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Supreme Court Justice Breyer raises questions over rules for Guantanamo imprisonment

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A U.S. Supreme Court justice on Monday raised questions about the scope of the government’s authority to detain terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay, offering a glimmer of hope to those held for years without charge.

The high court refused to hear the appeal of a Yemeni man held for 12 years at the U.S. military prison in Cuba, letting stand a lower court ruling that he could be detained simply because he was found to be “part of al-Qaeda or the Taliban at the time of his apprehension.”

Progressive Justice Stephen Breyer, while concurring with that decision, issued a statement outlining several areas which the court has yet to address regarding the government’s detention authority.

Breyer said the court had not looked on whether the U.S. military could hold someone who was not “engaged in an armed conflict against the United States’ in Afghanistan prior to his capture” — even if that person was a member of Al-Qaeda or the Taliban.

He also said that even if such detention was permissible, the court also had not weighed in on whether the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), passed in September 2001 after the 9/11 attacks, or the Constitution “limits the duration of detention.”

Breyer explained that the AUMF allows the U.S. president to “use all necessary and appropriate force” against those deemed to have helped carry out the attacks “in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States.”

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In 2004, the Supreme Court confirmed that the AUMF was constitutional and allowed the president to detain “enemy combatants” provided the individual “was part of or supporting forces hostile to the United States or coalition partners in Afghanistan and who engaged in an armed conflict against the United States there.”

But Breyer’s statement indicated that he could be ready to hear an appeal on the basis of the gray areas he outlined that have not yet been addressed by the court.

Abdul al-Qader Hussain, 30, was captured in March 2002 in Pakistan on suspicion of links to Osama bin Laden’s Al-Qaeda network and the Taliban — claims he has repeatedly denied.

In their brief, Hussain’s lawyers had asked the high court only to assess the “level of proof” the government needed to show to justify his detention — not the legal issues Breyer mentioned in his statement.

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Hussain had contested the fact that the lower courts confirmed his “indefinite detention” based on his travels in Afghanistan as a teenager, time spent in certain mosques and his possession of a rifle.

[Image via Agence France-Presse]

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Russians to prod Putin on poverty and his personal life as his ratings tank

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Russians are set to ask President Vladimir Putin about growing poverty at home and tensions abroad during an annual televised phone-in Thursday, which comes following a fall in his approval ratings.

The leader is also likely to face a degree of grilling on his personal life, according to questions submitted by the public online ahead of the live show.

Set to be held for the 17th time since Putin came to power in 1999, the show starts at 0900 GMT and usually lasts several hours.

Ahead of the carefully choreographed show, more than one million questions had been submitted, organisers told Russian news agencies.

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Trump could turn on Hope Hicks just like Michael Cohen: Trump family biographer warns

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Trump family biographer Emily Jane Fox explained that she didn't think that the president would turn on long-time aide Hope Hicks, but then again, it was the same thought about Michael Cohen as well.

In a panel discussion about Hicks' testimony during MSNBC's Brian Williams' Wednesday show, Fox recalled that Micahel Cohen once said that he would take a bullet for the president. Once it appeared that Trump would throw him under the bus, Cohen began looking for a way out.

The same scenario seems to be happening with Hicks now.

"She works at new Fox, which is a company run by a Murdoch son," Fox said. "It's a company that's brand new. She's the head of communications there. And there are shareholders who would take issue with the fact that a senior member of this company is being put in this situation and being thrust on the world stage."

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Trump jumped to Speaker Pelosi’s defense in marathon Fox News interview

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In a strange twist, President Donald Trump appeared to defend House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity Wednesday.

Hannity began by saying to Trump that he believes Pelosi has lost control of her own party, as officials like Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Ilhan Omar (D-MN) continue to call for impeachment.

"I say Nancy Pelosi is the speaker in name only," Hannity told Trump, calling Ocasio-Cortez the real start.

But what Trump said was the unusual point.

"I think Nancy Pelosi probably has control of it, I hear different things, but I think she does," Trump said, appearing to defend the Speaker. "She knows what she's doing. We will see how it all comes out."

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