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FILE PHOTO - Mohamed Mursi, head of the Brotherhood's newly formed Justice and Freedom Party gestures during an interview with Reuters in Cairo
FILE PHOTO – Mohamed Mursi, head of the Brotherhood’s newly formed Justice and Freedom Party gestures during an interview with Reuters in Cairo, May 28, 2011. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El-Ghany

June 18, 2019

CAIRO (Reuters) – Former Egyptian president Mohamed Mursi has been buried alongside other senior figures of the Muslim Brotherhood in Cairo, his son, Ahmed Mursi, said on his Facebook page on Tuesday.

The burial was attended by members of the family in Cairo’s Nasr City after authorities refused burial in Mursi’s home province of Sharqiya in the Nile Delta, Ahmed Mursi said.

“We washed his noble body at Tora prison hospital, read prayers for him at the prison hospital … and the burial was at the Muslim Brotherhood spiritual guides,” Ahmed wrote.

Mursi died on Monday from a heart attack after collapsing in a Cairo court while on trial on espionage charges, authorities and a medical source said. He was 67.

Mursi, a top figure in the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood, had been in jail since being toppled by the military in 2013 after barely a year in power, following mass protests against his rule.

His death is likely to pile international pressure on the Egyptian government over its human rights record, especially conditions in prisons where thousands of Islamists and secular activists are held.

(Reporting By Ali Abdelaty, writing by Sami Aboudi)

Source: OANN

(Reuters) – Justice Clarence Thomas on Monday urged the U.S. Supreme Court to feel less bound to upholding precedent, advancing a view that if adopted by enough of his fellow justices could result in more past decisions being overruled, perhaps including the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion nationwide.

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas talks in his chambers at the U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington, U.S. June 6, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/File Photo

Writing in a gun possession case over whether the federal government and states can prosecute someone separately for the same crime, Thomas said the court should reconsider its standard for reviewing precedents.

Thomas said the nine justices should not uphold precedents that are “demonstrably erroneous,” regardless of whether other factors supported letting them stand.

“When faced with a demonstrably erroneous precedent, my rule is simple: We should not follow it,” wrote Thomas, who has long expressed a greater willingness than his colleagues to overrule precedents.

In a concurring opinion, which no other justice joined, Thomas referred to the court’s 1992 decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which reaffirmed Roe and said states cannot place an undue burden on the constitutional right to an abortion recognized in the Roe decision. Thomas, a member of the court at the time, dissented from the Casey ruling.

Thomas, 70, joined the court in 1991 as an appointee of Republican President George H.W. Bush. Thomas is its longest-serving current justice.

The court now has a 5-4 conservative majority, and Thomas is among its most conservative justices.

He demonstrated his willingness to abandon precedent in February when he wrote that the court should reconsider its landmark 1964 New York Times v. Sullivan ruling that made it harder for public officials to win libel lawsuits.

“Thomas says legal questions have objectively correct answers, and judges should find them regardless of whether their colleagues or predecessors found different answers,” said Jonathan Entin, a law professor at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. “Everyone is concerned about this because they’re thinking about Roe v. Wade.”

COURT DIVISIONS

The Thomas opinion focused on “stare decisis,” a Latin term referring to the legal principle that U.S. courts should not overturn precedents without a special reason.

While stare decisis (pronounced STAR-ay deh-SY-sis) has no formal parameters, justices deciding whether to uphold precedents often look at such factors as whether they work, enhance stability in the law, are part of the national fabric or promote reliance interests, such as in contract cases.

In 2000, conservative then-Chief Justice William Rehnquist left intact the landmark 1966 Miranda v. Arizona ruling, which required police to advise people in custody of their rights, including the rights to remain silent and have a lawyer.

Writing for a 7-2 majority, Rehnquist wrote that regardless of concerns about Miranda’s reasoning, “the principles of stare decisis weigh heavily against overruling it now.” Thomas joined Justice Antonin Scalia’s dissent from that decision. But even Scalia, a conservative who died in 2016, had a different view of stare decisis.

In a widely quoted comment, Scalia once told a Thomas biographer, Ken Foskett, that Thomas “doesn’t believe in stare decisis, period,” and that “if a constitutional line of authority is wrong, he would say let’s get it right. I wouldn’t do that.”

Stare decisis has also split the current court, including last month when in a 5-4 decision written by Thomas the justices overruled a 1979 precedent that had allowed states to be sued by private parties in courts of other states.

Justice Stephen Breyer, a member of the court’s liberal wing, dissented, faulting the majority for overruling “a well-reasoned decision that has caused no serious practical problems.” Citing the 1992 Casey ruling, Breyer said the May decision “can only cause one to wonder which cases the Court will overrule next.”

Thomas said the court should “restore” its jurisprudence relating to precedents to ensure it exercises “mere judgment” and focuses on the “correct, original meaning” of laws it interprets.

“In our constitutional structure, our rule of upholding the law’s original meaning is reason enough to correct course,” Thomas wrote.

Thomas also said demonstrably erroneous decisions should not be “elevated” over federal statutes, as well as the Constitution, merely because they are precedents.

“That’s very different from what the Court does today,” said John McGinnis, a law professor at Northwestern University in Chicago.

McGinnis said the thrust of Thomas’s opinion “makes clear that in a narrow area he will give some weight to precedent. But at the same time, he thinks cases have one right answer, and might find more cases ‘demonstrably erroneous.’”

Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Will Dunham

(Reuters) – Justice Clarence Thomas on Monday urged the U.S. Supreme Court to feel less bound to upholding precedent, advancing a view that if adopted by enough of his fellow justices could result in more past decisions being overruled, perhaps including the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion nationwide.

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas talks in his chambers at the U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington, U.S. June 6, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/File Photo

Writing in a gun possession case over whether the federal government and states can prosecute someone separately for the same crime, Thomas said the court should reconsider its standard for reviewing precedents.

Thomas said the nine justices should not uphold precedents that are “demonstrably erroneous,” regardless of whether other factors supported letting them stand.

“When faced with a demonstrably erroneous precedent, my rule is simple: We should not follow it,” wrote Thomas, who has long expressed a greater willingness than his colleagues to overrule precedents.

In a concurring opinion, which no other justice joined, Thomas referred to the court’s 1992 decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which reaffirmed Roe and said states cannot place an undue burden on the constitutional right to an abortion recognized in the Roe decision. Thomas, a member of the court at the time, dissented from the Casey ruling.

Thomas, 70, joined the court in 1991 as an appointee of Republican President George H.W. Bush. Thomas is its longest-serving current justice.

The court now has a 5-4 conservative majority, and Thomas is among its most conservative justices.

He demonstrated his willingness to abandon precedent in February when he wrote that the court should reconsider its landmark 1964 New York Times v. Sullivan ruling that made it harder for public officials to win libel lawsuits.

“Thomas says legal questions have objectively correct answers, and judges should find them regardless of whether their colleagues or predecessors found different answers,” said Jonathan Entin, a law professor at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. “Everyone is concerned about this because they’re thinking about Roe v. Wade.”

COURT DIVISIONS

The Thomas opinion focused on “stare decisis,” a Latin term referring to the legal principle that U.S. courts should not overturn precedents without a special reason.

While stare decisis (pronounced STAR-ay deh-SY-sis) has no formal parameters, justices deciding whether to uphold precedents often look at such factors as whether they work, enhance stability in the law, are part of the national fabric or promote reliance interests, such as in contract cases.

In 2000, conservative then-Chief Justice William Rehnquist left intact the landmark 1966 Miranda v. Arizona ruling, which required police to advise people in custody of their rights, including the rights to remain silent and have a lawyer.

Writing for a 7-2 majority, Rehnquist wrote that regardless of concerns about Miranda’s reasoning, “the principles of stare decisis weigh heavily against overruling it now.” Thomas joined Justice Antonin Scalia’s dissent from that decision. But even Scalia, a conservative who died in 2016, had a different view of stare decisis.

In a widely quoted comment, Scalia once told a Thomas biographer, Ken Foskett, that Thomas “doesn’t believe in stare decisis, period,” and that “if a constitutional line of authority is wrong, he would say let’s get it right. I wouldn’t do that.”

Stare decisis has also split the current court, including last month when in a 5-4 decision written by Thomas the justices overruled a 1979 precedent that had allowed states to be sued by private parties in courts of other states.

Justice Stephen Breyer, a member of the court’s liberal wing, dissented, faulting the majority for overruling “a well-reasoned decision that has caused no serious practical problems.” Citing the 1992 Casey ruling, Breyer said the May decision “can only cause one to wonder which cases the Court will overrule next.”

Thomas said the court should “restore” its jurisprudence relating to precedents to ensure it exercises “mere judgment” and focuses on the “correct, original meaning” of laws it interprets.

“In our constitutional structure, our rule of upholding the law’s original meaning is reason enough to correct course,” Thomas wrote.

Thomas also said demonstrably erroneous decisions should not be “elevated” over federal statutes, as well as the Constitution, merely because they are precedents.

“That’s very different from what the Court does today,” said John McGinnis, a law professor at Northwestern University in Chicago.

McGinnis said the thrust of Thomas’s opinion “makes clear that in a narrow area he will give some weight to precedent. But at the same time, he thinks cases have one right answer, and might find more cases ‘demonstrably erroneous.’”

Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Will Dunham

President Trump endorsed a senator’s introduction of a constitutional amendment that bans burning the American flag.

Republican Sen. Steve Daines of Montana introduced the amendment on Flag Day, which was Friday. Trump took to Twitter early Saturday morning to throw his support behind the move.

“All in for Senator Steve Daines as he proposes an Amendment for a strong BAN on burning our American Flag. A no brainer!” Trump said.

The article of the legislation is two lines long. “The Congress shall have power to prohibit the physical desecration of the flag of the United States,” it says.

“The American flag has been a symbol of hope and freedom for centuries and ought to be respected,” Daines said in a Friday press release. “Our nation’s flag must be set apart as a protected symbol worthy of honor.”

Trump has expressed support for similar provisions in the past. Shortly after being elected he tweeted that he thought people who burned the flag should be jailed.

“Nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag – if they do, there must be consequences – perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail!” Trump said.

In 1989, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in Texas v. Johnson that burning the American flag is a protected form of free speech. It said burning the American flag was symbolic speech and was therefore protected by the First Amendment.

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(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today it received 33 pages of records from the Department of Justice showing that former senior DOJ official Bruce Ohr in his January 2018 preparation to testify to the Senate and House intelligence committees wrote to a lawyer about “possible ethics concerns.” Bruce Ohr forwarded the email to his wife Nellie Ohr, who had been hired by Fusion GPS, the Hillary Clinton campaign-Democratic National Committee vendor who compiled the anti-Trump Dossier.

Judicial Watch obtained the records through its August 2018 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed against the Justice Department after it failed to respond to a May 29, 2018, FOIA request  (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice(No. 1:18-cv-01854)). Judicial Watch seeks:

All records from the Office of the Deputy Attorney General relating to Fusion GPS, Nellie Ohr and/or British national Christopher Steele, including but not limited to all records of communications about and with Fusion GPS officials, Nellie Ohr and Christopher Steele.

All records from the office of former Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce G. Ohr relating to Fusion GPS, Nellie Ohr and/or British national Christopher 

Steele, including but not limited to all records of communications (including those of former Associate Deputy Attorney General Ohr) about and with Fusion GPS officials, Nellie Ohr and Christopher Steele.

All records from the office of the Director of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force relating to Fusion GPS, Nellie Ohr and/or British national Christopher Steele, including but not limited to all records of communications (including those of former Organized Crime Task Force Director Bruce Ohr) about and with Fusion GPS officials, Nellie Ohr and Christopher Steele.

On January 3, 2018, Bruce Ohr emails Justice Department ethics lawyer Cynthia Shaw, advising her that the Senate and House intelligence committees had requested to interview him about investigations into possible Russian interference in the 2016 election. He notes that a number of press reports had come out about his “alleged” connections to Christopher Steele. He asks her a question that is largely redacted but seeks information about “possible ethics concerns.” He forwards this email to his wife Nellie:

Cynthia –

Thank you for taking the time to chat with me this morning. As requested, here is a short description of my question:

As you may have heard, the Senate intelligence committee and House intelligence committee requested to interview me in connection with their investigations of possible Russian interference in the 2016 elections. Shortly after receiving the Senate request, a series of stories broke in the press about my alleged connections to Chris Steele, the author of the so-called Trump dossier. [Redacted]

My question has to do with [redacted]. Are there any guidelines for [redacted] in order to satisfy any possible ethics concerns?

Shaw’s response is largely redacted:

Hi Bruce,

Can you obtain [redacted]

Thanks,

Cindy

The new documents also reveal a close relationship between Fusion GPS employee Nellie Ohr and DOJ Russia experts Lisa Holtyn, Joseph Wheatley and Ivana Nizich.

On May 11, 2016, Nellie Ohr received an email invitation to attend a Hudson Institute “Kleptocracy Archive Launch.” Notably, Fusion GPS principal Glenn Simpson, listed as “a Senior Fellow at the International Assessment and Strategy Center” who “now works frequently on Russian corporate crime and criminal organizations,” was to be a panelist. Nellie forwarded the invitation on to top Bruce Ohr aide Lisa Holtyn and husband/wife DOJ lawyers Joseph Wheatley and Ivana Nizich. Holtyn, Wheatley, and Nizich all worked for the DOJ’s Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), which investigated Russian cartels and other Russian syndicated crime matters.

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Source: The Washington Pundit

Demonstrators protest to demand authorities scrap a proposed extradition bill with China, in Hong Kong
Protest placards and flowers are displayed during a demonstration to demand authorities scrap a proposed extradition bill with China, in Hong Kong, China June 11, 2019. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

June 12, 2019

By Clare Jim and Jessie Pang

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Tens of thousands of Hong Kong demonstrators surrounded the Chinese-ruled city’s legislature on Wednesday, forcing it to postpone a second round of debate on an extradition bill that would allow people to be sent to mainland China for trial.

The protesters, most of them young people dressed in black, erected barricades as they prepared to hunker down for an extended occupation of the area, in scenes reminiscent of pro-democracy “Occupy” protests that gridlocked the former British colony in 2014.

Protesters rallied in and around Lung Wo Road, a main east-west artery near the offices of embattled Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam, as hundreds of riot police, some armed with batons and plastic shields, warned them to stop advancing.

“Didn’t we say at the end of the Umbrella movement we would be back?” pro-democracy lawmaker Claudia Mo said, referring to the name often used for the “Occupy” demonstrations.

“Now we are back!” she said as supporters echoed her words.

Others once again called for Lam to step down.

Opposition to the bill on Sunday triggered Hong Kong’s biggest political demonstration since its handover from British to Chinese rule in 1997 under a “once country, two systems” deal guaranteeing it special autonomy, including freedom of assembly, free press and independent judiciary.

But many accuse China of extensive meddling since then, including obstruction of democratic reforms, interference with local elections and of being behind the disappearance of five Hong Kong-based booksellers, starting in 2015, who specialized in works critical of Chinese leaders.

Lam has vowed to press ahead with the legislation despite deep concerns in the Asian financial hub, including among business leaders, that it could undermine those freedoms and investor confidence and erode the city’s competitive advantages.

The government said debate on the bill that was due to take place in the city’s 70-seat Legislative Council on Wednesday would be delayed until further notice.

The legislature is controlled by a pro-Beijing majority.

“We won’t leave till they scrap the law,” said one young man wearing a black mask and gloves.

“Carrie Lam has underestimated us. We won’t let her get away with this,” he said.

Live blog of the protests: https://reut.rs/2Iajtez

Beijing again reiterated that the “one country, two systems” formula is best for maintaining long-term prosperity and stability.

“The practice of ‘one country, two systems’ in Hong Kong has achieved remarkable success. This is an undeniable objective fact,” Taiwan Affairs Office spokesman An Fengshan told a regular news briefing in Beijing.

FOOD, GOGGLES AND BRICKS

Many of the protesters, who skipped work, school or university to join the rally, defied police calls to retreat and passed around provisions, including medical supplies, goggles, water and food.

Some stockpiled bricks broken away from pavements.

Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung urged the protesters to stop occupying the road and appealed for calm and restraint. “We also appeal to the people who are stationed to … disperse as soon as possible, and not to try to defy/challenge the law,” he said.

The demonstrators rallied just a stone’s throw from the heart of the financial center where glittering skyscrapers house the offices of some of the world’s biggest companies, including HSBC.

The massive rally was also within sight of the Hong Kong garrison of China’s People’s Liberation Army, whose presence in the city has been one of the most sensitive elements of the 1997 handover.

Standard Chartered, Bank of East Asia and HSBC suspended bank operations at some branches in the area.

A spokesman for bourse operator Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (HKEX) said Lam would not attend a cocktail reception on Wednesday as previously planned.

The proposed bill has attracted widespread criticism at home and abroad, prompting rare criticism from judges, Hong Kong’s business community, some pro-establishment figures and several foreign governments and business chambers.

Demonstrators began joining overnight protests earlier on Wednesday as businesses across the city prepared to go on strike.

Lam has sought to soothe public concerns and said her administration was creating additional amendments to the bill, including safeguarding human rights.

Under the proposed law, Hong Kong residents, as well as foreign and Chinese nationals living or traveling through the city, would all be at risk if they are wanted on the mainland.

Sunday’s protest, which organizers said saw more than a million people take to the streets, in addition to a snowballing backlash against the extradition bill, could raise questions about Lam’s ability to govern effectively.

CRISIS

The protests have plunged Hong Kong into political crisis, just as the 2014 demonstrations did, heaping pressure on Lam’s administration and her official backers in Beijing.

The failure of the 2014 protests to wrest concessions on democracy from Beijing, coupled with the prosecutions of at least 100 mostly young protesters, initially discouraged many from going back out on the streets. That changed on Sunday.

The Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong called on the government not to pass the bill “hurriedly” and urged Christians to pray for the city. Lam, who warned against “radical action” at the protests, is a Catholic.

Human rights groups have repeatedly cited the alleged use of torture, arbitrary detentions, forced confessions and problems accessing lawyers in China, where courts are controlled by the Communist Party, as reasons why the Hong Kong bill should not proceed.

China denies accusations that it tramples on human rights and official Chinese media said this week “foreign forces” were trying to damage China by creating chaos over the extradition bill.

(Reporting by Clare Jim, James Pomfret, Greg Torode, Jessie Pang, Twinnie Siu, Jennifer Hughes, Felix Tam, Vimvam Tong, Thomas Peter, and Joyce Zhou; Additional reporting by Ben Blanchard and Gao Liangping in Beijing; Writing by Anne Marie Roantree; Editing by Robert Birsel, Paul Tait and Nick Macfie)

Source: OANN

The House voted Tuesday to grant new legal powers to a key committee investigating the Trump administration, handing Democrats another tool in their battle to bore deeper into Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerSchiff says Intel panel will hold ‘series’ of hearings on Mueller report Schiff says Intel panel will hold ‘series’ of hearings on Mueller report Key House panel faces pivotal week on Trump MORE‘s report on Russia’s election meddling and potential obstruction by President TrumpDonald John TrumpTop Armed Services Republican plots push for 0B defense budget Amash exits House Freedom Caucus in wake of Trump impeachment stance Amash exits House Freedom Caucus in wake of Trump impeachment stance MORE.

The 229-191 vote broke down strictly along partisan lines with no defectors from either party, highlighting the entrenched divisions on Capitol Hill between Democrats accusing Trump of conducting a “cover-up” related to Mueller’s findings, and Republicans fighting to protect their White House ally from what they consider a political “witch hunt” heading into 2020.

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The resolution empowers the House Judiciary Committee to go before a federal court in seeking the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) compliance with subpoenas for disputed materials and witness testimony. Two figures are named explicitly in the text: Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrAmash exits House Freedom Caucus in wake of Trump impeachment stance Tensions between Democrats, Justice cool for a day Tensions between Democrats, Justice cool for a day MORE, who has refused to release some parts of Mueller’s report and the underlying documents; and Don McGhan, the former White House counsel who has defied a Democratic subpoena to appear before the committee. 

But in a late-debate twist, Judiciary Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerWatergate figure John Dean earns laughter for responses to GOP lawmakers The Hill’s 12:30 Report – Presented by MAPRx – Nadler gets breakthrough deal with DOJ on Mueller docs The Hill’s 12:30 Report – Presented by MAPRx – Nadler gets breakthrough deal with DOJ on Mueller docs MORE (D-N.Y.) announced Monday that he’s reached a deal with DOJ officials to access “Mueller’s most important files.” 

The surprise 11th-hour agreement has tempered some of the long-running tensions between Democrats and the administration. And leading up to the vote on Tuesday, Democratic leaders simultaneously hailed the resolution as a necessary and aggressive expansion of their constitutional oversight powers, while also suggesting they might not ever need to use it. 

“The timeline will, in part, depend on whether the DOJ continues to cooperate with our legitimate Article I powers of oversight and investigation,” said Rep. Hakeem JeffriesHakeem Sekou JeffriesSteyer group targeting 12 congressional Democrats over impeachment Steyer group targeting 12 congressional Democrats over impeachment Trump’s border aid request stalls amid fresh obstacles MORE (D-N.Y.), chairman of the Democratic Caucus. 

“If they continue to cooperate with us, I would expect that we will not race to the courthouse.”

That appeasement does not extend, however, to McGahn. And Democrats are suggesting they’ll use the new legal powers provided by Tuesday’s resolution to go after the former White House counsel in the not too distant future.

“Seems to me that Mr. McGahn is in a particularly vulnerable situation as a private citizen,” Jeffries said. “He should either begin to cooperate immediately, or face the consequences.” 

The vote comes as a growing number of liberal Democrats are endorsing the launch of an impeachment inquiry targeting Trump — a move opposed by Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiFeehery: Pelosi’s dangerous impeachment game Feehery: Pelosi’s dangerous impeachment game Press: How ‘Nervous Nancy’ trumped Trump MORE (D-Calif.) and other top Democrats, who have political concerns about taking such a drastic step without a greater show of public support. 

“There is nothing as divisive in our country, in my view, than impeachment,” Pelosi said Tuesday during an event in Washington, delivering a familiar refrain.

At least 56 rank-and-file lawmakers are backing impeachment, according to a tally kept by The Hill, and Pelosi is under growing pressure to show that her preferred strategy of aggressive investigations is getting results. 

The language adopted by Democrats in describing Tuesday’s resolution hints at the eagerness of top Democrats to project an image of going tough on the scandal-plagued administration, even as they’re opting against even sterner legal measures at their disposal. 

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Indeed, Democratic leaders are labeling the resolution one of “civil contempt.” But the measure makes no mention of contempt. And the language is much softer than another resolution, passed through the Judiciary panel last month, to hold Barr and McGahn in criminal contempt of Congress — a step that carries steep penalties, including heavy fines and up to a year in prison. 

“We’re calling it contempt, for short, because the courts obviously would have to find the executive branch in contempt in order to, sort of, render the orders to comply,” said Rep. Jamie RaskinJamin (Jamie) Ben RaskinOvernight Health Care: Biden infuriates abortion-rights groups with stance on Hyde Amendment | Trump tightens restrictions on fetal tissue research | Democrats plan event to scrutinize Trump’s mental health Overnight Health Care: Biden infuriates abortion-rights groups with stance on Hyde Amendment | Trump tightens restrictions on fetal tissue research | Democrats plan event to scrutinize Trump’s mental health House Democrats plan event to scrutinize Trump’s mental health MORE (D-Md.), a member of the Judiciary Committee and former constitutional law professor. 

“So it’s, generally speaking, not contempt.” 

There is some disagreement among the Democrats as to why they didn’t pursue the criminal contempt resolution. Jeffries and Nadler both cited the DOJ’s recent decision to share more Mueller files as the reason they softened their position. 

“We began to see yesterday, in the face of the possibility of either a criminal contempt citation, or proceeding with inherent contempt, that they began to see things differently all of a sudden,” Jeffries said.

House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerHouse Democrats pull legislation that would give lawmakers raise House Democrats pull legislation that would give lawmakers raise This week: House Democrats escalate battle over Mueller report MORE (D-Md.) suggested the decision was rooted in more practical considerations, noting the unlikelihood of DOJ attorneys prosecuting the head of the agency. 

“I understand contempt is not in the resolution — it’s essentially civil contempt —and … it authorizes the committee to go to … have the courts enforce the subpoena,” Hoyer said Tuesday. “We think that’s a much more productive route than pretending that a U.S. attorney appointed by Donald Trump is going to pursue the attorney general — his boss — for contempt.”

Separately, Democrats are still negotiating for the testimony of Mueller, who had indicated last month that he’d prefer not to appear before Congress to discuss his findings. Nadler has taken the lead on those talks, but has declined to give updates on their status.

The drawn-out timeline has frustrated a growing number of lawmakers, who want the special counsel to clarify a host of questions still lingering around his report, particularly his reason for not recommending obstruction charges against the president.

“That is the view of the overwhelming majority of the House Democratic Caucus,” Jeffries said. “Bob Mueller has a duty to the American people to bring those conclusions to light in public testimony before the United States Congress.”

Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union filed separate lawsuits Tuesday suing the Trump administration over the “conscience protection” rule that protects workers from being forced to provide abortion, sterilization, or voluntary euthanasia if they have religious objections.

Planned Parenthood claims in a press release that this rule allows for “discrimination” against women by their employers. Planned Parenthood Dr. Leana Wen says in the release that while everyone is entitled to their own beliefs, no one has the right to “use those beliefs” to harm women. The press release also includes a statement from Democracy Forward Executive Director Anne Harkavy, who claims “widespread opposition” to the rule and explains that the rule would “further undermine the rights of people of color, LGBTQ people and women.”

In the lawsuit filed by Planned Parenthood, the group claims that imposing the need to accommodate employer’s objections “violates the Establishment Clause” in the First Amendment. The suit goes on to explain that any law that “imposes on employers and employees an absolute duty to conform their business practices to the particular religious practices of the employee constitutes an impermissible religious preference.”

The ACLU makes similar objections in its own press release. In the release, Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, states that “personal views do not give people the right to withhold critical health care or endanger others’ lives.” In the lawsuit the group filed, the ACLU says the rule would cause “significant and irreparable harm on millions of individuals who rely on federally funded care.”

The lawsuits are in addition to an initial lawsuit against the rule filed in May. The Department of Health and Human Services Office of Civil Rights announced the rule on May 7, the National Day of Prayer. The office’s director, Roger Severino, said the rule guarantees that healthcare professionals “won’t be bullied” out of their field because they object to “the taking of a human life.” This is a continuation of the Trump administration’s effort to protect those who object to abortion, which started with the addition of the Conscience and Religious Freedom Division to HHS last year.

Big Tech is under the Hot Seat… Will someone make these Monopolies do the right thing? Will those cast out be let back in?

Big Tech on a rare bipartisan hot seat
Big Tech and its practices will be under a bipartisan microscope as the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday will launch its investigation into the market dominance of Silicon Valley’s biggest names. It will begin with a look at the impact of the tech giants’ platforms on news content, the media and the spread of See More misinformation online. The House Judiciary Committee’s investigation of tech market power stands out because it’s bipartisan and the first review by Congress of industry that dominated with generally little interference from federal regulators.

But with regulators at the Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission apparently pursuing antitrust investigations of Facebook, Google, Apple and Amazon, and several state attorneys general exploring bipartisan action of their own, the tech industry finds itself being increasingly accused of operating like monopolies. Rep. David Cicilline, D-RI, will lead Tuesday’s subcommittee hearing and vowed that the panel will broadly investigate the digital marketplace and “the dominance of large technology platforms,” with an eye toward legislative action to increase competition.

Investigators seek clues behind NYC helicopter crash
The helicopter pilot killed in Monday’s crash in New York Cityhas been identified as a former volunteer fire chief and a “dedicated, highly professional and extremely well trained firefighter,”as well as a skilled pilot. Tim McCormack died Monday after he made a “crash landing” on the roof of 787 Seventh Avenue in MidtownManhattan around 2 p.m. as rain and strong winds hammered the city, the Fire Department of New York (FDNY) said. Investigators believe he was conducting “executive travel” and was headed to the “home airport in Linden, N.J.” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio later told reporters that there appeared to be no connection to terrorism.

The Federal Aviation Administration said the National Transportation Safety Board was in charge of the investigation and “will determine probable cause of the incident.” McCormack had been involved in a bird strike-related emergency landing for a helicopter in 2014.

DOJ casts wide net in probe of surveillance abuses in Russia investigation
As part of its ongoing “multifaceted” and “broad” review into potential misconduct by U.S. intelligence agencies during the 2016 presidential campaign, the Justice Department revealed Monday it is also investigating the activities of several “non-governmental organizations and individuals.” In addition, the DOJ announced that the probe, let by Connecticut U.S. Attorney John Durham, was looking into the involvement of “foreign intelligence services.”

The DOJ’s announcement came as House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler announced Monday that he plans to hit pause on efforts to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt, after reaching a deal with the Justice Department for access to evidence related to former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia report. Separately, John Dean, the former White House counsel to Richard Nixon, testified Monday that he sees “remarkable parallels” between Watergate and the findings of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report – at a dramatic Capitol Hill hearing that Republicans panned as a political “show.”

Kim Jong Un’s half-brother was CIA informant: Report
Kim Jong Un’s half-brother was working as a CIA informant before he was brazenly murdered in a Malaysian airport in 2017,according to a report Monday. Kim Jong Nam, the late North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il’s eldest son, “met on several occasions with agency operatives,” according to the Wall Street Journal. “There was a nexus” between Kim Jong Nam and the intelligence agency,according to the Journal’s source. Little else is known about what Kim Jong Un’s older brother told the feds; however, the report did state he “was almost certainly in contact with security services of other countries, particularly China’s.”

Ortiz back in Boston
Retired Red Sox player David Ortiz landed in Boston in an air ambulance Monday night after a targeted shooting at a bar in Santo Domingo forced doctors in his home nation of the Dominican Republic to remove his gallbladder and part of his intestine. Ortiz, 43, arrived in Boston around 10:30 p.m. after the Red Sox sent a plane to transport him to Massachusetts General Hospital.

TODAY’S MUST-READS
Dems halt effort to secure pay increase for lawmakers, as contempt votes, funding drama loom.
Justin Amash gone from House Freedom Caucus after saying Trump’s conduct was ‘impeachable.’
Jonathan Morris: My decision to leave the Catholic priesthood.

MINDING YOUR BUSINESS
Walmart vs. Amazon: Who is ahead in battle for retail dominance?
Makan Delrahim, Ajit Pai met Friday to discuss T-Mobile-Sprint deal as DOJ decision looms.
Why Americans should get into the housing market now.

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True The Vote wins after a decade-long battle against the IRS that started in 2010…

True the Vote’s founder Catherine Engelbrecht had this to say after the victory:

“At the outset of this case, I testified before Congress and swore that I would never retreat or surrender. Today I have fulfilled that oath. Thank you to all the citizens across the country who stood steadfastly beside us. We could not have done it without your support.”

Engelbrecht told Breitbart News that she believes the victory for freedom should be dedicated to the late Andrew Breitbart:

“It’s been on my heart. In so many ways, this is really a victory that should be dedicated to Andrew,” Engelbrecht said in a phone interview on Thursday morning. “When this all began, I got a call from Andrew, who knew that I was way out of my wheelhouse of expectation that a government could do what was already happening. Andrew stepped in and ran towards the fire on my behalf. the lessons learned in that, the willingness to just charge in because it was the right thing to do—truth has no agenda, right? He just said, ‘Let me be your rodeo clown. Let me go in front. Let me go in front.’ And in some ways, maybe True the Vote went in front for other organizations and citizens and for others who may be scared to speak out. It was a long battle, but we won.”

US District Court Judge Reggie Walton ruled that the IRS targeted the group that fights for election integrity by displaying “unconstitutional discrimination and unethical behavior.”

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Source: The Washington Pundit


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