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Federal judge orders recount for Tenn. bill that banned abortion rights from state constitution

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A federal judge on Friday ordered a recount of Tennessee’s 2014 ballot measure that removed the right to an abortion from the state’s constitution.

Chief District Judge Kevin Sharp called the procedure by which the state counted votes for the measure, Amendment 1, “fundamentally unfair.” He said it violated equal protection and due process rights guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution.

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“As a remedy, the Court will order a recount of the 2014 Election solely in relation to Amendment 1, but defer ruling on the question of whether the election on Amendment 1 should be voided,” Sharp wrote in a 52-page decision.

Amendment 1 was approved by 53 percent of the vote after one of the most costly election campaigns in Tennessee history.

Approval cleared the way for Republican Governor Bill Haslam to sign into law bills setting a 48-hour abortion waiting period and requiring clinics performing 50 or more abortions a year to be licensed as ambulatory surgical centers.

Eight voters, including Tennessee Planned Parenthood board members, filed the federal lawsuit a few days after the election.

Sharp said that the 2014 vote was not done in accordance with an article of the state constitution that factors in the number of votes cast for governor in determining whether an amendment has been approved.

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Votes against Amendment 1 were not given the same weight as those in favor of it, he wrote.

Sharp’s ruling came a day after a judge in Tennessee’s Williamson County Circuit Court found that the state had followed proper vote-counting procedures for Amendment 1.

(Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by Bernard Orr)

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GOP will be ‘aided and abetted’ by Russian bots and trolls defending Trump: Former FBI counter-intel chief

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The former assistant director for counterintelligence at the Federal Bureau of Investigation warned Americans to "hunker down" because Russian intelligence will be repeating Republican talking points.

Frank Figliuzzi was interviewed Thursday by MSNBC's Brian Williams on "The Last Word."

"Frank, Fiona Hill -- who richly deserves it -- has been awarded front page status tomorrow morning on the front page of The New York Times, and I imagine newspapers and websites across this country," Williams noted.

"It was extraordinary today when she -- in effect, begged -- asked, certainly, members of the committee to stop supplying Russian talking points, to stop advancing Russian propaganda in the Congress of the United States," he continued.

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Trump has committed 6 impeachable offenses: Harvard Law’s Laurence Tribe says ‘the evidence is all there’

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Constitutional law expert Laurence Tribe broke down the six impeachable offenses President Donald Trump has committed during a Thursday appearance on MSNBC's "The Last Word" with Lawrence O'Donnell.

Tribe has argued 36 cases before the United States Supreme Court and taught at Harvard Law for 50 years. He co-authored the 2018 book To End a Presidency: The Power of Impeachment with Joshua Matz.

"Everyone was in the loop, it was no secret. That was the testimony from Ambassador Gordon Sondland yesterday as he implicated the president, Secretary of State, White House chief of staff, and former National Security Advisor John Bolton and other administration officials in the plot to bribe the president of Ukraine to publicly launch an investigation into Joe Biden in exchange for U.S. military aid to Ukraine that was authorized by Congress and that the president was withholding," O'Donnell reported.

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Rachel Maddow breaks down how public opinion is catching up with the facts of Trump’s impeachment

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MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow on Thursday broke down how the details from the televised impeachment hearings are being reported in local newspapers.

The host read the headlines from multiple newspapers following the damning testimony by Ambassador Gordon Sondland.

The Los Angels Times headlined, "Sonland implicates president." "Envoy says Trump directed effort," was The Wall Street Journal headline.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch headlined, "'Everyone was in the loop. It was no secret': Defiant Sondland says he followed Trump's orders."

"Trump directed pressure on Ukraine, ambassador says," headlined The Kansas City Star.

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