National News: Biden administration combats antisemitism, Trump family begins to testify

Lawrence Faucette is the second man to have passed away after receiving a modified pig heart transplant. Photo by Karolina Grabowska/Pexels.

Second man to receive genetically modified pig heart in transplant passes away  

The second person to ever undergo heart surgery to receive a genetically modified pig heart, Lawrence Faucette, passed away on Oct. 31, six weeks after the transplant. As it continues to be studied, this operation could lead to a potential breakthrough in heart transplantation. 

According to a CNN article, Faucette, 58, had been experiencing symptoms of heart failure, and was admitted to UMMC on Sept. 14. Faucette was ineligible for a human heart transplant due to pre-existing conditions, and underwent the experimental procedure six days after he was admitted. The heart was not showing signs of rejection until Faucette’s last few days, which has been reported as the cause of death. 

The experimental treatment was performed by Dr. Bartley Griffith at the University of Maryland Medical Center. Griffith is the clinical director of Cardiac Xenotransplantation Program at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, and has been working on xenotransplantation since 2018. 

This is the second person to receive a pig heart transplant, after 57-year-old David Bennett in January 2022, which was also performed by Griffith at UMMC. Bennett died two months after his surgery. 

If this procedure becomes a viable alternative to a normal human heart transplant, this would be a scientific breakthrough which could help expedite surgeries for people currently waiting for a transplant. There are over 3,000 people currently on the waiting list for a heart transplant, according to a statistic by the federal government. 

Biden administration to take action against antisemitism on college campuses 

In light of the Israel-Hamas war that began in early October, the Biden administration has announced that they plan to take action to combat growing antisemitism on college campuses. 

According to an article by NBC News, the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security will be working with campus law enforcement, providing federal resources and help to track down threats relating to the situation. The article says they will be targeting “specific and credible threats that are flagged online.” 

Experts in cybersecurity and protective security from the Department of Homeland Security have already been engaging with schools across the nation on how to deal with online threats amidst the very volatile situation that has led to protests across the country. 

The White House has also stated that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 also encapsulates antisemitism and Islamophobia, and will be acting on such measures. 

Many high-ranking officials will be meeting with Jewish organizations and visiting college campuses, including Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, second gentleman Doug Emhoff and White House domestic policy advisor Neera Tanden. They plan to discuss reports of growing antisemitism on college campuses and hold roundtables with Jewish students. 

Trump family begins to testify in civil fraud case against the Trump Organization 

An attendee holds up a MAGA sign as the crowd waits for former President Donald Trump to give remarks during a campaign event held at Trendsetter Engineering Thursday, Nov. 2, 2023, in Houston. Photo by Michael Wyke/AP Photo.

As The Trump Organization’s civil fraud trial in New York continues, Donald Trump Jr., former President Donald Trump’s eldest child, testified this Wednesday. He is the first member of the Trump family to testify in this case. His testimony is set to continue during the week, and is expected to be followed by the testimony of his brother Eric Trump.  

According to an NPR article, Trump Jr. testified that he was never involved in compiling his father’s financial condition statements, and he relied on others to vet these documents. According to his testimony he did have the responsibility of signing these documents. 

The trial, which began on Oct. 2, 2023, is a civil lawsuit and investigation put forward by New York Attorney Letitia James. James alleges that the Trump Organization and specific individuals, including the former president and his two eldest sons, engaged in financial fraud by disproportionately presenting property values to tax officials and potential lenders, in violation of New York Executive Law. Arthur Engoron, the presiding judge, has already ruled that the Trump Organization did commit fraud, but it is yet to be ruled whether the fraud was on purpose, and what the penalty should be for those found liable. 

The former president is scheduled to testify this Monday, with his daughter, Ivanka Trump, also being scheduled to give testimony sometime next week. 

Resolution to expel George Santos from the House of Representatives fails 

George Santos, the representative of New York’s third congressional district, survived an attempted expulsion from the House of Representatives on Nov. 1. This exclusion resolution, put forth by fellow New York Republicans, said that Santos was “not fit to serve,” in light of Santos allegedly lying about his background on numerous occasions. 

In a bipartisan vote which needed a super majority of two-thirds to expel Santos, 179 voted for Santos’ expulsion, with 213 against and 19 voting present. The 179 votes to expel included 23 Republicans voting across party lines and 31 Democrats voting against expelling Santos. 

According to an NBC News article, House Republicans and Democrats cited multiple reasons for voting against the expulsion. Some Republicans, including Speaker Mike Johnson, said they were concerned about expelling a fellow Republican when the majority they have in the House is already very slim. Both Republicans and Democrats said that they wanted the House Ethics Committee to finish handling the case before they make any judgements.  

The Ethics Committee, which has been investigating Santos since March, announced on Tuesday that they plan on announcing the next steps of the case on Nov. 17. 

The resolution, written by New York Representative Anthony D’Esposito, cited multiple reasons for the vote to expel Santos. These reasons include Santos lying about his educational and work background, lying about his family’s Jewish heritage and connections to tragedies including the Holocaust and the 9/11 terrorist attacks, being indicted on 13 charges on May 9, 2023, an additional 10 charges on Oct. 10, 2023 and more. 

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