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DOJ officials fuming after Trump’s acting attorney general violates his department’s own shutdown guidelines

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Justice Department officials are furious after President Donald Trump’s acting Attorney General violated the department’s shutdown guidelines.

According to ABC News, Matthew Whitaker gave a political speech at the Heritage Foundation on Wednesday, which flies in the face of his own rules.

“I think it’s deeply hypocritical,” ABC quoted an anonymous federal prosecutor.

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U.S. prosecutors around the country got a message saying that anyone deemed “excepted” was required to work during the shutdown and that they wouldn’t be getting a paycheck. They were only allowed to perform work on things that are related to threats against life or property. Anything like “ancillary functions” such as “public affairs activities and community outreach … may be conducted only to the extent the failure to perform those functions prevents or significantly damages” department operations, the memo read.

Last week, top DOJ officials sent an email to all of the offices in the U.S. explaining “what employees deemed excepted and working in the office may do.”

“We have been directed to continue only activities that relate to ’emergencies involving the safety of human life or the protection of property,’ i.e., where there is a reasonable likelihood that the safety of human life or the protection of property would be compromised to some significant degree by delay in the performance of the function in question,” said the email. “The risk should be real, not hypothetical or speculative.”

Whitaker’s speech dealt with the 25th anniversary of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act that some claim helped “protect” worshipers’ rights.

Whitaker’s speech praised Trump as a president “who is standing up for the First Amendment.” “Others,” he said, have “tried to stand in the way.” Ironically, the First Amendment gives freedom of the press as well as religion.

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“For example,” Whitaker told the crowd, “we’ve seen nuns ordered to pay for contraceptives,” and a senator, he said, tried to block “an evangelical Christian” from joining the Trump administration.

Read the full report from ABC.

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REVEALED: Bolton urged House Dems to investigate Ukraine ambassador’s firing two days before impeachment launched

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Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY) blew up President Donald Trump's claims that John Bolton kept his concerns about Ukraine to himself.

The New York Democrat, who chairs the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, revealed Wednesday that Bolton urged him "unprompted" in September to look into the ousting of former Ukraine ambassador Marie Yovanovitch.

Why didn’t John Bolton complain about this “nonsense” a long time ago, when he was very publicly terminated. He said, not that it matters, NOTHING!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 29, 2020

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Lindsey Graham quickly scuttles press conference after being linked to Ukraine scheme

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Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) did not appear at a Wednesday press conference after reports linked him to a highly-controversial Ukraine scheme.

According to The Daily Beast, President Donald Trump's attorney, Rudy Giuliani, provided Graham with a letter lobbying for sanctions on Ukrainian officials. The letter was obtained through Giuliani associate Lev Parnas.

Fox News reported on Wednesday morning that Graham was expected at a press conference -- but the senator never showed.

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Trump White House sends formal threat to John Bolton — and warns him not to publish his book: CNN

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CNN is reporting that the Trump White House has sent a formal threat to former national security adviser John Bolton aimed at blocking the publication of his upcoming tell-all book about his time working for the president.

The threat against Bolton marks an escalation for the Trump White House, which has resisted allowing Bolton to testify in the president's Senate impeachment trial. The president himself attacked Bolton in a tweet on Wednesday morning, and claimed that he fired him as national security adviser because he wanted to start "World War Six."

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