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City of San Francisco threatens court action over Trump’s acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker

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San Francisco’s city attorney on Monday questioned the recent appointment of a new acting attorney general, saying in a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice that his office may take court action if the DOJ does not provide a legal justification for the designation.

President Donald Trump last week named Matthew Whitaker to replace former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who was forced out after months of attacks by Trump for recusing himself from an ongoing probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

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The move made Whitaker supervisor of the investigation, which has hung over Trump’s presidency. Whitaker has criticized the probe in the past as too wide-ranging, which has raised concerns among Democrats that Sessions’ ouster and Whitaker’s appointment might be precursors to Trump moving to end it.

In the letter on Monday, San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera said the city currently has four cases proceeding in court that name Sessions as a defendant. One of those cases led to an injunction blocking a Trump executive order over sanctuary cities.

Given that the Sessions resignation impacts those cases, Herrera said DOJ should provide legal justification for the Whitaker appointment. Otherwise, the city “may be forced” ask a judge for it, the letter said.

A Justice Department spokesperson could not immediately be reached for comment.

Sources told Reuters last week that Senate Democrats were considering suing Trump on the grounds that, in naming Whitaker, the president ignored a statutory line of succession at the Justice Department and deprived senators of their constitutional “advice and consent” role on some presidential appointments.

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Herrera’s letter also questioned Whitaker’s appointment because he had not been confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

Reporting by Dan Levine, editing by G Crosse

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GOP will be ‘aided and abetted’ by Russian bots and trolls defending Trump: Former FBI counter-intel chief

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The former assistant director for counterintelligence at the Federal Bureau of Investigation warned Americans to "hunker down" because Russian intelligence will be repeating Republican talking points.

Frank Figliuzzi was interviewed Thursday by MSNBC's Brian Williams on "The Last Word."

"Frank, Fiona Hill -- who richly deserves it -- has been awarded front page status tomorrow morning on the front page of The New York Times, and I imagine newspapers and websites across this country," Williams noted.

"It was extraordinary today when she -- in effect, begged -- asked, certainly, members of the committee to stop supplying Russian talking points, to stop advancing Russian propaganda in the Congress of the United States," he continued.

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Trump has committed 6 impeachable offenses: Harvard Law’s Laurence Tribe says ‘the evidence is all there’

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Constitutional law expert Laurence Tribe broke down the six impeachable offenses President Donald Trump has committed during a Thursday appearance on MSNBC's "The Last Word" with Lawrence O'Donnell.

Tribe has argued 36 cases before the United States Supreme Court and taught at Harvard Law for 50 years. He co-authored the 2018 book To End a Presidency: The Power of Impeachment with Joshua Matz.

"Everyone was in the loop, it was no secret. That was the testimony from Ambassador Gordon Sondland yesterday as he implicated the president, Secretary of State, White House chief of staff, and former National Security Advisor John Bolton and other administration officials in the plot to bribe the president of Ukraine to publicly launch an investigation into Joe Biden in exchange for U.S. military aid to Ukraine that was authorized by Congress and that the president was withholding," O'Donnell reported.

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Rachel Maddow breaks down how public opinion is catching up with the facts of Trump’s impeachment

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MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow on Thursday broke down how the details from the televised impeachment hearings are being reported in local newspapers.

The host read the headlines from multiple newspapers following the damning testimony by Ambassador Gordon Sondland.

The Los Angels Times headlined, "Sonland implicates president." "Envoy says Trump directed effort," was The Wall Street Journal headline.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch headlined, "'Everyone was in the loop. It was no secret': Defiant Sondland says he followed Trump's orders."

"Trump directed pressure on Ukraine, ambassador says," headlined The Kansas City Star.

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