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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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Ukraine begged Trump to raise issue of their captive sailors with Putin — he didn’t and Russia state TV gloated

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The ongoing impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump is being painted by Congress and the press against the backdrop of the ongoing war between Russia and the Ukraine.

As more and more sworn deposition transcripts are released, researchers are able to link up the testimony of events with real-time reactions, giving us a remarkable insight into the implications of foreign policy decisions.

Investigative journalist Julia Davis flagged one key part of testimony in the transcript released of the deposition by Ukraine embassy political officer David Holmes.

The transcript reveals Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the former federal prosecutor who chairs the House Intelligence Committee, interviewing Holmes about Ukraine's desperation to set up a meeting with Trump.

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‘Something nefarious going on’: Obama deputy chief of staff doesn’t buy White House claims on Trump’s health

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The deputy chief of staff for operations in the Obama administration broke down on Monday why the White House claims on President Donald Trump's surprise Saturday visit to Walter Reed Hospital.

Jim Messina, who also was the campaign manager for Barack Obama's 2012 re-election campaign, was interviewed Monday on MSNBC's "The Last Word" by anchor Lawrence O'Donnell.

O'Donnell noted the note the White House physician sent to White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham:

[caption id="attachment_1563602" align="aligncenter" width="800"] Memorandum from Dr. Sean Conley to Stephanie Grisham.[/caption]

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Trump doctor denies the president underwent any ‘neurologic evaluations’ at Walter Reed Hospital

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The physician to the president claimed that President Donald Trump did not undergo "neurologic" evaluations during a surprise visit to Walter Reed Hospital.

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham released a picture of a memorandum from Dr. Sean Conley, which was printed on "Office of the Press Secretary" letterhead.

The memo was sent to Grisham.

On Saturday, Grisham had claimed the purpose of the visit was to conduct a "partial" physical. Dr. Conley referred to the visit as an "interim check up."

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