FBI raid on Trump’s attorney shakes up White House

Kyra Robinson | Staff Writer

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Flickr user: Michael Vadon 

After the FBI raided the home, hotel and office of President Donald Trump’s personal attorney April 9, the commander in chief took to Twitter to express his grievances.

On the president’s personal Twitter account, Trump referred to the situation as “a total witch hunt” and implied he felt it violated an attorney-client privileges.

The president also publicly called it “an attack on our country.” The raid on Michael Cohen’s office is unprecedented with how high the suspicion level is from the Department of Justice.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein signed off on the Cohen search warrant, according to The New York Times.

That allowed the FBI to seize documents that dealt with payments by Cohen to pornography actress Stormy Daniels and playboy model Karen McDougal.

According to CNN, bank records also were seized, and records on the infamous Access Hollywood tapes were sought.

They also found tapes Cohen had recorded and kept between Trump and his associates, which has alarmed officials on Capitol Hill, according to CNBC.

Hampton University political science major Aman Tune thought Trump’s reaction was unprofessional.

“I feel that he has not handled this situation with grace and has failed to take accountability for his actions,” the sophomore said.

“He should be more cooperative, and it might reflect better on him.”

As a student who plans to work on Capitol Hill in the future, Tune finds the president’s scandals to be alarming and wishes for a change in the current administration.

“Washington needs to get back to its core values and needs to start passing legislation that will actually benefit all the American people,” she expressed with passion.

“I think a man like Trump has harmed us because he simply does not understand how to properly operate as the president of the United States.”

According to CNN, Trump brought up the possible firing of Russian investigator Robert Mueller again after suggesting it in prior months.

However, many political and legal officials would consider it to be an impeachable offense.

“Trump constantly discussing his urge to fire people who are meant to keep him in check, including Robert Mueller and [former FBI director] James Comey, is alarming,” said Korin Jones, a sophomore political science major on the pre-law track.

“I think he would be obstructing justice if he did that.”

According to The New York Times, Trump also has considered firing Rosenstein, which ultimately could affect Mueller’s Russian investigation.

“It’s time Washington get to the bottom of the Russian collusion scandal and the Stormy Daniels scandal,” Tune said.

“The Trump administration has lied too many times, and I think now, more than ever, we deserve the truth.”

Farm Fresh begins liquidation of 21 stores

Kyra Robinson | Contributing Writer

 

After making a deal worth $43 million, Supervalu Inc. the parent company of the Farm Fresh grocery chain, has begun the process of selling 21 of its 38 stores to Kroger Mid-Atlantic, Harris Teeter, and Food Lion.

With these sales, many Farm Fresh stores will be closed for several months, renovated and reopened under the names Kroger, Harris Teeter, or Food Lion.

Sophomore Imani Broaden recently visited a Farm Fresh for the first time to take advantage of a 30% off sale.

“I had never really heard about Farm Fresh, but my friend was going so I went with her,” the sophomore said Saturday afternoon, “It will be interesting to see what store replaces it.”

According to The Virginian-Pilot, Supervalu Inc. announced in March that they would be going through with the sales. There are a significant number of Farm Fresh stores in Hampton Roads, one which is only seven minutes from Hampton University’s campus.

Sophomore Nia Saunders heard about the liquidation through her grandparents who shop at Farm Fresh occasionally.

“It won’t really have an effect on me,” she said Saturday morning, “The prices aren’t really college-friendly. Most people would probably go to Walmart instead.”

Farm Fresh dominated the Hampton Roads community for decades, according to multiple news outlets. Their headquarters are even located in Virginia Beach.

“I don’t think customers will be that bothered by it,” Saunders continued, “There are so many other grocery stores to pick from in Hampton.”

The Daily Press reported that Supervalu planned to sell eight stores to Kroger, 10 stores to Harris Teeter, owned by Kroger and three to Food Lion.

It is not clear how current Farm Fresh employees feel about the liquidation, but there has been a number of layoffs announced since the process began. Farm Fresh stores employed hundreds of people in the Peninsula area, and nearly 1,000 people could be out of work after the sale of so many stores, according to The Daily Press.

With 21 stores already sold, there are still plans to sell the remaining 17 stores. Food Lion has purchased the Farm Fresh store in Phoebus, the grocery store closest to campus.

Obamas-Netflix partnership sparks excitement

Kyra Robinson | Staff Writer

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Kyra Robinson

Top streaming service, Netflix, and Barack and Michelle Obama are currently discussing the creation of a new series that could significantly benefit both Netflix and the political power couple.

According to The New York Times, while politics will play a major factor in the focus of the show, Obama is not planning to use it as a platform to reply to President Trump and his criticism of Democrats and Obama-era policies.

The programs will be centered on issues that the President and First Lady addressed on when they were in the White House, such as health care, immigration, and nutrition.

Sophomore Nia Saunders, who has not been pleased with recent selections on Netflix, believes this project will be very positive one.

“I don’t think the show should be used to respond to Trump,” the Political Science major said, “Their legacy is far bigger than that. I hope they devote the show to positivity and uplifting the masses.”

The New York Times interviewed Eric Shultz, Obama’s senior advisor while he was in office, who noted that the Obamas always had a passion for inspirational storytelling.

The Obamas will be able to reach over 100 million people with this streaming service. With already 101 million people following Barack Obama’s Twitter, a ready-made viewing audience is anticipated.

Strategic Communications major and sophomore Kenya Cummins is a film fanatic who enjoys what Netflix has done with its original content. She also loves the Obamas for their “level-headedness and strength.” She believes this move will benefit Netflix financially and bring in more subscribers.

“The voice[s] of the Obamas [are] among some of the strongest and most influential in modern history,” she explained.

“They have iconic personalities. Having a window into their true emotions and opinions will absolutely make an interesting show.”

Like Saunders, Cummins does not think the show should be used to address conservatives and the current circumstances with the Trump administration.

She believes what the Obamas have the ability to do is so much bigger than that.

While Cummins would prefer the Obamas tour and give speeches, Saunders believes she will become a regular viewer if the Netflix show becomes a reality.

“As a black woman, Obama’s voice means hope to me,” Saunders said, “His power means hope for our own future, hope for our own legacy, and hope for our own success.”

Virginia Passes Law for Expungement of Marijuana Charges

Kyra Robinson | Staff Writer

On Monday, Virginia took a step towards pro-marijuana reform by passing a bill that now allows those charged with marijuana possession to expunge their first charge by paying a $150 fee.

The bill was proposed by Republican Senator Tommy Norment and had a 38-2 vote. Norment considered the bill’s win to be progress for marijuana reform. Norment’s Democratic colleague, Senator Adam Ebbin opposed the bill for its inability to stop the racial disparity of marijuana arrests, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Originally, Norment had planned to push for a decriminalization bill, but ultimately decided against it because he did not believe it would pass in the Virginia House of Representatives.

Sophomore Victoria Ford is a Political Science major who intends to be an international human rights lawyer, and she believes the bill is a step in the right direction.

“Marijuana is becoming more normalized every day, and I think the United States needs to start shifting with society,” Ford said.

The expungement fee is a significant aspect of the bill. According to Senator Norment, the revenue from this fee will go to preventative opioid abuse education.

While he considers the bill to be progress towards marijuana reform, junior Political Science Maurice Foster Jr. believes the fee was not necessary.

“It just seems like the state of Virginia just wants more money. However, I am happy that the fee is not extremely outrageous,” Foster said.

Foster actually had his own legal troubles after being found with marijuana in his possession.

“By the grace of God, I had a great lawyer that protected my freedom,” Foster said on the matter, “But that isn’t the case for many who are arrested.”

He believes that marijuana should be legalized due to how many people use the substance.

“I feel like too many people are labeled as drug addicts for using a substance that has been proven to be safer than many other substances that are currently legal,” Foster said.

Currently, marijuana remains a Schedule I drug under federal law. Former President Obama implemented a policy to keep federal prosecutors from bringing charges in states where the substance is legal, but Attorney General Jeff Sessions, under the Trump administration, rescinded the policy.

“I think it’s just a way to continue to racially profile minorities,” Ford said, “At least if Virginia is trying to reform marijuana law, other states can follow suit.”

Historic royal engagement excites millenials

Kyra Robinson | Staff Writer

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Courtesy of Chelsea Harrison

After breaking the internet with their historic engagement announcement, Great Britain’s Prince Harry and television actress Meghan Markle have set their wedding date to May of next year, according to CNN reporters.

They announced their engagement Nov. 28, and social media went into frenzy, since the love affair was widely considered so untraditional.

Markle is half African-American, half Caucasian and a divorcee — the first to marry into the royal family in 81 years, Fox News reported.

The most recent time America cared so deeply about social affairs in Great Britain was when Prince William married Duchess Kate Middleton, and then people across the United States woke early in the morning to watch the Westminster Abbey wedding take place.

Now, there is more American participation and input because of Markle’s citizenship.

The actress and blogger is mostly known for her role of paralegal Rachel Zane on USA Network’s legal drama Suits. She also has made appearances in films, including Horrible Bosses, Remember Me and Anti-Social.

However, she did not truly become an A-lister until the news broke in 2016 that she was dating Prince Harry. Vanity Fair even reported that she was the most searched woman online in the last year.

Hampton University sophomore Destany Manns is a loyal viewer of Markle’s current show Suits and was ecstatic when she heard of the engagement.

“I’m so happy for her and so excited to see an American woman of color in the British royal family because it’s nice to have that change in tradition,” Manns said happily, adding that she would wake up early to watch their wedding as she also did for the current Cambridge Duke and Duchess.

Markle expressed in an Elle interview last year that she did struggle to get cast because she could never properly fit the roles due to her being “ethnically ambiguous.”

Markle struggled to fit in because she felt “too white” to be black and “too black” to be white.

However, that did not stop African-Americans on social media outlets from celebrating the union between Prince Harry and Markle.

Twitter exploded with calls of “black princess,” and there was general excitement for a woman of color having that opportunity.

“It’s what we really need in the current political climate,” HU sophomore Jordyn Edwards said.

Edwards had no prior knowledge of Markle but became quite invested when the news broke.

“It’s representation that is needed globally for black girls,” Edwards said. “I’m excited to see where this goes.”

Hampton students get out the vote

Kyra Robinson | Staff Writer

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Courtesy of Kyra Robinson

Virginia kept its “blue status” after Tuesday’s gubernatorial election, where all three Democrats gained their sought political seats.

Ralph Northam beat Republican Ed Gillespie for governor with 53.9% of the vote. Justin Fairfax defeated Republican Jill Vogel for the position of lieutenant governor, and Mark Herring gained his second term as the attorney general of the state.

Another notable win was the victory of Democrat Danica Roem, the first openly transgender elected official in Virginia as a state Delegate, whom beat 11 term seat holder and openly transphobic, Bob Marshall

Various organizations on campus worked many weeks prior to the election day to emphasize the power of the college student’s vote.

Nationwide organizations with Hampton-based chapters, like “Next Gen and Generation Action,” coordinated the “Get Out The Vote” weekend where students volunteered by canvassing and phone banking on campus and around the Hampton Roads .

Junior Alexis Weston, who is a part of both of those organizations, felt that Hampton students were very engaged in this election due to President Trump’s win in 2016. She observed that there was a significant amount of Hampton students at the polls on election day.

“It’s important for college students to vote because we truly get affected by these laws. This is the world that we’re about to walk into so we need to make it into something that helps our community,” she said.

Sophomore Aman Tune was also involved with raising voting awareness and worked the polls for two hours. Though it was cold and rainy, she felt that she made an impact as she assisted voters on all the proper procedures.

“I was able to hand out sample ballots and talk to voters about who was on the ballots,” she expressed, “It was great being of service to the community and doing my part to get people out to vote.”

During the time she worked the polls, Tune also observed a large turn out in Hampton student voters.

“To see how many students were getting on and off the shuttles was great,” she expressed, “I was so proud to see Hampton students going out and taking part in this election because it is so important. The numbers looked great and ultimately led to a victorious day.”

According to election statistics, 71.6% of those who voted in Hampton voted for Ralph Northam. After commuting to Phoebus High School to cast their ballots, Hampton University students who identified as Democrats were pleased with these results.

Sophomore Kamili Rosenbaum voted early that morning and even though she did not see many people when she went, she knew that Hampton students were more engaged for this election.

“The students were definitely more involved this year because we were so upset about Trump’s election last year, and we knew there would be a problem if we did not get out there,” Rosenbaum said later that day, “If we have problems with who is running our country, the best time to resolve them is right now. Our voices matter more than ever.”

 

HU student involved in Planned Parenthood action

Kyra Robinson | Staff Writer

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Michyah Thomas

Hampton University’s Planned Parenthood: Generation Action (PPGA) president Michyah Thomas was in New Orleans for a reproductive justice conference when the news broke that President Trump would roll back the birth control mandate in the Affordable Care Act.

She was among other women passionate about political change, mingling and enjoying good food when an official of the SisterSong Inc. conference delivered the news. Thomas said immediately, the mood in the room changed.

“Everyone in this room is here for a reason,” the sophomore Political Science major recalled what the official expressed, “You are here because you are going to fight back.”

Thomas got involved with Planned Parenthood in 2016 after falling ill, having to visit one of their facilities.

During that time, she was in so much pain she often could not go to class.

Later, she was invited to the Youth Organizing Summit where she met a national official for Planned Parenthood who sought HBCU representation and saw potential in Thomas to spread the message of the organization.

Now, Thomas works for Planned Parenthood and leads a Generation Action chapter on this campus. With the Virginia gubernatorial election approaching, Thomas is worried on how elected officials will play a role in Trump’s alteration of healthcare policy.

On Oct. 6, national news networks reported that the Trump administration had altered the mandate requiring contraceptives to be covered. This new policy allows employers, nonprofit organizations, schools and universities to decide whether or not they want to cover contraceptives based on religious or moral grounds. The Obama administration projected that more than 55 million women had access to contraception without copayments with this mandate. However, this policy will not affect a majority of women in the United States according to the Health and Human Services Department.

While some universities might face conflict with this policy change, Hampton University’s current student health insurance plan covers contraceptives. Director of the Hampton University health center, Dr. Karen T. Williams considers birth control to be “beneficial medication and recognizes the multiple functions of it including: managing acne, endometriosis, a chronic disorder when tissue grows outside the uterus, and regulating menstrual cycles.”

Thomas became very familiar with the importance of birth control while she was ill. While she does not believe that most institutions will outright deny women contraceptive care, she worries that the decision could set a precedent for people to stop providing a wide-range of services on the basis of religion.

Since being politically involved since the age of 12, she stressed communicating grievances with elected officials. When asked about how to combat legislation that one found displeasing, Thomas said, “It goes beyond electing figures who show concern during their campaign.”

“The most important thing is to make noise after the fact. The conversation does not stop on election day. It’s important to use your voice because everyone has more power than they recognize,” said Thomas.