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Ex-prosecutor explains why Trump pardoning Manafort would be the ‘best-case scenario’ for Mueller

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A former U.S. Attorney explained that both Robert Mueller and Paul Manafort would have something to gain from a plea agreement — and she cautioned that a pardon does not come without significant risk for President Donald Trump.

Joyce White Vance, the former U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama, said Manafort would be forced to stand up in court and admit that he was guilty as charged, and he would also be required to disclose everything he got from the government in exchange for his plea — if the court agrees to accept it.

“There’s some good reasons that a plea might be in everybody’s best interest,” Vance said. “Paul Manafort saves a lot of money, but by the same token Mueller doesn’t have to run through the trial the second time, doesn’t have the risk perhaps that a juror might hold up or even vote to acquit. Perhaps this short circuits an appeal process, Manafort agrees not to appeal. So even without cooperation both sides could see it as beneficial. ”

Manafort is already looking at spending the rest of his life in prison after convictions in a previous trial for bank and tax fraud, and MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough asked why he would not be willing to strike a deal.

“For one thing, by not striking a deal Manafort potentially preserves the option to be pardoned down the road,” Vance said. “He stays in alignment with the president and maybe that’s what he sees as his best option. In order for Manafort to cooperate, he doesn’t get to selectively pick what he tells Mueller’s investigators. He has to fully cooperate on any issues that they ask him, be prepared to testify. Manafort may not be able to do that.”

Vance said the former Trump campaign chairman could potentially face state charges — which can’t be pardoned away — even after pleading guilty or agreeing to testify before a grand jury, and she said a pardon could be used as evidence of obstruction.

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“He’s chasing his own tail, and it’s hard to see where it ends,” Vance said. “The best-case scenario for Mueller is Trump does issue a pardon and then that issuance of the pardon becomes additional evidence they are using against the president, but Manafort faces state charges.”

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Walmart got a $2.2 billion tax cut — now it’s laying off workers

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Walmart announced it will lay off hundreds of workers in North Carolina despite receiving billions in tax cuts that the Republican Party and President Trump claimed would spur job growth.

The giant retailer will lay off about 570 employees and close its corporate office near the Charlotte airport, despite signing a 12-year lease just four years earlier, the Charlotte Business Journal reported.

The work done at the Charlotte facility will be outsourced to a firm in Arkansas, according to the report.

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Amazon, Google and Facebook warrant antitrust scrutiny for many reasons – not just because they’re large

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There’s a growing chorus of U.S. politicians, antitrust scholars and consumer watchdogs calling for stricter antitrust treatment of Amazon, Google, Facebook and other tech giants. Some even say they should be broken up.

Most recently, U.S. lawmakers launched a sweeping review to determine if these companies have become so big and powerful that they are stifling competition and harming consumers, while federal regulators are also gearing up to take action.

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Hacker used $35 computer to steal restricted NASA data

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A hacker used a tiny Raspberry Pi computer to infiltrate NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory network, stealing sensitive data and forcing the temporary disconnection of space-flight systems, the agency has revealed.

The April 2018 attack went undetected for nearly a year, according to an audit report issued on June 18, and an investigation is still underway to find the culprit.

A Raspberry Pi is a credit-card sized device sold for about $35 that plugs into home televisions and is used mainly to teach coding to children and promote computing in developing countries.

Prior to detection, the attacker was able to exfiltrate 23 files amounting to approximately 500 megabytes of data, the report from NASA's Office of inspector General said.

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