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New York Times reporter will not be forced to testify in CIA leak trial

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New York Times reporter James Risen will not be called to testify in a CIA leak case that has become a flashpoint of contention over press freedom, the newspaper reported on Monday.

The paper reported on its website that the Department of Justice said in filings it would not call Risen to testify in the U.S. government’s federal court case against former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling.

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Sterling’s lawyers said on Monday they also would not call Risen to take the stand, after earlier leaving open that possibility, the Times added.

The years-long legal struggle over whether Risen should be forced to testify came to represent the tension between balancing freedom of the press and U.S. national security.

It occurred as President Barack Obama’s administration drew criticism for bringing a record number of prosecutions over unauthorized leaks.

The decision by the two sides in the Sterling case not to call Risen as a witness at trial came one week after the journalist testified in the case at a preliminary hearing in Alexandria, Virginia, where he refused to answer all but a few basic questions about his 2006 book “State of War” that detailed a failed CIA effort to undermine Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

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He would not disclose what information confidential sources provided for his book, where or when he met with unnamed sources or who had not served as a source.

It was Risen’s first time appearing under oath on the witness stand in the case.

Sterling was indicted for unauthorized disclosure of national defense information and other charges in 2010.

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Risen sought to quash an earlier subpoena requiring him to testify, but an appeals court ruled against him and the Supreme Court declined last year to take up his case.

In December, after a decision from U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, prosecutors said they planned to limit the questions they would ask Risen, and would not ask him to name any individuals who provided anonymous information for his book.

Sterling’s trial is scheduled to begin this week.

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(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles; Editing by Peter Cooney)


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2020 Election

‘I don’t care’: Watch Kamala Harris shut down Chris Hayes for asking a dumb question about Trump

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Sen. Kamala Harris shut down MSNBC anchor Chris Hayes during a post-debate interview on Tuesday evening.

Hayes questioned Harris about her call for Twitter to follow their terms of service and kick President Donald Trump off of the platform.

"Do you think he puts people’s lives in danger when he targets them in tweets?" Hayes asked.

"Absolutely," Harris replied.

"Do you think he knows that?" Hayes asked.

"Does it matter?" Harris replied.

"The fact is he did it. The fact is that he is irresponsible, he is erratic," she explained. "He is like a 2-year-old with a machine gun."

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2020 Election

Democrats blast Trump and demand his impeachment at CNN debate

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Democratic White House hopefuls united in searing condemnation of Donald Trump during their fourth debate Tuesday, saying the president has broken the law, abused his power, and deserves to be impeached.

From the opening moments, most of the dozen candidates on stage launched fierce broadsides against Trump over the Ukrainian scandal at the heart of the impeachment inquiry.

"The impeachment must go forward," said Senator Elizabeth Warren, who is neck and neck with former vice president Joe Biden at the head of the 2020 nominations race.

"Impeachment is the way that we establish that this man will not be permitted to break the law over and over without consequences," she thundered.

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2020 Election

Here are 3 winners and 4 losers from the CNN/NYT Democratic presidential primary debate

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Twelve Democrats took to the stage Tuesday night for yet another debate in the party's 2020 president primary hosted by CNN and the New York Times.

After only ten candidates qualified for the previous debate, an additional two — Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and wealthy donor and former hedge fund manager Tom Steyer — made it to the stage this round for an even more crowded event.

The candidates discussed a range of important policy issues, but since the format was a debate, and they're all competing for the same nomination, it is ultimately most critical who won and who lost the night. Here are three winners and four losers — necessarily a subjective assessment, of course — from the debate:

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