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Roger Stone’s attempt ‘to get cute’ with federal judge will backfire — and now he may go to jail: MSNBC panel

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A panel of analysts and reporters on MSNBC had a good time Tuesday mocking political dirty trickster Roger Stone, after the notorious political operative and confidante of President Donald Trump got ordered back into court for posting threatening images on Instagram of the judge overseeing his case.

Host Hallie Jackson got things moving by asking if Stone’s “mess” -a picture he posted of U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson with crosshairs next to her head- would have “serious legal implications.”

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“Stone was trying to be cute,” said former U.S. attorney Joyce Vance. “I think he was trying to force the judge into a situation where she would do something that he could use to argue that she needed to be recused and needed to step down from the case.”

But Stone’s efforts would backfire, she predicted, saying the government need only prove a defendant is either a flight risk or a danger to the community, and that the ultimate decision to revoke Stone’s pre-trial release rested with the judge he threatened.

“The question is whether or not Roger Stone is going to go to jail or be put under house arrest,” added the Daily Beast’s Betsy Woodruff, clarifying what “modifying the condition of his release” actually means. Would Stone be allowed freedom of movement and access to social media, she asked, or “is he going to get the Paul Manafort and Maria Butina treatment and go to jail.”

Bloomberg’s Sahil Kapur said that Stone’s stunt was “up his alley” given his reputation for dirty tricks, but Woodruff disagreed. The image was “a stupid thing to post,” she said. “Anyone with two brain cells would see this Instagram post and say ‘don’t do this.'”

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Vance chimed in again and said Stone’s “unprecedented” letter of apology was probably too little, too late.

“I think the defense that he’ll use in court is he’ll say ‘I didn’t see the cross hairs, I didn’t intend to threaten you,’ and he’ll have that plausible deniability,” she said. “But it fits in too neatly with the type of tricks that this particular defendant is known for using, and I think it’s very unlikely that this was something that he did casually.” She said that Stone was trying to force Judge Berman Jackson’s recusal, and predicted that it would backfire.

“Federal judges see an awful out of hijinks from defendants,” she said of the “hard-nosed” judge. “They’re used to dismissing them out of hand. I don’t think she’ll have any trouble on Thursday in her courtroom.”

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Kellyanne Conway lashes out at Democratic voters as ‘racist and sexist’ at Ohio GOP dinner

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Making an appearance at a Republican Party dinner in Columbus, Ohio, Kellyanne Conway accused Democratic voters of being "racist and sexist," in a diatribe as she tried to boost the fortunes of her boss, President Donald Trump.

According to a report from Cincinnati.com, Conway attacked the leading Democratic presidential nominees before making her claim.

“Their top three candidates are white, career politicians in their 60s and 70s, which I have nothing against except they (Democrats) certainly do,” Conway reportedly told the crowd. “I don’t know why the heck the Democratic party electorate is so racist and sexist. I can’t figure it out.”

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Betsy DeVos’ DOE threatens to cut university funding for positive portrayal of Islam

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The U.S Department of Education threatened to pull federal funding from a Middle East studies course jointly run by Duke University and the University of North Carolina because it portrays Islam too positively.

The DOE ordered the universities to change their program or lose its federal grant money. In a letter to UNC, the department criticized the program, arguing that topics like Iranian art and film have “little or no relevance” to the Middle East studies program. The letter also argues that the program “appears to lack balance” because its programs are not focused on the discrimination faced by “religious minorities in the Middle East," including Christians and Jews.

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Wall Street is ignoring the omens of recession — here’s why

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The Federal Reserve seems a lot more concerned about the state of the economy than it’s been letting on.

The Fed lowered its target interest rate by a quarter point on Sept. 18, the second such cut since July – and the first reductions since the Great Recession more than 10 years ago.

Judging by the words of Fed Chair Jerome Powell, this isn’t that big a deal. In his statement following the decision, he said: “We took this step to help keep the U.S. economy strong in the face of some notable developments and to provide insurance against ongoing risks.”

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