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George Clooney expected at Biden fundraiser despite White House call

George Clooney expected at Biden fundraiser despite White House call
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George Clooney is still expected to attend a star-studded June 15 fundraiser for Joe Biden’s re-election campaign, even after a report raised questions about the actor’s call to the White House last month to complain about the president criticizing work his wife was involved in — the International Criminal Court issuing arrest warrants against Israeli leaders for the war in Gaza.

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The Washington Post, which reported on Clooney’s call to the White House, said there were concerns among some Biden campaign officials that the actor would drop out of the marquee event in Los Angeles, which is also expected to include former president Barack Obama, late-night TV host Jimmy Kimmel and actor Julia Roberts. For weeks, the campaign also had been running a contest for supporters to win an all-expenses-paid trip to Los Angeles to meet Obama, Clooney and Roberts at the event.

But Clooney should be there, and the Biden campaign disputed the idea that there were worries the actor would choose to skip the event, the Washington Post said.

WASHINGTON, DC – DECEMBER 04: Actor George Clooney sits next to Singer-songwriter Bono of U2, both 2022 Kennedy Center honorees, as they attend a reception at the White House on December 04, 2022 in Washington, DC. This year’s honorees include actor and filmmaker George Clooney; singer-songwriter Amy Grant; singer Gladys Knight; composer Tania León; and Irish rock band U2, comprised of band members Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton, and Larry Mullen Jr. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images) 

But Clooney, as well as the Biden re-election campaign, may still need to address criticism that the Academy Award-winning actor, who donated $500,000 to Biden’s campaign in 2020, was able to get access to a top White House official in order to lodge his complaints.

In his phone call with Steve Ricchetti, counselor to the president, Clooney also expressed concerns that the Biden administration was initially open to imposing sanctions on the ICC over its decision to seek arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, the Washington Post reported. Clooney was “upset” because his wife, a human rights attorney, could be subject to penalties, the Washington Post said.

Clooney reportedly made the call to Ricchetti after Biden denounced ICC prosecutors for seeking arrest warrants for Netanyahu and Gallant. Clooney, a longtime supporter of Democratic candidates and causes, was especially taken aback by the president using the word “outrageous” to describe the ICC’s move.

On May 20, Karim A. A. Khan, chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, announced that he was seeking to charge three top Hamas leaders, as well as Netanyahu and Gallant, with war crimes and crimes against humanity, related to Hamas’ Oct. 7 terrorist attack on Israel and Israel’s response.

Amal Clooney was among a group of U.K.-based international law experts who gave their unanimous approval to Khan to seek the arrests warrants for leaders on both sides.

“The attacks by Hamas in Israel on Oct. 7 and the military response by Israeli forces in Gaza have tested the system of international law to its limits,” Amal Clooney, a human rights attorney, and other legal advisors wrote in an op-ed published by the Financial Times. The panel of lawyers and former judges said they had been approached by Khan to advise on the warrant applications.

WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 04: U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks at a reception for the 2022 Kennedy Center honorees at the White House on December 04, 2022 in Washington, DC. This year's honorees include actor and filmmaker George Clooney; singer-songwriter Amy Grant; singer Gladys Knight; composer Tania León; and Irish rock band U2, comprised of band members Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton, and Larry Mullen Jr. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC – DECEMBER 04: U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks at a reception for the 2022 Kennedy Center honorees at the White House on December 04, 2022 in Washington, DC. This year’s honorees include actor and filmmaker George Clooney; singer-songwriter Amy Grant; singer Gladys Knight; composer Tania León; and Irish rock band U2, comprised of band members Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton, and Larry Mullen Jr. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images) 

The panel of legal experts said it unanimously agreed that the prosecutor’s evidence “provides reasonable grounds” to believe that Netanyahu and Gallant “have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity.” More than 36,000 people, including some 15,000 children, have been killed in Gaza since Israel launched its military operations, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health.

The legal experts also said there were grounds to believe that Hamas’ most senior leaders — Yahya Sinwar, Mohammed Deif and Ismail Haniyeh — “have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity” for killing more than 1,200 people on Oct. 7, for taking at least 245 hostages and for “acts of sexual violence committed against Israeli hostages.”



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