typically tells users the iPhone is “unable to communicate” with the Apple Watch. Others can’t setup the unlock feature in the first place. As you might imagine, that’s a significant hassle if you’re wearing a face mask and can’t use Face ID to sign in.

You might not have to wait too long. While Apple only recently started testing an iOS 15.1 beta, the company has a long history of delivering small-but-quick updates that fix glaring bugs and security holes. While this certainly isn’t how Apple wanted the iPhone 13 launch to go, the issue isn’t likely to last.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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Source: https://www.engadget.com/apple-watch-iphone-13-unlock-bug-fix-174529852.html?src=rss

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Tesla drivers can now request Full Self Driving beta tests

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It took a long while, but Tesla is finally giving you some control over when (and if) you get Full Self Driving beta releases. The Washington Post noted that Tesla has begun rolling out an FSD beta request button that lets you try the autonomous (really, semi-autonomous) technology before its wider release. The automaker won’t just hand test code to anyone, though. Elon Musk noted that Tesla will “assess driving behavior” (like hard braking, aggressive turns or tailgating) for a week to reduce the chances of collisions.

The move could boost uptake for Full Self Driving betas and help Tesla refine the system for wider releases. The just-launched FSD 10.1 beta (mainly a bug fix) arrived too soon for that, but future software could be more polished or reach a general audience sooner.

Not everyone is thrilled with Tesla’s rapid Full Self Driving expansion, however. The National Transportation Safety Board’s new leader, Jennifer Homendy, recently joined other critics in accusing Tesla of “irresponsible” marketing for FSD technology that could lead to dangerous misuse. She also claimed Tesla was unresponsive to official recommendations for improvements. Beta requests may help Tesla achieve its goals sooner than before, but they won’t address broader concerns about FSD’s safety and whether or not customers should be testing semi-autonomous features on public roads.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

PlatoAi. Web3 Reimagined. Data Intelligence Amplified.
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Source: https://www.engadget.com/tesla-full-self-driving-beta-request-button-170642977.html?src=rss

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iPhone 14 is reportedly a ‘complete redesign’

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The iPhone 13 series is barely in stores, but that isn’t stopping a growing chorus of leaks surrounding next year’s model. As 9to5Mac notes, Bloomberg‘s historically accurate Mark Gurman claimed the iPhone 14 will represent a “complete redesign” — the first since the iPhone X arrived in 2017. The relatively modest iPhone 13 update was a hint that bigger things were coming, he said. Gurman was shy on details of what that new hardware would entail, but earlier rumors might offer a clue as to what to expect.

Most notably, frequently accurate analyst Ming-Chi Kuo recently claimed Apple would begin dropping the display notch entirely in 2022, starting with an iPhone 14 Pro that would use a hole-punch front camera like many Android phones. YouTuber Jon Prosser also claimed to have renders based on real-world photos of the new iPhone. The new model would supposedly resemble a supersized iPhone 4 with a band-like titanium outer ring, flush rear cameras and a thicker chassis.

Other rumors suggest Apple might drop a mini iPhone from the lineup, replacing it with a larger ‘regular’ model as well as the usual Pro offerings. There have been murmurs of under-display Touch ID, but it’s not certain if this would be ready for 2022, if at all.

We’d take the reports with some caution. No matter how accurate the reports might be, the next iPhone is roughly a year away. There’s still a chance Apple could make substantial changes before it locks in the design for production. Whatever the end result, the common theme of the leaks suggests the iPhone 14 could be an important revamp.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

PlatoAi. Web3 Reimagined. Data Intelligence Amplified.
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Source: https://www.engadget.com/apple-iphone-14-redesign-leak-152422684.html?src=rss

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