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‘Weak’: US attorney blasts GOP senators for using Trump’s ‘ignorance’ as a defense against obstruction

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Former U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance of the northern district of Alabama, spoke to MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow late Thursday after the New York Times broke a story that President Donald Trump asked the Senate Intelligence Committee to close their investigation into Russia.

Maddow noted that Trump has been under scrutiny for obstruction of justice in the firing of FBI director James Comey. Trump’s request to Republican senators reveals a pattern of behavior in allegedly trying to quash investigations.

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“It’s potentially obstruction of justice,” Vance told Maddow. “It may be even more interesting to the [special counsel Robert] Mueller team because it would be evidence that they could use to demonstrate what the president’s state of mind was and if he were to try to excuse the Comey firing as based on Comey’s conduct…of the Clinton investigation. This continued pressure on senators to terminate the Russia investigation would be helpful to demonstrate that the Comey firing had the intention of terminating the Russia investigation.”

She also explained that even if Trump was unaware of the way the laws work or that he was not supposed to make such requests, the laws don’t allow for such an excuse.

“If he live in a bubble despite his experience in life, there is an old saying that young lawyers learn in law school,” Vance continued. “Ignorance of the law is no defense. Would that apply here? I think that there are a number of factors that would work against the use of ignorance as a defense in addition to the fact it’s unlikely he was sheerly likely or sheerly ignorant of the president shutting down an investigation.”

She went on to explain that such a defense is outright “weak.”

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Science now supports the deadly serious warnings the Victorians gave about sleep

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“Sleeplessness is one of the torments of our age and generation.” You might presume that this is a quote from a contemporary commentator, and no wonder: the World Health Organisation has diagnosed a global epidemic of sleeplessness, and it is difficult to escape accounts, both popular and scientific, of the dangers to health of our 24/7 lifestyle in the modern digital age. But it was actually the neurologist Sir William Broadbent who wrote these words, in 1900.

So our concerns are evidently far from new. The Victorian era experienced not only the extraordinary upheavals of the industrial revolution, but also the arrival of gas and then electric lighting, turning night into day. The creation of an international telegraph network similarly revolutionised systems of communication, establishing global connectivity and, for groups such as businessmen, financiers and politicians, a flow of telegrams at all hours.

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The new Rambo movie is essentially a MAGA fever dream of bigotry

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"Rambo: Last Blood," the latest in the long-running franchise about a traumatized war veteran (Sylvester Stallone) turned on-demand badass, is less an escapist action movie and more a dramatized manifestation of the most notorious sentences from Donald Trump's presidential campaign announcement speech: "They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people." Even for a series that has always been shaped by a right wing worldview, the only reason for this latest sequel to exist — besides generating profits from die-hard Stallone fans — is to validate MAGA-world bigotries about Mexicans.This article first appeared in Salon.

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University of Texas Rio Grande Valley to provide free tuition for students with household incomes under $75,000

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The tuition assistance program is expected to cover tuition and fees for about half of UTRGV students in the 2020-2021 academic year.

Beginning in the next academic year, the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley will provide free tuition and cover mandatory fees for qualifying students with household incomes under $75,000, the university announced Monday.

The UTRGV Tuition Advantage program is expected to alleviate tuition costs for more than half of the university's 21,459 undergraduate students, UTRGV President Guy Bailey said in the release. Funding will be available to incoming, returning and transfer in-state undergraduate students.

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