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Here are 7 things to know about Noel Francisco — who’s next in line for Rosenstein’s job

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On Monday, Axios reported that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has resigned, preempting his likely firing following revelations that he’d said—either seriously or in jest—that he would record the president in a bid to oust him from office.

Rosenstein’s departure raises serious concerns that Trump will appoint a loyalist who will either hobble or completely upturn Robert Mueller’s probe.

According to the legal blog Law and Crime, Rosenstein’s most likely successor is solicitor General Noel Francisco.

Here’s why that might be bad news for the integrity of the Russia investigation.

1. Avowedly conservative

A look at Franciso’s resume shows that he’s committed to right-wing causes. After clerking for Antonin Scalia, Francisco spent his career working for the Bush administration, including representing George W. during the Florida recount.

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2. Believes in vast executive power

Francisco has previously affirmed the president’s legal authority to fire any subordinate.

“The president’s constitutional responsibility to faithfully execute the laws requires adequate authority to remove subordinate officers,” he argued in February. “The framers understood the close connection between the president’s ability to discharge his responsibilities as head of the executive branch and his control over its personnel…The president’s ability to execute the law is thus inextricably linked to his authority to hold his subordinates accountable for their conduct.”

3. Loyalty to White House

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Francisco was confirmed the day after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, Vox reports. Francisco was asked how he would remain independent from White House influence.

“If confirmed, I will provide the President, the White House, and any other entity that I am called upon to advise with candid and independent legal advice,” he wrote.

4. Not a fan of special counsel

After serving in the Bush Justice Department, Francisco left government. Yet in 2007, he appeared to testify before Congress in defense of George W. Bush after the former president fired nine US attorneys.

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“I don’t think it would be appropriate for the Department of Justice to appoint” a special counsel, he said, adding “my own personal belief is that when you hand these issues off to the career prosecutors in the public integrity sections in the US attorneys’ offices in the Department of Justice, those attorneys are generally better able to assess whether a case should be pursued.”

5. What this could mean for the Mueller probe

In his role, Francisco has the authority to shut down the Mueller probe. But even if the investigation continues, he might hobble the probe in more subtle ways, such as by blocking certain avenues of inquiry.

6. The FBI and Clinton

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In a 2016 op-ed, Francisco co-authored an article that accused the FBI of treating Hillary Clinton with “kid gloves.”

7. Bannon seal of approval

Former White House advisor Steve Bannon reportedly told Business Insider that Francisco should replace Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who  is widely expected to be fired following the midterms.

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Senator Elizabeth Warren leads Democrats in spirited first 2020 debate

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Ten Democrats clashed in the first debate of the 2020 presidential race Wednesday with Elizabeth Warren cementing her status as a top-tier candidate and several underdogs using the issue of immigration to clamor for the limelight.

The biggest American political debate since the 2016 presidential campaign is occurring over two nights in Miami, climaxing Thursday with former vice president Joe Biden squaring off against nine challengers, including number two candidate Bernie Sanders.

But Wednesday's first take was a spirited encounter between Democrats like ex-congressman Beto O'Rourke, Senator Cory Booker, former San Antonio mayor Julian Castro and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio on subjects as varied as health care, economic inequality, climate action, gun violence, Iran and immigration.

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Here are 4 winners and 9 losers from the first 2020 Democratic primary debate

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With ten candidates on stage Wednesday, the opening debate of the 2020 Democratic primary in Miami was a packed mess. And this was only the first course in a two-part event — 10 more candidates will debate on the following night.

A crowded field makes it difficult to stand out, and that means that even after a big night like a debate, the most likely result is that not much changes. But the debate was still significant, giving candidates the chance to exceed, meet, or fall below expectations for their performances.

Here's a list — necessarily subjective, of course — of the people who came out on the top when the dust was settled, and those who came out on the bottom.

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Here are 3 ways Julián Castro stood out in the first Democratic Debate

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There were many predictions going into the first Democratic debate on MSNBC, but no one predicted that Julián Castro would break out from the crowd.

Check out the top three ways Castro stood out from the crowd.

Immigration:

The former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development was the outright winner of the immigration section of the debate

It should "piss us all off," Castro said about the father and his little girl who were found face-down in the shores of the Rio Grande River this week. “It’s heartbreaking."

Castro is a second generation American who got into specifics on immigration policy, calling for an outright "Marshall Plan" style of action for Guatemala and Honduras. He joined with other Democrats calling for an end to President Donald Trump's family separation policy, but he then suggested ending the "metering" of legitimate asylum seekers.

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