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Trump’s Right About One Thing: There’s a Double Standard for Him

Trump’s Right About One Thing: There’s a Double Standard for HimPhoto Illustration by Lyne Lucien/The Daily Beast/Photos from GettyFor two years now, President Trump has promoted the narrative that he has been singled out for persecution by the special counsel and by his political opponents. The Mueller probe, he has vented, is a form of “Presidential Harassment,” a “Witch Hunt” aimed at unseating “your favorite President.” In the president’s apparent view, no other person—and certainly no other president—would have been treated so harshly.In the wake of the Mueller Report, and Trump’s exoneration by Attorney General Barr, it is now clear that the truth is exactly the opposite: No other person—and no other president—could have escaped prosecution for obstruction of justice, or at least impeachment, on facts like these.Let’s start with what separates Donald J. Trump from almost everyone else: He is the president. For Bob Mueller, Trump’s status as president gave Trump a double leg-up: First, under Department of Justice guidance, Mueller could not indict the president so long as he remains in office. To that extent, of course, Trump was treated like any other sitting president elected since the issuance of the original Office of Legal Counsel memo. But Mueller took that immunity a critical (and, in my view, mistaken) step further: He reasoned that, because the president could not be indicted, it would be unfair even to reach a judgment about whether Trump had committed obstruction. As a result, Mueller declined to make a formal obstruction finding and instead handed the case off to Attorney General Barr. Barr, of course, had auditioned for his current job by writing a memo contending that the entire suite of offenses identified by Mueller could never constitute obstruction, given the scope of the president’s Article II powers. Barr has also contended that the absence of an underlying offense—here, the failure to find that Trump actually “colluded” with the Russians in destabilizing the 2016 election—is an important reason to reject any obstruction charge. (That proposition, by the way, would be news to at least two of my former clients—Scooter Libby and David Safavian, both high-ranking officials in Republican Administrations. Both were indicted for obstruction; neither of them was ever alleged, or could have been alleged, to have committed some underlying offense.) Barr, who acknowledged in his press conference (though not in his four-page letter) that he had not relied “solely” on his legal views in making his decision, unsurprisingly dismissed any possible obstruction within 48 hours of receiving the 400-page report.So it’s nice to be president. But Donald J. Trump is not just any president. He’s also a president whose attorney general was, by his own admission, prepared to discount the wealth of evidence of palpably obstructive conduct found by Mueller on the ground that Trump was “angry” and acted as he did in the “sincere belief” that he was the “unprecedented” victim of illegitimate accusations of wrongdoing.Can you imagine Attorney General Reno making the same claim for President Clinton, regarding his false testimony during the Paula Jones deposition (on which Kenneth Starr predicated an impeachment recommendation)? Can you imagine Reno rejecting any perjury or obstruction charges by taking a page from Barr’s playbook: “In assessing the President’s testimony, it is important to bear in mind the context. President Clinton faced an unprecedented situation. Opposing counsel in the Jones deposition was inquiring into the most intimate details of Mr. Clinton’s personal life about which few, if any, of us would wish to be questioned, much less under oath. The President was frustrated and angered by a sincere belief that these questions were undermining his presidency.” Yet in the name of Trump’s supposedly “sincere belief,” all manner of plainly obstructive conduct was exonerated by Attorney General Barr.Or how about President Nixon’s obstructive conduct in Watergate? Can you imagine Attorney General Mitchell or Attorney General Kleindienst defending the president’s conduct by arguing that Nixon “sincerely believed” that his enemies were out to get him? Or arguing that, because there was no evidence that the president planned the underlying Watergate break-in, Nixon could not be lawfully charged with obstructing the investigation of that event? (Actually, one can imagine Mitchell and Kleindienst making those arguments, which is hardly a ringing endorsement of Barr’s defense of Trump). Despite Mr. Trump’s protestations of wrongful persecution, the fact of the matter is this: On the facts found in Volume II of the Mueller Report, any other president would now be facing impeachment, and any non-president would be fitted for an orange jumpsuit.Read more at The Daily Beast.



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Dem. Rep. Bashes Green New Deal: ‘There’s No Need to Lie to Voters’

Dem. Rep. Bashes Green New Deal: ‘There’s No Need to Lie to Voters’Representative Max Rose (D., N.Y.) lambasted fellow New York freshman Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Wednesday for using the threat of climate change to advance a “massive socialist economic-policy platform” via the Green New Deal plan she introduced earlier this year.Rose, during a Wednesday interview on New York's local Metro Focus program, agreed with Ocasio-Cortez and her fellow progressives that climate change is an existential threat that requires a commensurate response, but argued that the federal-jobs and housing guarantees included in the plan are not necessary to combat climate change.“This is not the time for milquetoast incrementalism,” Rose said. “It just isn't. But with that being said, nothing about what I just said would provide a justification for a massive socialist economic-policy platform. [It's] just not needed.”“There's no need to lie to voters right now," he added. "We don't need the Democratic version of 'repeal and replace.'”Rose, who earned a Purple Heart and a bronze star for his Army service in Afghanistan, dared Ocasio-Cortez to back a primary challenger against him when asked about her threat to unseat any Democrat who refused to back her progressive vision.“She's going to keep a list,” Rose said, referring to reports that Ocasio-Cortez threatened to make a list of uncooperative Democrats to provide to liberal activists. “This is very simple because I'm not one to deal in subtleties. I think it's best not to be passive-aggressive. If she wants to primary me, if the Justice Democrats want to primary me, I'll lay out the red carpet. We can settle this at the polls."The Green New Deal, which calls for a comprehensive restructuring of the economy in order to transition to 100 percent renewable energy within twelve years, would cost between $ 51 and $ 93 trillion in new government spending, according to the estimates of the American Action Forum.Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell held a vote on the plan late last month, prompting accusations from Democratic leadership that he was rushing the legislation to the floor in order to avoid having a substantive debate on it. Rather than going on record in support of the resolution, Democrats uniformly voted “present” while Republicans unanimously opposed its passage.



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Beto: ‘I Think There’s a Lot of Wisdom in’ Abolishing Electoral College

Beto: ‘I Think There’s a Lot of Wisdom in’ Abolishing Electoral CollegeBeto O'Rourke endorsed fellow Democratic presidential contender Elizabeth Warren's call for the abolition of the Electoral College during a Tuesday campaign stop in Pennsylvania.“I think there's a lot to that. Because you had an election in 2016 where the loser got 3 million more votes than the victor. It puts some states out of play altogether, they don't feel like their vote really counts,” O'Rourke told MSNBC's Garrett Haake when asked about Warren's opposition to the Electoral College. “So if we really want every person to vote and give them every reason to vote, we need to make sure their votes count and go to the candidate of their choosing. So I think there's a lot of wisdom to that and it's something we talked about during that last senate race in Texas.”> Asked about the idea of getting rid of the electoral college, Beto O’Rourke tells @GarrettHaake today: “I think there’s a lot of wisdom in that.” pic.twitter.com/k5yUiL2gmb> > — Kailani Koenig (@kailanikm) March 19, 2019O'Rourke's comments come one day after Warren, citing the outsize influence of voters in battleground states, advocated the abolition of the Electoral College during a Monday night CNN town hall.“My view is that every vote matters and the way we can make that happen is that we can have national voting, and that means get rid of the Electoral College,” Warren told the audience at Mississippi’s Jackson State University.The Massachusetts Democrat went on to accuse Republicans of seeking to disenfranchise minority communities through voter-ID laws and called for a constitutional amendment that “protects the right to vote for every American citizen and makes sure that vote gets counted.”The notion of the Electoral College as a means by which the votes of rural, white Americans enjoy greater influence than those cast by the diverse, urban majority has gained popularity among liberal lawmakers and activists since the 2016 election.The vast majority of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents (81 percent) prefer to maintain the status quo, while the same percentage of Democrats would like to see a constitutional amendment passed to transition to a national popular vote, according to a Gallup poll taken weeks after Election Day 2016.



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A quarter of all kindergartners in Washington county aren’t immunized. Now there’s a measles crisis

A quarter of all kindergartners in Washington county aren’t immunized. Now there’s a measles crisisMeasles outbreaks in Washington state and New York raise concerns about clusters of unvaccinated children



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There’s a Food Pantry at the Coast Guard Academy. How the Shutdown Is Causing Special Pain for Service Members

There’s a Food Pantry at the Coast Guard Academy. How the Shutdown Is Causing Special Pain for Service MembersThe United States Coast Guard Academy has opened a food pantry to help impacted families



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Pompeo Says There’s No ‘Direct Evidence’ Linking Prince to Khashoggi's Death

Pompeo Says There’s No ‘Direct Evidence’ Linking Prince to Khashoggi's DeathPompeo’s remarks come amid growing Congressional pressure to punish the Saudi Arabia for Khashoggi’s murder in October at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, a move that’s put a major strain on American-Saudi ties. “I have read every piece of intelligence that is in the possession of the United States government and when it is done, when you complete that analysis, there is no direct evidence linking him to the murder of Jamal Khashoggi,” Pompeo said in interview on Saturday with CNN from the Group of 20 meeting in Buenos Aires.



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Arctic ice hit one of its lowest points on record, but there’s another grim statistic

Arctic ice hit one of its lowest points on record, but there’s another grim statisticSea ice in the Arctic has just about melted to its lowest point of 2018, and this reinforces a trend of dwindling ice atop the globe — where the climate is warming two to three times faster than the rest of the planet. As of last week, it's the sixth-lowest ice extent — known as the sea ice minimum — in nearly 40 years of satellite records, and with the summer's end it's likely to keep that ranking. This statistic alone might not carry the bite of 2012's extreme Arctic melt, in which the ice thawed to its lowest point ever recorded. Yet, a closer examination of what's transpired in the great north this year reveals the Arctic's ever-accelerating disappearance. "I don’t want the story to be 'This was a ho-hum year'," Jeremy Mathis, a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientist who has led the agency's Arctic Research Program, said in an interview. "Even though the ice didn’t break an all-time record, it was still well below the historical average." 2018 sea ice extent is well below the average.Image: national snow and ice data centerIn fact, each of the last 12 years have been the lowest 12 years on the satellite record, Walt Meier, a senior research scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center, said in an interview. "Twelve in a row," said Meier. "That clearly indicates a change." And there's more. SEE ALSO: The wilderness has returned to idyllic Cape Cod. That means great white sharks. Some of the thickest, oldest Arctic ice, which is anchored in a compacted mass off the frigid north Greenland shore, broke apart this year. "That was oldest, most stable ice in the Arctic," said Mathis. "That’s the ice that we thought would hold on the longest." "It even stuck around when we saw all-time record-breaking melt in 2012," he added. The average thickness of this ice is around 5 meters, or 16 feet thick, but in parts it can reach 20 meters, or some 65 feet, said Meier.  In the greater scope of the expansive Arctic, this break-up wasn't extremely large. But it wasn't exactly small, either. A large pond of melted water on Arctic sea iceImage: nasa"It's an area about the size of Indiana, so it's not trivial," he said.  This break-up portends what may eventually transpire in the Arctic — a visible gauge of climate change — in the next four or so decades. "Something happened this year that is incredibly indicative of just how fast the Arctic is changing," said Mathis. "That could accelerate the timeline for what could be an ice-free Arctic Ocean during the summer months." "It definitely was a surprise," said Meier.  Though, this may not be the first time such Greenland ice melting has happened, he explained; given the limited satellite records, there's no way to know for sure. In any case, it's still a sign of growing instability.  "It’s an indication that it [the ice] was thinner and weaker than it used to be," he said. Loss and variability of August #Arctic sea ice volume…+ Model (PIOMAS) info/validation: t.co/UDsruDEI5p + Additional graphics: t.co/bTAfMZhjL1 pic.twitter.com/2YNhTPXoym — Zack Labe (@ZLabe) September 22, 2018 When sea ice melts, it contributes to even more ice melting. In contrast to the dark ocean, bright ice reflects sunlight back into space. But as both the warming oceans and atmosphere melt the bright ice cover, the ocean is then able to absorb this energy, which in turn melts more ice, said Meier. It's a continuing, stubborn feedback loop. The change here, even in non-record breaking years, is stark.  "We're definitely looking at a shift in the climate," said Meier. WATCH: A paralyzed man walks, with assistance, thanks to a new therapy that reactivates the spinal cord



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DHS Secretary Says There’s No Family Separation Policy ‘Period'

DHS Secretary Says There’s No Family Separation Policy ‘Period'Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen defended her



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As House wraps up Russia inquiry, top Dem on Senate probe says there’s no end in sight

As House wraps up Russia inquiry, top Dem on Senate probe says there’s no end in sightThe top Democrat on Senate Intelligence Committee says the panel has no timetable for wrapping up its ongoing investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and the Trump campaign’s contacts with the Kremlin.



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Oregon Gov.: Ryan Zinke Conceded There’s No Money In Drilling Off Our Coast

Oregon Gov.: Ryan Zinke Conceded There’s No Money In Drilling Off Our CoastWASHINGTON ― Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke infuriated governors of coastal



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