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Authors of Bush torture memos to be cleared of misconduct

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The men who advised former President Bush to waterboard detainees and deprive them of sleep will be cleared of charges of professional misconduct by a Justice Department ethics report.

The report, which has yet to be released, states that Jay Bybee, now a federal appellate court judge, and John Yoo, now a law professor, showed “poor judgment,” but will not face legal action for their advocacy of harsh interrogation tactics.

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Previously, the probe concluded that the two men violated professional obligations, meaning Yoo could be barred from practicing law and Bybee could be impeached.

Now, not so much.

The torture memos of Bybee and Yoo, officials in the Bush Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, outraged civil liberties groups and Democrats because they protected CIA interrogators from legal consequences for torture.

The winds began to turn for Yoo when attorneys with the Obama administration filed a brief arguing against prosecution. The brief states that because Yoo 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.

Shortly after the release of the memos in March 2009, constitutional law professor Jonathan Turley told MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann that the memos “provide the very definition of tyranny.”

“These memos include everything that a petty despot would want,” Turley said.

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Veteran Republican operative drops a scathing op-ed as he leaves the GOP: ‘Real Americans don’t pledge fealty to a strongman’

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Mike Gillis has served in numerous Republican administrations over the decades. In an op-ed published in the New Yorker this Thursday, Mike Gillis announced that he's leaving the Republican Party.

"...I cannot stand idly by and watch as these crooks take over the party I love. I cannot abide this coarsening of discourse, and so on and so forth, etc., etc. Here are the reasons that I am leaving the Republican Party," Gillis writes.

According to Gillis, Trump is "ruthlessly" dividing the country.

"Brother pitted against brother, cat against dog, exterminator against cockroach, sentient robot against mad inventor. Americans must accept that, no matter our particular beliefs, we are all citizens of the United States—whether we be Republican or Democrat, Canadian or Bulgarian, Mesopotamian or Sumerian."

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‘Reckless incompetence and intentional cruelty’: House issues scathing report on Trump migrant family separation policy

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The Trump administration knew it would not be able to reunite refugee and other migrant families as it ripped children—including infants—from the arms of their parents but did so anyway, according to a congressional report released Thursday on the U.S. government's family separation policy.

"The Trump administration's family separation policy lasted far longer than is commonly known and was marked by reckless incompetence and intentional cruelty."—House Judiciary Committee reportThe House Judiciary Committee spent 21 months investigating the planning and execution of the administration's policy, which resulted in the seizure of more than 2,500 migrant children—including some with physical and mental disabilities—from their parents. Its report (pdf) is the "first complete narrative of the inhumane family separation policy in the administration's own words."

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2020 Election

‘Dangerously out of touch’: Ex-White House adviser slams Trump and Larry Kudlow for bragging about the economy

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President Donald Trump's top economic and trade adviser Larry Kudlow is "out of touch," according to former White House economist Austan Goolsbee.

Speaking to MSNBC's Katy Tur, Goolsbee explained that Trump's celebration of the GDP is unwarranted because it took such a significant dive. It's a lot like losing $100 and getting back $60, said Tur.

"You score five runs in one inning, that is a good inning, but if you let up ten runs in the inning before that you're still way down," Goolsbee explained. "I think the numbers look very much like what happened in the job market over the summer. Where we started with a 21 million job loss, and we made back a little over half of that. And then we kind of stalled out. We're still adding jobs, but you also saw this morning another epically bad new unemployment claims number. You still have well over 700,000 people filing for unemployment insurance newly this week. Now we're seeing this on the GDP side. Certainly, this is a positive. You would not want a smaller number, but it has to be bigger and more sustained than what we saw today before we can say that we're back to normal."

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