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Judge appears exasperated at Roger Stone arguments against Mueller

Source: CNN

Washington (CNN) — The longtime political stuntman Roger Stone faced an exasperated judge on Thursday, as his lawyers failed to gain traction with bold legal arguments criticizing special counsel Robert Mueller before Stone's November criminal trial.

At the two-and-a-half-hour court hearing, Judge Amy Berman Jackson of the DC District Court didn't rule on requests Stone has made to puncture the case against him but got his legal team to admit flaws in almost all of their arguments.

Stone's team, however, still appears to have hope that they may get access to redacted parts of the Mueller report that describe Stone's case.

Jackson floated the possibility that Stone could potentially see some some parts of the Mueller report that would be "harmless" and repeat details his team is already learning through evidence they've received in the case. Prosecutors have fought against this, saying giving unredacted parts of the sought-after document to the defense team would reveal how they plan to try his case.


By Katelyn Polantz, CNN
Updated 1947 GMT (0347 HKT) May 30, 2019

Read more: https://edition.cnn.com/2019/05/30/politics/roger-stone-hearing/index.html

Baseball team loses sponsor over Ocasio-Cortez 'enemies of freedom' video

Source: Washington Post

Baseball team loses sponsor over Ocasio-Cortez ‘enemies of freedom’ video

By Kayla Epstein, Marisa Iati and Reis Thebault May 30 at 11:33 AM

A major sponsor with deep local roots has ended its partnership with the Fresno Grizzlies after the minor league baseball team aired a Memorial Day video that included Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) among America’s “enemies of freedom” — alongside North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un and the late Cuban president Fidel Castro.

The raisin company Sun-Maid confirmed through a spokeswoman that it is terminating its sponsorship of the Grizzlies after the team showed the video at Chukchansi Park on Monday.

“This decision is not meant to provide any political perspective whatsoever,” Sun-Maid said in a statement to The Washington Post. “It doesn’t matter which end of the political spectrum you’re on; we have taken this action as we simply believe this is the right thing to do.”

“We have discussed our position with Grizzlies management and wish them well as they manage through this matter,” Sun-Maid said.


Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/2019/05/30/baseball-team-loses-sponsor-over-video-showing-ocasio-cortez-among-americas-enemies-freedom/

GoFundMe Border Wall Ordered to Stop Building Because They Didn't Have the Right Paperwork

Building permits, what a concept.

LBN thread: A private group says it's started building its own border wall using millions donated in GoFundMe

Related articles:

New Mexico Mayor Orders Group Building Border Wall On Private Land To Stop Construction. (Newsweek)
New Mexico mayor files cease-and-desist to group starting to build border wall (The Hill)


Source: The Daily Beast

GoFundMe Border Wall Ordered to Stop Building Because They Didn’t Have the Right Paperwork

The $20 million crowdfunded project to do what Trump hasn’t done hit, well, a wall.

Jordyn Rozensky,
Will Sommer
05.28.19 7:46 PM ET

SUNLAND PARK, New Mexico—We Build the Wall, a privately funded effort to build a barrier along the U.S.-Mexico border, was told to stop building on Tuesday.

The cease-and-desist order represents a new obstacle for the group and its founder, triple-amputee veteran Brian Kolfage. Kolfage’s crowdfunding effort became a cause célèbre on the right last December, when he rapidly raised $20 million on GoFundMe for the wall. So far they have built less than a half-mile of fence on the border.

Sunland Park Mayor Javier Perea said at a press conference the city issued a cease-and-desist order, saying it is in violation of city ordinances. George Cudahy, whose company owns the land where the wall is being built, submitted an application for a building permit last week. Sunland Park officials declared the application incomplete, Perea said, because it lacked a site plan development and included contradictory information around the construction.


Boris Johnson, favorite to be Britain's next PM, to face court for alleged Brexit lies

Source: CNN

Boris Johnson, favorite to be Britain's next PM, to face court for alleged Brexit lies

By Sheena McKenzie
Updated 1102 GMT (1902 HKT) May 29, 2019

London (CNN) — The leading candidate to succeed Theresa May as British Prime Minister has been ordered to appear in court to face allegations he lied to the public during the 2016 Brexit referendum campaign.

A judge at Westminster Magistrate's Court in London ordered that Boris Johnson, a former UK foreign secretary, must face a private summons on three counts of misconduct in public office.

Johnson, who was the high-profile face of the Leave campaign, is accused of falsely claiming that Britain's membership of the European Union cost £350 million ($442 million) a week.

The claim was plastered on the side of a bus that toured Britain during the tightly fought campaign that resulted in a 52% vote in favor of the UK leaving the EU.

"Having considered all the relevant factors I am satisfied that this is a proper case to issue the summons as requested for the three offenses as drafted," wrote Judge Margot Coleman.


Read more: https://edition.cnn.com/2019/05/29/uk/boris-johnson-faces-misconduct-trial-gbr-intl/index.html

China is indicating it'll never give in to US demands to change its state-run economy

Source: CNBC

China is indicating it’ll never give in to US demands to change its state-run economy


Evelyn Cheng

As trade talks between the U.S. and China increasingly center on Chinese treatment of foreign companies, Beijing says major American complaints about structural aspects of its economy are running up against “core interests.”

The implication: Those matters are not up for negotiation.

Previously, the vague “core interest” term was generally understood as referring to Beijing’s territorial claims, such as those on Taiwan. But a commentary piece published this weekend by state news agency Xinhua emphasized that China will not yield on its prerogative about how to manage its economy.

The Chinese-language article published Saturday claimed there were five ways in which the U.S. is harming the growth of the global economy by launching a trade war with the Asian giant.

“At the negotiating table, the U.S. government has made many arrogant requests, including restricting the development of state-owned enterprises,” the commentary said, according to a CNBC translation. “Obviously, this is beyond the field and scope of trade negotiations, (and) touches upon China’s fundamental economic system.”


Read more: https://www.cnbc.com/2019/05/27/china-is-digging-in-its-heels-on-protecting-a-state-run-economy.html

'Revolution' in Poland as nation confronts priestly abuse

Source: Associated Press

‘Revolution’ in Poland as nation confronts priestly abuse

May 25, 2019

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — One victim spoke out, and then another, and another. A statue of a pedophile priest was toppled in Gdansk, put back by his supporters, and finally dismantled for good. A feature film about clerical abuse was a box office hit.

Poland thought it had started confronting the problem of clerical abuse and its cover-up by church authorities. Then a bombshell came: A documentary with victim testimony so harrowing it has forced an unprecedented reckoning with pedophile priests in one of Europe’s most deeply Catholic societies.

Poland’s bishops acknowledged this week they face a crisis and made a rare admission that they have failed to protect the young. It’s also a crisis for the country’s conservative government, which is closely aligned with the Catholic Church, putting the ruling Law and Justice party on the defensive before Sunday’s European Parliament vote in Poland.

The documentary ”Tell No One ” was directed by journalist Tomasz Sekielski. Before its release on May 11, ruling party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski had described discussion about clerical abuse as a “brutal attack” on the church and portrayed the LGBT rights movement as the key threat to children in the country. But the revelations in the documentary have pushed the party to face up to the cleric abuse crisis. It has vowed stiffer penalties for pedophilia, although its leaders have avoided pointing a finger at the church specifically.

Across the country, the film has triggered soul searching and raised questions, including whether the same bishops who moved perpetrators from parish to parish for years will be capable of cleansing the church. Some wonder if Poland, which is already being reshaped by economic growth and secularization, could eventually follow Ireland, where the abuse crisis broke the Catholic Church’s hold on society.


Read more: https://apnews.com/8fbab7877b7844b39e2e257f114c8a4a

Some federal prosecutors disagreed with decision to charge Assange under Espionage Act

Source: Washington Post

Two prosecutors involved in the case against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange argued against the Justice Department’s decision to accuse him of violating the Espionage Act because of fear such charges posed serious risks for First Amendment protections and other concerns, according to people familiar with the matter.

The previously undisclosed disagreement inside the Justice Department underscores the fraught, high-stakes nature of the government’s years-long effort to counter Assange, an Internet-age publisher who has repeatedly declared his hostility to U.S. foreign policy and military operations. The Assange case also illustrates how the Trump administration is willing to go further than its predecessors in pursuit of leakers — and those who publish official secrets.

The internal Justice Department debate over how, or whether, to prosecute Assange stretched back to the Obama administration, which ultimately decided that such charges were a bad idea but did not formally close the case.

The case was dormant when the Trump administration began, but in 2017, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, eager to demonstrate his zeal for pursuing anti-leak investigations, urged the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia to take a second look at prosecuting Assange.


By Devlin Barrett, Matt Zapotosky and Rachel Weiner May 24 at 5:48 PM

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/some-federal-prosecutors-disagreed-with-decision-to-charge-assange-under-espionage-act/2019/05/24/ce9271bc-7e4d-11e9-8bb7-0fc796cf2ec0_story.html

U.S. Supreme Court blocks redrawing of Ohio, Michigan electoral maps

LBN thread: U.S. Supreme Court grants Ohio's request to delay new map in gerrymandering case


Source: Reuters


U.S. Supreme Court blocks redrawing of Ohio, Michigan electoral maps

Andrew Chung, Lawrence Hurley

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Supreme Court on Friday blocked lower court rulings ordering Republican legislators in Michigan and Ohio to redraw U.S. congressional maps ahead of the 2020 elections, dealing a blow to Democrats who had argued that the electoral districts were intended to unlawfully diminish their political clout.

The justices granted requests from Republican lawmakers in both states to put those decisions on hold, halting further action in the cases and the need to rework electoral district boundaries. The justices did not provide any explanation for their brief orders.

The lower courts found that the electoral maps in the two states had been drawn to entrench Republicans in power by manipulating boundaries in a way that reduced the voting clout of Democrats - a practice known as partisan gerrymandering - in violation of the U.S. Constitution.

While both disputes involve U.S. House of Representatives districts in the two states, the Michigan case challenges districts in the state legislature as well.

The decisions in Michigan and Ohio that were put on hold by the justices were the latest rulings by federal courts determining that electoral maps designed by a state’s majority party unconstitutionally undermined the rights of voters who tend to support the other party.


Read more: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-court-gerrymandering/u-s-supreme-court-blocks-redrawing-of-ohio-michigan-electoral-maps-idUSKCN1SU292

Trump orders intelligence community to cooperate with review on Russia probe origins

Source: Reuters


Trump orders intelligence community to cooperate with review on Russia probe origins

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday ordered the intelligence community to cooperate with Attorney General William Barr’s review of the events that prompted the FBI to open an investigation into links between the Trump campaign and Russia.

“Today, at the request and recommendation of the attorney general of the United States, President Donald J. Trump directed the intelligence community to quickly and fully cooperate with the attorney general’s investigation into surveillance activities during the 2016 presidential election,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said after Trump issued the directive.

The order also allows Barr to declassify any information he sees fit during his review.

Last month, Barr said at a Senate hearing that “spying” on Trump’s campaign was carried out by U.S. intelligence agencies, though he later referred to his concerns as focused on “unauthorized surveillance.”

Barr has assigned a top federal prosecutor in Connecticut to probe the origins of the Russia investigation in what is the third known inquiry into the opening of the FBI probe.


Read more: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-russia-barr/trump-orders-intelligence-community-to-cooperate-with-review-on-russia-probe-origins-idUSKCN1SU00T

'He always brings them up': Trump tries to steer border wall deal to North Dakota firm

Source: Washington Post

‘He always brings them up’: Trump tries to steer border wall deal to North Dakota firm

By Nick Miroff and Josh Dawsey May 23 at 7:06 PM

President Trump has personally and repeatedly urged the head of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to award a border wall contract to a North Dakota construction firm whose top executive is a GOP donor and frequent guest on Fox News, according to four administration officials.

In phone calls, White House meetings and conversations aboard Air Force One during the past several months, Trump has aggressively pushed Dickinson, N.D.-based Fisher Industries to Department of Homeland Security leaders and Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite, the commanding general of the Army Corps, according to the administration officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. The push for a specific company has alarmed military commanders and DHS officials.

Semonite was summoned to the White House again Thursday, after the president’s aides told Pentagon officials — including Gen. Mark Milley, the commander of the U.S. Army — that the president wanted to discuss the border barrier. According to an administration official with knowledge of the Oval Office meeting, Trump immediately brought up Fisher, a company that sued the U.S. government last month after the Army Corps did not accept its bid to install barriers along the southern border, a contract potentially worth billions of dollars.

Trump has latched on to the company’s public claims that a new weathered steel design and innovative construction method would vastly speed up the project — and deliver it at far less cost to taxpayers. White House officials said Trump wants to go with the best and most cost-effective option to build the wall quickly.

“The President is one of the country’s most successful builders and knows better than anyone how to negotiate the best deals,” said Sarah Sanders, White House press secretary. “He wants to make sure we get the job done under budget and ahead of schedule.”


Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/immigration/he-always-brings-them-up-trump-tries-to-steer-border-wall-deal-to-north-dakota-firm/2019/05/23/92d3858c-7b30-11e9-8bb7-0fc796cf2ec0_story.html
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