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Georgia board rejects female death row inmate’s clemency bid

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Georgia’s parole board denied a request for clemency by the lone woman on the state’s death row, just hours before her scheduled execution on Tuesday for her role in her husband’s murder.

Barring a last-minute court stay, Kelly Gissendaner, 47, is to be put to death by injection at 7 p.m. EDT at the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison in Jackson.

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The state’s Board of Pardons and Paroles met Tuesday to decide whether its refusal earlier this year to commute Gissendaner’s sentence to life in prison should stand.

Board members were not swayed by the inmate’s latest appeal for clemency, which emphasized Gissendaner’s model behavior in prison and remorse for plotting her husband’s murder in 1997.

They also did not appear moved by a letter sent by an archbishop on behalf of Pope Francis urging them to commute the inmate’s death sentence. The pope, who concluded a six-day U.S. trip on Sunday, is an outspoken opponent of the death penalty.

“I’m very disappointed and saddened by this decision,” said the Rev. Cathy Zappa, an Episcopal priest who taught Gissendaner through a prison theology program.

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Gissendaner is “scared but she has not wavered” in her belief in God, the priest said.

Gissendaner’s lawyers told the board her death sentence is disproportionate to her crime because she did not kill Douglas Gissendaner and was not present when he was stabbed to death.

The man who carried out the kidnapping and murder, Kelly Gissendaner’s then-boyfriend Gregory Owen, received a life sentence.

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Gissendaner’s execution would be the first death sentence carried out for a woman in Georgia in 70 years. She would be the 16th woman executed in the United States since the Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976.

Her supporters include her three adult children and a former Georgia Supreme Court justice who says he was wrong to deny one of Gissendaner’s earlier appeals. Backers have taken to social media using the hashtag #kellyonmymind to call for her life to be spared.

But the family of Doug Gissendaner said Kelly Gissendaner showed him no mercy.

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“As the murderer,” the family said in a statement, “she’s been given more rights and opportunity over the last 18 years than she ever afforded to Doug who, again, is the victim here.”

Gissendaner’s execution was first called off in February due to bad weather and then again in March after prison officials noticed the lethal injection drug appeared “cloudy.”

Tests later indicated the appearance was caused by storing the drug at too cold a temperature, prison officials said.

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(Reporting by David Beasley; Writing by Colleen Jenkins; Editing by Bill Trott and Eric Walsh)


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Mnuchin admits White House has transcript of Ukraine call and ‘they’re going to be kept confidential’

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Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin confirmed on Sunday that the White House does have a transcript of President Donald Trump's call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky.

During an interview on NBC's Meet the Press, host Chuck Todd asked Mnuchin if he had an objection to Congress' request to see a transcript in which Trump allegedly asks Zelensky to open an investigation into Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.

While confirming that a transcript of the call exists, Mnuchin said that House Democrats have no right to see it.

"What I have a problem with is Congress asking for a transcript between world leaders," he told Todd. "I think that those are confidential discussions and that’s a difficult precedent."

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‘Should we talk about Ivanka?’: MSNBC guest calls for Trump family investigation if Biden’s son is scrutinized

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During a panel discussion on Donald Trump's call for an investigation of Joe Biden's son Hunter over his Ukraine dealings, an "AM Joy" guest said if Congress is going to investigate politician's kids why not start with Ivanka Trump and her brothers Don Jr. and Eric.

Speaking with MSNBC host Joy Reid, Intercept columnist Mehdi Hasan called out President Donald Trump for his "brazenness" going after the former vice president's son.

"There's so much to say about this story, as for the Ukrainian denials, what are they going to do, come out and say, 'Yes, Donald Trump did pressure our president eight times in a single phone call'? It's absurd." Hasan began.

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Lindsey Graham drives bus over Trump kids to get to Biden: ‘You can’t investigate one family and not the other’

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Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) suggested on Sunday that the children of both President Donald Trump and Joe Biden should be investigated.

While speaking to Fox News host Maria Bartiromo, Graham was asked if he is calling for an investigation into Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son over dealings in the Ukraine. President Donald Trump allegedly also asked Ukraine's president for help with the Bidens.

"Yeah, I want the Department of Justice to appoint somebody to look at the role the Ukraine played if any in the 2016 elections," Graham told Bartiromo. "There are a lot of allegations out there how Ukraine fed information maybe to the Democrats."

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