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Ex-CIA chief of staff explains why Matthew Whitaker’s hiring as acting AG is ‘unprecedented’ — and possibly illegal

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MSNBC analyst Jeremy Bash said President Donald Trump may have violated the law by bypassing established procedure for appointing an acting attorney general.

The president ousted attorney general Jeff Sessions and named Mark Whitaker, his former chief of staff, as his interim replacement — bypassing deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein in the chain of succession.

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“There is a statute that governs how DOJ is supposed to handle appointments to these acting positions,” said Bash, a former chief of staff for both the Department of Defense and the CIA. “It says the individual who becomes active attorney general must be Senate-confirmed. Of course, the chief of staff is not confirmed.”

The 48-year-old Whitaker, who was hired by Sessions shortly after writing a CNN op-ed saying the Mueller investigation had gone too far, had previously worked in private law practice and headed the conservative Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust before joining the Trump administration.

“I think it’s fair to say that the appointment from the chief of staff position, first of all, is unprecedented,” Bash said, “and second, it’s quasi-legal, and it was really done, I think, as part of an effort to obstruct justice, to obstruct the Mueller investigation, to starve it, to constrain it.”


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There’s no respite from Trump’s vindictiveness and foolishness

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As we know, even in the midst of a national emergency, Donald Trump could find time and bandwidth to continue his retribution campaign.

He dismissed Michael Atkinson, the inspector general for the intelligence agencies, for doing “a terrible job,” satisfying his own thirst for vengeance for anyone who actually adhered to law and practice over blind loyalty to Trump himself. Indeed, asked about it the next day, Trump underscored his action by saying, Atkinson “was no Trump supporter, that I can tell you.”

It was an act that we once would have labeled corruption, by Democrats and Republicans – that is using the office for personal purposes – if Congress and too many Americans had not since become inured by so many like instances.

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This is how Taiwan and South Korea bucked the global lockdown trend

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As the coronavirus pandemic sparks global lockdowns, life has continued comparatively unhindered in places like Taiwan, South Korea and Hong Kong after their governments and citizens took decisive early action against the unfolding crisis.

At first glance Taiwan looks like an ideal candidate for the coronavirus. The island of 23 million lies just 180 kilometres (110 miles) off mainland China.

Yet nearly 100 days in, Taiwan has just 376 confirmed cases and five fatalities while restaurants, bars, schools, universities and offices remain open.

The government of President Tsai Ing-wen, whose deputy is an epidemiologist, made tough decisions while the crisis was nascent to stave off the kind of pain now convulsing much of the rest of the world.

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Republican ex-lawmaker with coronavirus scolds Wisconsin GOP for forcing voters to risk their health

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On CNN Tuesday, former Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA), who is himself dealing with a bout of COVID-19, chastised the Wisconsin GOP for doing everything in their power to block the state elections from being moved — and forcing many voters to stand in line and risk exposure to the virus to cast their ballot.

"I have to tell you, here in Pennsylvania we have a Democratic governor and Republican legislature," Dent told host Don Lemon. "They postponed the election here from April 28 until June 2. Without any controversy. Everybody agreed it was the right thing to do and they moved on. I'm surprised Wisconsin took this risk, knowing they don't have to."

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