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Obama attorneys step up defense of torture memo author

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Citing an argument that hallmarked the Bush years, Obama administration attorneys have asked a San Francisco court to drop all charges against Berkeley law professor John Yoo, who authored legal opinions that permitted the torture of prisoners.

An amicus curiae brief [PDF link] filed by the Department of Justice with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday essentially argues that because he was giving advice to the president on a national security matter, Yoo should not be held accountable for his actions as it would have a chilling effect on advice provided to future presidents.

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In other words, the DoJ explained, accusations of torture in this case present “special factors” that the court should not address “in the absence of congressional action.”

“Yoo’s new attorney, Miguel Estrada, argued for dismissal in a filing last month, saying the case interfered with presidential war-making authority and threatened to “open the floodgates to politically motivated lawsuits” against government officials,” noted Bob Egelko, writing for The San Francisco Chronicle.

The DoJ’s argument was not so broad, as it also noted that the Office of Professional Responsibility is investigating Yoo and a number of other Bush administration attorneys. Their report was due out at the end of November but its release has been delayed and is expected “soon,” according to a recent report.

In June, Yoo was ordered to testify in a suit filed by attorneys representing Jose Padilla, an American citizen who was held for more than three years and allegedly tortured while in U.S. military custody.

Padilla was convicted in January, 2008 of conspiracy to aid terrorism and sentenced to 17 years, four months in prison. At his trial, the judge noted the government had not presented enough evidence to convict him for attempting to detonate a “dirty bomb” in the United States, of which he was originally accused. The judge also noted the American citizen’s imprisonment and subsequent “harsh” interrogations, saying it would be weighed in Padilla’s sentencing.

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Yoo, while at the Office of Legal Council in 2002, authored a majority of the department’s opinions on torture along with Jay Bybee, who now serves as a judge on the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, and Steven Bradbury, the former OLC chief who now practices law in Washington, D.C.


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Colbert names Trump’s siege on DC the ‘Tinyman Square’ incident

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It wasn't quite Tiananmen Square, where a still-unknown number of Chinese protesters were murdered by the government in 1989, but it was the closest thing President Donald Trump managed to score this week.

After watching the footage of the military tear gas, beat and shoot at protesters so Trump could march from the presidential bunker to St. John's Church for the cameras.

"It was like Tiananmen Square," Colbert deemed. "Except, in Trump's case, Tinyman Square."

Trump claimed on "The Fox & Friends" that no one was tear-gassed, so it's unclear what was stinging people's eyes and making them cough, choke and tear up. The Park Police released a statement saying it wasn't tear gas. While the moment was captured on video from dozens of different camera angles, one protester actually grabbed a canister of Oleoresins Capiscum, or "OC," the gas that was used.

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Vladimir Putin must love watching the US fall apart: columnist

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New Yorker columnist Susan Glasser made the astute observation that if Russian President Vladimir Putin wanted to destabilize the United States with the election of President Donald Trump, he's clearly achieved his objective.

It was reported in March that Russian intelligence services are working to incite violence using white supremacist groups to try and sow racial chaos in the United States ahead of the November election.

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Conservative columnist links all Republicans to the attack on Lafayette Square

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Monday afternoon, President Donald Trump decided to walk across Lafayette Square for a photo-op. To get there, however, it took an outright battle with mounted park police, police covered in body armor and rattled Secret Service members who had just rushed the president to the bunker several nights before. Armed with semi-automatic weapons and military gear, they staged a siege on Lafayette Square against unarmed hippies, woke whites and people of color, again, forced to fight for justice.

Writing for the Washington Post Wednesday, conservative columnist Max Boot attacked Attorney General Bill Barr, who accepted responsibility for demanding that demonstrators be tear-gassed, beaten and shot with rubber bullets. Like Bull Conor ordering fire hoses on students marching in Birmingham, Alabama, Barr's attack on Lafayette Square for a photo-op proved he is willing to do what it takes to stroke the fractured ego of a president forced to cower in a bunker.

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