Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan on Sunday ordered top security chiefs and officials to secure the safe release of 223 schoolgirls abducted three weeks ago by suspected Islamists, his spokesman said. Gunmen believed to be Boko Haram Islamists stormed…
Missouri Republicans' favorite anti-tax law could blow up in their faces -- and end up defunding the police
For four decades now, Republicans in Missouri have kept taxes in the state low via the so-called Hancock Amendment that restricts the state government from increasing spending on state agencies by a given amount.
And as an editorial from the Kansas City Star explains, that amendment could be the very thing that could deny police in Kansas City critical funds that the department says it needs to combat crime.
"The Hancock Amendment also includes a little-noticed clause forbidding the state from imposing additional spending on cities and counties," the editors write. "The prohibition against these 'unfunded mandates' prevents the legislature from loading expensive state programs on the backs of city councils, county legislatures and their taxpayers."
This is relevant because the current budget figures project Kansas City will spend more than 20 percent of its revenue on the police this year, which is more than what would be allowed by the Hancock Amendment.
In other words, Republicans in the state would have to take a hammer to their favorite amendment if they want Kansas City to get the police funding it needs.
"If [conservatives] insist on requiring additional police spending from Kansas City's budget... they will have to shred the Hancock Amendment, a centerpiece of right-wing thought in Missouri for half a century," the editors write. "If the department has less than it thinks it needs, this year or next, the Hancock Amendment, and the conservatives who worship it, will be one reason why."
'Vast evidence that Donald Trump committed crimes': Former DOJ official pushes Merrick Garland to re-look at Mueller probe
In a column for USA Today, a former prosecutor in the Department Of Justice's Public Integrity division urged Attorney General Merrick Garland to re-open former special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of Donald Trump.
According to Noah Bookbinder, who currently serves as the executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics (CREW), recent revelations about ex-AG Bill Barr's handling of the Mueller report are cause to take another look at it and possibly expand upon it.
Linking to a report that U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson "... blasted the Trump Justice Department for misleading the court about the nature of its internal deliberations before concluding that then-President Donald Trump had not obstructed former special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election," Bookbinder said that should open the door for the DOJ to investigate obstruction not only by Trump but also Barr.
"Many of us have long suspected that Barr deliberately set out to spin the contents of the Mueller report and manufacture bogus legal analysis in order to protect Trump from facing consequences for the crimes laid out in the report. We now have proof that Barr did exactly that," the ex-prosecutor charged before noting that, now that Trump is out of office and not protected by a Justice Department policy that limited going after a sitting president, he is fair game.
Quoting a letter signed by 1,000 former federal prosecutors who wrote, "the conduct of President Trump described in Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report would, in the case of any other person not covered by the Office of Legal Counsel policy against indicting a sitting president, result in multiple felony charges for obstruction of justice," Bookbinder pointed out that a roadmap to investigating Trump further already exists.
"The principle that no one is above the law is not self-enforcing. Justice can only be served if law enforcement agencies are willing to pursue justice against anyone who violates the law--regardless of the office they hold. There is no greater threat to the rule of law than failing to hold accountable the most powerful among us," he wrote before adding, "Neither Mueller nor Barr made a final decision as to whether Trump should be prosecuted for obstruction of justice because DOJ policy precluded that outcome as long as he was president. Now that Trump is no longer president, the department needs to decide whether he will be prosecuted, and Attorney General Merrick Garland should let the American people know how that decision will be made."
Hammering home his point, he concluded, "There is vast evidence that Donald Trump committed crimes. Time, and litigation, have removed both the legal protection he had as president and the illusory claims of exoneration spun by Barr. Now is the moment for America to see equal justice in action. It's time to finish what Mueller started."
You can read more here.
'Rats get bats': Boston cops under investigation for threatening posts in response to Capitol riot probe
On Friday, NBC10 reported that two Boston police officers are under investigation for behavior stemming from the January 6 Capitol riot, including a social media post that appeared to be threatening anyone who turns in people who participated in the event.
One officer in particular, Joseph Abasciano, was publicly identified on Twitter as the author of a series of posts about the insurrection. Another officer, Michael J. Geary, reportedly wrote "rats get bats" in response to a Facebook post from the FBI seeking information on Capitol rioters.
The officers declined to comment to NBC10.
Previous reporting indicates that a number of Capitol rioters were current or former military or law enforcement. Alan Hostetter, a former police chief from Southern California who spread far-right conspiracy theories through a nonprofit organization, was involved in storming the Capitol via his group, the American Phoenix Project. And Michael Hardin, a former officer from Kaysville, Utah who was named "Officer of the Year" in 2012, was arrested by the FBI after breaking into the Capitol.
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