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Grand jury will investigate possible police cover-up in Laquan McDonald’s death

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A grand jury will hear evidence of whether Chicago police officers lied to justify the 2014 shooting death of a black teenager by a white officer, local media reported on Monday.

Patricia Brown Holmes, a special prosecutor appointed by Cook County Judge LeRoy Martin Jr. in July, motioned for a grand jury on Monday after looking at preliminary information. She did this so that “people would know there was fairness” in the process, she told Reuters.

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Martin accepted the motion and said he would convene a special grand jury to hear evidence, according to the Chicago Tribune. Martin could not be reached for comment.

The October 2014 killing of Laquan McDonald, 17, who was shot 16 times by officer Jason Van Dyke, brought intense national scrutiny of Chicago’s police force.

A police video of the shooting released more than a year later made headlines across the country and prompted calls for Mayor Rahm Emanuel to resign. The video footage shows Van Dyke continued to fire after McDonald had fallen to the ground.

Van Dyke is facing charges of first-degree murder and is on unpaid leave. He has pleaded not guilty.

The police reports on the shooting conflicted with the video footage, sparking accusations that Van Dyke’s fellow officers were trying to cover up an unjustified shooting.

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Holmes is probing whether officers who witnessed the shooting described it in a way that would cover up misconduct, when they were interviewed after the incident.

Police officers are justified in using lethal force if they were in reasonable fear that someone was threatening grievous bodily harm to themselves or another person.

Last month the chief of Chicago’s police department recommended that five officers, including Van Dyke, be fired over their role in the shooting.

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According to charges released last month, all are accused of making false or inaccurate statements about the circumstances surrounding McDonald’s death.


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Carl Bernstein: There are 7-9 ‘wobbly’ Republicans who want witnesses but Mitch McConnell is trying to block them

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In a CNN panel discussion Wednesday, notorious Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein revealed that there are seven to nine Republican senators who are wavering after the compelling argument that the House has provided for the impeachment. The problem, however, is that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is refusing to allow any break from the party line.

"I think this is a hugely damaging narrative that was laid out today, and that Mitch McConnell understands, and has understood for a while that this hugely damaging narrative was going to affect his members," said Bernstein. "And that his strategy -- I've talked to some Republicans about this -- #MidnightMitch is to wear out his own members so that they don't vote for more witnesses because there are six, seven, eight, nine wobbly Republicans."

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Republican Kevin McCarthy gets taken down by former top GOP colleague

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Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) was attacked by a former Republican colleague who alleged McCarthy and his fellow members of Congress have allowed the House GOP to become the official shill for the White House.

In a profile for the New York Times, former Oversight Committee Chairman Tom Davis (R-VA) shamed the GOP House for the way that a once-respectable institution has fallen.

“Congress no longer operates as an independent branch of government, but as an appendage of the executive branch,” said Davis. “He is made for that role.”

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Former senator reveals to Maddow how one brave Democrat can reveal key document in impeachment trial

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Near the end of Wednesday's impeachment trial, Chief Justice John Roberts announced that an agreement had been made to allow senators to read supplemental testimony from Vice President Mike Pence aide Jennifer Williams.

The document will remain classified, despite claims that there is no classified material in the document, only evidence that is damning to the president.

"In terms of this document potentially being improperly classified, which is something that has been raised in writing by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and raised on the floor of the Senate tonight by Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA)," MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow noted. "Obviously, it was the vice president's office that said it was classified, they are getting publicly criticized for that. If it has been improperly classified and it should be something that the public can see, who adjudicates that?"

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