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Utah judge removes himself from case involving lesbian couple’s foster baby

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A Utah judge who sparked an outcry when ordered a foster child to be taken from the home of her married lesbian foster parents removed himself from the case on Monday.

Seventh District Juvenile Judge Scott Johansen disqualified himself from the case and referred it to the court’s presiding judge, Mary Manley, according to a copy of the court order published online by gay rights organization Equality Utah.

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The licensed foster parents, Beckie Peirce and April Hoagland, had cared for the 9-month-old girl since August, but Johansen last week ordered state child welfare workers to remove the baby from the couple’s home because of their sexual orientation and find new foster parents within seven days.

He later amended his ruling, dropping the removal order in favor of a hearing to determine what was in the baby’s best interest.

“We are thankful that Judge Johansen has decided to step aside. Our greatest concern now is taking care of our beautiful baby foster daughter,” Peirce and Hoagland said in a statement sent to Equality Utah on Monday.

Earlier, the state Division of Child and Family Services, which opposed the order, said the judge had cited unspecified research that he said showed children were better off with heterosexual parents.

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News of Johansen’s initial ruling angered gay rights and civil liberties advocates. The national Human Rights Campaign on Monday urged the Utah Judicial Conduct Commission to investigate the judge’s actions.

Even Republican Governor Gary Herbert, who fought same-sex marriage in his state until the U.S. Supreme Court decision in June legalizing gay matrimony nationwide, said he was “puzzled” by the judge’s order.

The couple, licensed as foster parents earlier this year, are already parents to Peirce’s 12- and 14-year-old biological children and said they were planning to adopt their foster child at the request of the girl’s biological mother, the Salt Lake Tribune and other news media have reported.

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(Reporting by Peg McEntee in Salt Lake City; Editing by Curtis Skinner and Peter Cooney)


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‘The wheels are coming off’: MSNBC panel says Trump told his chief of staff to ‘walk the plank’

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Two MSNBC anchors discussed Thursday's whirlwind day of breaking news in scandals involving President Donald Trump.

The host of "The Rachel Maddow Show" joined Brian Williams on "The 11th Hour" to discuss Trump holding the G7 Summit at his Trump National Doral Miami golf course and the White House acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, confessing that there was a quid pro quo with Ukraine -- before attempting to walk back his confession.

"Did things change today, do you think?" Williams asked.

"I do feel like the wheels are coming off," Maddow said.

"For the Energy Secretary [Rick Perry] to resign, you've had two cabinet secretaries resign during the impeachment proceedings already, one of whom, the current one resigning tonight, the Energy Secretary, does appear to be involved in the scheme, at least on a couple of different levels. We have got the White House Chief of Staff who was sent out today, not only to make the, 'Yes, it was quid pro quo. Yes, we did it. What are you going to make of it?' article -- which was bracing, but then to take it back, simultaneously announcing this self-dealing, which is something more blatant than we’ve ever seen from any president in U.S. history," she explained.

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Rick Wilson rips Trump for holding G7 meeting at his ‘South Florida House of Bed Bugs Hotel’

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Republican strategist Rick Willson blasted President Donald Trump after the administration announced that the G7 meeting of world leaders would be held at his Trump National Doral Miami golf course.

Chief of staff and Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney announced the severely under-performing resort would receive the lucrative contract during a contentious White House briefing.

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2020 Election

Trump impersonated a CNN anchor — and a US president — during epic meltdown at Texas speech

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President Donald Trump offered multiple impersonations during a campaign rally in Dallas, Texas on Thursday.

Trump showed the crowd his impersonation of a president of the United States -- and a CNN anchor.

"No guns. No religion. No oil. No natural gas," Trump said. "Abraham Lincoln could not win Texas under those circumstances. Couldn’t do it."

In fact, Abraham Lincoln could not win Texas when he ran for president as the state refused to print any ballots with his name.

He then showed the audience two impersonations as part of his 87-minute speech.

"I used it to say, I can be more presidential. Look," Trump said, as he shuffled awkwardly on stage.

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