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Senator seeks explanation for career US prosecutor’s abrupt resignation

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A Democratic Senator said on Tuesday he wants answers from top Justice Department officials about why a career prosecutor was asked to resign days before a special counsel unveiled the first criminal charges in an investigation into Russia’s role in the 2016 U.S. election.

Dana Boente was asked to quit in late October as the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, whose district has played an important role in the investigation.

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Just days later, Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigators charged President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort and another aide, Rick Gates, with conspiring to launder money and other charges.

It was also announced on Oct. 30 that a third former Trump adviser, George Papadopoulos, had pleaded guilty earlier in the month to a charge of lying to the FBI.

U.S. Senator Chris Coons, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he was writing to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to ask if Boente’s departure was “normal or justified.”

“I’m concerned about the abrupt departure of Dana Boente after a career as a federal prosecutor … There’s a lot of circumstances that connect the ongoing Mueller investigation to the Eastern District,” Coons said in an interview.

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A Department of Justice spokesman said the agency does not comment on personnel matters.

Boente could not immediately be reached for comment.

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Investigations into whether Republican Trump’s campaign associates colluded with Russia last year to help him defeat Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton for the presidency arose after U.S. intelligence agencies concluded Russia carried out a campaign of hacking and propaganda to interfere in the election.

Russia has repeatedly denied meddling allegations and Trump has denied any collusion.

A Justice Department veteran, Boente has stepped in to help stabilize the law enforcement agency in frequent periods of turmoil during the first year of the Trump administration.

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Boente has also been temporarily serving as the acting assistant attorney general for the department’s National Security Division. He previously was acting attorney general after Trump fired the prosecutor in that post, Sally Yates. After that, Boente also briefly was acting deputy attorney general.

A person familiar with the matter confirmed that Sessions, a former Alabama Republican senator and close Trump ally, asked Boente to tender his resignation in late October.

Boente will step down as head of the National Security Division once Trump’s nominee John Demers is confirmed by the Senate. After that, Boente will continue as head of the Eastern District in Alexandria, Virginia, until he is replaced.

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Trump has not yet nominated anyone for that post.

The Eastern District post is the fourth most powerful position in the department’s line of succession.

A judge in the district approved the search warrant for the Alexandria, Virginia home of former Trump campaign manager Manafort in July.

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A grand jury in the district earlier this year became part of Mueller’s probe of former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who is under scrutiny for his work as a lobbyist for a Turkish businessman.

(Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch, editing by Kevin Drawbaugh and Grant McCool)

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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Florida teacher removed after bizarre rant about students not standing for the pledge

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Students were faced with a white-board rant in a classroom attacking anyone not standing up for the Pledge of Allegiance.

The moment went viral locally on Thursday after students posted Daniel Goodman‘s “inappropriate” message to students at First Coast High School in Duval County, Florida, The Atlanta Black Star reported.

“THINK: We had about a half million Americans die in our Civil War, which was largely to get rid of slavery. There are no longer separate water fountains and bathrooms in Jacksonville for ‘white’ and ‘colored,’ as Mr. Goodman remembers from the 1960?s. We had an amendment to the U.S. Constitution allowing women the right to vote. We have had a Black president. The superintendent of Duval Schools is a Black woman. Mr. Fluent, our principal, replaced a Black man. Mr. Simmons, who now is a DC PS admninistrator.”

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Missouri official choose Dr. Seuss’ ‘Oh the Places You’ll Go’ for swearing-in ceremony instead of ‘The Bible’

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A Missouri county official is being both celebrated and attacked after a decision to forgo The Bible for her swearing-in ceremony and opted for a copy of Oh, The Places You'll Go by Dr. Seuss.

The Friendly Atheist at Patheos captured the story, posting a photo of St. Louis City Councilmember Kelli Dunaway's children holding a copy of the book while she took her oath of office.

This was the scene last week at the STLCO government center. Democrats took back control of the council and @DunawayKelli was sworn in on a copy of “Oh the Places you’ll go” with her children❤️ so proud to be part of #TeamKelli pic.twitter.com/iJ1dxfZ1Zg

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Trump predicts New York Times will go out of business when he’s out of office

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In a permission tweet, President Donald Trump announced that his presidency is the only thing keeping the New York Times in business. Yet, somehow, they're also attacking him and lying about him.

"The New York Times will be out of business soon after I leave office, hopefully in 6 years. They have Zero credibility and are losing a fortune, even now, especially after their massive unfunded liability. I'm fairly certain they'll endorse me just to keep it all going!" he tweeted.

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1163238629730373632

Since taking office, subscriptions for The Times have increased dramatically. According to an August report, The Times boasted a 4.7 million increase in subscribers for the second quarter. Their revenue growth was 5.2 percent. It certainly is a modest increase, but it's also an increase in an era when newspapers are struggling to survive.

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