US Domestic News Roundup: Trump ally Barrack to testify in own defense at ‘foreign agent’ trial; U.S. appeals court temporarily blocks Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan and more

Following is a summary of breaking US domestic news.

Trump’s ally Barrack is set to testify in his own defense in the “foreign agent” trial

Tom Barrack, a former fundraiser for former US President Donald Trump, is expected to take the witness stand in his own defense next week in his trial over charges of being an illegal foreign agent for the United Arab Emirates. Barrack’s attorney, Randall Jackson, said in open court Friday that Barrack would comment Friday afternoon. Prosecutor Sam Nitze later said he expected to take plenty of time to interview the current witness, former Barrack attorney Brady Cassis, meaning Barrack would not take the stand on Friday.

US Circuit Court of Appeals temporarily blocks Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan

A U.S. appeals court on Friday temporarily blocked President Joe Biden’s plan to cancel billions of dollars in college student debt, a day after a judge dismissed a Republican-led lawsuit brought by six states that are using the program to cancel college students credit was challenged. The Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit granted an emergency stay that bars payment of all student debt under the program until the court rules on the states’ request for a longer-term injunction while Thursday’s decision is being appealed.

Sandy Hook’s families are seeking large punitive damages following Alex Jones’ $1 billion verdict

Families of victims of the 2012 Sandy Hook mass shooting on Friday asked a Connecticut judge to order Alex Jones to pay hefty punitive damages, in addition to nearly $1 billion, a jury said the conspiracy theorist owes them for falsely claiming the massacre was a joke. The families said in the filing that the “historic” magnitude of Jones’ wrongdoing in the case, his “complete lack of remorse” and his clear intention to continue to lie about them deserve the highest punishment in the court’s power.

Trump’s ex-adviser Bannon sentenced to four months in prison for contempt of Congress

Steve Bannon, a former aide to former President Donald Trump, was sentenced to four months in prison by a judge on Friday for refusing to cooperate with lawmakers investigating last year’s attack on the US Capitol. Bannon was found guilty of contempt of Congress in July for failing to produce documents or testimony to the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 attack. Prosecutors had asked for a six-month sentence, while Bannon’s attorneys had asked for parole.

Trump subpoenaed to testify before US Capitol riot committee on Jan. 6

Former President Donald Trump was ordered on Friday to testify under oath and provide documents to the House committee investigating his supporters’ January 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol. The committee said it sent a subpoena to Trump requesting that documents be presented to the panel by November 4 and that he appear for testimony beginning on or about November 14.

ABCs, not LGBTs: Battles over race, gender ignite Texas school board vote

At busy intersections in this Texas city, a blunt campaign slogan stands out against clusters of candidate signs: “Teach ABCs + 123s, Not CRTs & LGBTs.” In Round Rock, a fast-growing and diversifying Austin suburb, the politics of the blood sport is too the school board elections. Parents form political action committees, advertise from house to house and exchange views on social media. National interest groups, political parties and trade unions participate in historically bipartisan disputes.

Teen suspect in Michigan school shooting to plead guilty, prosecutors say

A Michigan teenager accused of killing four students and wounding seven others in the deadliest school shooting of 2021 will plead guilty to murder in court Monday, a local prosecutor said Friday. Ethan Crumbley, 16, is accused of opening fire at Oxford High School outside Detroit with a gun his father bought as a Christmas present days before the Nov. 30 shooting.

US budget deficit halved to $1.375 trillion despite $430 billion in student loan costs

The U.S. government reported Friday that its fiscal 2022 budget deficit fell by half from a year earlier to $1.375 trillion, on the back of dwindling COVID-19 aid spending and record receipts fueled by a hot economy , but the cost of forgiving student loans limited the reduction. The US Treasury Department said the $1.400 trillion deficit reduction was still the largest improvement in the US fiscal position in a single year, as revenue hit a record $4.896 trillion, up $850 billion -dollars or 21% from fiscal 2021.

The Republican National Committee is suing Google over email spam filters

The Republican National Committee (RNC) filed a lawsuit against Google on Friday for allegedly sending its emails to users’ spam folders. The U.S. Policy Committee accuses the tech giant of “discriminating against” it by “choking down its email messages based on the RNC’s political affiliations and views,” according to a lawsuit filed in the Eastern District of California.

A Florida man’s vote fraud charges were dismissed with a swipe at DeSantis

One of 20 people arrested for illegal voting as part of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ efforts to crack down on voter fraud was dismissed from his charges on Friday. A Miami state judge dismissed the case against Robert Lee Wood, ruling that the state attorney general overseeing all 20 cases had no jurisdiction because the alleged crime did not occur in at least two jurisdictions.

(With agency contributions.)