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The Trump administration’s withdrawal of California gillnet protections for whales, turtles ruled illegal

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The Trump administration unlawfully withdrew a plan to limit the number of whales, turtles and other marine creatures permitted to be inadvertently killed or harmed by drift gillnets used to catch swordfish off California, a federal judge has ruled.

The decision requires U.S. fisheries managers to take steps to implement the plan, which calls for placing numerical limits on the “bycatch” of bottlenose dolphins, four whale species and four sea turtle species snared in swordfish gillnets.

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As currently written, the regulation in question also would mandate suspension of swordfish gillnet operations altogether off Southern California if any one of the bycatch limits were exceeded.

The Pacific Fishery Management Council endorsed the plan in 2015, and it was formally proposed for implementation by the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Marine Fisheries Service the following year.

But he sided with environmentalists in finding the agency’s reversal exceeded its authority and was “arbitrary, capricious or an abuse of its discretion.”

Klausner ordered federal fisheries managers to either re-issue the regulations as written or consult with the Pacific Fishery Management Council on any revisions.

Drift gillnets, consisting of mile-long (1.8 km-long) strands of nylon mesh draped 200 feet (60 meters) deep in the ocean from surface floats, pose a hazard to a wide assortment of marine mammals and turtles that can become entangled and drown.

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According to Oceana, the 20 vessels that make up the California drift gillnet fishery ended up discarding 61 percent of their catch from 2004 to 2017.

The Marine Fisheries Service said Friday it had not yet seen the judge’s ruling and was unable to comment.

Oceana attorney Mariel Combs told Reuters the legal finding marked a victory for marine wildlife.

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“The National Marine Fisheries Service’s decision to withdraw those important protections was irresponsible and illegal,” she said.

Reporting by Laura Zuckerman in Salmon, Idaho; Editing by Steve Gorman and Michael Perry

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The Republican Party will be judged for many many years for what it does in this trial: Carl Bernstein

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Veteran newsman Carl Bernstein warned the Republican Party that they will be "judged" for decades based on their behavior in President Donald Trump's impeachment.

During a Friday CNN appearance, the Watergate reporter from The Washington Post explained that the GOP clearly doesn't care about truth, justice or the rule of law.

"There's very little interest in the truth by the president's Republican defenders," he told host Erin Burnett. "Which is a really terrible thing given the grievous nature of the president's corruption, his illegal acts that have now been demonstrably made apparent through the impeachment hearings. The Republican Party is really also on trial in the Senate. And we'll see if there's any breaking of ranks. And right now, it doesn't appear that there is going to be. But I think it will be many, many years that the Republican Party will be judged for what it does in this trial of Donald Trump."

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John Bolton ripped for refusing his ‘patriotic duty’ to testify: CNN legal analyst lectures him to ‘show up!’

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CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin didn't have any kind words for former national security adviser John Bolton, who was spotted coming into Washington, D.C. at Union Station Friday.

"Are you concerned they're trying to keep you from testifying?" a reporter asked Bolton.

"No. I won't," Bolton replied.

Bolton complained Friday that the White House had blocked him from accessing his Twitter account, which was the reason for his two-month silence on the social media site. The White House released a statement denying the account.

None of that mattered to Toobin, who quite simply blew up at Bolton.

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Democrats are preparing four different Articles of Impeachment against Trump: CNN

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House Democrats are preparing four Articles of Impeachment following two weeks of public testimony in the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, CNN reported Friday.

"CNN is learning that Democrats are looking at multiple Articles of Impeachment against President Trump. they include abuse of power, obstruction of Congress, obstruction of justice, and bribery," CNN's Erin Burnett reported.

"This as House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff says his committee has begun writing its impeachment report," she continued.

The host explained how the timeline could look.

"All of this is picking up speed right now, we're learning more about where we go tonight. The Democratic House aides we now know will spend Thanksgiving week preparing that report and hearings now are expected to begin in the Judiciary Committee on the first week in December, the plan is to then hold the vote before Christmas," Burnett reported.

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