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US appeals against ruling that Trump could not block Twitter followers

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The U.S. Justice Department said on Monday it would appeal against a federal judge’s ruling that President Donald Trump may not legally block Twitter users from his account on the social media platform based on their political views, according to a court filing.

Jameel Jaffer, a lawyer for the seven plaintiffs who sued, said the @realDonaldTrump account had unblocked the seven plaintiffs on Monday.

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“We’re pleased that the White House unblocked our clients from the President’s Twitter account but disappointed that the government intends to appeal the district court’s thoughtful and well-supported ruling,” Jaffer said in an email.

The White House did not comment immediately. A Justice Department spokeswoman confirmed the plaintiffs had been unblocked.

Trump has made his Twitter account – with more than 52 million followers – an integral and controversial part of his presidency, using it to promote his agenda, announce policy and attack critics. He has blocked many critics from his account, which prevents them from directly responding to his tweets.

U.S. District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald in Manhattan ruled on May 23 that comments on the president’s account, and those of other government officials, were public forums and that blocking Twitter users for their views violated their right to free speech under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Buchwald’s ruling was in response to a First Amendment lawsuit filed against Trump in July 2017 by the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University and several Twitter users.

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The plaintiffs include Philip Cohen, a sociology professor at the University of Maryland, and Brandon Neely, a Texas police officer.

Cohen, who was blocked from Trump’s account a year ago, wrote on Twitter late Monday: “We whined. We complained. We sued. We won our First Amendment lawsuit in federal court. And now @realDonaldTrump has unblocked me. Wow!”

Neely tweeted at Trump after he was unblocked late Monday: “@realDonaldTrump 368 days and a win in court and now I AM BACK!!!”

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Novelists Stephen King and Anne Rice, comedian Rosie O’Donnell, model Chrissy Teigen, actress Marina Sirtis and the military veterans political action committee VoteVets.org are among others who have said on Twitter that Trump blocked them.

Buchwald rejected the argument by Justice Department lawyers that Trump’s own First Amendment rights allowed him to block people with whom he did not wish to interact.

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Trump could “mute” users, meaning he would not see their tweets while they could still respond to his, she said, without violating their free speech rights.

Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Sandra Maler, Leslie Adler and Paul Tait


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
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McConnell shredded for lying about ‘impeachment obsession’ slowing Senate’s work

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Democrats have called out Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's hypocrisy on a stalled legislative agenda.

The Kentucky Republican accuses the Democratic minority of holding up legislation and failing to do their jobs as the House conducts impeachment hearings, and taunted them to help him pass GOP-backed bills, reported Newsweek.

We’re a few weeks from the end of 2019 and Congress is feeling the impact from months of Democrat heel-dragging. The impeachment obsession has brought us into December with core, routine governing duties still unfulfilled. It is past time to get serious and pass these key bills.

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Kamala Harris leads 27 Senate Democrats in call for Trump to fire Stephen Miller

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More than half the Democrats in the Senate have issued a letter to the White House calling on President Donald Trump to fire White House senior adviser Stephen Miller after leaked emails showed Miller promoting white nationalist outlets and ideology.

Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., and 26 other Senate Democrats, including presidential candidates Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Cory Booker, D-N.J., and Michael Bennet, D-Colo., signed the letter.

“We write to demand the immediate removal of Stephen Miller as your advisor,” said the letter, which was first obtained by HuffPost. “What is driving Mr. Miller” is “not national security, it’s white supremacy — something that has no place in our country, federal government, and especially not the White House.”

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‘Any other attorney general would resign’: MSNBC’s Morning Joe scalds Barr for ‘lying’ about FBI

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MSNBC's Joe Scarborough scalded Attorney General William Barr for lying about the inspector general report he ordered to justify President Donald Trump's conspiracy theories.

The Department of Justice's inspector general failed to find evidence of an FBI plot against Trump's 2016 campaign, but Barr publicly disagreed with those findings and insisted there was not enough justification to launch the Russia investigation.

"His lie about Barack Obama, you know, crawling around Trump Tower like bugging his phone, a lie," Scarborough said. "The lie from the attorney general of the United States, just shocking, that FBI agents, quote, 'spied,' spied on the president of the United States -- a lie."

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